Signing a New Student Lease
So, you're enrolling in USF and looking for off-campus housing ... congrats! This is an exciting time and you're likely full of questions. There is a good chance, one of the first is, "when is the best time to sign a lease?". ApartmentsForBulls.com can help.
Depending on the time of year you're enrolling in USF, there may be a variety of things to consider in regards to approach and timing for discovering your USF apartment. Read on to find the time of year you'll be on the search and when to begin taking action.
9-12 Months Out
During this time period, you'll want to begin to think on what options are available and know what you may have already discovered without even realizing it! Perhaps you attended a friend's party and really loved their apartment, or you know the type of amenities that appeal to you. Did you drive past a property you just loved? Is there a near the University of South Florida you like? Start making mental notes.Search for Apartments Near USF
6-9 Months Out
When you're 6-9 months out, it's smart to determine your budget for housing. This will allow you to stay on track, and better understand what items on your off-campus housing wish list you can achieve and where you may need to make some compromises. This is also a great time to become a bit more focused on your location. Maybe you have a job or know where your classes will be held. These are great factors to start developing an awareness of and will help guide your search in a few short months. Make a shortlist of your top 5 favorite apartments.
This is also an important time to consider who your roommates may be. While roommate matching services typically do a great job, be sure you're talking to your friends and begin to determine the dynamics of how you might house together if that's an option for you. Note, you'll have to be prepared to sign a lease 6-9 months out to ensure space for everyone.
5 Months Out
It's time to tour! Choose your top 3 apartment options, schedule appointments to take a look around, and begin applying to your favorites! We also want to encourage you that now is the time to sign if you find a place that meets your criteria. Floor plans begin selling out in April so now is the time to sign and secure your desired home.
3 Months Out
Options may be a bit slimmer at this point. Before you set your heart on any favorites, we encourage you to call around to properties that interest you and make sure they are still an option for your space and budget needs. If your desired floor plan is available and matches your budget, you should sign a lease as the risk for sellout is high at this point.
1 Month Out
Let's be honest, it can be slim pickings property wise this close to move-in. However, finding the apartment of your dreams is not unheard of nor impossible! You'll want to get in touch with your top two or three properties as soon as possible and be prepared to move quickly. If there is availability, be prepared to sign a lease that day and then celebrate because you hit the jackpot!
To clarify, Spring move-in refers to move-in dates for the Spring school semester, which begins in January. It should be safe to begin your search in September, as most of the student communities will have an idea of which students were "no-shows" for leases beginning in August and have an idea of what their availability will be like for January. You can keep looking through the end of November, as spaces may open up at properties if students decide to back out of their lease due to a difficult school semester or trouble with finances. You can plan to sign a lease for the Spring semester anytime from September through the first week of December of the prior year.
Summer move-ins tend to be more difficult as leases tend to wrap around until the end of July. The good news is that many off-campus apartment communities near USF that do have homes available usually offer good deals! We recommend you begin your search in February or March and when you find your desired location, floor plan, and community, take it!
Subletting an apartment home is also a popular option and you can often find sublets available until the big move out dates in August. For sublet research, we highly recommend checking out student groups on Facebook or postings in Facebook Marketplace in the USF and Tampa areas.
Renewals for a Student Apartment
Keep your eyes peeled as early as September and October to renew for the following August! Ask yourself, have I been happy here? Do I like this location? Do you like your roommates? Do I generally see myself living here next year? If the answer is "yes", it would be wise to jump on that first renewal opportunity which will be coming your way in early Fall. From our years in the apartment industry, we can confidently tell you that this first renewal offer will almost always be your best one so waiting for a deal or deeper discount likely won't serve you and may only set you up for disappointment! Need a little more time to consider it? No problem, you'll still have time around Christmas and the New Year to make your decision and sign. Still not sure? It's ok! Your current apartment might still have space in February and you'll be good to go but please note it can't be guaranteed that late in the season. Now, if you haven't signed a renewal by 3 months before the end of your lease, chances are slim that a spot will still be available so talk to your leasing team. But, let us give you some insight. If you haven't signed a renewal yet it might be safe you say you weren't that happy? You can always start a fresh search for apartments near USF to find an alternative apartment that fits better with your budget and lifestyle. < Back: USF Student Guide