The hunt is on– are you ready?
Be prepared ahead of time
Unlike apartment hunting in other cities, applying for an apartment in Boston is an intense process that requires a lot of documents. Apartments fly off the market, so it’s vital that you have all your documents and finances in order before you even see your first apartment. Give yourself, at least, ten days to get everything squared away.
When to start looking
Most landlords will try to post as soon as they hear from their current tenants that they’re not resigning. The bulk of the inventory will then be rented by late May/early June. Your sweet spot for the biggest amount of inventory is between Feb and March.
Although the available apartments is significantly less through the summer, it’s not impossible to find. We’d say a good rule of thumb is 90 days ahead of when you plan to move in. If you start searching too soon, anything you look at will likely be gone by the time you want to move. You can, and should, look at comparable apartments in high-occupancy, high-rise buildings that have a lot of turnover. The apartments in these buildings will be very similar, so it’s a good idea to check them out ahead of time so you can decide if they meet your needs.
September cycle (9/1 move-in)
In a lot places close to college campuses the majority of the unit are available for a September 1st move-in date. These units can come on the market as early as February/ March and usually gone by May. That is the case in a lot of areas in Greater Boston metropolitan. Plan ahead if you plan to move to one of these neighborhoods.
Apartments go fast
Once inventory hits the market, the best deals disappear immediately, so be prepared to start searching 90 days before your move date. And if you’ve missed the boat, and are caught searching the dregs of the inventory, consider couch surfing or a short-term rental. In the end, if you’re apartment hunting, you’ve gotta be ready to pull the trigger when you see a trophy. Otherwise you’re just bird watching.
Confirm your roommates ahead of time, and lock down every roommate’s information. Each individual will need to provide a ton of documentation, and you’ll all need to be ready to act fast. It’s essential that you have responsible and trustworthy roommates, and in many ways, securing an apartment will be the true test of how trustworthy your roommates will be.
Choose the right roommates
If you have a roommate who is having trouble putting together all the necessary documentation to sign a lease, chances are that person won’t be a reliable roommate. Suppose you sign the lease, and things are smooth for a while. If your roommate hits a rough patch and can’t pay his or her share of the rent, then all parties are responsible. Just be careful. :)
The best roommate: your pet
Cat and Dog friendly apartments are tough to find in the city. References for you dog help a lot. See if you can get one from your previous landlord. Also always ask smaller landlord if they are willing to make exception if you and your dog are A+ tenants. Consider them like real roommates and how would you prove to your landlord that your new roommate won’t piss on all their new wall-to-wall carpeting.
Nader Mokhtar: Your Boston Rental Insider
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