Category Archives: Boston Real Estate Investment Club

It’s Almost September 1st & You Haven’t Found an Apartment/Tenants Yet?!

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…
Apt4RentIf You’re a Landlord

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 hand-101003advantage 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.

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Al Norton, Rental Manager, Prudential Unlimited Realty
Al Norton can be reached at 617-669-3811 or

When can you ask for a tenant to renew a lease?

One of my favorite rental urban myths – you know, the apartment leasing equivalent of being told that the student handbook has a rule that you can leave if your teacher is more than 10 minutes late – is that there is some sort of law about when landlords can ask their tenants if they are planning on renewing their lease; there is no such law on the books in Massachusetts, nor is the matter addressed in any of the Standard Fixed Term Leases I have seen (self-renewing and tenant-at-will leases are obviously different). So that leaves many landlords wondering, when should I find out if my tenants want to stay?

My general advice is that a rental listing should come to market roughly 60 – 90 days before it is available to be occupied; even in a strong rental market like Greater Boston is experiencing now, where apartments can rent in days, or even hours, you want to give enough time for the unit to be properly marketed and shown. I’ve known some landlords to wait until less than 30 days before occupancy but the potential problem is that there usually aren’t that many people looking that close to their move-in dates, and the smaller the pool of potential tenants, the less able you are to maximize the full value of your condo/house.

The best way to reach out to your tenants is with a letter, telling them that it’s that time of year again and that you’d like to know within two weeks if they plan on staying, with the understanding that if they aren’t staying, showings of the unit will begin right away. Most landlords will tell their tenants what the rent will be for a new lease in that same letter, although I’ve known a few who wait until people say they want to stay until they inform them of the new rent. When it comes to increases, I find it’s best to be honest with tenants and tell them that while their rent is going up $XX per month, the truth is if the apartment were going on the open market the rent would be going up $XXX; essentially let them know the discount you are giving them for being good tenants.

Once you factor in the two weeks’ time you will give your tenants to make a decision and get back to you (and perhaps the extra few days to get them to respond), you want to get the whole process started no later than 90 days before you’d need a new tenant. And to answer your question before you ask, yes, there is such a thing as too early; no one other than undergraduate students are going to rent an apartment six months ahead of time, so putting it out there now for June 1 means it will likely end up sitting for a while, potentially letting your listing get stale and lost in the shuffle when the influx of property comes on weeks later.

No matter when you decide to send your current tenants a renewal letter you should check in with your friendly neighborhood real estate company – like, say, the Coolidge Corner or Jamaica Plain offices of Prudential Unlimited Realty, where there are well trained, full time rental agents waiting for you – to find out what’s going on in the market; maybe you’re way under the average price, maybe you should be thrilled with the rent you’re getting, but talking to a professional will give you peace of mind going forward.

Al Norton
Prudential Unlimited Realty, Rental Manager

Thinking about buying a multi-family home for an investment?

Buying a Multi-Family Home

One of the benefits of buying a multi-family home is the ability to use the rent payments to help pay your mortgage. This lets you have a lower housing expense and build more real estate equity. A two- or three-family home can be a great investment, but it’s not for everyone. Use these questions to help you decide if buying a multi-family might work for you.

How comfortable are you with home maintenance?

You might have the tools and not mind doing small jobs, or you might know somebody reliable who is handy. But remember, there will be two or three kitchens, two or three baths, painting, plumbing, electrical, and yard work.

How are your boundaries?

Your tenants will be your neighbors, maybe even your friends or family. These can be really rich relationships, but having tenants can also be complicated and contain possibilities of miscommunication, differing expectations, even court action.

Do you have a cash cushion?

That mortgage payment is due every month – whether your apartment(s) are rented or not.

If you are still excited, then a multi-family with its mix of home and business may be right for you. We have a lot of experience and excel at working with first time multi-family buyers. Call or email us and let’s go look at some houses!


Some two-family homes have a modest “rental” unit and a larger “owner” unit. You can live economically in the smaller unit until you need the larger space. The higher rent you can get from the larger unit will pay a larger part of your mortgage payment. Or you can live in the larger unit, yet still have part of your mortgage paid by the rent. Click here for our Multi-Family Financial Worksheet.

Next Step

When you’re ready to move to your next home, you have the option of keeping the multi-family as a rental property for extra monthly income, for future college tuition, or to help finance an early retirement.

If selling is the right strategy, you could sell it as a multi-family. You could also sell each apartment separately by converting to condominiums.

