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How to get an apartment?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Scarlet Fire, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Scarlet Fire

    Scarlet Fire

    Mar 31, 2007
    New England
    Due to some rather extraordinary circumstances in the past week, my friend and I have very suddenly found ourselves in need of getting an apartment for next September. Neither of us have ever gone apartment hunting before, and to be frank, we have no clue what it was we're doing. So, can any of you guys provide some wisdom for a couple of clueless college kids?

    And in case this makes a difference, the person I'd be sharing the apartment is a girl. We're not dating, nor are we going to date, nor are we going to hook up. We are friends, and this is an arrangement of convenience.
  2. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Save enough money for first and last months rent, security deposit, electricity, phone, cable, internet, furniture, cook ware, silver ware and other necessities that you'll be needing for when you move in.

    Find apartment that is within your budget that you can tolerate living in for a while, secure apartment, once you have the apartment secured then call the cable/phone/internet and electric company to have all that turned on, get moving truck and move everything in.
  3. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    So, a one bedroom should be good for you two lovebirds?

    Not much to know really. You'll need money for a deposit and often first/last months rent.

    Finding places is fairly easy. Check the back of local free papers for classified ads. There's tons of stuff online from craigslist to more local oriented renting ads. Your school may be of assistance in providing locations to check out too. You are not going to be the only students attending there who live off campus.

    Only real issue besides that is whether you're leasing or renting month to month. Both have inherent advantages and disadvantages.

    What specifically are you trying to find out?
  4. Letting agencies are also your best friend, especially the ones who cater for 'students and young professionals'.

    Normally they'll have offices with adverts on the walls and also online. These usually detail the address of the house, the rent per week and for the month, facilities and any additional info.

    I suggest you try and ask yourself the following:
    -House or apartment?
    -Which area do I want to be in?
    -Furnished or unfurnished?
    - Max rent you're willing and able to pay.
    - The facilities you want- washing machines, some furniture, car (if either or both of you drive), bath/showering etc.
    - Number of bedrooms

    Then you can go to the office and see what's available. Usually the letting co. will have lists organised by the number of bedrooms, and then organised by rent. You can then ask staff about the houses and flats you think are going to be the best for you, and organise viewings.
    Make sure you:
    - ask about any 'additional' costs such as service charges
    - ask about whether bills are included
    - DO organise viewings- the adverts can be deceptive.
    - ask about when the rent starts- some start at the end of an academic year, whilst you might be able to get a rent starting in September.

    You should also make sure you have a deposit available. This is usually equivalent to a
    month's rent plus an admin charge. You'll get this back though at the end of the year.

    After you've decided on a property, you'll sign a contract and be able to move in! You'll need to notify the utilities companies of the change of tenants so you'll get your bills, and also to get them to turn on the power and other utilities.

    After that then you should be sorted. But generally I've had no bother.
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    go to one of those apartment finder places... they get their fee from the apartment not you..
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Get renters insurance. Get a rider on your music gear if you play out.
  7. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    You're in Boston, dude. Hop on google, not talkbass.

    I bet bostonapartments dot com exists and is just waiting for you to search it.

    Good luck on not sleeping with your new roommate.
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Assuming you are in boston, craigslist is your best bet. Better get on it soon, the good apartments for september leasing go quick, and since sept-sept is the usual college rental timing, most people look early.

    Plan on putting down 4 months rent (first, last, security dep, and realtor's fee) when you get the place. Where are you looking specifically? If you're in school, where do you go to school? I can make some recommendations of where NOT to live in Boston haha. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.

    Bostonapartments.com does exist, and the guys who run that rental company are a bunch of d-bags. As are most of the people at most of the rental companies.

    This is the link for all apartment listings in the boston area: http://boston.craigslist.org/aap/

    You'd do better looking here, the no-fee apartments, mostly geared toward college students, and it saves you one months rent: http://boston.craigslist.org/nfa/
  9. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    If I was in Boston I'd look for an apartment with heating included in the rent. Good options in Revere, Saugus or maybe Malden, unless you have no car and needs to be downtown. You may want to look in Hispanic or Brazilian stores for ads, since they are all leaving the country and passing good deals on renting, like first month and a contract only, with no deposits or hidden fees...
  10. Never pay your rent with cash. Always use a check.
    If there are ever any disputes you have no proof of payment if you use cash.

