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When Is the Best Time to Move?

There’s a best time for everything, and that includes moving. If your apartment just isn’t working for you anymore, you might think now is the best time to move. Like, right now. Maybe at this very minute, you’re tossing those antique crystal figurines Aunt Edna gave you into a box.

Put the box down and take a deep breath. There are a variety of things to consider when thinking about moving. For example, is your lease up? If not, are you willing to accept the penalty for breaking it? Can you afford to move right now? (You’ll need first and last months’ rent, a security deposit, money for moving expenses, pet fees, etc.)

Finally – what season is it? Believe it or not, the time of year has a big impact on everything from finding good movers to negotiating better rent. Here are some things to consider about the time of year and your move:


The drawbacks

Most people move during the summer. In fact, of the 40 million in the US that move every year, roughly 60 percent choose the summer. That means higher rates and less availability. It also means moving companies are swamped — so much so that they might not even be available for your moving dates.

Moving companies often have to hire seasonal, temporary workers over the summer to keep up with demand. That means your movers could be inexperienced and more likely to make mistakes (like dropping the box containing your antique crystal figurines). And moving during the heat of the summer can be brutal. It’s hot, humid, and often rainy.

The benefits

On the plus side, the kids are out of school — a major reason why most people choose the summer to move. If you have kids, this eases the transition — especially if they have to change schools. It gives you the entire summer to unpack, decorate, get the kids familiar with the neighborhood, and give them a chance to make friends at the community’s park or pool before school starts.

Another plus: most leases end in summer. If this is the case for you, then you won’t have to worry about the whole breaking-the-lease scenario, which could save you money, aggravation, and time.


The benefits

No doubt about it, fall is the perfect time to move. It’s cool, but not cold, the sky is (more often than not) blue with rain less likely to put a damper on moving day, and it gives you a chance to settle in before the holidays.

It’s much easier to find movers in fall, and you can usually get your moving date. Rates also tend to be slightly lower since the moving rush is over.

The drawbacks

If a fall move will stretch your finances, leaving you to struggle when the holidays roll around (costumes and candy and turkey and presents, oh my!), you might want to reconsider.

If you have school-age children, moving in the fall – especially if they have to switch schools – could lead to missed days, falling behind, and teary eyes at having to leave friends behind.

If you live in an area near a major university, trying to move during fall presents its own set of challenges. Competing with an influx of college students could make finding an apartment much more difficult. It could also raise the rental rates in your neighborhood.


The benefits

You’ve thrown open your windows to let in the spring breeze as you prepare to tackle everything from that clogged junk drawer in the kitchen to the wine stain left by an over-zealous fan during your football party last January. Ah, spring! A time for cleaning, organizing, and starting fresh.

The weather (aside from those pesky spring showers) is ideal — not sweltering hot like summer, not brutally cold like winter. The kids are still in school, so fewer people are choosing to move right now. That means you can get a great deal — from lower rates at moving companies to apartment community move-in specials.

Moving to a new apartment in spring gives you time to settle in, unpack, and decorate. Then you have the summer to enjoy lazy weekends by the community swimming pool and exploring your new neighborhood.

If you are near a major university, spring is the time when those new graduates are moving out — which means a better selection for you to find just the right floor plan.

The drawbacks

If you have kids, it’s the last couple of months of school. If you are staying in the same district, spring break could be the ideal moving time. If you are moving to a new district, your kids will be starting a new school at the end of the year … when friends have already been made. This could mean a rough transition for them.

You’re more likely to find yourself moving under the shelter of an umbrella during spring, and it is allergy season — being outside may be difficult if you suffer from allergies, and pollen could end up on your belongings.


The benefits

There’s no doubt about it — you’ll get a great deal in winter — especially during January and February. Apartment communities tend to lower rates in the winter and moving companies offer amazing deals. You’ll be better positioned to negotiate rent, and storage facilities often run specials during the winter months (if you’re moving to a smaller apartment and need one).

If you are moving a long distance, your belongings are much more likely to survive a winter trip than a sweltering one in the back of a moving van during summer (think melted candles and warped vinyl).

The drawbacks

All of these perks come with a price: it’s cold! It’s icy, there’s likely snow on the ground, and getting the boxes from your old apartment and into your new apartment means your frozen fingers wrapped around moving boxes as you navigate slippery, ice-coated stairs.

Good luck trying to talk your friends into helping you move when the temperatures dip into the single digits.

And, while you can find a great deal during the winter months, these months are jam-packed with holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. You may find gathering together enough cash for the security deposit and fees a major roadblock to moving in winter.

While there are pros and cons to every season, you can make the best of your move any time of year by choosing the right type of rental for your lifestyle and by knowing what you need — and what you don’t — in your new place.

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