Whether you live in Greater Boston, or you’re moving to the area for the first time, chances are you know about Fenway. The Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood lends its name to Fenway Park, but this community is more than just where the Red Sox play: it’s an energized community in the heart of Boston.
Moving to Boston’s Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood can be equal parts exciting and daunting, especially if you’re moving to Boston for the first time. It’s natural to have questions: is Fenway a good neighborhood? When should I start looking for apartments in Fenway/Kenmore? What should I know about living near Fenway Park? The list goes on and on, but don’t worry. If you’re looking at moving to Fenway, you have come to the right place: we’ll help you get sorted out.
What Should I Know About Moving to Fenway?
If you’ve previously rented an apartment in Boston, some of this will be old news to you: either way, we’ll keep this short. Rentals in Boston, and especially neighborhoods like Fenway/Kenmore, are typically rented on a September 1st to August 31st lease, and tend to fill up quickly. And while that’s the case across Boston, it’s especially true in the shadow of Fenway Park. Anyone looking at apartments for rent in Fenway would do well to get started as early as January, or even into December of the prior year, if they plan on having their pick of available apartments. There is a lot of competition out there for Fenway apartments. It is commonplace that many of the better real estate agents keep in contact with tenants they have rented in years past and get the jump on when they are moving. Often times seniors graduate and move for their jobs. Some people know where they are going after school ends well in advance. So working with local real estate agents that have a long track record of renting apartments in the Fenway matters.
What’s it Like to Live Near Fenway Park?
Win or lose, the Red Sox are always an attraction. And while the neighborhood is certainly invigorated during home games, it’s not as though Fenway shuts down. That said, game day traffic can lead to congested streets, so schedule additional time if you’re driving or taking the bus when during a home game. In either case, enjoy the roar of the crowd. You may also want to cook at home and not go out for a bite to eat during this time. If you want to maximize your time, just think ahead and do some planning. A lot of people that live in the Fenway area keep the Sox schedule on their phone so they are always aware of upcoming games.
Make a Plan - How to Find an Apartment in Fenway
When moving to the Fenway — or anywhere else in Boston — it pays to have a plan of action. In a competitive market, it really is the early bird that gets the worm, so plan on having conversations as early as nine months ahead of your desired move-in date.
With so many factors to consider, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’ve found that it helps to break down the process into three discrete stages: outlining what you want in an apartment, building a list of different properties, and finally, visiting properties and ultimately selecting one.
Step One: Creating Your Apartment Checklist
Before you do anything else, it pays to understand what your needs are, and what you’ll be able to make work. Ask yourself questions, like:
- Will you need parking? Or do you plan to rely on public transportation?
- Will you be splitting costs with one or more roommates, or living on your own?
- Will you need accommodations,such as a pet-friendly building?
- How close do you want to be to shops, grocery stores, and restaurants?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can build a budget with confidence.
Building Your Budget
Most financial advisors suggest a 50/30/20 split of your resources when creating a monthly budget. That means half of your monthly income gets put towards static cost of living: so your transportation, rent, groceries, and utilities for the month. Thirty percent goes towards recreation: this is your budget for Red Sox games, nights out on the town, and so on. The final twenty percent is earmarked for fiscal responsibility: paying off student loans, saving for retirement, that sort of thing. If you’re a student you really have to talk your parents or financial guardian and come up with a plan for co-signers if you don’t have enough to pay the rent on your own merits.
Fenway’s excellent access to public transportation means that many residents eschew owning a private vehicle. If you have to pay for parking, insurance, fuel, and lease payments in addition to your other monthly expenses, that will take a chunk out of your budget that could otherwise go towards rent. Conversely, if you’re taking MBTA for your daily commute, the money you save can expand your options.
Step Two: Collecting Potential Apartments
For many, this is the most fun part of the process. Now that you know the range of apartments, a world of possibility spreads out before you. Hop on a site like FenwayPads.com, and start building a list of apartments that catch your eye. Searching through listings on a locally-sourced, curated engine saves a lot of time and hassle chasing dead ends and expired listings. So why not spare yourself the hassle? Specificity is power. Knowing that certain websites only keep up live listings makes a huge difference. Nothing is worse than when you go to a messy giant general search portal and out of the ten apartments you called, five of them “just got rented.” Nothing wastes more time in your search than calling real estate agents that keep up outdated listings. Only source websites that have high local trust factors and only keep up real time apartment data.
When you find a listing that you like, just scroll to the bottom of the page to find the real estate agent’s contact information, as well as a small contact form. Remember: listings in Fenway move fast, so don’t hesitate to reach out and express your interest. Make it your point to call the agent if it looks like a hot property. Chances if you think it is a hot deal, so do one thousand other apartment seekers!
Step Three: Visiting Apartments, and Making the Call
By now, you should have a selection of apartments that fit your criteria and budget. That said, it’s often very difficult to really get a feel from a place from a listing, no matter how good the photos are. Remember those pictures were often taken at a moment in time. Perhaps the pictures of the apartment were taken years ago! Never forgot to ask how old the pictures are! Either way you will want to go see the place because you just never know if the place is being taken care of by the current tenants. It’s time to get a first-hand take on these properties, and schedule visits. If you’ve compiled your list through a locally curated site with a professional staff (again, like FenwayPads.com) odds are that many — if not all — of the properties you’re considering are available if you move quickly. Try to set an appointment to view the properties that you are interested in within 48 hours. If you try to set an appointment one week in advance often times the best ones are gone. So when you are ready to get an apartment – make it your personal business to get serious about it!
Another big tip to searching for apartments in Fenway is make sure the agent groups the showings together in logical order. Go with the agent that can show you the most apartments in one showing. This makes scheduling visits exponentially faster and easier. Nothing is worse than going to see five real estate offices that only show you one property when you could have seen five with one agent. Making a decision the same day while everything is fresh in your mind is nearly always the best course of action.
Once you’ve made it through your list, it’s time to make a decision. If none of the places you visited make your heart sing, it’s understandable to look at different apartments in hopes of finding the right one. That said, be careful of chasing a property that may or may not exist: don’t let an amazing apartment slip away due to the fear of missing out on the possibility of what might be out there.
Fenway: The Heart of Boston
In many ways, Fenway combines the best parts of living in Boston into a single neighborhood. With excellent access to the rest of the city, historical roots and hip new restaurants, and of course, Fenway Park, it’s no wonder that rentals get filled up quickly. But if you act in advance, and stick to your plan, you’ll find an amazing new home in the heart of Boston.
Do you live in Fenway, or know people who do? Maybe you’ve got some excellent apartment hunting tips that apply no matter where you’re looking to rent. Or perhaps we missed your favorite thing about Fenway. No matter the reason, if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below!