Prudential Real Estate Ranked Highest for Customer Satisfaction in Three Segments of J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study

Prudential Real Estate Ranked Highest for Customer Satisfaction in Three Segments of J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study 

(Brookline, MA) – Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, and Prudential Unlimited Realty announced that the Prudential Real Estate affiliate network ranked highest for customer satisfaction in three of the four segments included in J.D. Power and Associates’ annual Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study. The network scored highest in Repeat Home Buyer, First-Time Home Buyer, and First-Time Home Seller categories. It ranked third in the Repeat Home Seller segment.

The sixth annual study measures customer satisfaction among the nation’s largest real estate brokerage companies. Overall satisfaction is gauged across four factors of the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson, real estate office, closing process, and variety of additional services. Seller satisfaction is evaluated through the same four factors plus marketing.

Among repeat home buyers, Prudential Real Estate scored 829 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in agent/sales person, variety of additional services and closing process. The network tallied 811 points among first-time home buyers, showing strength in all factors. Prudential Real Estate scored 809 points in the First-Time Home-Seller segment, drawing strong marks for marketing and closing process. This represents the third time in six years Prudential Real Estate ranked highest in seller satisfaction including recognition in 2008 and 2010.

“Prudential Real Estate stands for quality and consistency in neighborhoods across America,” said Earl Lee, network president and CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. “Buyers and sellers alike appreciate our affiliates’ market leadership and our agents’ skill and innovation.”

Lee added that the Prudential Real Estate network enjoys one of the industry’s highest average selling prices and that its agents stand out as local-market experts. “Affiliate to affiliate, Prudential Real Estate sales professionals have a strong work ethic and drive for client satisfaction. These prestigious awards further underscore our agents’ success and the quality of our network.”

The team at Prudential Unlimited realty works hard to exceed the expectations buyers and sellers alike, explained Prudential Realty.  “In today’s market, our clients require all the expertise and service we can offer. Through our knowledge, innovation and guidance we maximize the home-buyer/home-seller experience to ensure our clients’ needs are met.”

Among other survey findings:

  • First-time home buyers and sellers are most influenced by a company’s good reputation and the recommendations they receive from friends, family and colleagues.
  • More than one-third (35%) of first-time home buyers and 27% of first-time sellers indicate they selected their real estate company based on its reputation.
  • 28% of first-time home buyers and 27% of first-time sellers selected their company based on recommendations.
  • Overall satisfaction with real estate companies is higher among repeat customers compared to first-time buyers or sellers.
  • Suggesting better times in residential real estate, the percentage of first-time home sellers increased to 44% in 2013 from 30% in 2012.
  • The percentage of first-time home buyers also increased significantly, 49% in 2013 vs. 40% a year ago.

The 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes 4,371 evaluations from 3,930 respondents who bought or sold a home between March 2012 and April 2013.


About Prudential Real Estate and HSF Affiliates LLC

Prudential Real Estate is a part of the HSF Affiliates LLC real estate brokerage family, which includes Real Living Real Estate and the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand available later in 2013. Prudential Real Estate franchisees are independently owned and operated.

HSF Affiliates LLC, based in Irvine, Calif., is a joint venture of HomeServices of America and Brookfield Asset Management.

About Prudential Unlimited Realty

Prudential Unlimited Realty is an independently owned and operated franchisee of Brookfield Residential Property Services (BRER). As an independent franchisee, our local owners have the freedom to make decisions quickly and on a local level, but with the backing of the strong, internationally recognized Prudential brand. We believe in maintaining the flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit that top agents are looking for. This allows us to respond better to our local market with speed and innovation that may prove to be more challenging for a larger enterprise.

Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities and are used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential.

About J.D. Power & Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-

Join Boston Real Estate Investment Club’s next meeting Feb. 27th


Join the Club February 27th!

The Boston Real Estate Investment Club has announced another meeting on Wednesday, February 27th at Osaka Japanese Sushi & Steak House.

About the Club

The Boston Real Estate Investment Club is open to real estate investors of all experience levels who want to meet and continuously learn from other investors and real estate professionals. Each meeting features knowledgeable speakers to guide members through new and relevant topics relating to the many aspects of Real Estate Investment. Past events have covered Why invest in Real Estate?, Foreclosures, Self-directed IRA’s, 1031 Exchanges, and Creative Tax Strategies.

It’s an opportunity to network with others who share similar goals & needs, to learn about unique & hot properties, to find ways of obtaining & utilizing different sources of capital, and so much more! 

