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How To Navigate Renting Your First Apartment: An Interview with Maggie Slavet of Boston Realty Net

By Kristen Bosse

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Boston Realty Net is a small real estate office located on Newbury street in the Back Bay. The central location of our office is ideal for helping clients find apartments and condos all over Boston. The size of the office allows us to work together as a team. The team atmosphere assures we will all work together to find the best possible home for any client who comes to our office looking to move.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Our office works hard to help our clients through every step of the move. Our first goal is to find the perfect apartment, condo or home for our clients. We do not stop working after the new home is secured. One member of our team manages many units in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the South End. He works 24 hours a day to make sure the tenants of those units have what they need. We help people who are new to the city find movers, and make sure they know who provides the utilities to their new apartments. When working with buyers we are happy to provide lists of licensed inspectors, reliable real estate attorneys and terrific mortgage brokers. We go the extra step to help make a move as smooth as possible.

Can I negotiate pricing with my potential landlord?

The rental market in Boston is competitive. I am always happy to try to negotiate a price for a prospective tenant. I do let the applicant know if they want to negotiate, there is a good chance they will lose the apartment to another applicant who offers the asking price. If the applicant is okay taking that risk I will try to get them the best possible price.

What questions should I ask the existing tenants before putting down a deposit?

The most important question to ask the current tenant if given the opportunity is were they happy living there? Other helpful questions are how much were the utility bills? Did you have any problems with noise late at night? Did you have any problems with rodents? Was the landlord responsive if you had a maintenance problem?

How important is it to get everything in writing? Can I ask that something be changed in the lease agreement?

When it comes to negotiating work being done to an apartment in the lease it is important to keep in mind how competitive the rental market is in Boston. If it is something you would like done but can live without I would prove what a good tenant you are first and then ask for the fix. If two applicants apply for the same apartment and one has a list of fixes and the other doesn't the landlord will most likely accept the applicant who will be happy to have the apartment as is. If the fix is something you can't live without, get it in writing.

Can I ask that aspects of the apartment be fixed before move-in?

Turnovers in Boston happen very quickly, often times there is less that 12 hours between tenants. This does not give the owner enough time to do more than clean and freshen up the paint. If you would like something fixed before moving in offer to give the owner extra time. If your lease starts on September first, tell the landlord you would be happy to pay rent on the first but will move in on the fifth if they will finish the floors or replace the carpet. Most owners are happy to be given the time to do some updates. Unfortunately, they usually do not have time to get big projects done between tenants.

What are some of my rights as a tenant in Massachusetts?

The laws in Massachusetts are on the tenants side. Usually if there is a dispute the rules are written to protect the tenant. This is a very broad question which would be easier to answer with a specific situation.

What are my options if I can't afford my rent one month?

If you can't afford your rent one month be honest with the owner. They would rather work something out with you than spend time and energy chasing the rent money. Give them a call or send them an email. If you have a plan to get caught up in your rent within a month or two they will most likely be happy to work with you. If you lost your job and are unsure when you will be able to pay the rent again have a conversation with them. They will probably be happy to let you break your lease and find a replacement tenant rather than have you fall way behind in rent.

What are some safety standards every apartment should have?

Safety standards vary in Boston depending on when the unit or building were last updated. You should always have at least two ways out of your apartment in case of fire.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

There are many ways to contact me if you are looking for an apartment, condo, or house. You can call or text my cell phone: 413-222-0362.
You can email me at maggie@bostonrealtynet.com, or you can stop by 247 Newbury St.
You can also visit our websites to see what is available, we update the sites daily: www.bostonapartment.com, www.bostonrealtynet.com.

Lastly, our company has an app for your iPhone. If you search boston realty net in the App Store you can download it for free.

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