Rental

Apartment Market Update

With an abundance of vacant apartments in the (traditionally) most sought after neighborhoods in Boston, it is now a "renters'" market. According to some reports, there has been a 7-9% increase in empty apartments since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In a drastic change from recent years, landlords are looking to sweeten the deal for tenants by offering free month(s) of rent, a paid broker's fee and rent reductions.  

We currently have a great selection of apartments to choose from. A few are highlighted below: 

200 Warren Avenue, Boston (South End)
Renovated one bedroom on Warren Ave.  Cozy, sun drenched apartment with hardwood floors throughout.  Kitchenette with stainless steel appliances.  The apartment has an in unit washer and dryer, and central air conditioning.  Amazing location steps to everything the South End has to offer and quick walk to Back Bay.  This is a must see!  $1,995/month. ***Offering 2 months rent free and brokers fee paid for***
 

34 Isabella Street, Boston (Bay Village)
Very spacious 3 bedroom on Isabella Street! Features hardwood floors, high ceilings, gorgeous detail, eat in kitchen, one large bedroom, two good size bedrooms. Heat and hot water included! $3,795/month. ***Offering 1 month rent free and brokers fee paid for***
 

475 Beacon Street, Boston (Back Bay)

Victorian, renovated parlor front studio with new hardwood floors, decorative fireplace and a large, brand new kitchen and bath. Heat and hot water included, and laundry in the building. Awesome deal for this space! $2,150/month. ***Offering 1 month rent free and brokers fee paid for***
 

For more available apartments, check our Featured Rentals page. As always, feel free to contact us - our apartment experts can help you navigate the options to hone in on those that best fit your criteria.

 

 

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Finding a Home Where You Can Live, Work and Play

Feeling claustrophobic, lonely, or overcrowded? Many renters coming to Cabot & Company are feeling at least one of these in their current living situation. COVID has made our world feel small and our home even smaller. All of sudden our homes are our workplace, our gyms, and if you are a parent, our daycare and children’s school. 

This year, we have clients looking to accommodate their “stay at home” lifestyles. Common requests are an extra room or alcove to transform into an office, outdoor space and in-unit or on-site laundry. Nearly all clients are looking for more elbow room to feel safe, productive and content. People still want to be close to restaurants, public transportation and coffee shops, as they are hopeful they will return to work sooner rather than later. 

Here are some great rental options offering that live, work and play opportunity: 

Renovated South End 1 bed with private deck, an office alcove, and in-unit laundry. $3,500/month.

Sunny Back Bay studio boasts 500 SF with skylights, dishwasher and laundry on site. $2,195/month. 

Back Bay 2 bed 2 bath duplex in concierge building with common roof deck, City views and parking. $4,995/month.

Modern and bright 2 bed in Beacon Hill with in-unit laundry and central air. $3,595/month.

2,877 SF of luxury living in this 3 bed, 2.5 baths complete with a gas fireplace, 2 garage spaces and private elevator access. $18,500/month

 

 

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Tips for Landlords to Rent Vacant Apartments in the COVID-19 Era

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic influx of apartments on the market for rent in Boston. In the not-too-distant past, inventory was low and it had been a "landlords' market" for several years. However, these days, incoming tenants looking for a deal can certainly find one.  

As a landlord, a recommended strategy right now is to make your apartment as attractive as possible. If it hasn’t been renovated in 10+ years, this is the time to do it. Price is important, but today's discerning renters are looking for "new and shiny", generally preferring nicer apartments over the absolute lowest-priced options that are not well maintained. 

Here are a few improvements to consider, based on the feedback we receive from tenants evaluating apartment options:

  • Kitchen updates are among the most important. Consider installing new cabinets - if that's not in the budget, then consider having the cabinets repainted and replacing the hardware.
  • Stainless steel appliances are becoming a "must have" for many renters.
  • Refinish the hardwood floors and apply a fresh coat of paint to all walls.  
  • Update the bathroom(s).

With the inventory out there, expectations are high. Here are some "before" and "after" pictures of an apartment that was just renovated. It tremendously helps with the marketing - not just now, but for years to come.
 

