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Old 06-29-2009, 09:54 PM
 
10 posts, read 23,289 times
Reputation: 15
Default How to find apartment while out of town!!?

Hi, I'll be moving from out of town (another state) and I am having a very difficult time figuring out how to find an apartment while outside of Boston. My approach has been what I typically do when looking: Use craigslist and either contact the people directly or find the landlord information, go the website, look at more of their selection, then contact them for available showings. However, this time I am out of town and the Boston real estate market is different than what I am used to. I usually deal with landlord's directly or property managers who have photographs and apartment information available on hand. So far, I've found that most of the properties in Boston are mediated through a broker and if I request "no fee" apartments or mention that I won't be able to view the place in person (they call it unseen leasing), I never hear back from them. They say they will send me pictures/available listings in a few minutes and ask for my email address and then I never hear from them again.

Anyway, my budget isn't bad for a studio in the BU area ($1200) right? I am looking for a place that is accessible to the campus through public transportation (green line or bus) and that isn't too suburban (I like living in buildings, complexes, or a brownstone would be fine, I don't like living in houses), but isn't packed with undergraduate students. Basically a place that is grad student and/or young professional friendly.

My problem is all of the other fees involved before move in (first month's rent, last month's rent, security deposit equaled to first months rent, possible brokers fees). Money is very tight for me now (at least until school starts). I was told that the first month/last month/security dep. was standard so I've budgeted for that. Because of this, it makes it hard to spend extra money on a flight + hotel there just to check out places for a day. Is there any way to find/rent a place without physically being there (like certain rental companies or apartment complexes that have detailed pictures of their units)? I've had friends do this in other cities, but I wonder if Boston is different. Would it best to just spend the money and fly out there? If I do go, what would be the best way to go around the city and see places without a broker?

I would appreciate any tips. Completely stressed right now with search after search.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Brookline, MA
613 posts, read 1,189,432 times
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Are you going to be a student at BU? If you're going to be an undergrad, contact residence life. If you're going to be a grad student, BU manages several buildings for it's students that are regular apartments and not dorms. There's no broker fee involved. Here's the link:

http://www.bu.edu/orpm/

I used them when I was a grad student at BU. The page mentions that you or someone on your behalf needs to see the apartment beforehand, but maybe that's negotiable.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:57 AM
 
10 posts, read 23,289 times
Reputation: 15
I meant to italicize my questions for easier reading but my post edit time was up:
Is there any way to find/rent a place without physically being there (like certain rental companies or apartment complexes that have detailed pictures of their units)?

Would it best to just spend the money and fly out there?

If I do go, what would be the best way to go around the city and see places without a broker?
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:01 AM
 
10 posts, read 23,289 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiver View Post
Are you going to be a student at BU? If you're going to be an undergrad, contact residence life. If you're going to be a grad student, BU manages several buildings for it's students that are regular apartments and not dorms. There's no broker fee involved. Here's the link:

http://www.bu.edu/orpm/

I used them when I was a grad student at BU. The page mentions that you or someone on your behalf needs to see the apartment beforehand, but maybe that's negotiable.
Hey thanks Shiver. I will be a grad student. I signed up for a grad apartment (one where you don't need to view it beforehand) but I'm still on the waitlist and my move in date is getting close. I'm going to see if I can get on the waitlist for some of there other apartments so I'm not depending on just one. Another reason I decided to look elsewhere was the price. After budgeting, I realized that I could barely afford the grad housing (for 12 months) and I wasn't sure how easy it would be to sublet it for the last few months of my lease (next summer).
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:40 AM
 
406 posts, read 922,589 times
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Honestly you might be better off having roommates in that situation. That's how I did it from out-of-state when I was a grad student: 3 of us "met" on the school message board and decided to give it a go. The one local(ish) roommate found an apartment, and we all moved in for Sept. 1st. And yes, we paid a broker fee.

Wish I had a better suggestion for you, but unless Residence Life can help you out it's really hard to get around the not being physically here to select an apartment unless you have "someone" here doing that part.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,550 posts, read 8,312,832 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpanda View Post
Honestly you might be better off having roommates in that situation. That's how I did it from out-of-state when I was a grad student: 3 of us "met" on the school message board and decided to give it a go. The one local(ish) roommate found an apartment, and we all moved in for Sept. 1st. And yes, we paid a broker fee.

Wish I had a better suggestion for you, but unless Residence Life can help you out it's really hard to get around the not being physically here to select an apartment unless you have "someone" here doing that part.
finding a roommate from out of state is even harder than trying to find an apartment to rent. I'm currently looking for a roommate and would never even consider someone who couldn't at least come by to look at the room in person, let alone someone I've never met. landlords can do credit, employment, and background checks to make sure the person they're getting aren't complete flakes; most people looking for roommates don't have that luxury so don't want to take the risk w/ out-of-staters. I've deleted a lot of responses from people who stated they were from out of state and I've seen many ads that state up front for out of states not to bother replying

OP, I think you'd be better off w/ trying to get down here to look for places. when I moved to Chicago from Boston, I had to make 2 separate trips to look for rooms to rent, and in the end, even the room I found was only a temp location until I could move on. you may want to look into a temp/short term rental at a large complex and see if they're more accommodating, but this will cost more money. if you do make the trip to Boston, you'll have to be every structured in how you go about looking for apartments to live in. if time is short, I'd recommend a broker, even if it means paying a fee. if you can spare a few days, try to cluster your searches by neighborhoods (spend one entire day only looking at rentals in Allston, another day looking in the Fenway, etc). you should make a list beforehand of any large complexes that may have multiple units for rent and try to set up a time w/ the complex to view these places. I think there are so many scam artists out there, esp. on Craigslist, that many LLs many only want to deal w/ prospective renters in person
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:43 PM
 
10 posts, read 23,289 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for the tips you all! Yeah, I considered roommates at first to help with this dilemma. Surprisingly, there were many ppl. on the school board willing to do the leg work while their roommates were coming from out of town. It's just that I would like to live solo for my first year (actually meet ppl. at my school, see how they live) then possibly get a roommate for the next few years. I would prefer to meet them in person too. I do agree that I would be better off just taking the trip. I finally looked at the other grad housing options that I would need to be there to see, and they're abundant. The school owns a gazillion buildings in the area (probably why I'm having a hard time finding something nearby lol!). After comparing the cost of renting in Boston (likely four times the rent before I move in) and renting with the school (two times the rent) I think I'll just fly down there, get a hotel, and take a day to choose a grad apartment. It's still outside of my budget, but I'll be saving money in the end. If I find some non-university apartments online before my visit and they don't have the last month's fee, I'll use your apartment hunt tips Eevee. Thanks all!
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:19 PM
 
406 posts, read 922,589 times
Reputation: 205
eevee--I was advocating finding roommate(s) who are local and having them secure apartments, not finding a person with an apartment who needed a roommate to take over a room.

OP, what eevee said about ll's being leery of scammers is completely true. Unless you or someone who'll be renting with you is here in the flesh, you're unlikely to have much luck. Bite the bullet and charge that flight to a credit card. Consider it one of the many upcoming grad-school-related expenses.
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