As we approach July 15th, just about six weeks until the biggest move-in day of the year in Greater Boston, here’s what you need to know…
Our standard advice is to list 8-10 weeks before occupancy, and that means the ideal deadline for a 9/1 apartment has already come and gone. Does this mean it’s not going to rent? Of course not, and you’re quite likely looking at an increase from your previous rent. However, keep in mind that there will be less people looking two weeks from now then there are now, and so on and so on, making this not a good time to take the “list at outrageous rent and terms and then come down if nothing happens” approach. Just remember that while the market is still in your favor, there is a faint ticking clock that’s only going to get louder.
If You’re a Renter
See above. The rental timelines are the same – people should be looking no less than 8-10 weeks before they want to move in. If you’re looking for a 9/1 apartment now, you may need to be more flexible than usual. Before you begin looking, set your list of priorities to make the process go faster and smoother (e.g., price, location, # of bedrooms).
Also, don’t waste time looking at places that you know aren’t a good fit just to see them. If you really can come up $200 in rent, or live with no parking, or can take the bus instead of the T, great, let’s go see the place right now! Otherwise save your time and energy for places that are actually a potential new home for you.
I know some renters think they may have an advantage because it’s getting close to September 1st, and while it is true that the big deadline is approaching for everyone, landlords aren’t anywhere near desperate because they still know there are more of you then there are of them and also because given your choice of worst case scenarios, everyone would chose having an empty apartment over not having any apartment at all. This means if you are going to try to negotiate a deal, be smart about it and pick one thing (price, deposits, move-in date, fees). Also, if you don’t have great credit and/or you need a co-signer, you’re not really in a position to negotiate since accepting your application in the first place is in and of itself a negotiation.
If You Are Either
Both parties need to remember that this is the START of a short term relationship – unlike on the sales side where your decisions can be more long term – so you want to project as low-maintenance an image as possible. Remembering that this process can be stressful for everyone will be a good way to get things off on the right foot.
Al Norton, Rental Manager, Prudential Unlimited Realty
Al Norton can be reached at 617-669-3811 or firstname.lastname@example.org