Category Archives: Al Norton

September 1st Survival Guide

Boston September 1st

If you’ve never been in Boston on September 1st, congratulations on avoiding what I’d call a circus except that would be a disservice to circuses! To say that the city is a chaotic mess is an understatement of epic (fail) proportions and if you can avoid it you should do so at all costs. This year the first is a Friday, which means the craziness may be less intense on THE day because some of the folks leaving the city started moving out as early as last Saturday and those coming from out of town with all their stuff will likely be spread out across the long weekend. What follows are some tips to make life easier for those of you who AREN’T moving…

  • If you live in a part of Greater Boston with on-street parking and you have a parking space on Thursday night, DON’T MOVE YOUR CAR UNTIL TUESDAY! There will be many, many moving vans and extra cars on the streets through the 5th of September, and if you give up an on-street spot, the odds of getting it (or any space near it) back are minimal. Also, when you park your car, think about doing so on a side street if possible. Yes, it may be a little further from your front door but all those extra cars on the main streets are likely to lead to a lot more dings and dents than usual.
  • Regardless of where you park, avoid driving in the city if you can. It’s the perfect storm of bad driving – people behind the wheel of vehicles (U-Haul’s, moving vans, trucks) they don’t usually drive navigating tricky neighborhoods  they aren’t familiar with – and you don’t want to be stuck behind them. Maybe take public transportation to work for a couple of days and think of it as an adventure!
  • Do your shopping now. While you may just need a few items, all these new people have entire kitchens, pantries, and dorm rooms to stock with food, drinks, and various household items, so supermarkets, Targets, CVS, and Walmart are likely to be overflowing with customers and light on inventory. Stock up now so you don’t have to do battle with someone who’s got two full carts.
  • If you are going out to eat over the long weekend you should stick to locally owned establishments. Again, there will be 10’s of thousands of new-to-the-city folks plus the friends and family that have come to town to help with the move, and those people are much more likely to go with national chain restaurants they are familiar with than the neighborhood places you already know are much better.
topzipcodes

Busiest Zip Codes for September 1st Move-In — Courtesy of RentHop.com

  • Remember, it’s only this bad for the first weekend, and hopefully enough current Bostonian’s will leave town for Labor Day so as to at least somewhat offset the influx of newbies. Sure, traffic is going to be much worse with school back in session (and if you think driving is bad then, wait until the first snow of the season, which for some new Bostonian’s will be the first snow they’ve EVER driven in) but overall things settle down and people start to learn the ins and outs of the city and wrap their heads around the concept that cars in the rotary have the right of way.

This post was written by Al Norton, Rental Manager


Al NortonAl Norton is in his 14th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and his 23rd year working in the Greater Boston housing market.
You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or al.norton@unlimitedsir.com

September 1st Survival Guide

Sept1st-01

If you’ve never been in Boston on September 1st, congratulations on avoiding what I’d call a circus except that would be a disservice to circuses! To say that the city is a chaotic mess is an understatement of epic (fail) proportions and if you can avoid it you should do so at all costs. This year the First is a Thursday, which means the craziness may be less intense on THE day because folks leaving the city, they will start moving as early as Saturday, August 27th, and for those coming from out of town, they may wait until the long weekend to hit the town with their stuff. What follows are some tips to make life easier for those of you who AREN’T moving…

  • If you live in a part of Greater Boston with on-street parking and you have a parking space on the weekend of the 27th, DON’T MOVE YOUR CAR FOR A WEEK. There will be many, many moving vans and extra cars over through the 5th of September, and if you give up an on-street spot, the odds of getting it (or any space near it) back are minimal. Also, when you park your car, think about doing so on a side street if possible. Yes, it may be a little further from your front door but all those extra cars on the main streets are likely to lead to a lot more dings and dents than usual.
  • Regardless of where you park, avoid driving in the city if you can. It’s the perfect storm of bad driving – people behind the wheel of vehicles (U-Haul’s, moving vans, trucks) they don’t usually drive navigating tricky neighborhoods  they aren’t familiar with – and you don’t want to be stuck behind them. Maybe take public transportation to work for a couple of days and think of it as an adventure!

