Optimal time for Bay Area apt hunting for a July 1 move-in?
May 18, 2015 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I'll be flying out for 7-10 days in June to help my fiance find an apartment for us in the Bay Area, most likely Mountain View-ish. We're hoping for a July 1 lease, although we have enough flexibility to go a few days in either direction. Does it make more sense for me to be there May 29 - June 8 (last weekend of May and first weekend of June) or June 4 - June 15 (first two weekends of June) or some other set of dates?

I'll be able to devote myself fully to apartment hunting during that time, while he'll have work during the day (but can look at places in the evening). We've both lived in the area before, but have never had to apartment hunt there before. Our budget is ~$2500, which seems in line with what we've seen on Craigslist.

My main concern is timing, especially given the crazy rental market. I don't want to miss out on stuff by arriving too late, but I'm not sure if May 29 is still too early.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my Bay Area apartment hunting experience, almost nothing is available until the beginning and middle of the month before, so I'd definitely lean toward the 4th-15th for this rather than trying at the end of May when there will be almost nothing available.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was going to also say the 4th - 15th, but I would start looking (online) systematically around the end of May. It sounds like your fiance is already in the area but maybe too busy to do a lot of devoted looking? Maybe you could start checking craigslist everyday before your come in case there is something extremely promising he could look at on his own. (With the fast paced rental market, this would probably mean you all committing to something before you personally see it so maybe that's not appealing.) Also, by starting to look early you can start recognizing the places that are posted over and over and decide if you want to avoid (ie. they are scams or have something wrong that makes people not want to rent once they see it.)

You didn't ask about specific tips for helping you apartment hunt, but one tip which can really give you an edge is to bring all your documents ready to go to every showing: generic rental application filled out in advance, checkbook for security deposit, and print out of credit reports. If you're dealing with a property management or larger rental company, call or go online to find their specific application before you go and bring it along (filled out). You might not need it, but I once lost a great apartment in the few hours it took me to drive home, print out a document, and drive back to the rental office.
posted by dahliachewswell at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]

In this market things move fast. I mostly saw empty places the day they came on the market and the expectation was that I would start paying rent immediately if I wanted it (sometimes they might give you a week grace). End of May is too soon. First week of June would be ideal. Also for reasons I don't understand leases start on pretty much any random day and not just the 1st of the month.

Seconding, come prepared. Mountain View is hot shit and things at your price move FAST.
posted by saradarlin at 10:35 AM on May 18, 2015

IMHO, ASAP. Mountain View is difficult to find housing, IMHO. (Why else would Google and such have buses coming all the way up to San Francisco in incur the wrath of locals?)
posted by kschang at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2015

The biggest hitch is that it's very difficult to sign a lease more than a week before your move-in date. Most landlords wait until after move-out to show the place.

The good news is that you can show up the week before and sign a lease for July 1st. The bad news is that your options will be slim because there's always a very small rolling inventory.

The best thing you can do is avoid having a set deadline. Suck up the fact that you will probably pay rent in two locations, and try to spin it as "So much time to move! Yay!"
posted by politikitty at 12:33 PM on May 18, 2015

IMHO, ASAP. Mountain View is difficult to find housing, IMHO. (Why else would Google and such have buses coming all the way up to San Francisco in incur the wrath of locals?)

That's more to do with San Francisco being a more desirable place to live than Mountain View, for many people.

I agree with others who've said the first two weekends of June.
posted by JenMarie at 1:56 PM on May 18, 2015

From what I've read, because of new grads all hitting the market at the same time, rentals are the most competitive from May to September, at which point they start to become less competitive. Everything else I was going to say, dahliachewswell already said.

There may be a few LLs wanting to fill rooms on short notice at the end of May, which may be a little less competitive, but those rooms will very likely still be for a June 1 move-in. As politikitty mentioned, if you look in may, I think you will just have to grit your teeth and dip into savings/credit to pay rent at both places; even several of the rentals you find in early June will probably be for a June 15th move-in.

Good luck, it's brutal out there.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. Sounds like it's split between those saying I should try for the last week of June and those saying June 4-June 15 is ok. For those in the latter category, do you think June 11- June 22 is better, or do you think earlier (but not too early) is preferable?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 7:55 PM on May 18, 2015

You should look when you are prepared to sign. The earlier you look the more choice you will have but you will also have to pay more rent. Basically if you like a place you will be expected to take it right away with a lease starting as little as a day after the viewing.
posted by saradarlin at 12:57 AM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Right, I get that I'll have to sign almost immediately. I'm willing to sign earlier and pay extra rent if the selection (# apts available/week) is larger earlier, but there's no point in doing so if the selection is just as larger later in the month.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 4:42 PM on May 19, 2015

« Older Wanted: laws that support citizen science data...   |   What to do about seemingly not justified negative... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.