 
Before


After

 


Before

 
After

 

If you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact us here. We can schedule a visit to your apartment and suggest improvements that prospective tenants would most likely request. During our visit, we can also present a pricing and marketing strategy to help you get your vacancy filled so that your investment property can maintain a positive return!

 

 

Home Security Systems for Boston Condos and Apartments

In these uncertain times, a home security system can enhance safety and peace of mind for urban residents. Since COVID-19, many city-dwellers are working from home and have groceries and packages delivered. A personalized security system enables residents to check what’s taking place in and around their property through surveillance cameras and smart phone communication, whether they are staying at home or monitoring from afar.

There are 2 general types of security systems for condos and apartments: wireless systems (DIY & unmonitored) and traditional (professionally monitored and hardwired).  Here are some pros and cons of each:
 

WIRELESS SYSTEMS

PROS:
1. Easy and fast install
2. Hooks up to smart phones for increased access and control
3. Portable security cameras and ability to see activity in your home from smart phone or tablet
4. Minimal equipment
5. Short contracts

CONS:
1. Electro-magnetic interference from other devices make these systems less reliable and easier to get hacked
2. Battery operated
3. You’re on call
 

HARDWIRED SYSTEMS

PROS: 
1. More reliable
2. Can be hidden in walls, ceilings and floors
3. Service company on call

CONS:
1. Installation done by professional
2. More expensive
3. Long-term contracts, less flexibility
4. May require approval of condo association or landlord


This NBC News article gives a nice overview and review of some home security system options.

 

 

 

5 Tips for Making a Home Office in Boston More “Workable”

As many offices have been closed for several months – and some expected to remain that way for the next several months – many workers have had to scramble to set up home offices.  For many in Boston, where space is at a premium, that wasn’t part of the plan when they were searching for their homes.  Here are a few useful tips we have seen/heard/implemented:

1.  Find the Best Spot in Your Home
If you live in a “cozy” apartment, this can be a challenge.  Sitting on your bed or on your couch is not ideal if you’re going to be working for an extended period.  If you don’t have any room to spare, the dining table or breakfast bar may be best.  Another good option can be a “corner desk”, which can work well in tight spaces.

2.  Comfortable Seating
Unless you have a standing desk, we spend a lot of time sitting.  Chairs in the office sometimes get a bad rap, but they tend to be relatively ergonomic.  A good chair can be a solid investment.

3.  Increase Internet Speed
Most of us weren’t planning to work from home full-time for an extended period.  Especially if you share your home with others, there may not be enough bandwidth for everyone’s phones, tablets, laptops and TVs to all be running simultaneously – especially if people are streaming music or videos or videoconferencing.

4.  Improve Lighting
Speaking of videoconferencing, lighting is an important consideration.  Working in a dark corner might make the most sense space-wise, but if you’re going to be videoconferencing, then a small lamp should help ensure your colleagues and clients can see you.  Unless you’re going for that doom-and-gloom vibe.

5.  Set Up Your Workstation like Your Office
You’re at home… it doesn’t “feel” like the office.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can impact your ability to get into the type of rhythm that you can have while at your office.  Organizing your work area with all of your necessary supplies nearby – and eliminating distractions (give Netflix the pleasure of being right that you are NOT still watching) – can help.

BONUS TIP: FIND A NEW HOME WITH YOUR IDEAL HOME-OFFICE SET-UP
It is looking increasingly likely that working from home will be part of the “new normal” for some time.  More and more companies seem to be looking for ways to let employees work remotely.  If the past few months have been a struggle to find space in your home to squeeze in a workspace, or perhaps your roommates are on different schedules which is creating other challenges, then maybe it’s time to explore options.  

Whether you want to search for a new home to rent or search for a home to purchase with room for an office, we can help!  Feel free to dive right in and look around.  But you can also contact us and one of our experienced agents can help serve as your guide.

 

 

Virtual Tours for Apartments in Boston

One of the many adjustments we have made in recent months is to substantially increase our ability to provide virtual tours of available apartments.  To be sure, a video tour is not able to provide the same experience as physically walking through a potential home.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in searching for apartments in and around Boston.

Our main library of apartment virtual tours is here.  

