5 Things To Consider Before Choosing An Apartment In Boston


Finding an apartment to rent in Boston is not easy these days. Even at the start of 2022, the number of units on offer was low and monthly rent was high. Things have only gotten harder as the year has progressed. Now, finding an affordable Boston apartment to rent feels impossible.

The good news is that there are still apartments available in Boston that won't break the bank. They're not so easy to find, though, and when looking at the cheapest options, you may have to view a lot of places you'll never want to live in.

An alternative to renting is buying a place. It is something you should consider, due to the fact that you'll be paying so much in rent anyway. There are, however, added expenses when buying, including the need to apply for home insurance coverage in Boston. While it can be expensive to buy, you get the massive benefit that your monthly mortgage payments are going towards something you actually own.

Arial view of Boston, MA

Interested in renting regardless? Here are 5 things to consider before choosing an apartment.


1. Now is the right time

When looking for an affordable apartment, you may not realize that the season can make a significant difference. Not only are there more apartments available at certain times of the year, but you can also negotiate a cheaper price based on the relative lack of demand.

In Boston, the season in which it is best to find a place to rent is winter. In the depths of a snowy winter, few people are looking to move. Apartment listings go unanswered as potential renters wait for a better time to pack their homes up and move into a new place.

Of course, there are good reasons for this, as you will not enjoy the process of moving into a new apartment in winter. However, if you are willing to fight the elements, you can get a good deal.


2. Weigh up rent against commute

It should come as no surprise that the most central, desired neighborhoods are the most expensive. Move a bit further afield and prices drop drastically. This can make it seem like renting in these neighborhoods is worth it. The problem is that there are other things to take into account.

Staying far from work means you will spend time and money commuting. Especially with gas prices as high as they are, you may find the money saved on rent dwindling. Take into account the value of your time, and the benefits of low rent may evaporate entirely.


3. Know what a landlord can ask for upfront

People renting anywhere in the US should know that there are specific rules about what landlords can require. In Massachusetts, these rules dictate how much a landlord can ask for upfront. At most, they can request the first and last months' rent, a security deposit, and a lock change fee.

If they ask for anything more than this, do not pay up. Inform them that you are aware of the law. While this will turn some landlords against you, it puts you in a better bargaining position with others. Ultimately, you have recourse if they try to disadvantage you based on any personal factors.


4. Don't waste your time on sketchy listings

Since you'll be looking online for apartments, there will be some scams targeting you. These scams will try to sell you on an apartment that looks too good to be true. If the perfect apartment in the ideal location has a low price tag, you probably shouldn't waste your time. If you do take a closer look, make sure not to share any personal information until you have seen the place in person.


5. Prepare your references

When applying to rent the apartment you choose, make sure you have your references from past landlords available. This will help smooth the process. What about if this is your first time renting? You don't need to worry about it, since there is no landlord you've upset in the past.

The above 5 tips will help you rent your apartment in Boston. There's no way of getting everything you want without paying the big bucks, but you can find a good place to live if you are willing to make some compromises.