Willy's Top Tips for Renting in Boston

Boston is an expensive city.  But it’s worth it!  There’s no city quite like it.  It’s got an extensive history, is on the water with a great climate and has a strong community.  It’s a hub for education and medical advancements.  Couple that with high turnover due to the 152,000 college students and many visiting medical professionals and you’ve got a recipe for a hot rental market.

View from one of the decks at Troy Boston.

View from one of the decks at Troy Boston.

Here are my top five tips for renting in Boston:


  1. Be flexible with your move-in/out date.

The large student population results in a desired move-in date of September 1st.  It’s both a blessing and a curse.  A September 1st move-in date offers you a lot of properties on the market, but you’ll also have to compete with everyone else wanting to move in that day.  And you will probably be paying a premium because it’s such a high-demand date.  

After the September 1st rush, the second busiest move-in dates are in June and July.

Having a flexible move-in date will open up more properties for you, and will probably make your move a bit easier.  Chances are, you’ll also pay less for the same apartment with an off-cycle move-in.

People change jobs suddenly, renovations happen.  Tenants get evicted or break their leases.  Most landlords aren’t going let their units sit empty from January through August.  The best case scenario is that you get a deal and you’re not competing with 50 other no- parking permits and moving trucks.  

At Piano Craft Guild, you can paint your own door!

At Piano Craft Guild, you can paint your own door!

2. Use a Realtor®.

Specifically, me!

  There are plenty of people who search for apartments online and find a good one on Craigslist or Zillow.  However, you’ll have many more options when using a real human with personal connections.  Not every apartment is advertised online!  A Realtor® can give you advice or viewpoints you hadn’t even considered.   It’s also a lot easier to deal with one person than to schedule five showings with five different agents.  Using a Realtor® can also give you inside knowledge of the neighborhood.  It’s also to your advantage as the tenant, to have someone with experience negotiating your lease on your behalf.  

Ava Theatre District

Ava Theatre District

3. Understand the math

Essentially, this is how to factor discounts and promotions into your rent.  In Boston, the standard rental fee is one month’s rent.  Sometimes the landlord pays the fee, and sometimes the client does.  Some larger buildings at times also offer months of free rent.    If the client is paying the fee, you can look at it like they’re paying 13 months rent for a 12 month lease.  Here are a few examples of how this can be done.


You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2,500/mo and you have to pay the fee.  

($2500 x 13) / 12 = $2708.33/mo


You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2500/mo and the landlord is paying the fee and offering first month’s rent free.

($2500 x 11) / 12 = $2291.67/mo


You find an apartment you like.  It’s $2500/mo and you have to pay the fee but your realtor negotiated your first month fee.  Well, that’s a wash.  $2500/mo.

Ink Block is an apartment building in the old Boston Herald HQ. The walls are covered in old newspapers!

Ink Block is an apartment building in the old Boston Herald HQ. The walls are covered in old newspapers!

4. Respect pet rules.

If the property/unit is not pet-friendly, please be respectful.  Don’t say you have a service animal if you don’t.  Please realize this is not the place for you.  It won’t work out well for you or your landlord.  

Micropolis, Beacon Hill

Micropolis, Beacon Hill

5. Use local resources.

The community within Boston is what really makes it shine.  The best way to be involved in the community is to know what’s going on.  Check out resources and websites like @Boston311 or www.eventbrite.com to see what goes in the neighborhood.


If you’re planning a move to Boston, congratulations!  It’s a great city!

And if you have any questions about Back Bay or Boston rentals or sales, or about the market in general, please ask me!  My cellphone number is 617 528 8461 and my email address is willy.charleton@nemoves.com.  I’d love to hear from you.

