From the start of May until September 1st is what is considered the "hot part" of the real estate season in Boston. This is because about 90% of all listings are for the months of May, June, July, August, and especially September. From a tenant's perspective, now is the time when you need to start looking for apartments if you hadn't already. Landlords in Boston typically stop putting new apartments on the market after early July, so now is the best time to catch a real gem in the real estate market without dealing with the leftovers of July and August.
As Todd and I are both realtors, please trust us when we tell you facts like these. We are only trying to find the best apartments/houses for our clients. The market REALLY saturates in July and if you keep on waiting for the right deal...well you might have missed it. Learn to compromise for your dream apartment. Let's say you have a budget of $1500 for a 1 bedroom, you are considering getting a dog, want a porch and modern appliances...have fun looking for apartments outside of the city. As of right now in areas excluding downtown Boston, a standard one bedroom apartment will cost you around $1500, and I mean standard. Expect appliances from the 1980's, maybe heat and hot water included, hardwood floors, and a porch if your really lucky. In terms of dogs...as much as I love them, Boston is NOT a dog-friendly city for finding apartments. Especially if your dog is on the "restricted list" aka Pitbulls, Boxers to name a few, you will have almost no success finding an apartment within Greater-Boston. If your considering getting a dog, think twice about it.
DO NOT wait until late August to find an apartment. Last year I rented a unit to a wonderful couple that was covered in cat crap (I am not kidding) and was occupied by a legit hoarder on August 20th. The couple had a decent budget, there just wasn't ANY apartments left. I literally almost vomited going into the apartment but both myself and my clients knew this was the only apartment available. Don't let this happen to you. Remember, taking a look at what's available in the market doesn't cost you anything. Just walk into a real estate office and request to see what is available. Different real estate offices specialize in certain parts of Boston. This will put you in a much better position than sitting on your couch and procrastinating until the last minute. Than, you will get angry at your realtor because you think their lying when they tell you there are no apartments left. Don't be that client.