We are striving to keep this library continuously updated, but we highly encourage you to connect with our Rental Team.  Our experienced team can answer questions you may have about apartments you have virtually toured, and they can also perform a comprehensive review of our available apartments to help make sure you see all available options that match your criteria.  

 

 

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Home Search During COVID-19 Outbreak

These days it feels that life has been put on hold, as a lot of things we used to do are restricted or stopped altogether. That being said, people still have to move, and we are hearing daily from prospective buyers, sellers and renters. 

Real estate agents, and the real estate industry as a whole, is adapting quickly to what is going on in the world and people's lives, and we are here to help. In an era of social distancing, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a home:

1. Video Tours. Video tours are available for many properties, especially Cabot & Company's exclusive listings. Thanks to our agents and tenants, we have compiled a database of videos for the majority of our available apartments. 

2. Experienced Agents. Our agents know our exclusively listed properties inside-out. At a time when it is important to carefully evaluate a property before scheduling an in person viewing, it is important to work with someone that knows the apartment and has personally seen it. For our exclusive listings, we have seen and rented them multiple times, so call your agent with questions. 

3. Further Evaluating Occupied Apartments. Given the current circumstances, it is difficult to visit occupied apartments. Agents, tenants and landlords are all trying to be safe and responsible. At Cabot & Company, we are endeavoring to practice social distancing. Most current tenants are understanding of the circumstances and are happy to assist us in answering your questions and sending additional photos or videos.

4. Visiting a Vacant Apartment. We are doing our best to help you screen properties before scheduling a tour. Ask for a video first. Still interested and want to view it in person? Be prepared for the following: 

- You may be asked whether you have traveled recently, or have any reason to believe you have been exposed or are exhibiting CODIV-19 symptoms.  

- You may be asked to use hand sanitizer before and during the tour, and wear gloves and a mask/face covering.

- You will likely be asked not to touch anything. Many agents are turning on all lights and opening all doors and closets ahead of time.

- Any showings are encouraged to be prompt. Take a quick look around, and then discuss any questions outside. Your agent will also be happy to answer follow up questions via email or on a phone call.

 

This is a challenging time, but it does not mean your home search needs to be put on hold. We are all working to navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak together. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or suggestions on how we can further help with you house hunting.

 

 

 

Green Thumb or Not? Low Maintenance House Plants

As we are moving past this mild Winter and quickly approaching Spring, many of you are in the green thumb mode and in need to re-amp or add to your indoor vegetation.  Maybe you once had an indoor plant and you noticed within the week that it turned into a bone-dry, wilted mess.  Or maybe you’ve never owned an indoor plant because you aren’t sure if you can keep it alive.  Don’t beat yourself up!  Like a pet, knowing the care for your houseplants starts with finding the right one for you and your schedule.  You may need an indoor plant that can live through your busy work schedule or a houseplant that can survive a week while you are on vacation, greeting you when you get home.  Here are a few plants that are low maintenance and that can instantly add vibrancy and color to your living space.


1)  Spider Plant
This plant thrives in the sun/well-lit areas.  Water every 2-6 weeks or when the top 2-inches of soil is dry.  Be careful not to over water as this can cause root rot.  This plant likes temperatures between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
 


 


 

2)  Aloe Vera
This plant likes light, but not direct sunlight.  Water every 1-2 weeks and maybe once every 2 months in the Winter.  You want to make sure the soil is almost completely dry before re-watering.  This plant likes temperatures between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.


 

3)  Jade Plant "Shrek Ears"
This plant likes indirect sunlight.  Like the Aloe Vera, only water this plant when the soil is almost completely dry or every 1-3 weeks.  This plant likes temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 
 

4)  Succulents
Succulents like lower amounts of sunlight, maybe 3 hours per day.  These plants like water at least once a week.  Temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit is the best for this houseplant.
 



5)  Dragon Tree

This tree needs very little to no sunlight.  It can also thrive in filtered light conditions.  60-85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for this low maintenance plant.  Just watch the soil of this tree and keep it moist.  Needs water maybe twice per month.


 


 

Not only do houseplants add vibrancy and color to your home or apartment, but study after study shows that plants (in our living or office environment) can improve our overall well-being, making us feel better.  These plants can also take out toxins from the air we breathe.  We are less stressed, more productive/creative when we share our living space with a simple, low maintenance houseplant.