Heritage on the Garden

One of my favorite buildings in the neighborhood is Heritage on the Garden.  It’s so prominent, and classic looking.  I’m always changing my mind about what I want in my next home.  Should I scoop something bigger up in the Back Bay?  Buy a house in Cambridge?  Keep my apartment (it’s actually a condo but I hate the word condo) and buy a house in New Hampshire?  All of the above?  Although, I know I wouldn't mind moving into this place at all.  It’s off the market.  I don’t even think it was on the market for a week!  It was listed for $1,250,000 by Tracy Campion.  It’s a two-story one bed, one and a half bath with outdoor space on both levels.  Enough of my words, here it is!

You walk into a little hallway with the staircase and a hidden half bath that leads to the living room.  See outdoor space?  Kitchen to the right.

It's not great, but it's nice enough.  Dishwasher is a huge plus.

I'd ditch the mural.

Nice big staircase for a Back Bay 1 bed.

In-unit laundry.

Did someone say built-ins?

More storage AND outdoor space off the bedroom.

Master bathroom isn't bad. 

So you see why I like this place so much?

Ultimate Party House - Venice, CA

So it's not the ultimate party house, but I could definitely see some fun parties going on here regularly.  And it's more of a townhouse, than a house.  But it's still pretty sweet.  I say that, because this house has a huge roof deck.  This house is 2,300 square feet, and 3 stories.  That leads me to believe there's about 750 square feet of roof deck.  That's a space larger than my apartment.

I could very, very, very easily imagine myself up there with a couple of friends listening to music, eating take out form Gracias Madre.  I bet it's a great place to watch the sunset.

I like browsing real estate markets around the country, in places I wouldn't mind living.  So naturally I was looking at a .25miles radius of Abbot Kinney and Westminster.  While the location is great, it's spacious, has that fantastic roof deck, the kitchen needs a little work.  It's not what you think.  I love the tile, but that stove just doesn't work for me.  I would much prefer either a larger island, or moving the stove to the counter against the wall.

We're going to end this spotlight on a positive note, with the price.  This is currently one of the most affordable homes in Venice at $1.475M.  It also has a 3 car garage and 2 outdoor spaces.  Sweet, right?

Click here for more.


Boston's Hidden Gem: Eastie

Jesse Greenstein

If East Boston was good enough for the Kennedy’s back in the 1900s, then it is definitely good enough for you and me! 

I live in a neighborhood that does not get a lot of attention from the average Bostonian, and for that I am grateful. Traffic is minimal, real estate is affordable, goods and services are less expensive, and the people are hardworking and humble.  If you’re from Boston and have only been to East Boston to utilize the airport, then come back and let me be your guide, and let me show you around. To most people who live in the greater Boston area, East Boston is just where the airport is, or where Santarpio’s is…. If you feel that way, then you are in for a pleasant surprise! 

 There is a hell of a lot more than just an airport out here…

 We have libraries, schools, marinas, breweries, post offices, police and fire departments, parks, banks, smoke shops, bars, gyms, pool halls, bowling alleys, playgrounds, soccer fields, basketball courts, and greenways. We have some of the best authentic and interesting restaurants in town. We have mom and pop shops, yacht clubs, waterfront views, medical and legal offices, small businesses, big businesses, and families. The Eastie community is very strong – whether you come from Back Bay or El Salvador, you can make this quaint part of Boston your new home with ease.  There are busses, trains, and boats to take you all around town, and beyond, if you don’t want to walk or drive to other parts of the city.

 I love it here -- we love it here -- and as soon as I have enough money saved up, I am going to invest it in this neighborhood’s real estate market. Currently I am renting in Maverick Square/ Jeffries Point – a 4 minute walk to the Maverick Blue Line T Station.  However, I am a value investor – I always have been – and I am a real estate agent and entrepreneur. Every day I think to myself how important it is to invest early before it is too late. This time next year, or even by the time the summer rolls around, it might be too late to invest in East Boston – at least in the Jeffries Point and Maverick Square regions. The fact that people are already talking about Eastie makes me think the rush has already begun, but Rome was not built in a day, and neither was East Boston.  Get in early and get in often! 

