Tag Archives: apartments

New Rental Listings in Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Leather District

Spring has sprung and the warmer weather brings with it new rental listings!

In Back Bay, located at 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3 is a lofted one bed with high ceilings and a fireplace featuring period details. If this sounds familiar it may be because The Matthew and Alisa Group listed the condo for sale earlier this year. The building has common laundry and private storage deeded to the unit. Available for rent May 1st for $2600.

Apartment for Rent at 41 Commonwealth Ave #3

In Beacon Hill, located on the 3rd floor of Anderson Street at the corner of Phillips Street is a beautiful 1 bedroom plus study. This unique layout has windows facing north and south, a spacious kitchen, and generous bedroom. The building has common laundry and a common roof deck.  Available for rent June 1st for $2400.

Apartment for Rent at 27 Anderson St #6

In the Leather District, 181 Essex Street offers a beautiful new construction one bedroom in a professionally managed elevator building. Every room gets incredible afternoon light. The kitchen offers gas cooking, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances. Laundry is in unit and private storage is included in the building. Pets are possible with references. Available for rent June 1st for $2900.

Apartment for Rent at 181 Essex Street #405

If you have any questions or would like schedule a private showing, contact Alisa Peterson at alisa.peterson@sothebysrealty.com or 617-997-2414. If none of these are quite what you are looking for you can search apartments for rent in Boston on our site. Or contact us as we may have other options for you.

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Investment Property Inspection and Reinspection Ordinance

Boston’s real estate market has a somewhat transient nature. The high number of colleges and universities along with medical and financial jobs opportunities lead to thousands of people moving in and around the Boston area every year. We see this in the sales market but much more so in the rental market. Because of the need for rental housing, savvy investors purchase investment property they then offer as apartments for rent.

The way to build wealth in real estate is to buy and hold on to property, which is why most people buy condos in the city now with the idea of renting when they move to something bigger later. However, many investors think on a larger scale. They don’t see one condo to rent out, they want the whole building. Both types of landlords are great and much needed in this city, however some changes are in the works that investors should know about.

Since Boston has hundreds of colleges and thousands of students, dorms are constantly full. The appeal of being off campus in a vibrant city can also make dorm living seem less than attractive. Unfortunately for them, not everyone rents to undergraduate students (students are not a protected class, so landlords can refuse to rent to them). For undergraduates, options are slim and not very ideal. In fact, some conditions are downright inhumane. It is with this in mind that the City of Boston, has been drafting and re-drafting a new law to increase rental property inspections and have owners that do not seem to care about their properties, tenants, and neighbors, take more responsibility.

New ordinance for investment property in BostonPresently, inspections only occur when the lease expires. The proposed law, Rental Housing Inspection Ordinance, will mandate inspections of over 140,000 rental apartment units in Boston, with each unit inspected at least once every 5 years. Owners would be required to register for $25 per unit and pay a $15 annual fee. Prices are higher for any owner who wants to enroll in an alternative compliance plan available to property owners in good standing and a favorable history of compliance. The new ordinance includes any owner who rents out their condominiums. The law requires owners to report any transfer of ownership within 30 days of closing and stipulates the owner of the property (or the acting agent for a trust) have their name, address, and phone number on the mailbox at the property. A P.O. Box does not comply with the address requirement. It also requires any non-local owner to have a Boston-based resident agent.

The goal of this new law is to protect many of the tenants living in problem properties and to force the owners to take offenses seriously. “Problem Properties” are considered by the city as properties that the Police Department has been called to no fewer than four times, the Air Pollution Control Commission has received no fewer than four complaints, or the Inspection Services Department or Public Health Commission has received new fewer than four complaints all within a 12 month period.

The vote to pass this new ordinance can happen as early at December 19th, go into effect on January 1st, and have owners register by July 1st. For those about to buy investment property, keep these new rules in mind, the fees will affect your bottom line depending on the size and location of your building.

UPDATE: The Boston City Council voted 9-4 to approve the rental registration ordinance on December 19, 2012.

