Are you looking for a place to live in the Boston or Cambridge, MA area? If so, chances are you’ve been scouring the classified ads, stalking the realtors and begging your friends to find a way to pull some strings to get you into a decently priced nice place. After all, Boston apartments fill up quickly with all the college students and it can be rather difficult to find the perfect one for you at the perfect price. There are many ways to go about finding an apartment to rent out in Boston, many of which I covered in a previous article in my Boston Housing Guide series. This time though, I have spent hours at a time researching a type of housing search option that many people overlook: The 100% free one. Free meaning, no extra realtor fee, no charge to access information on the vacant apartments and even no charge to buy a local newspaper where the classifieds are probably outdated by the time they get to you anyway. No, this time, I have scoured around the internet to find the most popular housing resources that do not charge you a fee to a) search for apartments and b) figure out how to find them and contact the owner once you decide on one you like. Believe it or not this is a hard opportunity to come by these days as everyone wants to make an extra buck when they can. But I managed to find a group of resources that are worth looking into, if not only for the fact that they won’t put a single dent in your wallet. Therefore, check out the listings and detailed descriptions below to learn about these various services, what they offer and how to use them to the best of your ability to get everything you can possibly get. Just keep in mind that due to the similarity of many of the services, I refrained from utilizing any type of hierarchy or order when constructing my list so all of them are worth reading. I hope this helps you save some money and find a great place to live in Boston. Good luck! Oh and be sure to read closely; a couple of these companies actually pay you to use their referral!
A superb source for all of your housing needs, Boston Apartments seems to deserve all of the area awards it has won. It is an excellent free resource for someone looking for a new place to live and most of its services are free. The Boston Apartments site allows you to search for vacant apartment listings by fee, type of dwellings, management companies and landlords, and location, in alphabetical order. In almost all cases, which are very rare for these types of referral sites, full contact information is given so you can move on with the apartment investigation yourself. And the options don’t even start there. Boston Apartments offers resources to help anyone who is trying to move into the area make as smooth as transition as possible. Listed on the site are reliable moving and storage companies, parking spaces that individuals have put up for rent, hotels and motels to stay in while conducting your housing search and a section to help you match yourself up with the ideal roommate. Some listings even have pictures.
The Apartments.com website is also a great resource for locating the perfect dwelling to suit your needs. What makes it unique from many of the other services is that it narrows all the details down to the specifics so that you do not waste your time looking at places that do not suit your needs. A search tool provided allows you to choose amenities required, price range, pets or no pets, and you can specify the area you wish to live down to the most insignificant neighborhood. Almost all of the listings come with pictures and phone numbers, though it does seem that the numbers will direct you to realtors instead of the specific owners. The apartments, condos, houses, etc displayed appear to be of extremely prestigious quality in all different price ranges. There may be a lot to look through but the layout of it makes it very easy. This site is very highly recommended. Not to mention it is also free.
This website has a good amount of resources for both the tenant and the landlord. The only trouble is, the information is a bit difficult to get to. The menu bars on the site are somewhat of a tease. They list such options as search rentals, search tenant wanted ads, place your own wanted ad and find a roommate, intertwined consistently with a banner stating that you may search for free for seven days. Now perhaps, the free seven-day promotion is legitimate, but the site makes it a little frustrating to utilize. For in order to even look at a single listing you must sign up for a membership and from the few sections I did look at, a credit card must be entered. Presumably this is so when you forget to cancel after the free seven days they can charge you an arm and a leg. I don’t mean to insult vacancy net completely though, as it seems to have a ton of information. There are a lot of informative articles on basic housing trends and guidelines that may be useful to knew tenants. Also, landlords can access plenty of standard blank legal forms and instructions regarding their use. So the site very well may be worth using. I just suggest that if you do go for it and give your credit card you stick a giant post it note on your computer screen, bedroom door, and maybe even your bathroom mirror to remind you to cancel.
Apartment Source has a very good reputation as a reliable resource for finding housing and it very well may be. Unfortunately this review can only be based on speculation, as the website made it extremely difficult to sign in to a new or existing account. Therefore, the reviewer was not able to experience the housing search through Apartment Source in its entirety. Judging from what was available, though, the site does have a good amount of resources. There is plenty of information and listings from people in need of rooms or apartments, landlords can update their listings daily, storage and town moving necessity references are listed in an organized fashion and there is a sister company related to Apartment Source, called Roommate Click where one can search for a roommate. The search tool, when seeking out the open rental options is fairly thorough and covers all of the important factors of the housing procedure; the only problem, as mentioned before, is that in order to view any results you must sign up for an account. There seems to be a few different types of accounts, but one of them is free. It’s just a matter of going through that process when some other sites give you contact info immediately. A major plus though, with this site, something that it seems only paid members are able to do, is send out a mass mailing to realtors through the site alerting them of what type of dwelling they are seeking, thus enabling the realtors to get on the ball, find them places to consider and get the show on the road.
