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When to Start Looking for Student Housing at UF (Updated for 2024)

By Mackenzie

As a UF student, I know students are busy balancing a heavy workload and busy social life, so when is there even time to look for housing?

At Sweetwater, we know the search for the right student housing near the University of Florida can be stressful. We’ve helped hundreds of students on their student housing search and have advised many students and parents on when to begin the process of signing a lease.

Read Next: Where Do UF Students Live?

In this article, we will provide you with all of the important information needed to help you make a timeline for finding the right student housing for you.

exterior of sweetwater

Sweetwater is located at 1225 W University Avenue, just one block from the UF campus.

We will discuss:

When Should I Start Looking for Student Housing Near UF?

What is the typical student housing timeline at UF?

We recognize that everyone’s student housing timeline may be a little different, but we will discuss the typical student housing timeline to give you a better idea of when most students search for housing.

The timeline of your student housing search will greatly depend on what year you are in school. For example, incoming freshmen typically live in dorms, and the dorm selection process is usually around April.

For incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors at UF, most students sign a lease in October the year prior. This means that you would sign a lease for where you’re going to live during your sophomore year in October of your freshman year. While this may seem very early in a school year to commit to housing for the next school year, this is the norm at UF, so it’s important to explore your housing options before then.

The typical student housing timeline for UF students is:

  • July/August: Look for roommates
  • August/September: Explore the apartment options in Gainesville
  • October: Pick an apartment and sign a lease

You may be surprised that students sign leases so early, but most of the time, it has to do with cost and location. In the next section, we will explain the benefits of signing a lease early and why many students opt-in to doing so.

study floor at sweetwater

In our study mezzanine, you’ll find plenty of unique spaces for quiet study or collaboration.

Can signing earlier save me money?

Most apartments will allow you to re-sign in your current unit before making it available to potential tenants. Usually, this also means that you can agree to pay the same amount in rent that you currently pay or pay slightly more, but not as much as the listed cost of rent.

The window to re-sign is typically small, so re-signing as early as you comfortably can is recommended. Some apartments only allow a certain number of apartments to re-sign for the same cost, so once that number is met, you could still re-sign, but your rent would still increase.

Apartment complexes typically divide their individual bed spaces into tiers, with different pricing rates at each tier. The first leases will be signed with first tier rates, which are the lowest priced. After all of the spots fill up in the first tier, spots in the second tier will be leased at a slightly higher price. This pattern will repeat until the entire building is fully leased.

As each tier is leased, the price of monthly rent per bed will typically increase from around $15 to $20. However, pricing per bed can increase by as much as $100 in between tiers at certain properties.

Another benefit to signing early, even if you’re signing at a new apartment, is you won’t have to worry about floor plans selling out and running out of options with your roommate count.

For example, if you plan on having four roommates and everyone wants their own bathrooms, you will need to look for a 5×5 floor plan. If that floor plan sells out at the apartment complex that you want to live at, you will either have to restart the apartment search and look for a new apartment to live at or reconsider your roommate count. To avoid that situation entirely, you could sign a lease earlier so you have more time and more options.

To sum it up, signing earlier means you have more floor plan options to choose from and the potential for a cheaper rental rate.

daydreamer cafe located inside Sweetwater

Sweetwater has an on-site coffee shop, Daydreamer, featuring hand-mixed coffee drinks, matcha and artisan pastries.

Should I Lease Early?

To put it simply, when you sign early, you have the most options at the best price.

Everyone’s situation is different, but we suggest that you sign as early as you comfortably can. You should be confident in your decision, so if you feel uneasy about a lease, don’t sign it. But, on the flip side, if you feel very certain in your apartment selection and roommates, sign the lease!

Overall, these are some of the benefits to signing a lease early at an apartment near UF:

  • Competitive pricing options
  • Better floor plan choice
  • Greater choice of apartment complex
kitchen in sweetwater's model unit

Representative image of kitchen areas at Sweetwater, featuring tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.

After reading all of the suggestions in this article, you’ve probably already started mentally planning for when you’ll start your housing search, and that’s great!

We recommend that you start looking for housing about a month before the date that you want to sign a lease. So, if you want to sign a lease around the same time as other students at UF, you should start looking for housing in early September. Additionally, you should start looking for roommates about a month before that so you and your roommates can all look for housing together and ensure everyone agrees on the same apartment and floor plan.

Read Next: How to Find Roommates at UF

Finding the perfect student housing for your lifestyle can take time, so it’s always best to start your apartment search early so you can maximize your options.

We hope that this article helped explain the typical timeline for looking for housing at UF and provided you with all the necessary information to start your student housing search. For more information on Sweetwater, visit our amenities and floor plan pages, or contact our leasing staff who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about housing.


Mackenzie is a Community Assistant at Sweetwater. She is sophomore at UF majoring in Pre Law. Her favorite Daydreamer drink is an iced white mocha.

January 22, 2024

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