Are you trying to find a new apartment in Boston? If you’re moving to Boston for the first time, or you just looking for a new place, you’ve probably already discovered that Boston is a difficult market. The cost of living in Boston is infamously expensive, and hovers at around 50% higher than the national average, similar to other expensive US cities such as New York, LA, DC, and Chicago.
Where do you want your new apartment to be?
Boston has 23 official neighborhoods that all have different price ranges and characteristics. Do your research to find which spot is best for you.
For most folks, average prices in the neighborhood is the best starting point in the search. Check out this heat map of Boston rent prices, from Jeff Kaufman, a Software Engineer at Google. If you cannot afford living alone in Boston’s most hip neighborhoods, consider getting a roommate to help split up the cost. If you’re buying, consider getting a home with a space you can rent out. There are also many suburbs and adjacent cities that have lower costs and transportation options into the city.
The second consideration is your commute and getting around the city. Neighborhoods along the train lines of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) – commonly referred to as the “T”- are more sought after and will be more expensive. In other areas, the bus lines or commuter rail are convenient options to get from A to B. If you’re planning on using your car frequently, check out the traffic patterns on Google Maps or Waze, and check whether a parking space is included in your rent.
To find an apartment in Boston, neighborhood vibe is also key. If you want to be right in the middle of a busy city, consider Downtown, South Boston, or the Fenway/Kenmore area. If you are looking for a residential escape away from the hubbub, try Jamaica Plain or Mission Hill. The South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill are all higher end residential areas tucked away in the busy city.
Make sure to choose wisely, as this will be where you’ll spend most of your time. Check out the Olympia Boston location page to read more about the surrounding areas.
Make a budget for a new apartment
Plan your budget carefully – ask if heating and cooling is included in the price presented. Boston winters are very chilly, but the summer temperatures are not that much fun either. Is the laundry in-home, in-building, or at the laundromat around the corner? Does the price include everything you need? Decide whether or not you can afford your apartment only after you’ve carefully weighed all the financial responsibilities in your life. Here is a rundown of what to consider when you create your budget:
- Other Living Expenses
- Weekly/Monthly Groceries
- Gas for your car
- Public Transportation Money
- Phone Bill
- Credit Card Bill
- Loan Payments
Keeping even the smallest monthly payments in mind can help keep you out of financial stress and trouble later. Be realistic about how much money you already need to spend each month – rounding up can help build in some cushion in case you make any mistakes.
What you need to know about moving day
Did you finally find a new apartment in Boston? It’s time to plan the move!
Most of the rentals in the city are on the same lease cycle beginning September 1st. All of the local college students also be arrive at their dorms the same week. This causes extreme traffic, delays, and frustration throughout the entire city. If you can, avoid moving on September 1st. If you can’t, plan ahead. Both moving companies and truck rentals will be booked to capacity months in advance. Rates will also get higher as the end of the month creeps closer.
The most key advice for newcomers moving to Boston: If you are moving to your new Boston apartment in a rented truck: do not travel on Storrow Drive, Memorial Drive, or Soldiers Field Road. Your truck will not fit. Do not ignore the “Cars Only” signs.