photograph of cat in moving box on moving day labeled "fragile"

“Flexible” has become the new corporate buzzword, but flexibility can benefit your personal life, too. The key to starting a new lease with less worry, stress and aggravation is flexibility. If you’re looking for a new place to rent and are planning on moving locally, try to arrange for a flexible move-in date (a few days early), or start your new lease in the middle of the month instead of on the first day of the month.

Many landlords and property managers will let a new tenant take possession of a unit a few days early, as long as the first month’s rent and damage deposit have been paid and renter’s insurance is in effect.

Being given the green light to move in a few days early can take a ton of stress out of the picture. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to take your time and move over the course of a few days, rather than trying to cram everything into a weekend or, worse yet, one weekday?

Imagine getting into your new rental a few days early and getting familiar with the new layout, new kitchen and bath, and the new sounds in your new home? Wouldn’t that be better than rushing around from morning until night, lugging boxes and furniture until you (and your helpers) are past the point of exhaustion?

Here are a few other benefits to moving into your new home a few days early:

  • You can fully set up your household (the kitchen is especially important to feeling “at home”)
  • You can unpack room by room in a less rushed, more organized manner
  • There will be less worry about the weather
  • It’s less stressful for younger family members and your pet(s)
  • You can give your existing rental a thorough cleaning, protecting your damage deposit

Another way of using flexibility to your benefit is to start your lease in the middle of the month. If your current living arrangement or lease allows for it, starting a new lease on a day other than the first can have the following benefits:

  • You may have more family or friends available to help you move
  • It’s often easier to schedule and coordinate things like cable / internet installation, moving vans, plumbers, or utility switchovers (the first and last days of the month are usually the busiest for these service providers)

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but my existing lease ends on the last day of the month, so how does that work?” Communication, as always, is the key here. If you have a normal (non-adversarial) relationship with your existing landlord / property manager, you’ve already told them you’re moving.

Depending on when your lease expires, you can ask to have your rent pro-rated for the half month. As long as you’ve been a good tenant who has paid their rent on time, the landlord / property manager may agree to this arrangement.

Unless you’re in an emergency situation that’s out of your control (like a building fire or flood), planning ahead and being flexible can really take a lot of the aggravation out of your move. Remember to communicate with both your existing and new landlord or property manager, plan on moving your home’s contents over the course of a few days, and set up your new household prior to being there full time.

When you have less stress, worry and exhaustion, you’ll be ready to start enjoying your new home right from the first official day of your new lease.