A Boston agent’s Guide to move-in dates + when to start your search

Every city revolves around its biggest industries and Boston is no exception.  Our world-famous colleges drive our rental market and because classes resume around September 1st, 9/1 is the start date of approx. 75% of all leases in the city (regardless of whether you are a student or professional).  Of course, 9/1 isn’t the only day that apartments are available; other popular move-in dates in Boston are May 1st, June 1st, and July 1st.  But, wherever you decide to look (to be addressed in my next post), always remember that you’ll likely have the most selection if you can move in on 9/1.

When should I start looking for my next apartment?

If you’re looking for a 9/1 rental, start your search in March to take advantage of exclusive listings that landlords “drop” anytime between mid-February and mid-March.  *To clarify, an exclusive listing is an apartment that only one specific brokerage has the ability to show*, and these units tend to be rented by the more seasoned Boston renters who get there before others.

But don’t worry if you’re reading this in June, July, or even August – there are advantages that arise from delaying your search, too.  Landlords with available units get more anxious to find tenants as move-in dates near, so they may be more willing to modify their acceptance criteria, make deals on rent, or lower the move-in costs (to be discussed in future post) – but don’t count on it.  And great apartments, for various reasons, can still become available in July or even August, so don’t give up searching!

A word of advice for September 1st in Boston

The influx of students and professionals moving into apartments throughout the city makes September 1st a uniquely busy day in terms of traffic, parking, and public transit in popular rental neighborhoods.  Moving in a day or two before or after 9/1 will almost definitely make your move easier, but trust me, it can be really tough to get existing tenants to move out early.  Most of the time, moving in late will be the only option to avoid 9/1.  If you have to move on 9/1, it’s totally manageable (this is what most people do!), just be sure to allocate extra time for traffic, parking, and using public transportation.