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Real Estate Tips: Fire Safety Regulations for BBQ Grills

Legal Grill on Roof Deck in BostonRecently there was a roof deck fire in Boston’s South End neighborhood on Wellington St. off of Columbus Ave before Massachusetts Ave. This fire started on the roof deck at 20 Wellington St. and eventually spread to the 4th floor deck of 18 Wellington St. This hit a little too close to home for me since I had a client move into an apartment earlier this summer that is two doors down from the fire. Fortunately, both he and his apartment are fine. My client was on his deck when the fire started and was able to warn some of his neighbors.

After hearing about this fire, I learned there was another fire only a few days prior. This fire was in Roslindale and left 18 people displaced. Both fires were caused by propane grills.

To better understand what is legal and illegal regarding grills on decks, read the rules and regulations from the City of Boston, but here are the basics:

  • Charcoal grills are not allowed on or within a building structure. The only place charcoal grills are permitted would be on an unenclosed ground level patio.
  • Propane gas grills are not allowed on decks or patios above the first floor and are only permitted in an enclosed area.
  • Piped-in natural gas grills are allowed as long as they have been professionally installed. Of course, before anyone does installations for grills, check the condo docs for any language regarding grills and get approval from the condo association.

It is hard for me to stress the rules to clients whenI am on a showing, out on the deck on a gorgeous day standing next to the current occupant’s illegal bbq grill. It’s even harder when the clients are pointing out all the other grills on the decks of multiple neighbors. This is a testament to how many people think this can’t happen to them. After seeing all the damage a fire from a simple bbq can cause, I will continue to stress that it is not allowed and not worth the risk.

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New Development for Albany Street in Boston’s South End

New Developments at Albany and TravelerThe South End’s New York Streets neighborhood is going to have a major face lift over the next few years. One of the changes is going to be at the former Boston Herald site, which will be developed into a 471 residential complex with a 50,000 sq ft Whole Foods called the Ink Block.

The latest development is a lot on Albany St. will be from Traveler St. to East Berkeley St. currently functioning as a parking lot in front of a large aquatic mural featuring killer whales frolicking in the ocean. New Jersey based real estate developer Normandy Real Estate Partners have submitted plans to build a 220 unit apartment complex and a 325 room hotel. They have not mentioned what hotel will occupy the space but they did mention it will offer “a low cost alternative to current hotels.” Sandwiched between the two buildings will be an above ground parking garage with 165 parking spaces.

As well as adding new residential units to the South End, this project will also enhance it’s surroundings by improving the landscape, paving, and lighting. These enhancements will greatly improved what is now a somewhat depressing and barren area.

New Development Site on Albany StreetHowever, the project could negatively affect some area residents. The apartment complex will be 19 stories high which could potentially obstruct the view of the Boston skyline from the Macallen building and Court Square Press building. Today, residents in South Boston, particularly in those buildings, have an incredible view of the Boston skyline. Hopefully the design of the building will only enhance the skyline view.

Contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate if you are interested in learning about properties for sale in the South End or South Boston.

UPDATE: Per the Boston Herald, Normandy Real Estate Partners have brought in Gerding Edlen, a company currently building a rental high-rise in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. The co-developers have decided to scrap the hotel portion of their plans and proceed with an all residential project consisting of two buildings and up to 380 units. The amended plans will be reviews at a public meeting the BRA has scheduled for February 26.

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How Clean is Clean? Real Estate Etiquette for Those Moving Out

Sellers and renters, by law, are only responsible to broom sweep their old home. This is another instance where you have to let your conscience be your guide. Ask yourself, “When I’m exhausted from packing and moving everything I own into a truck, do I really want to clean my new home that I just purchased or rented before I can put any of my things down?” I’m sure the answer would be “no.”

Clean Your Old Home Yourself and Save Money

I understand the last thing you want to do after a long day of packing and moving all of your belongings into a truck is to clean a place that is no longer yours. Here are a few ways you can motivate yourself to do it.

