How Far in Advance Can You Sign a Lease on an Apartment?

Advance After weeks spent looking at apartments of every size and configuration in a slew of neighborhoods, your anxiety-riddled apartment search still hasn’t landed you the perfect place.

Whatever the reason you’re blocked, here are a few insider tips to help you know how far in advance you can sign a lease on an apartment and how signing a lease early can prove to be a financially savvy strategy.


Timing is everything

Is timing really everything? You bet it is, especially when it comes to new construction. In fact, looking at apartments in the hub of new construction should be at the top of your list. Here’s why: Flexible negotiating on rents.

When a leasing office has an entire apartment enclave to fill with new tenants, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the leasing team becomes your new BFF. Consider looking at complexes that are either being built or in a pre-construction phase. It could work to your advantage in a number of ways.

How do you know what you’re getting into if it hasn’t been built yet? Take a look at an apartment model that’s representative of what the space will eventually look like, architectural renderings or even similar apartment developments under the same management group.

If you’re currently locked into an apartment lease with an end date that’s months away, signing on the dotted line for an up-and-coming apartment could be your best solution. You’ll likely be enticed with new tenant perks like rent discounts, security deposits based on credit and lots of other add-ons, from valet trash to laminate flooring.

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Deals and steals

Are you looking for a less expensive apartment than the one you’re currently in? You’re not alone. Studies show that lots of renters express an interest in less costly apartment layouts when they are considering a move. This could translate to a downsized one-bedroom that’s quite a bit smaller than what you’re used to, but also a lot less costly overall.

How far in advance you can actually sign your new lease prior to move-in day could prove to be a deal maker for the following reasons.

Winter wonderland

Seasonal trends can be critical to signing a lease in advance for monetary perks, especially when it’s cold outside. Since spring and summer are historically hot moving periods, tracking down your new apartment when a chill is in the air could be worth more than you might think.

Mid-month moves

You’re ready to sign your new lease, but you can’t move in until mid-month. Now what? Before signing the lease, make certain that the leasing team is giving you a pro-rated deal. Otherwise, it’s a no go.

In this scenario, how far in advance you can sign your lease is ultimately predicated on your future moving schedule. Why pay for a full month, if your move-in date is 10 to 15 days into the month?

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Renew ahead of time and save

You’ve been in your place for a year. Renewal is three-plus months out. Signing in advance of your renewal for another year can be full of gains. Typically, the management company will likely raise your rent, because that’s just how the rental business works. Comps in the area get reviewed and your rent goes up.

However, if you agree to sign up for another year well ahead of your renewal status, you could be looking at a minimal increase, compared to what it would have been if you waited until the last minute. And, who knows, with your newfound negotiating skills, you might even chisel away at the increase by asking for an early signing bonus.

When you’re ready to sign your new lease, know that how far in advance you sign can be a real game-changer. Do the legwork, see what’s newly built and what’s available in the so-called rental off-season and be ready to find the musts to clinch the deal.

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