Tag Archives: September 1st Boston

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.
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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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Looking for a September 1st rental? Follow these 8 tips to lock in a great place to live.

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Available Rental – Summit Avenue, Brookline

Henry James said that the two most beautiful words in the English language are “summer afternoon.” Nat King Cole, in song, described this time of year as “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” But don’t get too comfy in that lounge chair if you’re hoping to get a rental for September 1st. That day is bearing down on us faster than a Jurassic Park spinosaurus.

Because many tenants feel they can’t afford to buy a house in this competitive sellers’ market, they are renewing their leases. That makes inventory lower than ever.

If you’re planning to be settled into your new digs for the Labor Day Weekend, then you need to get your game on now. The good news is that Brookline and Jamaica Plain are not areas that cater heavily to students. For that reason, September 1st apartments have not been secured months ahead of time. Most are just coming on the market now.

You can still get that apartment of your dreams. Just be sure to follow these 8 tips from this veteran rental agent.

1. Work with a licensed rental agent. At Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty we have more than 20 in our Brookline and Jamaica Plain offices pledged to making your search as hassle-free as possible. We have an extensive database of available and upcoming quality apartments. We can also expand a search to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which all of our agents have access to. Jamaica Plain has been my home for 20 years. As the salesmen say in “The Music Man,” “you gotta know the territory.” Like all Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty agents, we really know our neighborhoods.

As with all brokerages, we charge a fee — but only if we find you a place to live. Looking is free. (We’ll even do the driving.) In most cases, a rental fee is equal to one-month’s rent. Sometimes a landlord will pay half of that fee.

2. You Get What You Pay For. It’s true you can often find a great apartment with no fee by going on Craigslist or other web-based rental sites. But you also take a risk. You have no one to negotiate for you. We know our landlords and they know us.

Whatever you do, don’t send money to a blind ad. Last summer a middle-age man, his mother, and their dog came into our JP office. Even the dog looked panicked. They had just flown in to Boston that afternoon from San Diego. When they got to the apartment they thought they had rented, and had paid three months in advance on, it didn’t exist. Sadly, this is not an unusual scenario.

3. Be prepared to act. I never want to pressure clients to take an apartment but in this tight market, apartments often get rented the day they are advertised. If you see an apartment you like, you want to be able to grab it. You can do this by going back to our office to fill out an application, and to write a check to the landlord for the first month’s rent. This will take the apartment off market while we do a credit check and other paperwork, such as proof of income. We then present these findings to the landlord. (The last month’s rent, and/or security deposit, and broker fee, are not due until after the tenants and landlord have signed the lease.) I hate telling a client who waited too long to take an apartment, “I told you so.” But too often I have to.

4. Can you offer less rent to a landlord? You can, but there’s a smart way to do it. Fill out an application and write the first-month’s rent check before negotiating. If you can show you have a good job and strong credit, you’re in a much better bargaining position.

This also applies to pets. A landlord who says that he or she doesn’t allow them, may relent for the right applicant. A letter from your current landlord testifying to Fluffy or Spot’s good behavior can’t hurt.

5. Have your forms ready: If you’re a student, or just starting your first job, the landlord may want you to have a co-signer, such as a parent. We can provide you with a co-signer form. Just know this: This form needs to be notarized. A hard copy is required. I’ve had landlords say they can’t wait a week for a signed, notarized form to arrive in the mail. My advice: Have the co-signer form notarized and completed before looking for an apartment. If you have a job-offer or scholarship letter, have it ready to present with the application.

6. Don’t look alone: It can often be difficult to schedule a viewing of an apartment. Existing tenants usually require 24 hours notice. Don’t waste your time, or (sorry) mine, by viewing apartments that a partner or roommates must also see in order to apply for.

7. What if my credit sucks. Don’t despair. I recently rented an apartment to a husband and wife who both had “bad” credit ratings. Yet between them they made over $200,000 annually! Their scary credit ratings weren’t due to being financially irresponsible. He had student loans that had since been paid off. She had an overdue $500 medical bill that she didn’t know about. Once he supplied the landlord with a letter from his bank stating that his student loans had been absolved, and once she took care of her medical bill, the landlord happily approved them.

8. Busiest Day of the Year: If you’ve ever seen videos of the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, then you have an idea what September 1st is like in Boston. Just think: There are more than 50 colleges here filled with students needing to move in to their new places. If you haven’t booked a U-Haul or moving truck yet, don’t wait another second! In Brookline and Jamaica Plain you’ll need moving permits, which must be paid for and picked up in person and in advance at city halls. They can range as low as $5 in Brookline to $109 in Boston or JP.

For more moving permit info, check out these websites:  Brookline and Boston

If you’d like more rental advice, or want to talk about your housing needs, please give any of us a call at our Brookline office (617.264.7900) or JP office (617.522.2200). September 1st is coming soon. Get moving now, so you can move later.

This is a guest blog post from John Stark, Sales and Leasing Agent, Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty. John can be reached at john.stark@unlimitedsir.com and 617.549.7681.


About John Stark
John Stark
John has lived in Jamaica Plain for over 20 years and bought his first condo near Forest Hills almost 18 years ago so he knows the area well. Before John became a full-time realtor, he was a writer and editor for such publications as People magazine, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cook’s Illustrated, Martha Stewart’s Body + Soul, and Cooking Light magazine. He is also currently a blogger for Next Avenue nextavenue.org, which is a national, PBS-sponsored website for people over the age of 50.