"When's the best time to start looking for an apartment in Boston?" This is actually a question that we get asked A LOT. And it's a very smart question to ask because Boston's rental market is unique and the answer to that question will rely heavily on what month(s) you need to move on. For certain months of the year (January, June, September to name a few) you'll need to get an early jump on your search; in some cases up to 6 months or more ahead of time (yes, 6+ months!) We've studied the data and the market trends and put together this month by month guide to help you figure out when to start looking.
You may have heard about Boston’s September 1st lease cycles that a lot of the apartments operate on. There are over 100 colleges & universities in the greater Boston area, most of which start classes the first or second week of September. As a result of the semester schedules (and partly because of our climate), landlords took note of the demand for September apartments and thus the September rent cycle was born. Most private apartments operate around this cycle.Tip: For the best selection of apartments try to plan for a 9/1 move in date if possible.
Most of the information that we offer below pertains to brownstone or private owner apartments. High rise or complex style apartments typically stagger their leases so that they don't all turn over on one day. For this reason most high rises have adopted a 60 day renewal policy, which means that they know which apartments are turning over 60 days before your move in date. If you are looking for a high rise property you can tour the property as early as you want, and then get onto a wait list for a particular date (apartments will often be nearly identical from one floor to the next in this type of property). Not sure if high rise apartments are for you? Take our high rise vs. brownstone quiz!
If you cannot arrange to take a trip to Boston to view apartments in person your rental agent can help by taking pictures and video tours for you before committing to an apartment from afar. We usually advise against renting "site unseen", and prefer that you come to look in person, however we understand that sometimes circumstances do not allows allow for a visit. If you do go the site unseen route we would also recommend having a friend or family member view the apartment on your behalf (if possible).
Assuming that you are able to plan a trip to view apartments, we recommend budgeting at least a week. The average rental (once you've identified a property that you want to apply for) takes between 48-72 hrs to finalize. If you only give yourself a weekend you may leave not knowing if your application has been approved and/or whether you have actually secured the apartment.
If you want to see a bunch of apartments back to back then the best time to plan is Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. We understand if you work days it’s more convenient to see places after work or on weekends, however a lot of management companies that hold keys to apartments are not open past 5pm or on weekends, so it will limit the number of places you will be able to see in one trip.
This brings us to what you really want to know, which is "when should I start?" Here is when we think you should begin your search, based on your move in month:
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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non-commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
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