Mar 24 2012
Searching for an apartment in Boston is never easy. We have high rents and it is dominated by real estate agents. In places like Chicago, the way you find an apartment is much more causal: you walk around a neighborhood you like, looking for a “Apartment for Rent” sign about a month or so before you want to move in.
Here, September 1st apartments are already on Craig’s List, the best place to locate an apartment typically. For misc. reasons, I think I need to move apartments and at all costs, am trying to avoid Sept. 1st, as it looks like everyone is fleeing the city. You can’t go anywhere unless it is by foot and typically, there are accidents.
This apartment hunt has been ghastly-er this year. I won’t lie; I never had any fun apartment hunting in Boston. I was very lucky to find the current apartment I’m and an apartment I lived in about 6 years ago in Brookline. I really love the area I live in, but I’m essentially priced out of it at this point unless I stay in my current apartment.
So what has made this year’s search worse than normal? All of the following:
- The economy. It appears that it is not a renter’s market but a landlord’s. This year, there are few no-fee apartments, which means you typically pay one month’s worth of rent to the real estate agent.
- Rents are high. Again, being a landlord’s market, they’ve raised the rent considerably. It is outrageous, considering quality very often does not factor in. That means a small place that is barely holding up is priced the same as a huge apartment in better condition.
- The amount of money due up front is also high. Many places require first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit equal to a month’s rent, and a realtor fee equal to a month’s rent. Supposing you land an apartment that is $1,000, you must pay $4000 upfront.
- Searching as a student. In Chicago, I never had issues finding an apartment being a student. Here, I’ve never looked for an apartment as a student. One of issues I’ve been encountering is even as a grad student, with a good income, I have had issues finding a realtor/landlord who doesn’t want a cosigner upfront. A cosigner is someone who basically guarantees your rent, should you flake out. The problem for me is that there is no consideration that I make money and there is an assumption built in that one has parents; both my parents are deceased. It’s such an obnoxious assumption; even if one has two living parents, that doesn’t mean they are on good footing.
Needless to say, I’ll be glad when this ordeal is over. There are other aspects to apartment searching here that are obnoxious as well (when real estate agents don’t realize your maximum rent is firm or don’t listen to your requirements), but these are new ones for me. It is quite frustrating, time consuming, etc.