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Whether you are a life-long resident of the Greater Boston area or new to the city, here are some helpful hints to assist you with your apartment search:

  • Good apartments rent quickly!  Largely because of its enormous student population, the greater Boston rental market explodes beginning mid-January and continues until August 31st.   Unless a real estate office has exclusive rights to rent a particular apartment, showings for the units are shared by MANY Real Estate offices.  Competition, therefore, can be fierce and apartment availability is an ever-changing process, often hour to hour.  The best strategy is to look at as many apartments as possible during a short period of time and be prepared to put down applications and a check for one month’s rent to take the best off the market.  
  • Many landlords require 24 hours notice to show an apartment so try to call your agent at least a day or two before you want to see places and plan around your work/school schedule, accordingly.
  • Narrow your search to 2 or 3 areas at most.  It’s helpful to physically explore, and speak with others about the neighborhoods you intend to rent prior to viewing apartments there, especially if you’re from outside of Boston.  This will help your agent to do a more detailed search of only the apartments in your top areas.  The following is a link to an informative Boston Neighborhoods descriptive site:  www.bosarchitecture.com/neighborhoods.html
  • Learn the price range you should expect to spend in the areas you are considering.   If you are considering areas outside of Boston you will always get a better deal there, so eliminate those areas first before looking in the city.  See the Boston area rental chart below as a good guideline to what you should expect to spend.  If you are on the lower end of the price range you probably aren’t going to see newly renovated places, so if you need a really nice place it’s important to know that you will need to spend a bit more. 
  • Pets:  Almost all landlords will permit cats.  Your rental options, however, will be dramatically reduced if you have, or plan to get, a dog.  About 85% of landlords do not allow dogs.  Some buildings are “Pet Friendly” and may require an extra monthly or annual fee, while others may exclude certain breeds (e.g., Pit Bull) or dogs over a certain size (e.g., 40 lbs).  
  • Communication and staying connected with your agent is paramount in helping your agent to serve you best.  Phone responders, especially early in the process, will have a better chance of getting updated information on apartments, communicating your changing needs, and being served in real time amid a long queue of apartment seekers with whom the agent may be working.  
  • Financials:  If you are a student you will be required to get a co-signer/guarantor.  If you are professional you will have to show good credit and the rent cannot exceed 40% of your income for most apartments.  Boston area landlords generally require 2-3 months rent (first, last, and security deposit) prior to moving into the apartment. Occasionally, a small key deposit and/or lock change fee may apply.  The first month’s rent, applications, credit reports, copy of ID’s, Fee Disclosure, and co-signer forms might be required to take an apartment off the market.  Once you are approved, the lease and any required paperwork are submitted along with the remaining funds
  • Broker’s FeeSome landlords will pay a full months brokers fee, some will pay a portion (½ paid by landlord ½ by tenant), but most won’t pay any especially during the busy season from mid-January – end of August.  In other cases, a landlord may be willing to negotiate.  Always ask your agent what the fee arrangement is for each apartment you see. 

Finally, as a courtesy, let your agent know if you’ve suspended your search for any reason (found an apartment on your own, via another real estate office, or have postponed your move/search plans).

Best of luck!  We look forward to helping you find a great place!

Still have questions? Want to know what rental listings are available in your area? Contact Carol Parker at CParker@MandrellCo.com

City Of Boston Market Rents – 2013

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Should You Require Your Tenants to Have Renters Insurance?

Should you require your tenants to purchase Renters Insurance? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Your home owner’s insurance policy will most likely not cover tenant personal items in the event of a loss. Most policies pay out to cover the repair or replacement of the building itself but not the personal items inside. Your tenants should be made aware of this fact at move in and reminded of it on a consistent basis.
  2. Most tenants do not purchase renters insurance for a variety of different reasons. Some tenants believe the policy premiums will come at a cost they cannot afford or they may believe that the value of their belongings is not worth buying coverage.  
  3. Renters insurance can be paid in installments and can be as low as $10-$25 per month for approximately $25,000 worth of coverage. You may also buy coverage for your tenants and consider including it into the price of their rent.  Policies are not hard to find and can usually be purchased at the same companies that offer auto insurance.
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Dorchester Income Property Sales & Rental Market Update

Below is a quick rental market update for the Dorchester area. Apartment rental numbers are provided for the last 30 days while, multifamily sales are shown over the last 6 months. You can download a full report for both below!

Rental Market Statistics over the Last 30 Days:

Total Rental Listings Closed: 23

Average Rental Asking Price: $1,751

Average Number of Days to rental the apartment (DOM): 31.91

Average Price Landlord Received When Rented: $1,758

 Dorchester Rental Market Update – Download Full Report! 


Sold Multifamily Homes Over The Past 6 Months:

Total Number of Sold Listings: 106

Average Living Area (Square Feet):  3,511.95

Average Listing Price: $413,123  

Average (DOM) Days on Market: 58.50

Average Sales Price: $407,990

 Sold Dorchester Multifamily Homes – Download Full Report!


Want to know what your apartments are worth?  Want to know what your property is worth? Want statistics for a different area? Call us at 617-297-8641 or email your request to Contact@MandrellCo.com

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As a rental property owner you understand that tenant turnover can be very costly. Every time a tenant moves out there will be a period of loss rent, repair cost for the vacated unit as well as cost associated with finding a new tenant.  As a landlord it’s in your best interest to retain good tenants as long as possible and to do that you need to provide your tenants with comfortable and convenient living arrangements. Here are a few items every rental property owner should consider for their property.  


Create a place for your tenants to store personal items they don’t want to keep in their apartment. Often you can build several storage bins in the homes basement and assign one for each apartment. If you decide to use a common area like the basement, make sure each bin has a door and the tenant has the ability to lock their items away. This type of system does not need to be very fancy and can often be done with 2×4’s, plywood and a pad lock.    


On site laundry is a big plus for many tenants, especially during Boston’s cold winter months. On site laundry can include providing a washer and dryer to each tenant or just providing a washer and dryer “hook-up” for each tenant to access. In either case you will need to hire the services of a plumber an electrician.  If your tenants pay their own utilities then you’ll want to make sure your contractors are making electrical, gas and hot water connections with each separate unit. If you happen to pay utilities for your tenants then you should consider the added cost to adding this service in comparison to the added value.  You may consider adding a couple coin operated machines in this case.

Outdoor Space:

Yard space, a terrace, patio, and roof decks are all value added items here in the city. Any type of personal and private outdoor space you can provide your tenants is going to bring higher rents and longer term tenants.


Off street parking in Boston can go for big money. If you have land attached or near your rental property that can potentially be converted to parking spots, this could be a real nice opportunity to earn some extra cash.  We often meet landlords that spend a few thousand dollars leveling, paving, and marking out 2 or 3 parking spots, which they turn around rent for $150 per month.  Before a full year is over the spots have paid for themselves and everything going forward is profit.

Intercom & Alarm Systems

Safety and convenience is the name of the game. There are so many different types of intercom and alarm systems out and the prices are really responsible. If your rental property has more than 2 living levels, consider investing in an intercom system.  Many of them allow tenants to “buzz” guest in and some of them come with video capabilities so the tenant can view the individual at their door. Alarms systems are always a good idea. Anything to make you tenants feel safer is a good investment.

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