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.
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 your 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.
There 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Credit (first and second photo): Emory students celebrate at Match Day Ceremony, March 20, 2012, Emory News; (other photos) Creative Commons