Apartments Housing Moving to Boston

Apartment 101 – pt 2

So you from 101, pt.1, you found out what people are involved in the apartment process, so now let’s talk about the nitty gritty- Money. Below are some details on what costs to expect and the process you will probably go through in getting that key to your first Boston apartment.

Broker’s Fee

The dreaded fee that many poor college students and professionals try to avoid.

  • This is a fee charged by the real estate agents for their time and effort.
  • On postings you will see “broker’s fee paid by owner” other times it will say, “broker’s fee paid by tenant”
  • The fee tends to be the cost of one month’s rent

Lease Deposit/ Security Deposit

The money you pay your landlord/building management BEFORE your application has been accepted.

  • The lease deposit is an amount of the building/owner’s choosing that allows you to say, “I definitely want this place and don’t want anyone to get it.” Because as much as it stinks, the housing market in Boston does move very fast. So if you like a place, it may not be there 2-3 weeks after you first put it on your “maybe” list.
  • Example:
    • I paid $300 to hold my room after I narrowed down my pics to three and had started the applications of all three. I paid it before I started the application process (see Rental Application).
  • Sometimes this fee is refundable.
  • Sometimes called the “holder’s fee”

Rental/ Lease Application

The legally binding document you sign before moving in that states the apartment rules and regulations for paying rent, company, pets, etc. READ CAREFULLY.

  • Be Cautious!
  • The application process can be a smooth and easy process or hard one
  • Things you will need:
    • Bank statements
    • Your credit score
    • Social security number
    • License
    • Proof of Income:
    • For co-signers, they need all of the above as well and have to fill out paper saying they are liable if the rent goes into default
      • Co-signers cannot be two parent’s combined, one parent must make enough/have enough in funds
    • If you work, you must show your last 2-3 pay stubs (or proof of earnings)
  • IMPORTANT: you or your cosigner must make 3x what the rent costs for the year
    • My apartment costs $2100 a month
      • So we had to prove we had 2100 x 12 = 25,000
      • And that 25,000 x 3 = 75,000
    • If you have multiple roommates, your cost can be a factor by how much you will be paying for rent.
  • Co-Signer
    • A person, normally a parent, who accepts financial responsibility for your apartment if you or your roommates are unable to pay.
    • Their credit will be dinged if the rent goes into default instead of the rentee.

Down Payment

The money you pay your landlord/building management AFTER your application has been accepted.

  • Okay so you paid your deposit, but that doesn’t mean the place is yours.
  • You have to 1st:
    • Submit the application
    • Get approved
    • Sign the Lease
    • And then here is where it differs…
  • Some locations ask you to pay before you move in the:
    • First month’s rent, and last month’s rent (and the broker’s fee if you are paying it)
    • If your rent is 2000 for a 1 bedroom in Brighton, then your down payment would be:
      • First (2000), Last (2000), and Brokers (2000)
      • These total= $6000 before you even move in!
    • Some locations will allow you to pay out the last and broker’s fee in terms for the first 6 months, so it’s worth it to ask!
    • A lot of times, they will apply your security deposit to this amount!


A luxury that you will not have when you first move-in unless you pay $100-$500 a month EXTRA on top of your rent.


An all-encompassing term that means your: gas (cooking stove), gas (heat), electricity, Internet WiFi, and water.

  • Some apartments will offer some of these in the rent (my apartment covers water and heat)
  • You can find all utilities paid apartments
  • Expect to spend about $100 a month on utilities to be same
  • Summer can be cheaper, but watch out for A.C. units that pull a lot of energy because your electricity bill will feel it.


A cute furball or snuggler who you want to bring with you or get once you get here.

  • They are a lot of work but worth the love
  • Check with the landlord if you are not sure on pets
  • This tends to be in the lease as well
  • Cats can be easier to care for when it gets really cold, you don’t have to walk them!


What you eventually call your apartment instead of referring to “back home.” A place to call your own.

  • That place that you will claim as your own for when you need a safe area to scream, laugh, and complete homework or just take a much-needed sleep.
  • A place that is worth all the craziness you will go through to find it!

That concludes the vocab section! If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me a question below or send an interweb message my way from my “contact me.” Thanks again, everyone!

Until Next Time,

Happy Apartment Hunting Bookworms!


Kime J. Sims.

By kimejsims

A graduate student in book publishing in Boston and aspiring reader of as many books as possible!

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