 

 

Off-Season Rentals Offer Good Deals

The peak spring and summer rental market season can be quite hectic.  Fast moving inventory, top dollar market pricing, and competing with qualified applicants.  All of this makes the stressful moving experience even more so.  After September 1st, however, there are deals to be had if one can wait to move.  The rental market tends to slow down during the fall and winter, and sometimes this leaves landlords with vacant apartments.  Great deals are available for those who can move quick, or fill odd dates.  This is also an opportune time to ask for some painting or touch up before move-in when typically there wouldn’t be time.  

Call us and speak with a qualified rental agent to find out more.

 


Current Fall Specials (click for more info):

Dartmouth St, South End - 2+BR/2BA Penthouse Duplex with Private Deck - $4,995

M St, South Boston - 1+BR/1BA Renovated Penthouse - $2,625

Marlborough St, Back Bay - 2BR/1BA Penthouse with Central Air - $3,450

Warren Ave, South End - 1BR/1BA Renovated with In-Unit Laundry - $2,375

 

 

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Boston Landlords: 10 Tips for Renting an Apartment that is Still Vacant

September 1st has come and gone. Boston’s prime rental season is over and the number of renters out there has decreased sharply. However, all is not lost. Here are 10 tips to help get that apartment leased:

1.  Make Necessary Repairs.  If something is clearly broken (e.g. cracked windows, doors that do not close, etc.), many prospective renters will see that as a red flag. 

2.  Deep Cleaning.  Has the apartment been cleaned since the last tenant moved out? Prospective tenants this time of year generally have more options and are more likely to scrutinize unclean apartments.    If the apartment windows have not been cleaned (inside and out), that is a must-do to help maximize the natural light.

3.  Freshen Up the Paint and Floors.  Without furniture, scuff marks become focal points.  Not only will a fresh coat of paint help the apartment show better, but now is the best time to get that done since there are no tenants to work around. The same is true with the floors – refinishing hardwood floors and replacing carpet (with new carpet or hardwood flooring) can make a world of difference.

4.  Improve Curb Appeal.  Depending on the type of rental that you own, there may be limits to what you can do to improve the curb appeal.  However, for prospective renters, their evaluation of your apartment begins even before they step into the unit.  Put yourself in their shoes and walk-up to the building – how does the landscaping look, is the mail in boxes or scattered in the foyer, are the common areas clean, are the hallway lights working?

5.  Take New Pictures.  Nearly all renters’ searches begin online, so pictures will make the first impression. If you have been using the same pictures, take new pictures to give a fresh look.

6.  Consider Going Pet-Friendly.  For renters with pets, they will ONLY look at pet-friendly apartments.  If you have been advertising your apartment as not accepting pets, then there is a new audience of tenants that you could reach. However, careful consideration needs to be given here – for instance, some condo associations prohibit pets.

7.  Change the Lease End Date.  Consider entering a lease until June 1st, rather than doing a lease until September 1st. September 1st has tended to be the biggest turnover date in Boston, but June 1st is a popular lease turnover date too. Additionally, if you miss a tenant for June 1, then you still have several months of “prime” rental season to work with.

8.  Maximize Your Listing Exposure.  Working with a real estate broker can help maximize your exposure.  For instance, here at Cabot & Company we utilize a number of listing and advertising platforms in order to reach tenants.  Not only does the tenant typically pay the brokerage fee, but we provide a credit check and manage the lease signing and collection of upfront payments.

9.  Offer Incentives.  Agreeing to pay all or half of the broker’s fee can help alleviate a renter’s upfront moving costs.  If the renter needs to come up with the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, month security deposit and a broker fee, that can work out to a sizable amount. Foregoing the requirement for the last month’s rent and/or accepting a lower security deposit can also help.

10.  Consider a Rent Reduction.  This is the last tip, but probably the most important.  If you have already tried some/all of the tips above, then the market is saying that you are asking too much.  It is also important to consider the impact of missing an additional month’s rent as opposed to reducing your asking rent – generally, you find that the numbers work out that you are better off agreeing to a lower rent for a sooner move-in date than missing out on a few months of rent while chasing a higher rent.