If you are relocating to the Boston area, you are probably in the process of looking for a place to live. It is important during your investigation for good housing that you utilize every facet available to you before rushing into a decision. Renting a Boston apartment or house is not cheap in the slightest and there are many variables that come with each individual place. You want to feel good knowing you checked out all of your options and made the right decision for your needs and desires.
To help you jumpstart the Boston housing search process, here is a list of some resources you should explore:
Word of Mouth: Finding a housing arrangement through word of mouth is usually the luckiest way to score a great place for a decent price. It is also, though, one of the hardest ways to come by open apartment listings. Vacancies in Boston fill up extremely fast. It seems that many management companies select whichever tenant who gives them money and a trustworthy application first. They might sometimes be more tempted to lease to a friend of a current tenant, but that is only if you are in the right place at the right time, ready to move in right when they need you there. If you do know people who currently live in Boston, it is worth it to just ask around anyway to see if they know of any vacancies or soon to be open apartments owned by their landlord or management company. It is often the case that if your needs match up with the landlord’s, you may at the very least get a better deal than other un-networked new tenants. This includes a less expensive rental fee as well as a less strict application process.
College Campus Bulletin Boards and Websites: There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts areas and all of them have thousands of students who each year need a place to live. Thus, the campuses and school resources, if available for you to access, can be a goldmine of information when seeking out housing options. Usually all around the college campuses there are listings for rooms for rent or open apartments on lampposts and bulletin boards. These are usually listings by individual landlords or owners or a residence looking to sublet a room to one person in their house of a few. You should also look at resources in the student housing section of local colleges or universities’ websites. Go to their homepage and look for the off campus resources sections. If you are in fact a student, you can even go into the housing office and look through their listings of reliable realtors. They also might have many referrals to give you for no-fee agents. Even if you are a professional and far out of your college career, it still might be worth looking at these college resources. Apartments listed might be in larger, heavily vacant buildings and you never know which reference might lead you to another and another until eventually you find the one that’s perfect for you.
Newspaper Classifieds: Classified ads in local newspapers are always a good route to find housing but not necessarily the most promising. Remember that this is one of the first places everyone goes so a lot of times, depending on the time you buy the paper and the date the ad was placed, there might be dozens of people before you. It could take up a lot of your precious time calling around to respond to ads that have already fulfilled their agendas. Not to mention, many of the papers you have to pay for each day you want to use them. There are, though, one should note, some particular free weekly newspapers that circulate the Boston area that are known for having good housing ads. Here are a few of them: The Boston Phoenix, The Weekly Dig, Boston Tab, Cambridge Chronicle and Cambridge Tab. Then of course, the newspapers that cost money to purchase include the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. The former, free papers mentioned are much more strongly suggested over the larger papers. This is for the quality of their ads in addition to the time and convenience comparison factor.
Coffee Shops and Trendy Stores: If you have time to linger a bit in the Boston area while searching for you apartment, you may have the opportunity to spend some time in the city’s coffee shops, ice cream stores or other little hip specialty shops. You should always just glance at the bulletin boards, if there is one, on the way out of the door, as often times these locations have loads of postings from individuals who need people to fill up housing vacancies. Most often these are rooms for rent in houses with other people already living there but occasionally you can find a good place to rent out alone. Great places to find these bulletin boards are the shops in the Cambridge and Somerville areas, specifically Davis Square, Harvard Square, Central Square and Porter Square. Note you may also find similar types of postings along the subway route stops.
Realtors: Realtors can be extremely helpful in securing a place to live but you have to be very careful in Boston when selecting one. Many of them practice irresponsible business and are quite into getting as much money out of you as they can. On the other hand, they often get note of the vacancies first and they also sometimes have some pull over landlord decisions to rent out to certain tenants. One major drawback to using a realtor is that most of them charge a fee that is equal to one months rent. So on top of what is usually required, first, last and security, you have to pay equivalent to a fourth month’s rent to the realtor. Search around though in the phonebook and on sites like Craigslist or other Boston housing sites and you may be able to find some real estate agents who do not charge or who waive that finder’s fee for you. This is especially the case seen during slow months, when college students are out of the city for vacation and the landlords are itching to fill up their buildings.