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Bidding wars for apartments?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 19, 2013 06:59 AM

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OK, it's still rare, but with listings few and far between, some renters are having to ante up to snag a flat.

That's the word from John Ford, owner of Ford Realty on Beacon Hill, which does a big business in rentals across downtown Boston. (He also runs a great blog on the Boston real estate market - the Boston Real Estate Blog.)

I've known Ford since I covered real estate and development at the Boston Herald so I decided to reach out and see what he's been up to lately.

It's a tough world out there for apartment dwellers, with a tight market giving landlords the upper hand, Ford noted.

Landlords are scrutinizing credit reports like never before and even starting to have second thoughts about renting to rowdy college kids.

Imagine that!

Moreover, many renters are opting to renew leases and stick with apartment living, unable to find anything to their liking in the condo or single-family market.

Here are some of Ford's observations/tips on the market.

1 Very low inventory. As a result tenants are paying a full months broker fee for apartments and in some cases (although still rare) we have bidding wars among potential tenants over apartment rentals.

Tied with the low inventory, I've noticed tenants are staying longer in their apartments due to potential homebuyers unable to find condos because of the low real estate inventory (vicious cycle)

2. Because of the tight inventory, many landlords are not accepting undergrad students. This will be a very tough year for undergrads looking for apts in the Boston Proper area.

3. Many Boston real estate agents are not putting apartment listings on MLS as result of the tight market because they know that they can rent it out themselves thus avoiding a co-broke with another office.

4. Landlords have the upper hand and are scrutinizing credit reports. If you're searching for an apartment make sure your credit report is in check, if not you'll be denied.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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