When Do I Look & Apply?
When Do I Move In?
This differs, but most leases start somewhere between the end of the school year (June 15ish) and the beginning of September. So yes, you'll most likely be signing the lease 4-5 months before you move in (it's crazy, we know). If you're not planning on spending the summer in SLO, make sure you account for this in your search.
Stay Calm: One of the biggest illusions is that you won't get a place. Here's the truth, there are more than enough rental units in San Luis Obispo. The reason it's so stressful is that everyone starts looking at the same time. This means a lot of competition, paperwork and organization.
Check Your Schedule: Watch out for dead week & finals week. These weeks are generally going to be very stressful. If you decide to look/apply during these times, know what you're getting yourself into.
Start Early: Seriously. The number one thing that we hear from upperclassmen is how they wish they had started earlier.