Hi E Harris,
It isn't too early to start looking online to see what type of place you can get with your budget (size, location, updates, etc.).
Yes it is too early to physically start looking at places as the inventory will be completely different once you are ready to move in January. Places with similar updates will be available for similar prices, but the exact addresses and units will be different.
Basically it is a good idea to educate yourself now on what you can likley afford, and then get out to look a places about 30 days or less before your desired lease start date.
For more info, feel free to visit www.NorwalkRealEstateTodd.com