    Courtesy of Boston Magazine

    Moving Truck Permit Heat Map – Courtesy of Boston Magazine

  • Do your shopping now. While you may just need a few items, all these new people have entire kitchens, pantries, and dorm rooms to stock with food, drinks, and various household items, so supermarkets, Targets, CVS, and Walmart are likely to be overflowing with customers and light on inventory. Stock up now so you don’t have to do battle with someone who’s got two full carts.
  • If you are going out to eat over the long weekend you should stick to locally owned establishments. Again, there will be 10’s of thousands of new-to-the-city folks plus the friends and family that have come to town to help with the move, and those people are much more likely to go with national chain restaurants they are familiar with than the neighborhood places you already know are much better.
  • Remember, it’s only this bad for the first weekend, and hopefully enough current Bostonian’s will leave town for Labor Day so as to at least somewhat offset the influx of newbies. Sure, traffic is going to be much worse with school back in session (and if you think driving is bad then, wait until the first snow of the season, which for some new Bostonian’s will be the first snow they’ve EVER driven in) but overall things settle down and people start to learn the ins and outs of the city and wrap their heads around the concept that cars in the rotary have the right of way.
This post was written by: Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al NortonAl Norton is in his 12th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and his 20th year working in the Greater Boston housing market.
You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or al.norton@unlimitedsir.com

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Rental Market Report

Q & A with Al Norton, Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty

What’s the current rental market like?

Al Norton: Everyone asks that and while my standard answer is, “pretty strong”, the truth is there are really about a dozen different rental markets in Greater Boston, broken down by location, size, and quality, so it’s almost impossible to answer without digging deeper.

Can you give an example?

Sure; one beds in Cambridge are on fire, can’t get enough of them and I’ve seen multiple bidding wars break out this spring. On the other hand, there are a combined 28 combined studios and one beds available in Brookline on MLS right now for $1900 and under, which is a lot.

So things are still good but…

Oh, things are still good but landlords, and rental agents, need to pay attention and not get too aggressive. If an apartment rented last year in-season, it’s probably not going to rent for more this summer, but if someone’s had the same tenants for three years and the place is going back on the market for the first time since 2013 then yes, you’re looking at a rent increase.

What, if anything, has changed from last year?

There’s a ton more new construction, luxury rentals on the market, and new buildings have to offer concessions, like paying the fee and giving a month or two for free, because they have to fill an entire building. The rents are still incredibly expensive and renters have to be careful because it’s likely those deals won’t happen in year two; if they can afford the place to begin with then taking advantage of the specials makes perfect sense but if the rent is only in your budget because of the free two months, what are you going to do in year two when that’s not on the table anymore? And then if you have to move for the second time in a year and pay those costs, plus likely a fee, is it really such a good deal?

Those buildings also make some renters think those deals are available from all landlords, and the truth is your standard Mom-and-Pop landlord, someone who owns a condo or maybe a three family, they can’t afford those kinds of deals because two months rent is the difference between making and losing money over the course of a given year.

Best advice you can give to a landlord?

Work with a real estate office you know and trust, who’s not going to advise you to go too high – or too low – with your rent, and one that you know isn’t just trying to make a quick rental fee and move on, regardless of the quality of the tenant. The kind of office you want to work with is one thinking long term, that wants this to be one of many deals with you AND the renter and therefore isn’t just thinking about the fastest way to make a buck. Oh, one more thing, if your place is sitting around in the same general price range as a number of other units on the market, be the first one to drop in price, so you stand out. If you wait until everybody goes down and then do the same, you’re in the exact same situation you were in before.

And advice for renters?

Be prepared, have all your info ready to go, so that means pay stubs or job offer letters, have your co-signer form already completed if you know that you’ll need one. And while I would never tell a renter not to negotiate, be smart about it; negotiate rent OR fee OR lease terms, not all of them, since the unintended impression you may be giving off is that your high maintenance and not the kind of tenant a landlord is looking for.