The Apartment Guide is pretty clear-cut and basic, but the information provided is extremely helpful. It cuts to the chase and doesn’t force you to waste time skimming through irrelevant information. Anyone can perform a search for available apartments or housing using various criteria such as price, amenities and location. Once the locations are pulled up, there also are plenty of details on each. This site clearly has the tenant’s best interest in mind. A contact phone number is provided and an email may be sent to the landlord but it must be done through the Apartment Guide site, most likely to reduce Spam and protect the privacy of the realtor or landlords email address. Also included in the listings are detailed driving directions on how to get to the apartment or house. There is an option to register with the website for free, which is not mandatory but most likely is the only way to successfully send the landlord an email. However the form is short and to the point and in filling it out you also have the pleasure of receiving tips through your email account on moving strategies, housing laws, relocation resources and other tips.
Additionally, in a matter of minutes, you can check your credit right on the site.
My New Place is a portal to finding new apartments all over the country, searchable by zip code. Though the site claims to be very informative, and after much clicking around that holds somewhat true, I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorite ways to go about finding a new dwelling. The site boasts over 6 million apartments for rent, and surely, the lot of them can be found, but it does take a little more effort than many may have patience for. As a helpful hint for anyone attempting to use this free site, you must first search by zip code. That search will probably bring up a long page of results within that specification, which is where it gets overwhelming. Just keep in mind though, that the search can be refined, if you are able to locate the bar on the left hand side of the results where you can check off additional specifications and redo the search. This site and service certainly supplies a decent amount of quality information, but the navigation is a bit hard to comply with for some reason. You can choose the listing you wish to read about in more detail, but all of the apartment’s amenities are scattered about the page in what seems like little particular order, unlike similar sites where these factors are listed in a tight row. To be completely honest I would be very hesitant to recommend anyone spend too long trying to use this site, as they may get frustrated. On the other hand, there are two main benefits of My New Place that just maybe enough to outweigh the negatives. And those are the facts that if you dig deep enough you can find things like floor plans and photos of the place but even better, some apartments, if you end up signing the contract on them, will allow you to qualify for a $100 cash back bonus from My New Place. And who wouldn’t want that when they just shelled out a couple thousand for their initial complete deposit?
The Move.com website is an extraordinarily great place to search for housing. Not only are they thorough in dishing out details and contact information but also to search and retrieve these facts is free. They also have plenty of other resources on the site for people looking to relocate virtually anywhere, with references to companies and services that exist to assist with the whole moving process. One can search for vacant dwellings by amenities, price, location, etc and the listings come up in a succinct but uninhibited format. All of the most crucial aspects of the housing are listed in an easy to read, well-organized manner that you don’t have to search all over the page for. Things like highlighted prices and colored links identifying the contact info makes navigating this site a cinch. And that is a gem you can’t afford to let go of when you are searching a huge city or town full of endless apartments where time is precious. You can check your credit with a click of a button so you know what to expect before confronting a realtor or landlord. The manager and owner’s name is clearly listed toward the bottom. And amenities of the place down to specific details as pest control services, garbage disposal and on street parking are neatly listed in one place to help you assess your opinion of the listing overall. And to top it all off, the direct telephone number of the person in charge of renting the place is readily available at no extra charge to you. And you don’t even need to sign up for an account.
Dwellings.com, though it hasn’t been studied and reviewed over a long period of time, appears to be the type of listing service that is more or less hit or miss. While it prides itself on being a completely free listing service, advertising only no-fee apartments, there are unfortunately very few listings available. By few, at least at the time of this article, I am talking about possibly five, all of which are very high in price and have limited information about their dwelling amenities. Furthermore, no contact information is available, that is, unless it was just extremely hard to find. I wouldn’t have even bothered listing this company’s online listing service in the first place, but I chose to do so based on one potential good housing search resource. If you do a little searching and link through the site, you will eventually come to a page allowing you to inform a bulk group of realtors and/or landlords about the type of dwelling you are seeking so that they will hopefully contact you if they find a good match. The catch is, to use this service, you must dish out $10. I wouldn’t highly recommend this option when searching for housing, for as you can see from my other reviews that you can probably do this for free. But I thought id mention it in case you get desperate, have bad luck and need a last resort option.
Just Rentals is by far one of the best relocation resources for the greater metro Boston area. Apartments can be found by specific Boston neighborhood and all the basic information one might initially want to learn is readily available and easy to read. Additionally, the realtor in charge of renting the place or in some cases, the owner has their contact information directly next to the listing so you can’t miss it. The Just Rental Site and Service seems to be extremely neutral and nondiscriminatory, as several different realtors in the area can list their property and through one link, an enormous list of other realtors in the area with their contact info can be found. If for some reason you’d prefer not to go through a realtor, Just Rentals even lists a handful of building properties with numbers and email addresses for the building management. In addition to these benefits, the site offers tons of resources and advice for individuals moving to the Boston area, fit with references to relevant businesses. All of this information is also completely free of charge.
