Over the last nine years, I’ve searched for tenants during every month of the year.
Based on my experience, I believe spring (specifically June 1st) and fall (Sept 1st) are the best times to find tenants.
I’ve noticed that I receive twice or even triple the number of applicants if I advertise a property with a move-in date of June 1st or Sept 1st, compared to winter and summer, with June 1st performing slightly better.
With that said, all my properties are in the mid-Atlantic region. Landlords who own properties in parts of the country that experience less-extreme seasons may not notice as much of a difference (here’s looking at you, San Diego).
Reasons Why Spring and Fall are Best
1. The Weather is Comfortable.
No one likes to move when there’s two feet of snow on the ground.
2. The Landscape is Visually Pleasing.
Whether it’s a rainbow of tulips or the breathtaking crape myrtle tree, every property looks better when the trees and flowers are full of color. Snow, ice, and bare trees make a property seem desolate and unattractive.
3. Summer Vacations Take Priority.
Americans tend to go on vacation in late June/July/August when the kids are out of school. People tend to think, “Why mess up a perfectly good summer by moving? I’ll do it when the weather is cooler.”
4. There’s a Natural Flow.
I think that real estate agents tend to focus their efforts in spring and fall. My tactic is to let the pros create the buzz and then I try to ride that wave.
5. Traffic Spikes on Craigslist.
I can’t prove it, but it seems like there are more renters looking through ads on Craigslist during the spring and fall. However, there are more postings, which causes my ads to sink to the bottom of the list more quickly.
6. School Semesters are Starting or Ending.
My group houses typically attract renters who are either in, or just out of college. By advertising a June 1st or Sept 1st move-in date, I am catching them just after or before the college school semester.
Consolidate Lease Dates
Obviously, the more renters who apply, the better your chances are of finding a qualified group.
For whatever reason, June 1st seems to be the “magic move-in date” for me. Therefore, I’ve taken it a step further by intentionally setting all my leases to end/renew around June 1st. This is just one way that I’m setting myself up for success.
My suggestion is to find that magic move-in date for your area – the time that you have the most number of applicants year after year, and then try to force all your leases to end around then. It may take a few years of writing four or six-month leases, but you’ll get there.
All at Once? Isn’t That Crazy?
When I started out as a landlord, I staggered my leases, so I had a turnover every 60 days throughout the year. I found that I was always thinking about the next looming lease turnover, and I was never really able to relax.
By having all six leases end around June 1st (give or take 30 days), I end up being very busy during that part of the year. However, I still think it’s better to work really hard for two months and then relax the other 10.
The lease turnover period is arguably the most hectic time in a landlord’s life. I’d prefer to do it all at once, and get it over with, so I can spend the rest of my time with my family.