To learn more about the rental market and see the latest listings in the area, click here.

Al Norton
Al Norton is in his 13th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and he has been working in the Greater Boston housing market for more than 20 years. You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or al.norton@unlimitedsir.com

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Match Day Has Arrived: Soon to be Boston Medical Residents, Are You Ready?

matchday2015_2

 

 

 

 


Today is Match Day.
It’s the day when medical students across the country get matched with residency programs. In Greater Boston, this day also marks the unofficial start of the non-undergraduate rental market as students will be moving to the area and searching for places to live.

Over the course of the next six or so weeks, the majority of June 1 and July 1 apartments will get listed and rented within very short periods of time – sometimes happening within a 24 hour period. If you or someone you know will be moving to Boston as a result of Match Day, here are a few tips to navigate the rental market.

matchday2015_4Bring a copy of your offer letter. You’ll need to verify employment and income as a part of your rental application.

Be prepared to make a decision and act quickly. In today’s competitive rental market, it’s not unusual for an apartment to rent within a couple of days of being listed. I usually tell people, “don’t rush into a decision but once you make it, rush to act on it.” The first place you see may very well not be around by the time you are done with seeing apartment number eight.

Bring your checkbook and something to keep matchday2015_3your jaw from dropping. The one month rental fee is being paid almost exclusively by renters now and many landlords are asking for first, last and security (a full month’s rent) upfront.

Have a co-signer lined up, even if it’s just in case. Landlords typically don’t want the yearly rent to be more than 30-35% of the yearly household income, and if it is, you will likely need a co-signer – even if you have good credit and references. Landlords are looking for assurance that the rent can be paid. And this leads into our final bullet…

Don’t take the process too personally. It’s not about if you are nice and if you hold the door for people at Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s a business transaction and for landlords the application approval process is about mitigating risk. There are nice people who do and don’t pay bills every month. So, while a landlord wants the best of both worlds, it’s not a personal affront if they request a co-signer, need to verify your income, or have questions about your credit.

Medical SymbolThere ARE good places out there and good agents just waiting to show them to you, so give one of our Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty offices a call to get started on your search for a new Boston home!

Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al Norton can be reached at 617.669.3811 or rentals@unlimitedsir.com

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

Al Norton Joins the Greater Boston Real Estate Board Rental Issues Task Force

GBREB Al-01

Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty Rental Manager, Al Norton, was chosen from hundreds of applicants across the Greater Boston Association of Realtor’s more than 7500 members. Norton stated, “As much as I am looking forward to bringing my 12+ years experience working in the Greater Boston rental market to the task force, what I am most exited about is learning from those who are already serving, and how our combined efforts can continue with the push to make the rental process easier and more transparent for all involved, from the renters to the agents to the landlords/management companies.”

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) Rental Issues Task Force was started in 2013 as a way to promote professionalism, accountability and uniform standards of practice within the rental agent community in Massachusetts.

In 2014, the GBREB voted to support creation and implementation of a rental certification course, to include a syllabus, instructor and student manuals, and best practices guide, in an effort to establish uniformity and increase the standards of service among real estate agents in the leasing and management of apartments and other rental units in and around Boston.

In 2015, the GBREB oversaw the completion and approval of the curriculum and format for delivery of the association’s new rental certification course. A pilot program of the “Rentals the Right Way” class was presented to the task force and a select group of agents last fall and will be debuted to the general membership this Spring. The new rental course not only provides agents with valuable information regarding the rental market and standards of practice on how to properly conduct rental transactions, but also an opportunity to receive two continuing education credits toward real estate license renewal.