February’s meeting will feature:

Matt Newman :: Investor

“In the mid 1990s, Matthew started a real estate company that today has two offices: one in Brookline, and one in Jamaica Plain, Prudential Unlimited Real Estate. He is a silent partner but participates in corporate development and consultation. Matthew began buying, managing and developing real estate in the early to mid 1990s. At first he bought condominiums, three family houses and small projects. Now over 20 years later, he owns over 200 residential units, has completed dozens of condominium conversions, acquisition-renovation-management situations, and renovated and sold numerous assets and properties, has developed dozens of projects and has bought and sold over 50 million dollars worth of property in the area. Matthew is still involved with the two Prudential offices. Currently, he oversees the management of the Newman Properties portfolio and is seeking new acquisitions. “

Eric Erickson :: Investor / Mortgage Specialist

“In 1992 I began my career in the mortgage industry. By the mid 1990’s I became known as the “Go-To Guy” and the “He can get it done guy” for the FHA 203K loan. I founded my own mortgage company in 1996 just a few short years before the economy took a large downturn and eventually the FHA 203K loan became obsolete. Now in 2012 the program is needed again and I am back to provide these loans to properties in need of improvement. I have the opportunity to bring my skills to borrowers that need to navigate the current lending environment. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has given me the ability to provide both the FHA renovation loan as well as Conventional loan programs for home buyers and investors.”


•    2013 Investment Planning     •
•     Short Sale Update     •
•     Hot Properties     •
•     and more!    •


February 27th, 2012

6:00PM :: Registration / Networking / Food / Drink

6:45PM :: Lighting Round with Guest Speakers & Prudential Unlimited Staff

7:00PM :: Meeting


 Location / Amenities / Registration


Osaka Japanese Restaurant

14 Green St, Brookline, MA 02446

$10 with pre-registration (
OR $15 at the door (Includes Sushi)

Cash Bar Available



The Rental Market AFTER Sept 1st with Al Norton of Prudential Unlimited Realty

A Rental Market Update
by: Al Norton, Rental Manager

September First has come and gone, so the rental market is dead, right? I mean, roughly 90% of all Greater Boston apartments are on a 9/1 – 8/31 lease cycle, so what could possibly be available at the start of October? Well, while the floor of our rental department isn’t exactly Grand Central Station like it was just a few weeks back, there is still business going on –  new homes being found – so if you are looking now or plan on looking in the next few months, what follows will help you be a more informed consumer!

Traditionally, the off-season (October thru April) inventory is made up of some combination of September First leftovers, lease breaks, luxury units, and new investment property…


September First leftovers

September First leftovers are just that, places that were listed for 9/1 occupancy that no one rented. Maybe because they were overpriced, maybe the office that had the listing didn’t do any marketing, maybe they just somehow slipped through the cracks, but frequently current conditions simply leave them vacant. The good news is that because they have been on the market for a while, the rent for these units is likely lower than it was six weeks ago. Keep in mind there is only so low they will drop; a $2600 two bed in Brookline is not going to fall to $1900, but you might get it for $2400 . Also, the leases for these units will likely be less than one year in order to get back on cycle and then you are looking at a rent increase to get back up to market level.

Lease Breaks

Lease breaks are situations where the current tenant has to move; they have a lease in place, likely through the summer, but people get new jobs, lose jobs, split up, get engaged/married and all year round with no respect to our leasing cycle, so these units do pop up. Also. the First Time Home Buyer market has been hot this season due to low rates, causing tenants to grab deals thus freeing up more units. There’s not a ton of them, but they are out there and the thing to keep in mind about these units is that they will likely not be discounted since the landlord already has a contract with the existing tenants where they have to pay the rent until someone else takes the place, so there is no reason for them to mark the unit down.  The good news is these rentals aren’t available because of issues of quality and/or price, so you won’t have to adjust your expectations the way you would for a leftover.

Luxury Units

Luxury units don’t always follow the same rental cycle because the amenities those buildings typically offer – some combination of concierge services, gym, pool, club/media room, garage parking – are hard enough to come by where they are always going to be in demand no matter what time of year they are available. There can be some discounting involved in the off-season but those discounts might be along the lines of a one bed that was $3500 now being $3200; $300 a month off your rent is great but it’s still $3200 a month in rent!

New Investment Units

New investment units come to market all year round because real estate closings happen all year round. A smart investor will recognize that their goal with an off-season closing is to get a quality tenant in the unit at a price they can live with in order to get the unit back on the 9/1 cycle, so you may be able to get what would be a $1900 unit for $1800 or even $1750. Again, don’t forget that you will be looking at an increase at the end of the lease but if you can save $100 – $150 a month for 8 -10 months that pays your moving costs (for example).
We rental agents speak in general terms, which during a strong market some renters can find discouraging, but the truth is all you need to find is one place, so take the information you’ve just read and bring an informed, realistic, and yes, optimistic mindset to your search!

Next week we will have a feature from Thomas O’Connor, Head of Property Management for Prudential Unlimited Realty about how you can add value and efficiency to your home.  Don’t forget to come in, call or visit us at for all your Real Estate needs in Boston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain and surrounding areas.

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