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When is the Best Time to Sign a Lease for Your Boston Apartment?

Posted By: Cody Quach |  Oct 25

So, you’ve decided to rent a Boston apartment or are at least considering the idea. You may have heard that the best time of year to move to the city is in early September. Although it’s not ideal, it is the most common time to rent a Boston apartment. This is due to the fact that Bean Town is a college town. The vast majority of students start classes in early September. That means they need to be back on campus for 9/1 each year. That’s why most landlords and property managers have adopted the September 1st to September 1st lease agreement timeframe.

Additionally, the end of the summer means extremely hot weather- certainly not ideal moving conditions. Nobody would choose to move all of their stuff when it’s nearly 100 degrees outside. Wouldn’t you rather spend one of the last weekends of the summer at the beach or in a pool? There is also a ton of competition, to say the least. That means landlords are not typically offering many deals or price reductions for top tier apartments available 9/1.

They may also be stricter when it comes to the approval process. However, we do have some good news to share with you. Renting during the “off- season” means less competition and better deals. So, without further ado, when is the best time to sign a lease for your Boston apartment?

Things to Consider

Boston happens to have one of the most expensive residential rental markets in the entire country. In fact, we’ve been in the top three (3) priciest places to live for multiple years running. At any given time there are actually more people searching for a Boston apartment than units available for rent. The principals of supply and demand come into play here. The combination of high demand and low supply equals a lot of competition for each available apartment. This means that, for most of the year, property owners do not need to offer rental incentives to get their properties rented quickly.

Landlords in most parts of the country need to offer good deals on a year-round basis. If they don’t their units will simply remain empty. However, you’re moving to Boston. Things are done a bit differently here. The good news is that things tend to change a bit in the months following the September 1st rental market. So, what’s the best time to sign a lease for your Boston apartment?

If your main priorities are a good deal in rent and lower upfront costs, then the answer is the late fall and winter months. Why is that? Things have calmed down quite a bit from the September 1st rental market. Most renters have already moved into their units. If you’re searching in the fall and winter months you’ll have significantly less competition. That also means the process won’t be as stressful, which is a good thing for any Boston apartment hunter.
friends apartment searching

Searching in the fall and winter months

When searching for your Boston apartment in the late fall and winter months there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, there is less inventory during this time of year. You may be thinking that this is a bad thing. Once again, we’re talking about supply and demand. However, the demand for residential rental units slows down to a halt during the late fall and winter months. Most people are not looking for their Boston apartment at this time of the year. Although there is a low supply, the lower demand tips the scales in your favor.

Landlords may very well be offering better deals during the late fall and winter months. No property owner wants their unit to remain vacant, so they may also be more amenable to offers for sooner move ins. They need to be flexible in order to attract potential tenants. This is where you can truly benefit. For example, many landlords will reduce the monthly rent. Sometimes the price reductions are significant such as a few hundred dollars per month.

Other landlords will lower the initial move in costs such as the deposit amounts. That can also save you hundred of dollars if not more. Many landlords are lowering both the monthly rent and deposit amounts. You can save a tremendous amount of money overall when you rent your Boston apartment during this time of year. However, you do need to be aware of an important factor. Less inventory also means there are not as many units to choose from.
tenants and landlords talk

A Few More Things to Consider

If you’re renting your Boston apartment in the late fall or winter there are other things to consider as well. First and foremost, you may need to sign a shorter lease. Here’s why. Your unit may have originally been available for a September 1st move in. That means it has been sitting empty ever since. That is the reason why you may be getting such a good deal on it. However, the landlord may very well want to get back on track for the following September 1st rental cycle. For example, your lease may run from December 1st to September 1st.

That is a seven (7) month lease instead of a typical yearly rental contract. That may be the perfect situation for someone who is looking for a shorter-term rental. You just need to be aware that it could put you into the next September 1st Boston apartment rent cycle. It should be noted that you will probably be able to extend your lease. However, the monthly rent may increase, especially if your lease extension starts on September 1st. It’s always a good idea to ask the landlord ahead of time what you can expect for a rent increase.

That way you’ll know exactly what to expect moving forward and if you need to adjust your budget. It should also be noted that some landlords prefer to be on a June 1st Boston apartment leasing cycle. Check to see how much the rent will increase if you extend the lease beyond 6/1 for another year.
moving boston apartment in fall

Prioritizing is key

If you’re renting a vacant apartment after September 1st, chances are high your Boston apartment has been vacant for a bit. That’s a good thing because it gives the landlord an opportunity to clean it properly. That doesn’t always happen when you move during the September 1st rush. Additionally, you may be able to have necessary repairs done before you move- in instead of during your first few weeks.

When you move in the late fall or winter months, it’s also a lot easier to find a professional mover. They’re not as busy in the off-season, and prices are often lower as well. Many people choose to take on the task of moving themselves. In that case, it’s also easier to find available moving trucks or vans to rent during the late fall and winter months.

In conclusion, the best time to sign a lease for your Boston apartment depends on what your priorities are. If you are starting school or a new job in early September, it may not make sense to wait. However, if you have the flexibility of choice, odds are you can get a lower price for a great apartment if you sign in the later Fall or Winter months. You can use the Boston Pads real estate portal to help you plan your move now or in the future. We can help you find a place you love, guaranteed.


Cody Quach
Cody Quach Posted date:October 25, 2021
Cody Quach started his career in real estate at Boston Pads in 2018. On top of being an active agent, he also holds a managerial role at Boardwalk Properties teaching classes and assisting new agents. Cody has developed a wide network throughout Boston while establishing strong relationships with property owners. He continues to provide his professionalism and service to anyone in the Greater Boston area. Cody plans on getting his broker’s license this summer and in the long term would like to be an associate broker under Boston Pads. Being a real estate agent has been the best career choice Cody has made and he has no plans on stopping his momentum.

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