Boston For Rent, though not confirmed, appears to cater primarily toward students and young blossoming professionals searching for their first or second apartments. This seems an ideal place to look if you are on a budget. Now of course, that usually will require you to accept a smaller, less luxurious apartment, but if price is your main priority to begin with, this site would be a great place to start looking. While not a lot of information is given about the various apartments listed on the site for rent, it is free to search and contact details are handed out freely. It appears that nearly all of the apartments are controlled by realtors, which can sometimes entail an extra fee. However, this site states very large and clear whether “yes” or “no” a realtor fee implies, so just know to look for the option that works best for you. The site is casual, easy to navigate and pleasant on the eyes, not to mention it has many other housing and relocation resources. The only issue one might have with it is that in order to get comprehensive details on the apartment you are interested in, you must fill out a form to be sent to the appropriate realtor who will then contact you back and debrief you on the place. While this can be a great way to make contact and get the process started, it also can be quite frustrating to have to wait for an answer and on top of that, intimidating to deal with a salesman. The site is worth checking out for sure, though, just in case you find something that looks way too perfect to pass up.
Boston Apartment(or Boston Realty Net) housing resource is a great place to look for luxurious housing, condominiums or elite apartments in the Boston area. While the listings on the site are not limited to such high status, it does appear, after many searches that it is these types that the company caters to the most. It was difficult to find more than one Boston area listing whose rental price per month was $900 or less. The website is very professionally done, has descriptive listings and is free to search and find out information. Furthermore, judging from the copywriting of the site, the owners appear to be unusually and genuinely concerned about going out of their way to help people find resources and housing that is best for them. I highly recommend this site to anyone who has at least $1200 to spend on a really nice apartment in Boston. For everyone else, it’s always worth a look through, but the lower price range doesn’t seem too prevalent. Other benefits are daily update emails, information on loft apartments and the ability to write to one or more of Boston Apartment’s agents so they can try and help you with requests and information tailored to your specific needs.
Apamanusa, Oriental Connections lists housing for rent and to buy for areas all over the many neighborhoods of Boston. The site is not entirely as thorough as maybe it could be, but it does list the basics, such as price, number of rooms, etc. One unique aspect of the site is that it has a huge database of short term housing options, such as rooms or apartments for rent by the week. That is often hard to find so anyone looking for a short-term stay would be wise to check this site out. In fact, that short-term section of the site has much more elaborate listings than the other ones. The regular rentals seem like decent apartments in good areas, but not enough information is given to really determine if they would be worth the hefty prices, which is another disconcerting aspect of the site. One plus, for what it’s worth is that with almost every featured apartment listing, there is a note about what subway stop it is near. And of course, this could be found out fairly easily by asking around, but it’s nice that they’ve saved you the trouble by including it on the site.
Sublet.com, as great as the homepage makes it sound, does not seem to be worth an ounce of time. I spent about ten minutes searching around those pages trying to find the listings of open rentals only to find out I had to sign up to receive information. And not only that but the information would be sent to my email address apparently, not even displayed on the screen. However, this issue turned out not to matter because I soon discovered that no information is given out free and even though I signed up for a free account that only allowed me to perform a search. In order to get the results of the search, one must pay $39.99 for 60 days of access. This site is not worth it. It has a really promising business concept and the company could probably make a ton of money if they went about it the right way, but quite frankly read the rest of my list and pick out one of the other sites that provides just as much information for an absolutely zero sum of cash.
For Rent is a great resource with simple navigation and just the right amount of information. The service allows you to search for apartments free of charge and full contact information, including address, website and associate name is offered with each listing. Price ranges are clearly listed with each property description and photograph so you know what to expect up front. Even more unique from For Rent is their apartment search tool. One can search for apartments in a variety of ways. The site provides options to specify which college you wish to reside near, which military base, or simply your basic city and state. This extra search tool is something that is not seen very often and if you are specifically looking to live near a college or university and don’t know the area too well, I strongly recommend this site. And like the other housing search sites, relocation resources are readily available.
Rent.com is a very organized site that is full of great information and easy to navigate. One should have no problems finding what they are looking for here. And many resources are indeed available. There appears to be many many housing options for every budget and amenity preference, whereas some of these similar sites have very few listings under $1000 or so a month. I typed in $700 as my max rental amount, just to try it out and several great options came up, fit with full descriptions and photos. Once again, contact information, including phone number and real estate company name is readily provided for your use and this site even offers miscellaneous information with the listings such as proximity to the subway line, Laundromat if applicable, or area of town. Even better is that if you use this site and act quickly, there appears to be many special promotions going on. Look for the red writing underneath the apartment listings. Many of them will claim no finder’s fee until a certain date. Furthermore, through the Rent.com site itself, you are eligible to receive a $100 bonus if you rent one of the places listed on their site. So if that should happen to occur, be sure to keep the website link book marked so you can go back and grab your money. I highly recommend this housing search resource.