    Google "landlord-tenant" for the state you will be living in. There should be something in a PDF file you can download from the department of administration that has all the laws, and do's-and-don'ts for both the landlord and tenant. This way you will know if someone is trying to take advantage of you and you will also not have to assume anything on your part as a tenant.
  11. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I used Chicago Apartment Finders once and I used Apartments.com and Rent.com for the other.

    CAF is just a locator service. The people were nice enough and they knew more specifically we could find what i was looking for. For me, it was cheap and in a relatively safe neighborhood near public transit. I saw 3 apartments and picked 1 out of those.

    With Apartments.com & Rent.com, it took a bit more work, but i was able to find a nice enough place. My current apartment is from the service. I dig it overall. This place the building manager is live in....and thinks she is our parent/relative. My last place, it was a 9-5 building manager. That side of things-i vastly preferred the 9-5 guy. He was really friendly, got the job done, and would listen to any questions,comments, or concerns. The current one...I'm reminded of an aunt that is a bit crazy.

    With you & the roommate, it sounds like you need a 2 bedroom place. I'm not sure what the Boston common practices are, here, I had to pay: First month's rent, security deposit (equal to one month's rent) and that's it. The "finders fee" was the first month's rent.

    Some stuff that can sneak up on you...TRUCK RENTAL! It always ends up costing more than I anticipate. I cite me being a horrible driver that can get lost going 2 blocks. Installation fees for internet, phone, cable, etc. With AT&T DSL [what i have now]-there wasn't much of a fee/any. I looked into upgrading to RCN Cable internet, but there's an install fee. I'm nearing the end of my lease [it's up in July], so I'm just riding it out with the DSL.

    I'm glad that I am living in my own apartment. Good luck finding one that fits the bill!
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I agree with you, but on the not paying in cash-it depends on if you get a receipt or not. I pay my rent in cash every month...i get a receipt that shows that I paid $XXX on whatever day and what form of payment I used. If I didn't get a receipt for every transaction, I'd agree with you 100%.
  13. Fontaine


    Apr 27, 2006
    is she hot?
  14. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    important--is it going to be awkward if you actually manage to bring some chick home (and not someone you meet via random text message for coffee?)
  15. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    99% of apartments in the city include heat and hot water as they are buildings, not converted houses. I'd recommend allston/brighton, somerville, or JP before revere, saugus or malden as all of those are too far out of the city and would require you to take the tobin bridge/route 1 on a daily basis which would probably make you want to hang yourself.
  16. Scarlet Fire

    Scarlet Fire

    Mar 31, 2007
    New England
    Thanks for all the advice so far, guys. This is exactly the kind of stuff I needed to hear.

    Preferably, I'd get an apartment in the Back Bay, as that would mean I wouldn't need to pay for public transportation. Westland Avenue, the Fenway, any of those places would be perfect (though a bit on the expensive side).

    As for the roommate, I can say with absolute certainty that it won't be awkward. The reasons go much deeper than I really want to share on a public forum, but it's not going to be a problem.
  17. I've looked into apartments around my school as well, and for the place I'm currently living all they needed was a $150 security deposit at the start of my lease, no first/last month rent or anything. So you might need less saved then you think - depends on the place.

    Also check into maintenance at the place - do they have somebody to come fix the pipes if the sink stops working, or do you have to learn to do it yourself?
    Parking is a big issue up here, because street parkers have to move when the city plows the streets, which makes the indoor parking offered here really nice,and also expensive. My roommates pay almost $100 a month to park in the garage here. So that could be an issue for you if you have a car.

    +1 for checking on what kind of manager is available and when. It makes a big difference for me, because packages go to the office here and the office is closed on the weekends = no new bass gear on the weekends :(
    If you meet the manager and dont like them, it's not a good sign...

    Goodluck, and have fun!
  18. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Don't cheap out. Be willing to spend a little more per month than you budgeted for conveniences like location, quality of laundry facilities, concierge services, gym, entertainment room, etc....

  19. Fontaine


    Apr 27, 2006
    But, is she hot?
  20. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If you're looking at westland you can find some ok places, but the friends I have who lived there mostly complained about the unresponsive management company who owns the buildings. I lived in the fineberg buildings on boylston, which were ok. A little overpriced for what you get, but they're a short walk from northeastern (where I'm doing my degrees), berklee, the conservatory, etc. Plus they just moved guitar center right there. The downside to that whole area is red sox season because the traffic blows. There are some nice places on hemenway as well. If you go further down comm ave there are some good places too, but it gets more expensive as you move closer to beacon hill.

    The good news is that if you're looking in that region you can most likely find a place without a realtor's fee and heat and hot water included, which should save you some cash in the long run.

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