One : it’s good karma (if you believe in that)! But bottom line it is the right thing to do. Always leave a home the way you would want to walk into your new one.

Two : for the security deposit. The last thing you want is to have to pay for someone else to clean a place you no longer live in. If you are selling, the last thing you want is for your deal to go south at the final moments or have the buyer come after you.

Three : your old landlord will think well of you, which is key if you ever need a landlord reference in the future.

Cleaning your old place doesn’t have to take hours, but hit the important areas:

  • Remove all stains in the bathroom (hint: bleach takes care of about everything in the bathroom).
  • Make sure you leave nothing behind in the cupboards since not everyone will want your leftovers.
  • It’s amazing what a difference clean floors make, so vacuum and/or mop the floors.
  • Thoroughly clean the fridge. This task should take the longest. Many people are very particular about their food and what is near it. I am not one to judge, everyone has their eccentricities and since this is now someone else’s home it should be respected as such.

Even though you may not be legally obligated to professionally clean your old home, proper real estate etiquette is to clean it throughly whether you are renting or selling real estate.

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Buying a Home: How Do You Know If You Are Ready?

If you have been searching for rentals in Boston in the last couple years, you may have noticed that it is tough. Inventory is limited and prices keep rising. There are three things renters can do. One: pay the rising rates. Two: look farther outside the city than originally planned. Three: stop renting and purchase. Many people today feel that investing in real estate is safer than investing in stocks and with good reason. Real estate in Boston has not been hurt as much as the rest of the country and rentals in the city are consistently in high demand. If you are on the fence on buying real estate, here are a couple signs you may be ready.

Buying real estate in Boston may be a better option than rentingOne: you know what you want. If you have a realistic idea of the size you need and the location where you want to live for the next few years and you  haven’t found it on the rental market, take a look at what is on the sales market. The rental market in Boston favors landlords. The inventory is limited and owners can get not only their asking price but also first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security deposit (each equal to one month) and not have to pay a broker’s fee.

Two: you have the finances. The upfront costs of renting an apartment in Boston are higher than most cities around the nation. Many people looking for quality rentals in Boston  are surprised how little they get for the money. With many banks loosening restrictions on who can get mortgages, it is worth your time to speak with a mortgage broker about types of loans and available rates.

If you are weary of buying because you do not want to be locked into a mortgage on the chance your career moves you to another city, keep in mind that you could hold onto your home as an investment property. With a tenant paying rent, you can build equity while someone pays your mortgage for you.

Contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate if you are interested in learning more about purchasing a home.

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Relocating to Boston: How My Brain Had No Part in the Decision

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Deciding to leave your hometown for a new one is a big decision and takes a lot of planning, none of which I did when I relocated to Boston. I relocated without much thought of what I was getting myself into. For those of you about to relocate to Boston, I would like to share with you a few things I wish I knew when I uprooted my life and made the move across the country.

I’m originally from Los Angeles, CA and I was often asked, “Why did you relocate to Boston?” I would say it was for a new adventure, I wanted real seasons, or I was tired of driving everywhere and wanted to live car-free. But the real reason was a boy. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic and, yes, it was the best move I ever made. My boyfriend had to move back to Boston and I came with him, his dog, and cat. I was lucky that he already knew the city and I relied on him entirely for what Boston neighborhood to live in, how much we could spend, how to find apartments…everything.

Relocate to Boston with Dog

Now that I’ve lived here for 4 years, the first year in Beacon Hill and the last 3 years in the South End, I wish there were a few things I knew before I relocated to Boston. One thing in particular was that the majority of Boston rentals are on a September cycle. We were looking in July for an apartment in August that would accept both a dog and cat. So not only was there limited inventory, we added the extra hurdle of needing a pet-friendly apartment. Fortunately, we did do our research, set up appointments with both owners and brokers, and were able to find an apartment in Beacon Hill.

