Last Friday was Match Day - the annual day when medical students across the country get matched with their Residency Programs - and begin their search for housing. In Greater Boston this marks the unofficial kickoff of the non-undergraduate rental market.
Here are a few ideas and tips to keep in mind throughout your search:
SHOWINGS: The last two years saw a massive increase in sight unseen rentals, with potential tenants making their decisions via pictures, videos, and FaceTime showings, and while that is still an option for those who can’t come to Boston, we’re already seeing a return to in-person showings and that’s likely to increase as we get further into the season (and the Covid number remain low).
If you can’t be here in person but you have a friend/family member in the area, they can go to the showing for you and do a FaceTime call from the apartment; there’s no substitute for physically being in the unit but if that’s not possible, you want to make sure you have been virtually walked through the unit so there are no regrets/surprises when you move-in.
INVENTORY WILL BE LOW:
The local media has been doing stories about the rising rents and low inventory for the last month or so, and it’s not likely to change during this rental season. The sales market is red hot, which is making it hard for renters to become buyers and therefore cuts down on apartments turning over. This means being prepared and able to make a quick - but informed - decision is more important than ever.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
A copy of your offer letter: You’ll need to verify employment and income as a part of your rental application.
A co-signer lined up, even if it’s just in case: Landlords are looking for assurance that the rental can be paid and 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.
First, Last, Security, and Broker's Fee: It's not uncommon for landlords to ask for three month's rent up front (first month, last month, and a security deposit equal to one month's rent). In addition, there is a Broker’s fee, equal to one month’s rent. Some listings just require first and last or first and security, and on higher end, new construction listings, sometimes the building will pay the broker's fee, but that's rare.
Be Aware of Scams: Don’t respond to any posting/person who wants your social security and/or bank account numbers early on in the process. While they are necessary when you are actually applying for an apartment, anyone who requests them before you have even seen the place is likely up to no good. Talk to the agent (or agents) you’re going to be working on the phone, so you know they’re real, and don’t be afraid to use Google if you’re worried something is too good to be true. If most of the one bedroom apartments you are looking at are $2,300, and you stumble upon something on line that looks great for $1,500, proceed with caution.
We are here to answer any questions, provide guidance and help you to find a new home in this difficult time.