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When Is the Best Time to Move?

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Maybe they raised your rent again and you're ready to find a cheaper apartment. Or perhaps your upstairs neighbor works nights and stomps up the stairs every morning at 4 a.m. Or maybe you've had a broken garbage disposal for months and you want a more responsive maintenance team. Whatever the reason, you're thinking about moving. Is now a good time, or should you hold off?

A variety of factors come into play when thinking about moving. Of course you have to consider the terms of your lease and your finances, but what about the time of year? Here are some factors to consider:

Summer vs. Fall

Most people move during 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 moving during the heat of the summer can be brutal.  

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.

No doubt about it, fall has perfect moving weather. 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.

About those holidays … will moving in the fall stretch your finances so far that you'll be struggling when it comes time to find costumes, stock up on candy, roast a turkey, and buy presents? If so, either start saving now or hold off until after the decorations are stored away.

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.

Spring vs. Winter

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. Why not start fresh in a new apartment?

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.

Of course, there are drawbacks to moving in spring. 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. Here in Atlanta, that means a fine dusting of green on everything from your boxes to the floors in your new apartment.

There's no doubt about it -- you'll get a great deal in winter -- especially during holiday season. Apartment communities tend to lower rates in the winter and moving companies offer amazing deals. But these great rates 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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