About the GBREB  | About GBAR  |  About Al Norton  |  Search Our Rental Database

September 1st Survival Guide

moving day

If you’ve never been in Boston on September 1st, congratulations on avoiding what I’d call a circus except that would be a disservice to circuses! To say that the city is a chaotic mess is an understatement of epic (fail) proportions and if you can avoid it you should do so. This year the 1st is a Tuesday, which means the craziness may be less intense on THE day because it will be spread out over FOUR days (folks will start moving out on Saturday the 29th). What follows are some tips to make life easier for those of you who AREN’T moving…

  • If you live in a part of Greater Boston with on-street parking and you have a parking space on Friday night, DON’T MOVE YOUR CAR UNTIL WEDNESDAY. There will be many, many moving vans and extra cars over those four days and if you give up an on-street spot, the odds of getting it (or any space near it) back are minimal. Also, when you park your car, think about doing so on a side street if possible. Yes, it may be a little further from your front door but all those extra cars on the main streets are likely to lead to a lot more dings and dents than usual.
  • Regardless of where you park, avoid driving in the city until Wednesday. It’s the perfect storm of bad driving – people behind the wheel of vehicles (U-Haul’s, moving vans, trucks) they don’t usually drive navigating tricky neighborhoods they aren’t familiar with – and you don’t want to be stuck behind them. Maybe take public transportation to work for a couple of days and think of it as an adventure!
  • Do your shopping now. While you may just need a few items, all these new people have entire kitchens, pantries, and dorm rooms to stock with food, drinks, and various household items, so supermarkets, home stores and more are likely to be overflowing with customers and light on inventory. Stock up now so you don’t have to do battle with someone who’s got two full carts.
  • If you are going out to eat over the weekend you should stick to locally owned establishments. Again, there will be 10’s of thousands of new-to-the-city folks plus the friends and family that have come to town to help with the move, and those people are much more likely to go with national chain restaurants they are familiar with than the neighborhood places you already know are much better.
  • Remember, it’s only this bad for the first weekend. Next weekend is Labor Day, so there will be a lot of people leaving town, which will calm things down a bit. Sure, traffic is going to be much worse with school back in session (and if you think driving is bad then, wait until the first snow of the season, which for some new Bostonian’s will be the first snow they’ve EVER driven in) but overall things settle down and people start to learn the ins and outs of the city and wrap their heads around the concept that cars in the rotary have the right of way.
This post was written by: Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al NortonAl Norton is in his 12th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and his 20th year working in the Greater Boston housing market. You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or al.norton@unlimitedsir.com

Renters Insurance – Do I Need It?

dreamstime_s_4836694If someone asked me, “what’s the biggest mistake most renters make?” I’d be able to answer the question in a split second; “they don’t get renter’s insurance.” I was guilty of this as well, about ten years ago, until my apartment got broken into and we lost a lap top, DVD player, and about 30 DVD’s. I got on the phone with an insurance agent the next day and within a half an hour my belongings were then fully insured, and for a remarkably reasonable price.

The biggest objection I hear is usually, “my stuff’s not that great”, but what they are forgetting is that it doesn’t matter if your clothes, furnishings, jewelery, etc. are all that nice or expensive. If you have a fire, break-in, or some other sort of calamity, you still have to replace them. Without renter’s insurance that’s going to cost a lot of money! Many renters are also under the impression that their landlord’s insurance covers them in case of a disaster but that insurance only covers the apartment itself and has nothing to do with the occupants and/or their possessions.

The monthly bills for renters insurance are quite low and some companies even offer bundle deals if you pair it with car insurance. It’s an investment in peace of mind, and what’s better than that?

This post was written by: Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al NortonAl Norton is in his 12th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and his 20th year working in the Greater Boston housing market. You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or al.norton@unlimitedsir.com

Match Day Has Arrived: Boston Medical Residents, Are You Ready?

matchday1  matchday7

Today is Match Day. It’s the day when medical students across the country get matched with residency programs. In Greater Boston, this day also marks the unofficial start of the non-undergraduate rental market as students will be moving to the area and searching for places to live.

Over the course of the next six or so weeks, the majority of June 1 and July 1 apartments will get listed and rented within very short periods of time – sometimes happening within a 24 hour period. If you or someone you know will be moving to Boston as a result of Match Day, here are a few tips to navigate the rental market.

Bring a copy of your offer letter. You’ll need to verify matchemployment and income as a part of your rental application.

