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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Finding an Apartment to Rent is Hard...

I've been trying to help a family member find a rental apartment in Boston, Brookline and Allston/Brighton for the past week or so. We've only got Saturday and Sunday to go look and we've been trying to email and call craigslist advertisers to see the apartments they've got posted. Nobody will call us back. Then, I called a company that has a couple of hundred buildings and whose name is plastered all over The Fenway and nobody there will call us back. The vast majority of rental listing agents in Boston (not Brookline) just throw listings against the proverbial Craigslist wall and then just sit and wait. They don't put any pictures up, many of the descriptions aren't descriptive. You can never find an address, and there's no easy way to contact anyone. I even tried to contact that big company with all of the listings to see if I could represent my family member as an agent and they would not let me. Either way I'm going to negotiate against them as hard as possible and the rental commission would be peanuts to begin with, but why can't a consumer be represented in the rental process?

Back when my wife and I were looking at apartments we were moving up from the Baltimore region and we placed calls two weeks in advance to set up appointments. We booked flights and made hotel reservations, showed up in Boston and thankfully I called ahead the morning of to reconfirm our appointments because not a single one of the agents we set meetings with remembered us calling. This led to scrambling to show us whatever building they hoped they could get access to, etc... The most amusing was an agent whose name I remember to this day because of her absolute ineptitude. She forgot our appointment, then had this "amazing and wonderful" building to take us to that was perfect for our needs. We took the T out to Coolidge Corner (from Newbury St.) and she didn't have a T token for herself. We got off the T and she had no idea where the building was. Not having a phone with her she needed to borrow my wife's phone TWICE to get directions to this place that she was so excited to show us. When we finally got there it was nowhere close to what we were looking for and it was a fully staffed high-rise building that had its own rental department. Needless to say, I never spoke to that agent again and we didn't even return to Boston with her. I don't quite know how she paid for the T on the way back in, or if she even was able to find it.

If anyone has a good, reliable rental agent for the Back Bay/Fenway area, please let me know! There are some wonderful rental agents in Brookline, and they are restoring my faith, but who knows if we'll ever get to see anything in Boston.


Abner said...

You are not alone. It is about 100x easier to find a place to buy than it is to find a place to rent. In fact, because of a similar experience, I no longer live in Brookline. Rental agents - when you can get them to pay attention - will drag you around to the crappiest places they represent in the hope that they can unload a nasty place on you and that other places won't look as bad. They all work against you and if you are lucky after seeing 15 different places you might actually find one you want to rent. We found the best places are often offered by the owners themselves on Craigslist who want to meet their tenets before signing a lease.

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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.