Getting Started

Getting Started

Searching for an apartment can be exciting, challenging, and confusing. There are a number of important decisions you should make before you settle on a place to live. Make sure that you have everything you need to get started before you begin your search.

When to Begin Your Search

There is never a clear-cut answer as to when you should start your apartment search. When to begin depends on a number of variables. For example, before you begin looking, you should have a substantial amount of money saved, a neighborhood(s) of the city you intend to live picked out, and roommates you plan to live with (if any). Generally, most students are successful if they give themselves two to three months after these key factors have been determined. Rental housing is available year-round in Boston, so no matter when you start, you should be able to find an apartment that accommodates your basic needs. It is not recommended that you rent an apartment sight unseen.

Download the Apartment Search Checklist to assist you in your search.

What to Keep in Mind

While a monthly rent may be manageable for many, some of the upfront costs upon the initial agreement can be expensive. Make sure that you have enough money saved for the following costs:

  • Security Deposit/First and Last Month Rent
  • Realtor fees, up to one month's rent (if applicable)
  • Oil Heat/Gas
  • Electricity
  • Phone, Internet, and Cable TV services
  • Furnishings
  • Commuting expenses

Rental costs can depend on the following:

  • Apartment size, square footage, and the number of bedrooms
  • The apartment's physical condition
  • The apartment's location/neighborhood in Boston
  • Utilities included (if any)
  • Furnishings included (if any)
  • Parking

You should consider the apartment's proximity to the following:

  • Grocery and convenience stores
  • Laundry facilities
  • Banks
  • MBTA

Apartment Hunting Tips

  • Research the neighborhoods of the apartments you are interested in.
  • Be prepared to submit an application and deposit once you have found the apartment you like most. There may be a number of prospective renters that are interested in the same apartment.
  • If possible, pay by check or money order so you can keep track of the payments. Generally, you should obtain a receipt for all apartment-related expenses. This makes things much smoother should any issues arise.
  • Before you sign a lease, make sure you read it thoroughly, Ensure that you understand all aspects of the lease before you sign it. Once you sign, you are legally bound to the terms and conditions. Additionally, make sure each roommate has a copy saved for their records. If you have any questions, ask your realtor or landlord.