If you are in search of an Orlando apartment, it’s important to know how the market is faring. A report conducted by Coldwell Banker shows a strong real estate market in this Central Florida city. In fact, Orlando ranked #1 for decreased vacancy rates and increased rental rates on a list that included 80 other metropolitan areas.

More specifically, in the third quarter of 2013, the multifamily market showed a 15 percent drop in vacancy rates, compared to the same quarter of 2012. The average rent now is $925, a 3.24% increase.

As an apartment hunter in Orlando, you may be asking yourself, “What do these figures mean to me?” Increased rents may not seem like a good thing for someone looking for an apartment, but they may improve the offerings in the long run. For example, if developers notice that a particular city has a strong market, they may want to build in that area. New construction projects often mean modern amenities for renters. When there is a shortage of development space, investors have been known to buy old buildings and either revamp them or tear them down to start fresh.

Orlando Apartment Hunting Tips

If you’re looking for an Orlando apartment, you have a more competitive market on your hands. With the decreased number of vacancies, landlords don’t currently have an incentive to decrease their rent prices. So when you do decide to move, you need to have a smart game plan. Here are three tips to help:

1. Start Looking Early. The best way to find the apartment that is right for you is to look early so you have enough time to weed through all the listings. You don’t want to begin your search two weeks from your moving time and be left with less than stellar apartment choices. 

[Tips for a Stress-Free Apartment Search]

2. Save Money. There are fewer vacancies in the real estate market than previous years, which means landlords may not be offering the same discounts off of the first month’s rent or the security deposit. Be a smart renter and expect to have at least twice the rent asking price in your savings account  to pay the moving fees, so you are ready to move in once you get approved.

[Save Money on Your Move]

3. Weigh Different Amenities. Rental rates are increasing because there is more demand in the market, however, you shouldn’t pay a high price for an apartment that isn’t equipped with the right amenities. Determine your must-haves, and weigh your needs against what is being offered.

[Which Apartment Amenities are Most Important to You?]