This is a fairly common question that our staff at Places4Students.com often receive from landlords - When is the best time to post my rental property advertisement for students?
Unfortunately, there is no absolute answer to this question. But as a rule, we generally find that the old saying usually applies - The early bird gets the worm!
Many students often plan ahead and start looking for housing options long before they start school. In addition, with experience working in the off-campus housing industry since 2003, we have learned that students move around throughout the year, especially if they are dissatisfied with their current place of residence.
Having said that, there are other factors to consider: academic calendars, how competitive the rental market is in your city, when students get their housing assignments and much more! It is our goal to help landlords and property managers analyze these factors and successfully fill their vacancies!
Generally speaking, most schools have two major start dates - one which begins in September (fall term) and one which begins in January (winter/spring term). Keep in mind that each academic institution’s programs are unique and many schools now offer short term courses with varying start dates. As well, many programs involve co-op terms which may require students to move. Landlords can visit most school websites for clarification of program start dates and details.
Students typically start searching for accommodations a few months before their term starts. In competitive rental markets, students often begin searching for a place six or more months in advance. We recommend landlords do market research in their area, to determine how competitive the rental industry is and to develop some basic guidelines. For competitive markets, we suggest landlords start advertising their properties in the winter/spring for an August/September move-in date.
Another prime time to advertise is when high school seniors receive their acceptance letters from the academic institution they applied to. The timeline for acceptance letters will vary from school to school, but in most cases, early acceptance letters are mailed out in January/February. These students are normally excited and start planning where to live early.
Additionally, a good time to post a property listing is when on-campus housing assignments are distributed to students. Once again, this may vary from school to school, but generally happens one to three months before term start dates. Most colleges and universities do not have enough on-campus beds to accommodate all of the housing applications they receive; so as a result, many students who are turned away must find off-campus accommodations.
While there is not a guaranteed best time to post rental property advertisements, there are many influencing factors to consider and guidelines to follow, in order to be successful. Students are often seeking accommodations year-round, but there are also certain times when the volume of student traffic to rental property listings will increase. By pinpointing these peak times and determining a marketing strategy, you will be sure to experience more success in filling your vacancies!
The Places4Students.com Team