How Long Does It Take to Find an Apartment Really?

Smiling couple sitting on the floor with laptop in the new apartYou already have the money saved up to move out, and you’re ready to start hunting for your first apartment. But, how long will the process take? If you’re not sure how long to expect, here is a general timeline to consider.

See What the Lead Time Is

A lead-time tells you how long from the time you find the apartment to the time you can move in. It’s unlikely you’ll find one today and move in tomorrow, but what is a reasonable move-in date? It depends on the area. In downtown Los Angeles, you might find apartments with leases about to end or a few vacant units. But, don’t just pick an apartment because you’re in a hurry — you might be stuck in a lease in an apartment you hate.

How Long Does It Take to Search?

You should try to spend at least two or three days searching for apartments and look through at least eight different units before picking one. If you can, devote a week to apartment hunting. That way you aren’t rushing through your walkthroughs or rushing to make a decision. Plus, you never know if a great new apartment will list mid-week.

Consider the Approval Time

Once you have picked out the apartment you like, you’ll go through an application process. This could take a few hours or a few days — depending on how the property manager sets up their application process. Most places do a background and credit check, they may also call your employer. So expect one to two business days for the approval process to finalize.

Scheduling Your Move-In Date

Even if the apartment is ready to move into tomorrow, do you really want to move that fast? Be realistic and think about how quickly you can move. You have work, school and other obligations, so where will moving fit in. Plus, if you need help, you need to give friends and family a few days’ notice. Set aside at least a week (or two) to pack and plan the move itself. The less rushed your move is, the less stressed you’ll be come moving day.


So how long does the process take? Depending on how fast you move, you could be in a new apartment in as little as two weeks or as long as a few months. But, ideally you should have your new place all said and done within four weeks.

There’s no rush to finding your new apartment — except the rush you create. Take your time, be savvy with your money, and make sure you’re signing for an apartment you really want to live in.

Apr 2014