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Guide to Finding a Cheap Apartment in Boston

Every apartment is different, but even when looking for cheap apartments in Boston you can expect to have a few amenities. Expect to be flexible with your wants and needs since lower price points can sometimes mean off-site or in-basement laundry and non-stainless steel appliances. This isn’t always the case, though, and with a real estate agent who knows the market well and is familiar with all available rental listings, you’ll be more likely to find a gem. Recently, we helped someone get in touch with a real estate agent to find a newly renovated South End apartment with laundry in unit for $1500/month.

Read the Complete Guide

One of the main roadblocks in apartment hunting is finding a great place that fits your budget. Finding a cheap apartment in Boston can be particularly hard since the city consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities to live in the US. However, we’re here to give you a few tricks of the trade so you can find your dream apartment with an amazing price tag.

We have two main tips for you to keep in mind when finding an apartment in Boston- it’s all relative and know your priorities. When looking for a great deal on a Boston apartment, keep in mind that it is an expensive city and the costs that you’ll find here are cheap relative to other options in the city, not national figures or comparisons with other cities. On the other hand, if price is your non-negotiable, then looking for cheap apartments in Boston will frame your other search criteria. With price as your deal breaker, you’re not just looking for bang for your buck, you’re looking for the lowest price possible. Let’s get into a few more helpful tips for finding a reasonably-priced apartment.

What is a cheap apartment in Boston?

As we mentioned earlier, “cheap” is a relative term in Boston. There are plenty of reasonable deals available in this great city, but make sure you’re looking at them with the eyes of a Bostonian instead of comparing them to other cities. A good way to gauge the price of an apartment is by comparing it to the average rent of that neighborhood. For example, if you’re looking at a one bedroom apartment in Allston that’s priced at $1750/month, compare that to the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in the neighborhood, which is $1875/month. With that rent, you’d be paying 6.67% less than most people around you.

Finding accurate information on the average rent for a neighborhood can be tricky, but Boston Pads apartment listings include an up-to-date Price Comparison tool so you know exactly what kind of deal you’re getting. If you’re looking for a real deal with the lowest rent possible, a cheap apartment is considered to be at least 10% below the neighborhood average. Keep in mind that if you’re looking in pricier neighborhoods like Back Bay and Symphony, your relative deal might be good, but you could be saving more by looking at other great neighborhoods like Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Allston, and Jamaica Plain. Still, our Price Comparison tool is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best price on an apartment since it’s constantly being updated and giving you real-time information.

During your apartment search, be realistic about what to expect in the price range you have chosen. Leasing a fully furnished brownstone townhouse in Fenway or Beacon Hill, or a luxury Waterfront condo will likely not be cheap. However, you can find great apartment rentals with affordable monthly rent that are pet friendly or have hardwood, or even granite.

How can I find great deals?

Our number one tip for finding the perfect apartment that checks all your boxes and fits your budget is enlisting the help of a real estate agent. They know the market best and they can accurately assess when you’re getting a good deal, or a bad one. They also dedicate their time to helping people find the best cheap apartments for rent, so with their knowledge and their time, they can be a great asset to you. Whether you’re too busy to look for an apartment or would just like an extra set of eyes, real estate agents are a great resource when finding a new place to live.

A few other things to keep in mind are to be flexible and start early. If you can plan ahead and start looking for an apartment earlier than everyone else, you’ll have more options open to you. Typically the best deals go early, so getting ahead of the game can be helpful. You should also remain flexible, with both your must-haves and your location. If price is your primary concern, be prepared to look in a few neighborhoods and compromise on your wish list.

For example, in-unit laundry is almost impossible to find in a cheap apartment, but there are many great places with laundry in the building. Staying open-minded and flexible is a great way to find the perfect apartment for you, even if it isn’t what you originally envisioned. If you work with a real estate agent, they’ll probably share these tips with you too. Take their advice, since they’re the experts who spend each day dealing with apartments across the city.

Should I live with roommates?

Living with roommates is a great experience. Sometimes you get the chance to live with your closest friends, other times you can meet some great new people. Aside from the fun and social aspect of having roommates, they can actually help you get a better deal on an apartment. With roommates, you can find cheap apartments in Boston that give you lots of space and all the amenities on your wishlist, like an in-unit washer-dryer or balcony. Since you’ll be splitting rent, utilities, and other costs, you can get a better deal when you live with other people. Finding a roommate may get you into that luxury apartment building you’ve been eyeing – the one with the fitness center, walk-in closets, and modern kitchens.

Imagine you’re looking at a small $1500/month one bedroom or studio apartment that hasn’t been recently renovated. If you were to instead live in a two bedroom apartment with a roommate, you could spend $1400-1500/month each (or less) to live in a newly renovated place with more amenities. Three bedroom apartments for rent can make tenants’ costs even lower. Consider living with roommates if having a lot of space is important to you or if you don’t want to give up certain non-negotiable amenities on your wish list.

What’s the difference between a cheap apartment and a bad apartment?

Sometimes an apartment can look like your dream deal on the listing page, but be a nightmare when you go to see it. While there can be a few duds in the low price range apartments, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for saving some extra money. Bad apartments are ones that are falling apart and need lots of repairs. Though the rent might be cheaper than a newly renovated apartment, it’s not worth the headache or the potential cost of living in an outdated place. You’ll also know an apartment is bad when it has poor heat retention. This is especially important in Boston where the winters can get pretty cold. You want to make sure any apartment you look at has efficient heating so you can save money on your utility bills in the winter.

A good apartment with a great deal will be easy to spot. It will have nice interiors without any signs of major damage, as well as a few amenities. You’ll know a high quality cheap apartment for rent when you see it, and you’ll want to snag it as soon as you see it. All cheap apartments in Boston won’t have everything you’re looking for, but they’ll have all the basics to help you make a comfortable home and save you a little bit of money along the way. Forgoing a few extras, like a dishwasher, can be worth the hundreds of dollars you can save in a year by choosing a cheap, but still quality, apartment.

Finding Cheap Apartments in Boston

Finding cheap apartments in Boston can seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of opportunities out there if you’re smart about where you’re looking and how you approach your search. Our comprehensive guide for finding cheap apartments in Boston provides all the tools you need to have a successful search. The main takeaways here are to think of cheap as a relative term, stay flexible with your wish list, consider finding a roommate, and not to settle for a bad apartment just because of its low price.

Working with a real estate agent can make searching for an apartment even easier. They can find apartments available to rent, communicate with a landlord or property managers, and help with lease terms or a sublet. Experienced agents can also help a renter find no-fee apartments, the right number of bedrooms or a specific amenity.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to find a great apartment that fits your criteria. If you’re having trouble with your rental search or getting that great deal, don’t forget to check out our database. We’re constantly adding new apartment rental listings – including available apartments with virtual tours. With the city’s largest real-time database, we have something for all renters and budgets.