Hi There!!! I am the student ambassador for College of Engineering in MIE department. My name is Evelyn. I am willing to share all my experience so that you could enjoy your life in Boston and Northeastern.

What campus life convenient? Then you must live near campus to get access to facilities, like printing, gym, and library etc. Unfortunately, on-campus housing don’t offer to graduate students and our off-campus student service don’t have some much to offer. In this blog, I am going to show you how to find an affordable housing.

Firstly, let me give you some recap. Look at the average price of rentals of Boston below. Northeastern community is located between South End, Fenway and lower Roxbury, which mean the average price for a bedroom within 20 mins walk to campus is $1,100, that is creepy for a student without earning! What’s more, most leases in Boston is 1 year and 1-month deposit is required. Also, according to Massachusetts law, someone must pay for one month broker fee for your broker if you rent through them, no matter how long you rent (Apparently, people who is going to pay for the broker fee is you, because near campus apartment is quite popular). But on the plus side, hot and heat must be included within your rentals. That’s being said, you must sign a 1-year lease and pay the first/last/one-month deposit before you move in.

Average Apartment Cost
Average Apartment Cost  Source: Northeastern Off Campus Service

Secondly, let’s talk about how to find the apartment. There are typical four channels. Facebook groups, the personal broker, off-campus apartment search page and semesterly on-campus housing event. Most students will post their vacant apartment or looking for roommates on facebook groups, e.g. northeastern housing group. So go to join such groups as many as possible, because most of the resources don’t ask for broker fee and sometimes the price of housing is quite a bargain. You can try to connect with some brokers, I will discuss the reasons next paragraph. The university off-campus service does offer an apartment/roommates engine for students, which I don’t think it helpful. But you can attend the off-campus apartment searching event at the end of each semester. Some real estate agencies will come to the campus and present their available housing. And of course, the broker fee is required.

List of Facebook Groups
List of Facebook Groups I find useful

Now you have been informed of the situation, let’s talk about the tricks of housing search and how to find affordable house. I would say timing is extremely important! If you start housing search between January to May, the price is much higher than others. During that time, most landlord near campus just simply drop their house to brokers and wait for students to sign the lease, because most students are searching for apartments and they don’t need to worry about. I know a landlord asked for $3,600 for a 2bedroom-split apartment at January, then she decreased the price to $3,400 at April. Besides, if you are not in a rush for an apartment, you can wait until September. I saw a broker asked for $2,700 for a 2bedroom apartment plus 1-month broker fee at the end of August, then on September 3rd, the price dropped to $1,800 without broker fee. Still think it expensive? Then you can share the room with your friend. Then the cost just reduces by half! Be cautious, since some landlords don’t allow the sharing thing or limit the total number of tenants, so read the agreement thoroughly when you sign a lease.

Is there any way to have your own room and pay less than $1,000 per month? My answer is YES. Try to find the apartment that is not newly renovated in Fenway or Longwood areas. In such apartments, the current tenant may have started living there for 4-5 years and renewed her/his lease each year. So the landlord couldn’t neither renovate the apartment nor increase the rent. However, these kind of apartments is sparse. Good luck for your searching!

Hope this blog might help you find your ideal place!


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