Apartment Hunting in Boston with Craigslist

Craigslist.org, a free classifieds website is host to hundreds of different categories of interests divided up amongst almost ever major city in the world. Craigslist has presented itself as a highly useful tool for apartment searching in big cities such as Boston. An individual can research a variety of living situations from summer rentals to long-term leases. But like any site that allows anyone to post content on it, certain precautions should be taken before diving into the world of Craigslist classified apartments.

See the Place with Your Own Two Eyes

The programmers at Craigslist have made significant steps to cut down on SPAM infiltrating into their classified pages. Despite this there are still some deceptive advertisements, especially for housing and apartments that a viewer should look for. There are listings on Craigslist that are clearly marked as no fee and are posted by the landlord or a real estate agent who is able to waive the fees associated with renting. These apartments tend to yield cheaper, yet less refined housing options. It is important to have pictures displayed in the ad for immediate screening or the option to email the poster and have pictures sent. Seeing what the apartment looks through photos is just a first step in deciding where to live and even still, as with online dating, pictures can sometimes be deceiving.

Realtor Wolves Dressed in Sheep’s Clothing

Often there can be ads found that have a very appealing and catchy line written in them with a non-descript summary of the apartment and area as well as a highly generic looking picture in the ad. Be wary of these ads because often they are realtors attempting to get apartment seekers to come look at apartments completely different from what they described in the ad and often for a much higher price. Emailing and calling several times before going to look at an apartment or room for rent is essential to ask all of the questions ensuring that you are going to view what you’re looking at in the ad.

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Would You Like Fries, Dirty Laundry and High Oil Heating Utility Bills With That?

The total amount charged for rent each month can seem too good to be true and often time it is. Keep in mind that many Boston area apartments are actually houses with as many as 8 or more people living in them, especially in college and university neighborhoods. Be sure to ask the demographic spread of the household if you plan on renting a room amongst people already settled into an apartment or house. All the privacy in the world won’t make a difference if you’re a first year investment banker who starts work at 7 with 4 college aged men and women hosting parties every day of the week.

Baring one overpriced realtor selected apartment in the North End of Boston, I’ve found every apartment I’ve ever lived in on Craigslist. The search can be stressful and you have to do most of the footwork, but in the end you’ll likely save hundreds in realtor fees. Sometimes the pressure to just sign a lease and move in is a burden on the apartment searcher, but be willing to say “No” if you’re not in love with the place or if you want to see a few more apartments for comparison. Posting personal housing classified advertisements describing what you’re looking for is useful as well as you can write a bit about yourself for people searching out a certain type of person to fill a room.

I have found some beautiful apartments, I have landed in with some terribly different people who didn’t mesh with my personality at all and I’ve passed on countless pads in every apartment search. The key is knowing what you’re looking for, screening out potentially misleading ads and sticking to your guns before you put your signature on the lease. With a free tool like Craigslist.org, using realtors and paying their fees is a thing of the past as long as the individual who’s on the market is careful with their selection.