Where are the best places to live in Massachusetts?

2.jpg(via RealEstate.Boston) If you are not from The Bay State but wanted to move here, how would you decide where to live? A site such as Niche.com would be a great place to start, as they combine rigorous analysis with reviews from millions of people to uncover the best places to live and go to school.

They recently released their updated list for Massachusetts, assigning an overall Niche Grade based on criteria that includes grades for public schools, housing, good for families, jobs, cost of living, outdoor activities, crime and safety, nightlife, diversity, weather, health and fitness, and commute. Data sources include reviews from actual residents, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FBI, and the Census.

Among the top ten towns and cities in the state is Sharon, Sudbury, Newton, Wayland, Belmont, Boxborough, Wellesley, and Brookline, with the town of Lexington ranked as the best place to live in Massachusetts in 2017. Lexington received an A+ grade for public schools and good for families, A grades for outdoor activities, health and fitness, and commute, and A- grades for jobs, crime and safety, and diversity.

The city of Cambridge, which landed 12th on the state’s list, was ranked 11th on Niche’s 2017 Best Cities to Live in America list, receiving top marks for public schools, good for families, outdoor activities, nightlife, and commute.

The city of Boston, ranked 262nd on the state’s list, received an overall Niche Grade of B+, brought down by its poor grades in crime and safety, cost of living, public schools, and housing.

Although these type of sites are a good initial resource, a local expert in the leasing market can provide invaluable insight. Rental Beast is partnered with some of the best-trained real estate agents in the business who can help their clients make more informed decisions and find the perfect place to rent or buy.

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Tips & Tricks to avoid Rental Scams

1Rental scams are at a fever pitch right now, and protecting yourself and your money while apartment hunting should be your number 1 priority.

In most cases, using common sense will help you stay out of trouble (we’ve all heard of the Nigerian Prince who will wire you a Million dollars as long as you cover the transaction fee) but even a street smart consumer can be fooled by a believable scam. Here are some tip & tricks to avoiding being duped.

1. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is…

1That newly renovated townhouse with all new stainless steel appliances, a small outdoor patio complete with a finished garden, and large three car garage that just happens to be in the heart of the city, and is going for a fraction of average rental? Yeah, thats too good to be true. Business Insider’s tip #6 is great advice – “Trust your intuition.” If the apartment of your dreams is at a price you didn’t even think possible, it is most likely a scam.

2. Never, under any circumstance, wire money to someone you have never met.

1Boston.com details the nightmare situation of finding out you have been duped online. If a landlord “had an emergency come up” or is “out of state working another property” do not wire them money to secure the apartment! Wait until they they are back (if they are actually coming back) and see the listing then. In the meantime, start your search up again. I can guarantee you, starting your apartment search over again is much less of a headache then wiring a few thousand dollars you will never get back!

3. See the listing in person!

1This is easily the best advice you can take to ensure you are not getting duped online. Schedule a showing, tour the apartment, and then you can start the process of actually applying for the apartment. If you physically cannot be present for the showing, make sure someone you trust is. Touring the apartment is your best way to ensure you are not getting scammed. Not to mention, actually seeing the apartment you will be renting for at least a year is a great idea.

The underlying theme in these tips? Common sense. Do not get yourself into trouble by rushing the apartment rental process. Take your time, do you your homework, and actually see the apartment in person.

Renting & Buying with the “Walk Score” in Mind

1The “Walk Score” is a procedurally generated number assigned to addresses to determine their specific walkability.  The true value in this number is that the higher it is, the less likely you will need a car to comfortably live.  The “Walk Score” calculates the distances to certain amenities that most renters and buyers look for; grocery stores, public transit, nightlife, etc..  Whether you are in the market for a temporary rental or your next home, this score provides a wealth of information.

Walk Score,” an automated efficiency model, has adapted its information gathering to provide scores not only on walkability, but also transit, biking, and crime.  Taking into account all of these different metrics, walk scores range from 0 to 100.  Scores ranging from 0 – 24 dictate a car as an absolute necessity while scores 70 and above suggest that you can accomplish all errands on foot.  

The most obvious money saving benefit of the “Walk Score” is  removing most, if not all, driving from your daily routine.  Save on gas, upkeep, and maintenance, and take public transit to work.  

walkConvenience is the other major selling point of the “Walk Score.”  Easy access to amenities and recreation can make or break a neighborhood.  Higher walk scores typically translate into higher quality neighborhoods.  Pedestrian Friendliness is determined too, by analyzing population density, block length, and intersection density.

On the other side of the argument, a high “Walk Score” often results in higher prices.  In a study done by Redfin, one point of “Walk Score” was worth up to $3000.

Most websites, including RentalBeast.com, feature the score on their listings.  So before you make your next move, make sure to check the “Walk Score.”  

Rent Prices in Boston Causing Exodus?

