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Finding accommodation in Boston can be a difficult task. The compact city centre receives an annual influx of university students who increase housing competition, while the high property prices continue to make Boston one of the most expensive places to buy or rent a home in the country. Nevertheless, with a bit of patience and determination, expats are likely to find their ideal accommodation in Boston.
When searching for a property in Boston, expats should consider the proximity of their home to their place of work and their children’s school. Access to public transport is also important for those who don't own their own vehicles.
Types of accommodation in Boston
There is a diversity of housing options in Boston and expats can typically choose between large family homes, apartments and brownstone rowhouses.
Brownstones are mostly historical homes built in the late 1800s. They are usually three or four storeys high and are typically built in a row with street-facing fronts.
These are found in more affluent areas such as Back Bay, North End and Beacon Hill, and are some of the most highly sought-after types of properties in the city. This means they tend to be on the more expensive side. Although spacious and well-built, car owners should note that these homes usually don't have off-street parking.
There are a variety of apartment types in Boston, from high-rise residential blocks to more exclusive condo or loft options. These buildings usually include amenities such as air conditioning, central heating and laundry facilities. Apartments are a popular form of accommodation in Boston and are highly sought after. It's worth noting that while apartments near downtown are often snatched up by university students, the turnover rate is high.
Detached or stand-alone houses in Boston are mostly found in residential areas in the outer suburbs of the city. There are many options, from large family homes to smaller units. Houses can be expensive in Boston, but they are popular with groups of students who are looking for a house-share to bring down rent costs. Demand is therefore high for houses, so it can take some time to find the right home, particularly before the start of the academic year.
Finding accommodation in Boston
Expats will have a number of resources at their disposal. Online property portals are a valuable source of information when it comes to getting an idea of typical prices. Another option is to utilise the services of a reputable estate agent. House hunters should note that agencies typically charge upwards of a month's rent as their commission.
Renting accommodation in Boston
Once newcomers have found their ideal home, they will need to make an application to rent. If approved, they must then sign the lease and pay the deposit.
Making an application
With the high demand for accommodation in Boston, landlords can afford to be picky about who they rent to. When making an application, aspirant renters should be prepared to provide proof of their financial capacity to pay the rent. They may also have to undergo a credit check.
In Boston, the standard rental contract is 12 months. At the end of the rental term, leases can either be renewed or ended by either party.
When signing a lease in Boston, it’s important to read the contract carefully and to establish exactly what is included in the rental agreement. Tenants will typically be responsible for paying their own utility bills.
A month’s rent is usually required as a deposit. In addition, the first and the last month’s rent is often required to be paid upfront to secure the property.
►Learn more about Boston's neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs in Boston
"I'd say Cambridge, Somerville, Boston and Brookline are all popular areas to live in."
Read more about Swiss expat Sandra's experiences in Boston.
Are you an expat living in Boston?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Boston. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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