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Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!

Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« on: April 20, 2005, 11:05:33 AM »
Hey all,
I'm moving to Boston in June and am looking for a place and came across this company that gets people in touch with unlisted apartments for rent without brokers fees.
They also:
-Guarentee an apartment by your move in date.
-Get you set up with owners that have great deals but don't list them (so that they don't get overwhelmed with bad applicants).
They charge a $275 fee. 

Please help, I'm in Pittsburgh and finding an apartment here is not nearly as complicated.
Is this kind of thing a good idea or is this company just trying to shake some money out of an ignorant out-of-towner?

The website is grandcentralapartments.com

Any advice would be great!

jacy85

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2005, 11:11:03 AM »
I've never heard of that company before, so I can't say if they're a rip off or not.

Be careful with Craiglist, there are people trying to screw you out of money. A girl that went to Harvard Extension school adn used to work at my firm is now being prosecuted for this.

Try not to use a traditional realtor.  You'll have to pay first, last and security for most apartments (security = 1 month rent), and most realtors with charge a fee also equal to 1 months rent.  So cash out of pocket right away is 4 months rent.

Give your school a call, or see if they have housing boards or something.  Maybe they have a realtor that they recommend people go through, who maybe will change a discounted fee or something.

The Boston housing market sucks, so best of luck to you.  It's tough to find an apartment here without living here, but it can be done (and is done all the time).  Nonetheless, I'm glad to be moving down to Atlanta!

good luck!

bdc

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2005, 11:20:38 AM »
jacy,

how come, it seems, most apt are only available in june or sept?  School starts in aug for me and I want to be moved in by aug 1.  am I missing something or it the system that is in place and I just have to deal with it?  I am really concerned about this.  I dont want to be in moving flux while in my first two weeks of school.

manserunt

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2005, 11:24:51 AM »
With Boston, start early.  When I lived there (about 3 years ago) if you didn't have a place lined up 2-3 months in advance, you were screwed.

Boston is America's #1 college town.  It drives the housing market, so apartments become available in June (when students move out) and gets crazy in September (when students are moving in - I gather most area schools start in early September, although most law schools start a bit earlier).

I would recommend not using a broker if you can help it.  Boston apartments are expensive enough without paying them a month's rent for 15 minutes worth of time.  Craigslist is okay, but I used Bostonapartments.com (which is best if you're looking to live with a roommate).

jacy85

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2005, 11:26:42 AM »
I'd say 50% of leases start in September b/c that's when all the undergrads move in.  Another 40% start June 1st because that's when recent graduates need to get a place to live, and don't want to sublet over the summer.  I'd say maybe 10% of apartments come up at other times of the year, at least in Allston/Brighton/Brookline.  It might be different in the actual 'burbs.

It's not really a system in place, it's just how it is. People aren't looking to move in July or August.

In your case, you maybe be stuck using a realtor, and I suggest calling as many as possible to see if any have any August lisiting.  My bf moved in August coming up on 2 years ago now, so it is possible.

Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2005, 11:31:42 AM »
The person I spoke to at this place said there are no broker's fees and that they can typically also get you out of the security deposit.

Does all this sound better than a broker??

Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2005, 11:32:37 AM »
I've lived in Boston my whole life, and NONE of the five apartments I've lived in were gotten through a realtor... I always try tem, but have always ended up finding something better or cheaper on my own.

I've had good luck with craigslist, and one apartment came through MIT's housing board.  otherwise it has just been looking through the Boston Globe and word of mouth.

I've never heard of grandcentralapartments.com either, and it sounds a little sketchy... What neighborhood are you looking at?

 

manserunt

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2005, 11:35:13 AM »
I think the no fee, no security deposit set-up sounds like a scam.

jacy85

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Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2005, 11:36:04 AM »
Yeah, anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

Re: Hey Boston People--need advice on apartment hunting!!
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 11:48:32 AM »
I've lived in Boston my whole life, and NONE of the five apartments I've lived in were gotten through a realtor... I always try tem, but have always ended up finding something better or cheaper on my own.

I've had good luck with craigslist, and one apartment came through MIT's housing board.  otherwise it has just been looking through the Boston Globe and word of mouth.

I've never heard of grandcentralapartments.com either, and it sounds a little sketchy... What neighborhood are you looking at?

 
Yeah, anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

I'm looking around the Beacon Hill, Fennway, Jamica Plain area.

I was a bit wary of this agency because when I told the person that I would look into it and get back to them she was trying to sign me up right there; she started pressuring me to get in touch with her by the end of the day because my move in date is so close (6/1).