Another surprise was the upfront cost of renting an apartment in Boston. Legally owners cannot ask for more than first month, last month, one month security deposit, and cost for a new key and lock. With Boston being one of the top three most expensive cities to rent, most owners will ask for all of it. If you use a Realtor, expect to pay another month’s rent for their fee. Sometimes the fee can be split with the owner, but Boston is an owners’ market and most owners do not need to split the fee because they know another renter will be willing to pay the fee in order to get the apartment. Not much would have changed if I had known beforehand about the upfront costs but I would have liked to not been blindsided.

I was lucky when I relocated to Boston because I had someone with me that had an idea of what we needed to do. If I had done it alone, I know it would have been too overwhelming. Fortunately, since I became a Realtor, I am now in a position to help with relocating to Boston with the full understanding of how hard it really is.

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Renting Your Home that has Not Sold

If your property has been sitting on the sales market for a while and you have already moved, you may want to consider renting your home. A tenant’s rent payment can pay for the mortgage, which can take off the pressure that might cause you to make rash financial decisions. You may decide in the end to keep the home as an investment property or you could wait until the market improves to sell your property.

The housing market has been on a roller coaster to say the least and Boston has not been immune. Rental property in Boston continues to be in high demand. But before you decide on renting your home consider a few things.

When to start the lease is an important factor to consider. September 1st has the most turnover of any date for rentals in Boston and any time between the spring and September 1 is considered to be “in season.” Winter is the worst time for renting your home because less people are looking for housing at that time of year.

South End Brownstone that can be Rented Out while on Sales MarketBecause Boston’s rental market has such dramatic seasons, you need to factor this into your decision of how long of a lease you want. If you want to keep your home on the sales market, a short-term lease gives you the most flexibility but there is the risk of gaps in occupancy. Also know that most short-term tenants want their rental to be furnished. Fortunately there are many companies throughout Boston that will furnish a home for a monthly rate, but furnishing a condo or a house is not cheap.

To secure a long-term tenant, it would be best to commit to taking your property off the sales market once a lease in in place since tenants are unlikely to commit to the possibility of showing the property for sale and then having to move if a sale does occur. With a long-term lease you would be less likely to have gaps in occupancy and you can structure the lease length to work to your advantage. For instance, if you want to put your home back up for sale in a year, have the lease run until the end of January or February of the following year, so you can have it ready for the spring sales market.

You will also need to figure out a fair price to ask for renting your home. Like pricing your home for sale, the right price for renting your home can have it rented quickly. For the best insight into the current market, get the opinion of knowledgeable Realtors.

Renting your home can be a great option if isn’t selling, but it is important that you know what options are available and what will work best for you. For more information, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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Pet Friendly Apartments and Condos

Pet friendly real estate is not always easy to come by in Boston. Whether you are buying a condo or renting an apartment, having pets in the city may cause some hurdles in your home search. It’s nothing personal, I have a dog and two cats, and I’m sure your four legged friend is the best in the history of all animals. I know mine are and the search for my apartment was still difficult.

When you see condo or apartment listings that say “no pets,” “pets allowed: no,” or “pet policy: none” it usually means no pets are allowed. I want to make that clear so you don’t waste your time, especially since inventory for pet friendly apartments and condos is limited and moves fast. When you see an apartment or condo listing that says “pets negotiable”, that means we as Realtors have some wiggle room. Some pet policies come from individual owners, some come from condo association rules, and some buildings flat out do not allow any pets. How pet friendly the pet friendly apartment is, depends on where the pet policy comes from.

Dog Friendly Apartments in the CityTo save time in your search for a pet friendly apartment or condo for your dog, there is some information that you should have ready. First, know the breed of your dog. Second, know how much your dog weighs. Some pet friendly apartment buildings and condo buildings have breed restrictions and some have weight restrictions. If you don’t know the exact weight or breed, that is fine, just give your best guess. Be as accurate as possible on your guess because some owners or condo associations will want to meet your pet before they let you move in. Cats are fairly easy compared to dogs, either they are allowed or they are not allowed.

Also, have a reference letter for your pet ready from your landlord, management company, or even neighbor. For some owners or condo boards that are on the fence about your pet, it could help.

For help finding a pet-friendly home, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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