Tenant tips: Start rental search early

While it may be less complicated than homeownership in some ways, moving to a new rental is still a serious decision. In order to properly search for a new apartment, Empire Realty Group notes renters should begin their search at least two months in advance of when they want to move in.

It takes time to find the right unit in a good location. Prospective renters should take time to examine a vacant unit and visit the area several times at different hours to get a sense for the neighborhood. It may be a problem, for example, if a local business tends to make noise late at night.

The time can also be used to test the length of the daily commute, the availability and reliability of public transportation or the convenience to access grocery stores and other common destinations.

Landlords will also need a certain amount of time for standard resident screening and credit checks. All of that needs to happen before lease documents are signed, so if an individual knows he or she will be looking for a new place to live soon, it's better to start immediately. An earlier beginning also increases the odds of finding a vacancy before someone else does.