How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

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jks1985
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How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by jks1985 »

Looking to move back to Boston at the end of March. That's when my current lease ends.

I'm looking to rent a 2BR.

There's some availability in buildings that I'm looking at (all big, managed buildings), and the prices online change daily.

When do you think I should bite the bullet and sign the lease to lock in the best price? Last weekend one of my favorite's was $200 less per month than it is today!
Liberty1100
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by Liberty1100 »

As someone who lives in one of those apartment buildings, I would do it fairly soon. My lease requires us to provide notice of 60 days before our lease expires if we want to sign a new lease. They send out reminders 90 days in advance. So if someone is moving out, they will probably provide notice between 90 and 60 days with some rare ones being just 30 day notice (if month to month).

Also, I have had GREAT luck negotiating with the management. I would encourage you to do so.
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jks1985
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by jks1985 »

Liberty1100 wrote: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:39 pm As someone who lives in one of those apartment buildings, I would do it fairly soon. My lease requires us to provide notice of 60 days before our lease expires if we want to sign a new lease. They send out reminders 90 days in advance. So if someone is moving out, they will probably provide notice between 90 and 60 days with some rare ones being just 30 day notice (if month to month).

Also, I have had GREAT luck negotiating with the management. I would encourage you to do so.
Thank you! How did you negotiate? I was under the impression that those buildings were no-haggle prices.
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ResearchMed
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by ResearchMed »

jks1985 wrote: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:48 pm
Liberty1100 wrote: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:39 pm As someone who lives in one of those apartment buildings, I would do it fairly soon. My lease requires us to provide notice of 60 days before our lease expires if we want to sign a new lease. They send out reminders 90 days in advance. So if someone is moving out, they will probably provide notice between 90 and 60 days with some rare ones being just 30 day notice (if month to month).

Also, I have had GREAT luck negotiating with the management. I would encourage you to do so.
Thank you! How did you negotiate? I was under the impression that those buildings were no-haggle prices.
I'm not involved in "those buildings", but I had already thought of something from what you already wrote... that they had been advertising $200 less not long before.
IF they raise and lower their prices (assuming same/similar apartments), then clearly they can't be totally rigid.

So one off the cuff thought is to stop by, mention that you are "still looking, but IF they'll give you the [something like "the lower price advertised a week ago" or maybe "you seem to adjust your rents, so IF you'll give me $100 (or $50?) less than that rate you were advertising last week"], then I'll sign a lease right now, and stop looking.
Or something like that.
Maybe add something about how much you like the place, but don't make it sound like "this is the only place you'd want".
(Obviously, you need to inspect the terms of the lease, so you could figure out a way to do that.

Others will have more "real life" suggestions.

But don't totally lowball them, or they might either be just angry or wonder if you can really afford it, etc.

RM
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BeneIRA
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by BeneIRA »

Personal experience with several apartments in that area, yes, you can negotiate. Some of the mega corps won't budget, but you would be surprised. It is worth it to ask. I have gotten concessions before. I am going to go against the advice above. I would recommend waiting until March. I can't imagine that the places you are looking at now are going to let you move into the complex in late March and not pay some exorbitant rent rate. In my experience, unless you are renting the apartment within the next two weeks, they charge a higher rental rate because it will be vacant.

Example:

It is currently January 21. Normal rent rate of an apartment is $2,000.
You tell the complex you will move in on March 21.
They will tell you the rate is $2,500 if you sign now, because they are losing out on two months of rent and need to make it up.

In my experience, this is how it is with the big companies. Smaller companies have been more flexible. You are moving in at kind of an edge time. I like moving in the harsh winters because the prices are the lowest. I would not have paid the summer rates for the last few apartments I have lived in, but I was more than happy to pay the winter rates. In my cases, both differed by $300-$500 a month.

If you wait until March, you do risk that places you will want will not have availability, but the ones left will probably be lower because the algorithms the apartment companies use lower rents when there is a vacancy and the longer there is a vacancy. Take an apartment available on February 15th. That apartment will almost definitely be less on March 20th because it is vacant for a month. That is when these places whip out the deals like 1/2 off first month, etc. As you get into summer, this gets completely flipped on its head. Boston area is high occupancy and no one wants to move out at that time.

From the sounds of it, you may have had that rare complex where you can sign a lease two months in advance and not be penalized, but if you haven't already gone through the process, most places will let you start the application and/or tell you how much it will be if you move in on "x" date online, you might be surprised.

Best of luck to you.
CurlyDave
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by CurlyDave »

I am a small-time landlord.

My policy on renting units is simply that renting a unit is not necessarily related to living in the unit. If I have a vacancy and you want the unit today, you can start paying rent today and it is yours. OTOH if you don't want it for two months it is still for rent until you start paying for it. If someone else comes along with money in hand I will rent it to them.
fasteddie911
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by fasteddie911 »

When I lived in boston a little while back, the sweet spot for finding a good rental was around the 3-4 month mark, but that was the old brownstone apartments managed by a large company. As for locking in a price, some may call that market timing around here, but I've lived in other places where it was like that I just ignored trying to time it and also tried to negotiate with the management; lower rent, free months rent, waiving fee, longer lease, etc.
Topic Author
jks1985
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Re: How far before move-in date should I sign an apartment lease to get the best price (Boston area)

Post by jks1985 »

The three apartment buildings I'm looking at all have multiple two bedroom units available to rent now, so I assume there will also be units available in March. Sounds like holding off and then negotiating when I'm ready to sign is the way to go.
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