Where to Start
Before deciding to move off campus, check out these resources to learn more about the apartment search process, including what to look for in an apartment.
There are many things to keep in mind when you are looking to rent an apartment for the first time. Here are some questions to consider before starting your search:
What is your monthly budget?
Knowing your budget early on will help you determine the price range you should stick to when searching for apartments. You may also find that you will need to live with roommates or look for a part-time job to live in certain apartments.
Who will you live with?
You can choose to live by yourself, with friends, or look to rent a room in an apartment that is renting other rooms to other tenants. It’s important to decide this ahead of time so that you can narrow down your search criteria.
When deciding how many roommates to have, keep in mind that no more than 4 full-time undergraduate students may live in the same apartment in the city of Boston.
How many bedrooms do you need?
Once you know who you’re going to live with, it’s important to determine if everyone is looking for their own room or if some friends are willing to share a space. For those looking to live alone, are you interested in a studio apartment (where your rooms are connected and there usually isn't a defined living space) or a 1-bedroom apartment (where there is a defined bedroom and another defined living area)?
What kind of neighborhood would you like to live in?
This will help you determine the cost of rent and if you need to look into how you will travel to campus if it isn’t close by.
Do you need parking or access to a T station?
It’s important to decide if you’ll have a car that you’ll need to park or if you’re going to take public transportation to campus. Keep in mind that not all neighborhoods have street parking, and some apartments charge a fee to rent a parking space. Be sure to budget gas, T-passes, and parking into your expenses.
Will you have a co-signer?
A co-signer is someone who also signs a lease, becoming legally obligated to pay your rent and fees if you become unable to do so. Landlords will ask for someone to have a co-signer if that person either has a bad credit score or limited credit history. It’s important to ask a potential co-signer about how much they’re willing to sign for, as that will affect your rent price range.
Other Things to Consider
- Where you will live and store your belongings until your lease starts.
- Standard leases usually start on September 1 and go through August 31. If you know you can’t make this full commitment, it’s important to speak with your landlord and make alternative arrangements before signing your lease.
- Where you will get furniture (most apartments come unfurnished).
- How much you will need to budget to cover the upfront expenses.
- Renter’s insurance.