2Boston has consistently been one of the most expensive cities in the United States to rent an apartment for a number of years, so it should come as no surprise that affordability is the top reason renters cited as the reason for wanting to leave the city.

Apartment List, a real estate listings site, surveyed around 24,000 tenants across the United States to find out why they chose to continue renting or pack up and move to a different city. In Boston, 81% of renters expressed interest in moving, which is much higher than the national average of 64%. The second most common reason for moving was “switching jobs” at 19%, followed by those who were “unhappy with the weather” at 11%.

One of the demographics most impacted by the city’s rent prices are the older residents. Among residents who are at least 65 years old, over 61% of singles and over 29% of couples can not afford the cost of living, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Since many of residents in this demographic can not receive public assistance, they have no choice but to move.

Rental Scams: What you need to know

We have all been on a rental hunt before; plowing through dozens of listings with little to no luck, when suddenly we find one that seems to too good to be true. Well in the fast paced, competitive, and murky waters of rental housing…it usually is.

Rental scams are found all too often on rental search sites and, with each passing season, scammers and their devious plots become more advanced and increasingly difficult to detect. Here a few notes to look for when search sites for rentals:

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  1. Funds Up Front: Never send money or provide your credit card information before seeing the property, even if the landlord or agent says its just a holding fee or sends you to sight that seems legitimate. Take your time and make sure to see properties or have someone you trust go see properties for you.

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  2. Holy Grail:  If it seems to good to be true, it most likely is. If the rent is well below market value or the lease terms are very flexible, these are probably not due to an overly generous property owner. Run your own search for the property and make sure it does not come up for a different price or as a for sale property. Often scammers take one listing and replicate it as their own.

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  3. Grammar and Gotcha: Emails, text messages, and other communication that includes broken English, excessive punctuation, and other grammar mistakes are often signs of scams. The use of “God bless,” “reverend,” or “doctor” can be signs of a scam as well hoping to build trust.

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  4. Outlook is Out: Email addresses from Outlook are 19 times more likely to be a scam than those from Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail — and those from non-United States accounts for properties in the U.S. are almost always scams.

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  5. Cash is Not King: If all checks out – you see the property, love it, and the price is right – never deal in cash. Always have a paper trail and pay in a way that is traceable and trackable – if you’re being pressured to give a cash deposit, it’s a red flag.

Rental Beast is helping agents, renters, and landlords alike better identify and remove scams and fake rental listings with a team of database ninjas working across the United States. Their sole job is to monitor, measure, and manager all listings the enter and are loaded into the Rental Beast database to confirm contact information, financial requirements, unit information, and showing instructions.

Agents and renters alike can be certain that active properties they find on our site are listed by actual agents and landlords with direct contact information provided. By cleaning up and managing our listings from the start, we are able to help agents and renters find their perfect rental faster and more conveniently –  as we say at Rental Beast ‘less hunt; more find.’

Social Media Marketing is a must and here’s why

Social media is booming! In the real estate business, the use of social media platforms has become a sure-fire way to reach out and connect with your local market. Today, renters and home buyers expect businesses they work with to engage on social media, which is why it is important for real estate agents to make a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Social media gives real estate agents the opportunity to brand their real estate business by creating a business page that allows them to generate interest and leads without a huge financial investment. All social media platforms can provide important social engagement that can benefit building your business in different ways. Below are a few tips to properly use social media for your real estate business.


1. Post at the Right Times – You need to be posting when your followers are actually online—not when it strikes you or you “have the time.” You also want to make sure you post consistently and frequently. One or two posts a week won’t accomplish much; you need to be posting daily. It is easy to be overwhelmed and lose momentum, but having a plan will help.


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2. Vary your Posts – Every social media platform reaches a different audience and is made for different types of content. You want to post the proper media on each platform and use networks that align with your goals. You also want to be sharing content that is relevant to clients in your town or city. Along with property postings, mix in other content, such as neighborhood news, home maintenance, design and repair tips, and advice for renting, buying, or selling. Most experts suggest following the 80/20 rule, so for every two promotions you share, post eight pieces of informational or educational content.


tenor.gif3. Track your Growth- Many social media management sites allow you to track your growth by showing analytics and engagement, which will give more insight on what is working with your audience.

The Rental Beast Platform allows you to capitalize on social media by directly posting new and attractive listings directly to your Facebook and Twitter pages. With the largest database of listings in the DMV area you will have a leg up on your competing agents. Working with our Broker Support Team, you can learn some valuable tricks for how to strategically use social media and connect with a larger audience.

 

 

 

Homes you can rent in Boston for under $2000 right now!

Rental properties are becoming the norm in almost every market across the United States. Those seeking a new home are making the decision to rent at an increasing rate; so much so that the supply is having difficulty keeping up with the demand. Though the market is expanding and catering to the renter, it can be a challenge to get a handle on the ideal price. Because of this, we’re happy to provide you with a glimpse at what under $2000 in rent will get you in one of our most popular markets! —RentalBeast.com

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