Apartment Hunting Tips: Boston
Moving off-campus can be exciting as well as fairly stressful. It is a huge step into adulthood, and with more and more schools suggesting that students move out of the dorms and into apartments earlier and earlier, there is higher demand and higher competition for that perfect place.
City housing is especially hard to find, particularly in Boston. Known as a “college town,” Boston houses over 50 universities and colleges in its metropolitan area, which means most of the people living in Boston are college kids. Luckily, many of them are only looking for temporary housing while going for their degrees, but once housing announcements come out for dorms, students jump at anything and everything in their school’s area. In order to get ahead of the game and find a decent place in a decent area, here are a few key things you should know:
- Figure out your financial situation first.
As a student who has had to go through the apartment-hunting process this past year, I have learned the hard way that figuring out your financial situation should be the first thing you do—even before you choose who you want to live with.Ask your parents how much you can afford, and if you could apply for loans, if needed. If you have financial aid that helps with room and board, be sure to contact your school and loan providers and tell them to send the check to your home.Don’t forget to include any additional costs (groceries, heat, hot water, electricity, cable, internet, etc.) and upfront costs (security deposit, usually first and last month’s rent). If using a realtor, be sure to include the broker’s fee. Budgeting your money helps with everything that is to come in your apartment search.
- Choose roommates wisely.
Sure, it seems like it would be awesome to live with your close friends, but just as you choose roommates in a dorm, be sure to be wise with your choice of future roommates. Studio and one-bedroom apartments in Boston are fairly costly and can be a bit lonely, so if you are looking for roommates, be sure of a few things:
- Their budget. It should be the same as yours, or fairly close. If you can afford something they can’t—and vice versa—it may cause trouble down the road.
- Their commitment. Flakes are no fun, especially when searching for apartments. Searching last-minute for a new roommate can be extremely stressful, so make sure everyone is in it for the long haul.
- Their “requirements.” Some roommates don’t mind living further away from campus, others do. Some roommates want to live in a nicer area, others are more relaxed on location. Make sure you are all on the same page in this area. This will not only narrow your search, it will also help realtors pick out the best places for your taste.
- Choose realtors wisely.
Choosing to use a realtor can break down the stress of trying to find apartments on Craigslist or other apartment websites. Make sure you ask friends and other students who already have apartments who they used. Sometimes realtors give monetary bonuses to those who were referred and the person who referred them, and can usually do just as good a job for you as they did your friend!
Living in Boston is a wonderful experience for students, especially when living in an apartment. Having your things in order early on can prevent lots of stress and will guarantee you a good place in a wonderful area! Remember: keep your mind open—don’t take into account the seller’s decorating habits! See the place for its potential, and don’t take the first place you see. Have fun with it, and good luck!