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Old 02-22-2009, 11:04 AM
6 posts, read 40,460 times
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I'm going to Boston University for grad school in September, and I've seen some vague info in different places saying that there's a mad rush for apartments at that time. Some rental agencies are already advertising apartments for September move-in. My question is, when is the best time for me to go apartment hunting? I live in Florida, so I don't want to show up too early and have nothing to choose from, or come too late and have the same problem.

Also, suggestions on the best neighborhoods to live in for BU? I'm trying to keep cost in mind -- I'll definitely need to get/find a roommate -- but I don't want to be really far away from campus. I'd love to find an area that's not overrun with noisy undergrads and still has some coffee shops and bars that are worth frequenting.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2009, 08:16 PM
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I've never been involved in trying to beat the student rush for rental property in Boston, so I'm not sure how early you need to start looking. Still, I would suggest that you err on the early side, as there is a big rush for rentals near the B.U. campus as September approaches. Have you checked with the Housing office at B.U. for suggestions? I'm not sure about B.U. specifically, but at many colleges the Housing offices can be helpful with hints about renting in the area. It might be worth a phone call to the office at B.U. to discuss this.

It's a little tricky to avoid noisy undergrads and be close to B.U. There is a concentration of college students in that area. Some areas fairly convenient to the area, which would require a ride on public transit but not an exceptionally long ride, which would be less likely to be overrun with noisy undergrads would be Brookline (check the areas around Coolidge Corner and Longwood), Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. All of these areas are upscale, and rentals may be fairly high in cost, but might be workable with a roommate.

You might also look in Cambridge. Despite being the home of both Harvared and MIT, Cambridge is a large enough city in its own right to have areas not dominated by the college crowd. The drawback to Cambridge would be a longer ride to B.U. You have to change trains to get from Cambridge to B.U. on the subway.

Stay away from Brighton, at least the area east of Market Street, if you want to avoid noisy undergrads. You'd also want to avoid Allston most likely. One area close to B.U. that COULD work is the Fenway. It's another section populated with undergrads, but I hear that in the Fenway this can really depend on the specific street or group of streets. I'm not familiar enough with actually living in that area to be sure which streets to look for, so any insider info you could get would be good. The right spot in the Fenway could be reasonably quiet, and the area is close to B.U.

Other areas not quite as close to B.U. which you might consider would be Jamaica Plain, the South End, and Newton. J.P. is an area of young professionals more than students. You're looking at a ride on public transit to get to B.U. from there. The South End is also a young professionals kind of area. The western end of the area is actually pretty close to B.U., but in parts of the South End the public transportation can be less accessible than it is in the other areas I've mentioned. Newton is more suburban and family-oriented. It does have small commercial districts scattered around town, so in many areas you would be close to neighborhood shopping and dining, and it would be quiet in most areas. As far as quiet living goes, the one section of Newton that might be an exception is Chestnut Hill, which is the location of Boston College. Otherwise, Newton might be good to keep on your initial long list of possibilities. Quiet, but not really close to the B.U. campus, though accessible from much of Newton by public transit.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:26 PM
Location: Chicago
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true, there are places already advertising for Sept. rentals, but I think these may be rare and tend to be the places right near the schools, ie, places you're not probably not interested in due to the loud undergrads. I've seen a few ads around May, most likely b/c the students are leaving. i would say July is the absolute latest to check places out, sometime in the range of mid June-mid July maybe.

Cambridge could work. the #47 bus goes from Central Sq in Cambridge and goes over the BU bridge and through the center of the campus. Inman Sq (or is it Union Sq? gah, I've been away too long and am mixing up my Squares!) is w/in walking distance of Central Sq and could work out nicely for you and Central Sq is a very lively place

JP would suck in terms of getting to BU by the T. the quickest way I can think of would involve at least 2 bus rides and possibly a train (depending on where on the BU campus you'd be) or at least a trolley-bus trip depending on where in JP you'd end up. I've always wished the T would have some kind of crosstown bus to connect Roslindale-JP w/ the BU-Allston/Brighton-Cambridge area. right now, that commute involves a lot of transfers, esp. if you take the bus. now, if you want to ride a bike from JP to BU, that would be better since you could just hop onto the JamaicaWay and and cut through Longwood, which would take you less time

last time I lived in Allston, I remember the part of Allston bordering Brookline near Coolidge Corner being quieter than other parts of Allston. not sure if this is the case anymore.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:10 AM
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We are currently looking for a new place (my girlfriend, who I moved to Boston with, is a grad student at BU and I am a professional) and the realtors basically have told us this: If you are looking for multiple bedroom places with roommates you need to start looking immediately. If you are looking for 1 BR places in Back Bay or Fenway, you also need to start immediately. However, if you are looking for 1 BR places in Allston, Brookline, Brighton, etc., you can probably hold off until late March or April.

Not sure if this is 100% accurate, but we've heard the same thing from a couple different realtors. Hope that helps!

Edit: I forgot to answer you question about neighborhoods. I don't know what your budget will be, but I live in Allston right on the Brookline border (as an above poster suggested) and really don't have too many noise problems. Our building is quiet, and the only time you get too much street noise is on the weekends after the bars. I can deal with that. If you have a little more to spend, we have friends who live in the Kenmore area (check with BU about their apartments, they don't advertise them well but they're available!) who love it for its convenience to downtown and the fact that they walk to school with ease. Cambridge, as suggested, is a nice option, and if you want a little more space for your buck (and don't mind being farther out) something in the Oak Square area of Brighton (or at least along the 57 bus) is a good option.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:29 AM
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,810 posts, read 10,381,768 times
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College always overbook the dorm rooms to ensure they are filled. Traditionally BU put somewhere between 100-200 freshmen up in a hotel for 2-8 weeks before sorting out who is not showing up. They run shuttle from hotel to the school. Very stressful.

I would say... the worst time to look is the +/- 2 weeks of school starts (or labor day.) Usually apartment comes up and there are 5 offers within 4 hours. Boston have to house over 100K students from all over the world. My take is 1st week of August is the latest one should look. There is also a problem where one typically only have 2-3 days to find the apartment. (You're paying $150/night of hotel). So, you probably only can see 5-10 at the max if they show up on those days.

As to prices, I heard BU own apartment is about $2-3K/mo. I would look at anywhere where the green subway line... "B"- Comm Ave; "C" - Beacon St. or Fenway area. Checkout MBTA.com.
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