Cambridge Realty Group

Discover Greater Boston


Our clients are our number one priority! Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about the rental process for prospective tenants. Have a question not answered here? Feel free to contact us directly by phone or email and we will be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Q. When should I start to look for an apartment?

A. The best time to start your search is between four to six weeks prior to the move-in date. Basically, there isn’t a very good selection of apartments earlier.The best deals and best selection of apartments will be found closer to the day the living space is available to rent. Many potential renters seem to think that you have the best selection if you start your search very early. It may turn out to be a case of diminishing returns. It essentially boils down to us having an apartment meets your needs when you are looking.

Q. How quickly do I need to make a decision about renting an apartment?

A. Keep in mind, “if you like the apartment, someone else will also like it as well.”; therefore, you may not have the luxury of thinking it over to make your decision. It is important to visualize yourself living there if the rental is going to work for you. There is a limited number of outstanding places at a reasonable price. Competition among leasing agents and prospective tenants can be intense at times.

Q. What criteria should I use in deciding which apartment is the right one for me?

A. Know what you are looking for. Consider what is the most important priority for you. Is it location; quality; proximity to the T; space; pet-friendly, etc?

Consider where you are commuting to everyday. How important is it to be close to public transportation? Will you have an auto?

How much space do you realistically need? Do you need an extra bedroom or would a study be OK?

To qualify for an apartment, your income should be at least three times the annual rent. Please keep this in mind as you are deciding what you can afford? If you don’t qualify for an apartment alone, some landlords require a co-signer. The guarantor will need to demonstrate financial stability and good credit.

Q. Can I find a place with off street parking? Don’t many of the houses have driveways?

A. If you require an off street parking spot, you will pay roughly $150-175 a month extra for your apartment per spot and this will DRASTICALLY limit the number of apartments you can see. Many of the houses in the Cambridge and Somerville markets are two or three family dwellings.

In the cases, where the landlord lives in one of the units, they always reserve the driveway for themselves. In the cases where it is an investment property, often one of the other units has use of the parking space or one of the existing units gets use of the driveway when the other tenant moves out.

Generally, street parking in the Somerville and Cambridge area isn’t very difficult. In most neighborhoods, you will probably find a spot relatively close to the house. You will need to get a parking permit for a minimal yearly fee; the only catch is that the auto has to be registered and insured in the city of your residence.

Q. How much should I expect to pay for an apartment?


The pricing of an apartment is subjective; therefore, many variables can effect how an apartment gets priced.

Here are some ranges on what you can expect to pay for a living space:

  • Studios and one beds (based on location)____$1600 to $2000
  • Two bedrooms_________________________ $2300 to $3500
  • Three bedrooms________________________$3000 to $4500
  • Four bedrooms_________________________$3600to$5000

Q. What are the costs associated with renting apartments?

A. The following are the most common deposits required by landlords or management companies:

  • first month and last month (two months rent)
  • first month and security deposit (two months rent)
  • first month, last month, and security deposit (three months rent)
  • in addition to the above, some landlords require a key deposit and/or a cleaning fee

Q. What is a security deposit?

A. Sometime landlords or management companies require a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. The security deposit is held in an escrow account and is used by the landlord to pay for any damages due to non-reasonable wear and tear. Normal wear-and-tear is not deducted from the security deposit: as long as you leave the apartment in the same condition as when you moved into it.

Q. What is a rental fee?

A. The rental fee is equal to one months rent. There are three ways it is broken down:

  • the fee is paid for by the Landlord.
  • the fee is split between the tenant and the landlord (usually 50-50)
  • the full fee is paid by the tenant

Q. How should I prepare for a showing appointment?

A. Leave enough time to view several living spaces. Bring your check book. Give your rental agent feedback. Let us know up front if you have any current or past credit problems. Know your current and former landlord references.

Q. How do I take an apartment off the market?

A. All of the respective parties will need to fill out a rental application; write a check (s) for the required deposits, and sign off on the prepared paperwork. Personal checks are normally accepted but depending on how close you are to the lease start date, some landlords might require cleared funds such as a money order or a bank check. If you are relocating from another country, bring traveler checks or contact us in advance to arrange a wire transfer.

Q. Can I rent an apartment sight unseen?

A. Yes, you can rent an apartment sight unseen. We will do a needs analysis and, based on your housing preferences, create a rental profile. We will e-mail you pictures and descriptions of apartments that could work for you. If you decide to submit a rental application, we will e-mail the necessary paperwork. Once we receive the signed lease, it will be delivered to the landlord or the management company. Once it is countersigned , we return the fully executed lease to you.