Jessica’s newer, larger building
Near Boston’s South End, One Back Bay embodies the luxury apartment experience with a 24-hour concierge and valet service. A studio apartment in the 2009-built building is available for $3,390 per month.
Jessica Lau, 24, was initially concerned with location and safety. As a dental student at Boston University, proximity to school was at the top of her apartment wish list.
Then she started talking to locals.
“At first, I didn’t care about the age of the building where I lived,” she said. “But after I talked to them, I changed my mind and looked for something modern and new.”
Turns out, Lau’s friends who live in older Boston apartment buildings and brownstones have battled a few unwanted pests. One friend didn’t cook in her kitchen for a year because she couldn’t get rid of mice.
As a result, Lau selected a large, full-service apartment building built in the early 2000s.
“We pay $3,570 for a 2-bedroom,” she said. “We got a good deal on our unit.”
South End apartments tend to be on the pricier side — the median rent is $3,032 per month versus $2,497 for Boston as a whole — but Lau splits the cost with roommates. Two women have their own bedrooms, and one has her bed in the living room.
“It definitely changed the dynamic, but with a resident lounge, it works,” she said.
Lau’s building has several shared amenities including a lounge with a complimentary coffee bar and flat-screen TVs, and a conference room where she and her classmates study for exams. Residents also have access to laundry rooms on every floor, 2 gyms and 24-hour concierge service.
“It’s worth it because of the facilities,” she said.
Kerrye’s older, smaller building
A 1-bedroom is available for $1,900 per month in a 1966-built Brookline building. Pets are considered, and a park with off-leash dog hours is nearby.
Kerrye Wasserman, 33, and his fiancee also rent in Boston. Their building is smaller, with 6 units total, and was built prior to 2000.
“Most places I looked at were on the older side,” he said. “Age wasn’t a factor for us, but it’s harder to install a television on the wall, for instance.”
The couple pay $1,700 a month for about 650 square feet, significantly less than the median Brookline rent of $2,962. It’s also significantly less than the couple previously paid to rent in New York City.
“We were willing to pay up to $2,000 in Boston, but ground-floor rentals are typically cheaper and we wanted a ground floor because it’s easier with a dog,” Wasserman explained.
In fact, his top priority was finding a dog-friendly apartment where his fiancee could walk to work at Longwood Medical.
“A lot of places are pet-friendly, but they love cats not dogs,” he said.
Another reason the couple landed on their Brookline apartment was on-site parking.
“On-site parking in Brookline is very important because there are very few places that allow overnight parking,” he said.
Best of both worlds:
Want shared amenities without breaking the bank? Search for newer yet smaller apartment buildings. Research shows you could save more than 30 percent simply by selecting a building with fewer units.
The challenge for Lau and Wasserman was finding one that fit their top search criteria in the Boston city limits.
“It’s all about priorities,” Wasserman said.
Author: Catherine Sherman