Tag Archives: rent an apartment

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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Should I Rent or Should I Buy Now?

The real estate market has been dynamic over the last few years to say the least. The dramatic highs and lows have left many wondering if they should rent an apartment or buy a home. Each option has its own merits and drawbacks and it is important to figure out what is the best option for you right now. Consider these arguments during your internal rent vs buy debate.

 

Should I Rent?

 

Renting is a great option for those that are still trying to figure out what their plan is. Many cities have wonderful neighborhoods with distinct flavors and personalities. Renting gives someone the option to try out different neighborhoods and find which is the best fit for his or her lifestyle. Buying is an investment synonymous with putting down roots and many people want to know their surroundings before choosing where to settle.

Renting offers short-term commitment. The most common lease contract is for a year-long commitment and there are also short-term leases that can be from 3 months to 6 months and Tenancy-at-Will contracts which are just month-to-month commitments.

The ability to test out an area with little commitment makes renting seem ideal until you realize renting also means you are throwing your money away. Renting does not build credit or equity. In fact, by paying your rent, you are paying someone else’s mortgage and building someone else’s equity and credit.

The tax breaks for renters are limited. In Massachusetts, renters can only deduct 50% of the rent they paid in a calendar year with the maximum deduction for rent being $3000. Meaning if your rent is more than $500, you are not going to see any difference.

Another drawback is rent is always going up! Especially in high demand cities with low vacancy rates. What you could spend to get a one bed in the suburbs could maybe get you a closet in the city. Then there are also the upfront costs.  Unless you are moving into a rental complex that only wants first month’s rent, most owners want at least first and last month’s rent. Some will ask for a security deposit and if you are using a broker you will need to pay for a fee. To rent an apartment, you need to have 2-4 months rent saved at lease signing. Then there is the expense of actually moving: the boxes, the moving truck, movers, etc.

After you have an apartment, the landlord can be an issue. With thousands of landlords and even more tenants, each with a unique personality, it’s not possible for every tenant to get along with every landlord. Some will be great and others not so great and there is no way to tell which one you are going to get until after you are already in your lease. In the worst case scenario, this can make for a very long year.

 

Rent vs Buy: Which Best Fits My Lifestyle?

 

Should I Buy?

 

Buying a home can be scary at first. With all the horror stories throughout the nation (foreclosures, short sales, underwater mortgages, money pits, the inability to sell, etc.), it is easy to think that renting is safer than buying. Buying can be scary because it brings responsibility and commitment. Basically, it means becoming a grown-up.

Fortunately there are more reasons to buy than there are not to!

Sales prices have fallen and mortgage rates are at an all time low. The combination makes housing affordability as low as we have seen in a decade and possibly as low as we will see for the next decade.

There are more tax deductions for homeowners than renters. Homeowners can deduct their mortgage interest, property taxes, and certain home improvements also qualify for deductions.

When you are paying for your own property, you are putting your money toward building your own equity and credit. You are paying off your own mortgage rather than seeing your money go to someone else’s pocket.

If you buy your property as a long term investment, it is like putting money into the bank. The more equity you build, the more you can borrow for future purchases, such as renovations  to your home or your child’s college tuition.

If it is the responsibility and commitment that is scary, then buy a condo. The size won’t be overwhelming. Plenty of condos are located in professionally-managed buildings or buildings that have property managers to handle repairs and maintenance. In a few years, if you decide to move onto something bigger, you can sell the property but you could also rent it out and have someone else pay the mortgage and build your equity.

To learn more about buying or renting property, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

Schedule a consultation with a Realtor

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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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About to View Property? Here are Some Do’s and Don’ts

Not too many people put much thought into etiquette these days even when going to view property to buy or rent. It’s not anyone’s fault, it is just how society has evolved. When I talk about etiquette, I don’t mean to conjure images of Victorian Britain and reruns of Upstairs Downstairs. I am simply speaking of the basics in proper behavior dictated by certain situations. For example, appropriate behavior does exist when one is going to view property. It’s nothing complex, it is common sense behavior that follows the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

For those who are just starting their search to buy property or rent property in Boston please help us help you.

First, if you are working with a Realtor, be aware that just because you are available in the next hour, your Realtor, the listing agent, or the current occupant might not be. If you are available within the hour, do let your realtor know but also give other times you are available.

Second, when you are going to view property, bring everyone that needs to see it. Inventory in Boston is limited and moves fast. If this property is for roommates, a couple, or a single occupant that needs parent approval, make sure everyone can see it. I am not saying multiple showings are inappropriate, but in the time it takes to schedule and reschedule showings, someone else can come in and scoop it up.

Third, even if the listing is pet-friendly, leave the dog at home. Again, this property is someone else’s home and that someone may choose to not have a pet regardless of the pet policy. They may have allergies or a fear of dogs and forcing one into their home is disrespectful. Or they may have pets that may not want another animal in their home.

Fourth, don’t ask to use the bathroom. Just don’t.

Fifth, if you are looking at property for sale, look beyond the paint and the furniture. This was how the current or previous owner made it their home, you can change it to make it yours. When comments about the decor are being made, one is not always sure who may be listening. Not to mention those comments are irrelevant and off-topic when it comes to the task at hand, which is finding your next home.

These are not fixed rules; there may be agents who disagree with some of these, and there may be agents who have even more rules. We are not trying to make anyone on edge when viewing property, because buying property is stressful enough without thinking about behavior at the viewing. All we ask is to think of it in this way: If you are planning to rent or sell your property, think about how you would want people to treat you and your property when viewing it.

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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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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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