Moving, Tips & Tricks

When to Start Apartment Hunting

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Whether you’re moving to a new city or just down the street, finding a new apartment can be a nerve-wracking process. A lot goes into searching for a new place, from looking for a good neighborhood that’s within your budget, to schools, amenities and so much more. And, you have to do all of this well ahead of the final move date! 

So, when is the right time to look for an apartment? And, better yet, why is this so important? Consider these two scenarios: 

  • Scenario 1: You begin the apartment search too early, you find an apartment you really like, but by the time you move out, the apartment you liked has been snagged up by someone else. 
  • Scenario 2: You begin the apartment search too late, and you miss out on some of the best units available. 

Both sound nightmarish, don’t they? So, determining the right time to start apartment hunting is crucial. The rule of thumb usually suggests that you should start looking for an apartment 60 to 30 days before you’re planning to move out. That may seem like a long time, but all things considered, time really does fly. Don’t believe us? Check out this ultimate 60 day apartment hunting and moving timeline. It outlines all the things you need to take care of during these two months to ensure you find the perfect apartment and have everything ready for the big move! 

60 Days Before The Big Move

It’s two months before the big move and you have enough time to start from the basics, including finding and financing the perfect apartment! Start by determining how much you’re willing to spend and don’t forget to include the cost of utilities, rent for the first and last month, and any security deposits. You’ll also want to account for moving costs as that’s a crucial factor when it comes to moving apartments that most people forget to consider. 

Now that you have your budget in place, narrow down neighborhoods that match your finances. You can use various listing sites for this, and all you need to do is tag the place you like and schedule a viewing. Try to keep your search as streamlined as possible, and don’t look into apartments that are beyond your budget, no matter how much you like them. Here are some tips that you can use during your search: 

  • Contact a seasoned broker, give them the amount you’re willing to spend and preferred neighborhood preferences, and let them take care of the rest. 
  • Set up alerts for your preferred neighborhoods and budget in popular listing sites so you’ll be one of the first to know when a new apartment is ready. 
  • Don’t underestimate the power of your network. Reach out to your friends and family, and also post on social media asking about any leads your network may have for you. 

30 Days Before The Big Move

Once you hit the one-month mark, time tends to move much faster. By now, you should be deep in your apartment hunt, with your top three options selected. If you’re not there yet, you really need to finalize the place you want around this time. You could consider choosing an apartment based on three factors:

  • Cost (including post-move-in expenses)
  • Location 
  • Neighborhood 

If you have an apartment in mind, you should use this time to finalize all the technicalities, including putting a deposit or first months’ rent down, signing the lease, etc., and ensure nothing is left for the last minute. And don’t forget, as the month ticks by, you need begin the packing process and start thinking about booking movers.

7 Days Before The Big Move

We’re down to the final week, and by this point, you should have your apartment keys and be pretty much packed up, barring the daily essentials you’d need till the day of moving. To ensure you don’t leave anything behind, use these seven days wisely and do a thorough run-through of your current apartment. Do a final inventory check of every cabinet, cupboard, and closet to make sure you’ve packed everything. For these final days, if possible, shift to take-out food or eating out, instead of cooking at home so you can pack the dishes. You should also consider packing a ‘first-night’ kit to avoid taking on the stress of unpacking as soon as you move into your new apartment. 

The Big Day

After two long (or short depending on your experience) months of preparation, you’ve finally reached the day you’ve been looking forward to. If you’ve done everything right, this day should go by smoothly! To enable your movers to do their jobs easily, push all the boxes towards the door. Also take extra care to pack fragile items before the movers come. To ensure those smaller, more breakable items are safe, you could take them with you on the subway or bus. Or hire your friendly neighborhood Lyft or Uber driver.

Once the movers have loaded everything else, share the new address with the driver again to avoid any confusion. It’s also a good idea to clean your apartment. It’s both a nice thing to do, and it increases the chance that you’ll get part or all of your security deposit back. And, that’s it. All you have left to do is get to your new apartment and wait for your movers to arrive with your belongings. 

Get A Jump Start On Your Move With Dolly

While following the above can help you find and move into the perfect apartment, having the right moving partner can make the whole ordeal a lot easier and less stressful. Dolly can help you load your moving truck, transport your old furniture to the dump, and even move your new furniture from the shop to your new house. And if you want some help with unpacking, we’ve got you covered; check out our comprehensive guide! Leave all the hard work of relocating to Dolly so you can focus on selecting a house that’s perfect for you. Visit to learn how we can make your move a lot easier.

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