All About Houston Apartment Move-In Specials

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Move-in specials are like the coupons of the apartment hunting world. Only instead of saving fifty cents on orange juice, you may end up keeping hundreds of dollars nice and cozy in your bank account (who doesn’t want that).

Here’s what you need to know about these deals to take advantage of one on your next apartment…  

Types of Move-In Specials

Move-in specials come in a few different forms:

  • Lower rates: It’s pretty straightforward: ‘Move-in now and save!’ Discounts on lease prices can vary greatly, from a few hundred dollars in savings to a couple thousand or more. 
  • Reduced move-in fees or security deposits: A move-in fee is the extra charge a new tenant might pay for the landlord to touch up paint, do a deep cleaning, or perform other tasks to make a unit ready for you. These fees can cost several hundred dollars but a nice move-in special could get them cut or waived altogether. 

The security deposit is a different charge that covers potential damage you do while living in the unit. And although it may be tempting to save money here, this is one move-in special that may actually cost you money in the long-run, as it’s intended to protect both you and the landlord. 

  • Waived application fees: The fees that landlords pass on to tenants to vet them before they move in, such as credit checks, typically cost only about $50-$100. But a penny saved is a penny earned, and some property managers offer to waive the fee as a move-in incentive, generally in the form of a discount on your first month’s rent. 
  • Free month’s (or months’) rent: This is a popular tool for landlords because who doesn’t love the sound of the phrase “free rent”? In theory, this is a great deal and could save you $1,500 or more. But it’s important to note that a “free month” offer is sometimes not truly a no-cost month but simply means it will be prorated over the rest of the lease agreement term. 

If you’re using us as your free apartment locator, we’ll make sure you’re fully informed before you sign anything, but to learn more, check out The New York Times’ piece on this.     

  • Free pet rent: Typically around $30-$50 per month, this monthly charge is a popular one for landlords to waive for a few months for pet-owning new tenants. 
  • Gifts and giveaways: Gift cards, coupon books, movie tickets, toasters…the list of potential goodies is endless and can net you some nice swag, depending on the deal.

The Best Time to Find Move-In Specials

Rental rates are typically at their highest during the summer months because demand is highest then, with school ending and students and families moving and mild weather making moves more convenient. But turnover among apartments is also highest then, with many previously occupied units hitting the market, so landlords may not feel a need to provide any extra incentive to draw in renters. 

The winter months, November to March, tend to feature the lowest rental rates. That is the period when you’re most likely to see complexes offering move-in specials. 

Nevertheless, anyone who’s ever apartment hunted in a college town will tell you that competition among landlords for tenants is a very real thing. Landlords may offer move-in specials during the summer during peak demand times just to separate themselves from the pack, which quickly follows suit to avoid being the only apartment not offering a move-in special. 

In other words, move-in specials can crop up at virtually any time and be gone just as quickly, making it important to use McKenzie Drake as your FREE apartment locator in Houston TX.

Can You Negotiate a Better Deal?

As you can see, rental rates are not set in stone. Chances are that a property manager who’s willing to offer move-in specials is also willing to negotiate on the rate in the interest of getting the unit leased. 

You may be able to haggle the price of your rent down for significant savings if you can capitalize on some or all of these factors:

  • You can prepay for several months’ rent: Just as paying at the time of booking tickets or a car reservation is often cheaper than doing it “at the gate,” landlords may be enticed into offering a lower rate on your unit in exchange for getting some of your payments upfront.  
  • You can commit to a longer lease: Keeping the apartment leased instead of vacant for a longer stretch of time could be valuable enough to a landlord to agree to a lower rate. 
  • You can give something up: If you’re able to forego something that’s typically included in your lease, such as a parking space or use of the dog park because you don’t have a dog, you could try to leverage it in your favor. 
  • You can refer customers: Most apartment complexes have some sort of referral program that rewards tenants for getting friends or acquaintances to move in, but these may only run for a limited time and/or be capped at a certain number of referrals per tenant. If you’ve got a full Rolodex, try pushing for rate rebates that you can earn at any time and have it put in writing in your lease agreement.    


How to Find the Best Move-In Specials

This one’s easy…call McKenzie Drake! We work with many of the best property managers in Houston every single day, so our clients are the first to know when an apartment complex will be running a move-in special. 

Call us today at 713.882.5222 or email us at [email protected] to hear about current move-in specials in Houston.