Be prepared to make a decision and act quickly. In today’s competitive rental market, it’s not unusual for an apartment to rent within a couple of days of being listed. I usually tell people, “don’t rush into a decision but once you make it, rush to act on it.” The first place you see may very well not be around by the time you are done with seeing apartment number eight.

Bring your checkbook and something to keep 5515204901_b5a2d7fa64_oyour jaw from dropping. The one month rental fee is being paid almost exclusively by renters now and many landlords are asking for first, last and security (a full month’s rent) upfront.

Have a co-signer lined up, even if it’s just in case. Landlords typically don’t want the yearly rent to be more than 30-35% of the yearly household income, and if it is, you will likely need a co-signer – even if you have good credit and references. Landlords are looking for assurance that the rent can be paid. And this leads into our final bullet…

Don’t take the process too personally. It’s not about if you are nice and if you hold the door for people at Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s a business transaction and for landlords the application approval process is about mitigating risk. There are nice people who do and don’t pay bills every month. So, while a landlord wants the best of both worlds, it’s not a personal affront if they request a co-signer, need to verify your income, or have questions about your credit.

Medical SymbolThere ARE good places out there and good agents just waiting to show them to you, so give one of our Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realtyoffices a call to get started on your search for a new Boston home!

Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al Norton can be reached at 617.669.3811 or rentals@unlimitedsir.com

Image Credit (first and second photo): Emory students celebrate at Match Day Ceremony, March 20, 2012, Emory News; (other photos) Creative Commons

Featured Rentals: Check Out Our 1 BR Apts!

One Bedroom Apartments For August 1 & September 1 Move-In’s…

In Brookline starting at $1900
In Brighton starting at $1650
Heat and hot water included! All steps to public transportation!

For showings or for more information, contact our Rental Department:
617.264.7900 or email rentals@prudentialunlimited.com

90 Kilsyth Roof Deck LR 1 Kitchen 1

 

Match Day Has Arrived: Boston Medical Residents, Are You Ready?

matchday1  matchday7

Today is Match Day. It’s the day when medical students across the country get matched with residency programs. In Greater Boston, this day also marks the unofficial start of the non-undergraduate rental market as students will be moving to the area and searching for places to live.

Over the course of the next six or so weeks, the majority of June 1 and July 1 apartments will get listed and rented within very short periods of time – sometimes happening within a 24 hour period. If you or someone you know will be moving to Boston as a result of Match Day, here are a few tips to navigate the rental market.

Bring a copy of your offer letter. You’ll need to verify matchemployment and income as a part of your rental application.

Be prepared to make a decision and act quickly. In today’s competitive rental market, it’s not unusual for an apartment to rent within a couple of days of being listed. I usually tell people, “don’t rush into a decision but once you make it, rush to act on it.” The first place you see may very well not be around by the time you are done with seeing apartment number eight.

Bring your checkbook and something to keep 5515204901_b5a2d7fa64_oyour jaw from dropping. The one month rental fee is being paid almost exclusively by renters now and many landlords are asking for first, last and security (a full month’s rent) upfront.

Have a co-signer lined up, even if it’s just in case. Landlords typically don’t want the yearly rent to be more than 30-35% of the yearly household income, and if it is, you will likely need a co-signer – even if you have good credit and references. Landlords are looking for assurance that the rent can be paid. And this leads into our final bullet…

Don’t take the process too personally. It’s not about if you are nice and if you hold the door for people at Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s a business transaction and for landlords the application approval process is about mitigating risk. There are nice people who do and don’t pay bills every month. So, while a landlord wants the best of both worlds, it’s not a personal affront if they request a co-signer, need to verify your income, or have questions about your credit.

Medical SymbolThere ARE good places out there and good agents just waiting to show them to you, so give one of our Prudential Unlimited Realty offices a call to get started on your search for a new Greater Boston home!

Al Norton, Rental Manager, Prudential Unlimited Realty

Al Norton can be reached at 617-669-3811 or rentals@prudentialunlimited.com.

Image Credit (first and second photo): Emory students celebrate at Match Day Ceremony, March 20, 2012, Emory News; (other photos) Creative Commons