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Old 04-06-2012, 12:17 PM
11 posts, read 42,343 times
Reputation: 11


Hi all,

Browsing through this forum has been immensely helpful so far, but I seem to be in a bit of a different situation than a lot of posters, so please forgive me if this is at all repetitive!

I will be moving to Boston to start a job near the Back Bay train station in July. I have a roommate from school coming with me, who is also employed beginning this summer. Based on what we've seen on Craigslist, our budget is appropriate for a 2-bedroom (not a luxury one, but a decent one) in the Back Bay or South End neighborhoods.

I just still am having trouble understanding the process of getting an apartment. My roomie and I unfortunately only have a few days in May (like, 2-4) that we'll both be able to go to Boston. Should we be contacting a ton of different listings on Craigslist with the different listing agents? How do listing agents work with fees? Or should we get our own agent (I don't totally understand the difference...) and how does that in turn work with fees?

It's mostly the agents that confuse me; I get how we'd go about contacting landlords directly, but I haven't seen too many direct landlord listings in the area. Am I looking in the wrong place?

Thanks so much!
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:08 PM
3,755 posts, read 4,763,362 times
Reputation: 2856
Renting an apartment in Boston is no different than any other city. It all depends. Some buildings are owned by a landlord and they will list their apartment with several different agencies and even post ads on Craigslist for example. They really don't have to do a lot of work once they put the listings out. The realtor companies will fight and try to get people in as fast as possible to get their commission. Some places are owned by management companies who either will do everything themselves, or have a specific realty company they only go through.

Here is an example of how I got my current apartment. I responded to an ad I found on Craigslist. It was posted by a realty agency that got the listing from the landlord. We met at their office and went over what we were looking for. Most will have you sign a form stating that if you like any of the properties you view with them, you cannot sign a lease by going through another realtor. We went to view the apartment and also a few others that met our criteria. Now some realtors can be pushy and would like you to sign a lease right then and there once you get back to their office. We waited a few days and went and saw a few other places with another realtor. We finally decided on our current place and signed the lease.

Each building could be different in terms of what they want. Some landlords want first, last and security and then there's the realtor fee. Some landlords will pay half and you pay the other. Basically it should be equal to one months rent. Some landlords won't pay any of it while some rare ones will pay all of it. Either way there is a fee being paid to the realty company.

If I were you I would have a list of specifics you want (neighborhood, number of rooms, parking, amenities, etc.) and begin searching for a place. Start looking on Craigslist and other various Boston apartment cites to find places you would want to see. Schedule viewings with realtors for the time you will be in the city. A phone call to a realtor office, or an email should get the ball rolling in terms of getting on the book to go out with a realtor. Bring a camera with you to take pictures. Bring your check book as well. Not all the fees will be due up front. Simply a month's rent will be a good enough down payment. The realtor and/or landlord will set up the schedule for the remaining balance to be paid. The longer period of time between signing the lease and the move in will allow a more spaced out payment schedule. You will have to have your credit run and an application filled out so the landlord can review it. They should have a standard form, although some landlords have their own. You will fill out the form, give information so they can run your credit score, keep your check and submit everything to the landlord for review before you get the ok.

I have never rented in the South End or Back Bay so I can't speak on the speed at which the apartments will go. I have found that areas that don't have a large student population the apartments don't go as fast. Also, landlords don't require as much. I moved to South Boston and only needed one months rent instead of two.

Hope this helps. Renting is now that bad.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:51 AM
1 posts, read 1,526 times
Reputation: 10
I am an agent. I would suggest you start hunting through craigslist due to time limitation. As for working for Fee, most agent do not charge client fee. It will be coming from the landlord. However, most landlord will required a good credit score 600+ and security deposit + first and last month.
Most landlords are least for 12 months. If you any further question or want me to assist you, you can email me at henry@patriotregroup.com
Good luck in finding a place as there are plenty of places except for the price.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:59 PM
Location: Mass
974 posts, read 1,877,895 times
Reputation: 1024
I've owned and rented in the South End and it is competitive. The main renting season in Boston is Sept 1-Aug 31 (school season) so finding a place for July will be difficult and the luck of the draw in May. Start looking now and start contacting all the local South End realtors.

It is also very competitive so if you do find that special place, you will need one check to hold the apartment while a background check is conducted (it will show on your credit report) and then you will need a check for the balance of first, last and security and depending on the place--the realtor fee. It is easily $6,000 up front before you move in.

If you go to Mass.Gov, the rules governing tenant/landlord relations are clearly defined. City of Boston also has excellent resources on what is expected from your landlord and about your new neighborhood. Go to Housing & Property | City of Boston

If driving in with a car and you transfer your registration over, you can also get one of the coveted resident parking stickers. Good luck - the South End is a great neighborhood.
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