The pros and cons of apartment hunting in the winter

It May Be Cheaper, But Is It Worth It?

NYC residents traveling in a winter storm

(NEW YORK, NY) —While the many benefits of renting in the winter—better incentives, more room for negotiation, and lower prices—are true, it’s not a bulletproof plan.

For those considering a brisk move, a closer look at the benefits and risks is crucial. Because we get it, a deal on New York real estate is the perfect end-of-the-year bonus. But how sweet is the cake if you’re balancing a sofa on your back in the middle of a snowstorm because there wasn’t a moving company available for your January 1 move-in date?

A FedEx delivery man pulls a trolley laden with packages along a snowy street at Times Square in New York. Credit: REUTERS/Shannon

Let’s start with the positives:

  • Incentives

The hottest months to move within New York City are April-October. So, when December-March rolls around a prospective tenant could be the first human contact an owner has had in months! Seriously though, some owners are so eager to fill vacant rooms during the colder months they’ll throw in perks like televisions, gift cards, and new furniture.

  • Lower Prices

In some areas, renters can find prices that are hundreds of dollars cheaper during the winter months than the warmer months.

  • More Flexibility

Typically, when tenants sign a lease the move-in date is soon after. For some, this is problematic because not many people are able to move the next day. Many renters get stuck paying two leases at once in between the move-in period, according to 6sqft.com. However, during the Winter months, owners tend to be much more flexible with move-in dates.

Movers moving furniture during a winter storm Credit: Meelheimsmoving.com

Now, here are the negatives:

  • Longer Leases

Some owners may require winter tenants to sign an 18-month lease instead of a 12-month lease. The reason being that owners can raise rents on renewal leases during the warmer months.

  • Bad Weather

Moving in the winter poses a risk of dealing with bad weather. Another disadvantage of moving in the winter is the absence of most moving companies during the holiday season. If your move-in date is January 1, not may movers are going to be available given it’s New Year’s Day.

  • Not Many Options

While rent may be cheaper, there are not an abundance of options to pick from. Being that most renters move from April-October, most apartments will hit the market during that time. However, if you excel at research and are okay with slim pickings, this will not be much of a problem for you.

So, is renting an NYC apartment in the winter worth the discounts? That’s up to you to decide.

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