Category Archives: Boston Rental market

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


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

Match Day is coming! Landlords, do you have apartments available for rent beginning June or July 1st?

Match Day 2015 PC-01

Friday, March 20th is Match Day, this is the day when medical students from all over the country find out where they will be doing their residencies. This is considered the official kick off of the spring rental market! In the weeks to follow, those residents-to-be will head to Boston with only 48-96 hours to find a June 1st or July 1st apartment.

If you have any units on that timeline, now is when you should be reaching out to your current tenants to find out if they want to renew. You’ll also want to decide what their rent would be going forward; are you ok with keeping the rent the same or do you want to check what the unit would go for in the current market and then re-evaluate? Some landlords will charge less than market rate to their current tenants because they value the quality of the established relationship.

match dayIt may be hard to believe with all the snow on the ground but spring is right around the corner so you don’t want to wait to get started!

As always, the well trained, professional rental department at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty is available to help you in any/all parts of this process.

Contact us today at: 617.264.7900 or 617.522.2200,

Image Credit: Emory students celebrate at Match Day Ceremony, March 20, 2012, Emory News

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

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

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

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-

It’s The Middle Of The Summer And You Haven’t Found An Apartment/Tenants Yet?!?!?

As you all have seen on the news and read on-line (I’d suggest you read it in a newspaper but who are we kidding – who reads newspapers anymore?), this is a VERY strong rental season, the second in a row that can accurately be described as “the lowest inventory in a decade.” Factor in the sales market being tight, which means there are people who are considering renting that in other years would be buyers, and you’ve got more people than usual looking with less places than usual for them to see.

That’s all the general stuff, but as we’re past July 15th, meaning less than six weeks until the biggest move-in day of the year in Greater Boston, things have changed a little. Not a ton, but enough where it’s worth noting. Here’s what you need to know…

If You’re A Landlord

*Our standard advice is to list 6 – 8 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 (especially if your current tenants moved in before 2012), but 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 & terms and then come down if nothing happens” approach. Again, you’re going to be making some money, just remember that while the market is still way in your favor, there is a faintly ticking clock that’s only going to get louder.

If You’re A Renter

*See above. The timelines are the same – people should be looking no less than 6 – 8 weeks before they want to move in. Does this mean you’re not going to find a place to live? Of course not, but you are going to need to be more flexible than usual. I have had meetings with walk-in customers where I explain that I have what they want and where they want it, just not at the price they want pay, and every variation of that sentence (what they want and for how much they want to pay but not where they want it, etc…), so the more you have your list of priorities set – knowing what are really the most important part of your search and which parts you will give on –  the faster the process will go.

*I know some renters think they may have an advantage because it’s getting close to September First, 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 is a negotiation.

If You’re Either

Both parties need to remember that, unlike in a sales deal where things can get contentious with a ton of back and forth, this is the START of an at least one year relationship, 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

O: 617-264-7900
F: 617-232-9984
C: 617-669-3811