The two attributes that shine through every time I am in East Boston are LOCATION and VALUE. Other neighborhoods are contenders regarding value, like Allston, Brighton and JP, but those neighborhoods certainly do not share the LOCATION factor that East Boston has, and that is evident when you go make the trip from Eastie to Downtown in less than 10 minutes. 

In the residential real estate market we talk a lot about Back Bay, Downtown/Midtown, The North and South Ends, Seaport, Waterfront, and occasionally the Fenway. We do not discuss East Boston, and I plan on being the man to change that – even though I like my quiet, pleasant, fulfilling neighborhood the way it is, I know that this is the new land of opportunity – the new frontier – and I want to share that with you, your friends, and your family. 

The average price of Single Family, Condo, and Multi-Family in East Boston (11/28/2016):

  • Single Family Home: $459,267.00  3 on the market ranging from $338,000 - $649,900
    • Avg Price/Square Foot: $309
  • Condominium: $463,934.00  32 on the market ranging from $299,900 - $850,000
    • Avg Price/Square Foot: $475
  • Multi-Family Home: $1,172,213.00  8 on the market ranging from $549,900 - $3,300,000
    • Avg Price/Square Foot: $310

The Average price of a 1, 2, and 3 Bedroom Rental in East Boston (11/28/2016):

1 Bedroom: $1,839  10 active listings, ranging from $1,500 - $2,300

2 Bedroom: $2,281  16 active listings, ranging from $1,500 - $3,800

3 Bedroom: $2,325  7 active listings, ranging from $1,950 - $3,025

BELOW you will find a list of great things to do in EAST BOSTON


  • Top 5
  1. Rino’s Place
  2. Mehak Halal
  3. Italian Express
  4. Cactus Mexican Grill
  5. Saigon Hut
  • Italian
    • Rino’s Place
    • Meridian Food Market
    • Italian Express
    • Santarpio’s
    • D’Parma
  • Middle Eastern
    • Mehak Halal
  • American
    • Roy’s Cold Cuts
    • Kelley Square Pub
    • Maverick Marketplace 
  • Latin
    • Cactus Mexican Grill
    • Angela’s Café
    • La Hacienda
    • Rincon Limeno
  • Asian
    • Saigon Hut
    • Little Asia
    • Hong Kong Harbor
  • Other
    • KO Pies (Australian – like chicken pot pies, but more exciting etc.)
    • Donna’s Restaurant (Breakfast + Lunch, Orient Heights)


  • Eddie C’s
  • Kelley Square Pub
  • Maverick Marketplace
  • Ecco Lounge Boston
  • Jeveli’s
  • Central Park Lanes BOWLING CENTER
  • El Diamante – billiards/pool hall
  • Trivia, Karaoke, Sports – Maverick Marketplace
  • Tufts Tobacco Smoke Shop and Lounge (very rare these days, Orient Heights)
  • Parks, Soccer Fields, Walks, Boats
  • Brewery Tour at Downeast Cider 
  • Pockets Billiard Club (Orient Heights)
  • East Boston Yacht Club + Jeffries Point Yacht Club 
  • Food, Food, Food
  • Beaches


Water Taxis

The T

  • Maverick Station
  • Airport Station
  • Wood Island Station
  • Orient Heights Station
  • Suffolk Downs Station

The Bus

  • 110, 111, 112, 114, 116, 117, 120, 712, 713


Jesse Greenstein



ZeroEnergy Design's Net Positive Farmhouse



I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

So yesterday, just like any other day, I found myself perusing the World Wide Web.  I like to just search things, browse, read, listen, shop.  Well yesterday I was searching for sustainable buildings made by Boston based architects.  I don’t know if you know this, but Boston is a hub for Architects.  They’re everywhere!  In fact, I was almost one of them.  I moved to Boston in 2008 to start my college education at Boston Architectural College.  Didn’t work out.

In my browsing, I came across ZeroEnergy Design’s Net Positive Energy Lincoln Farmhouse.  Not only does this house look great, it is great.  Great for everyone inside and out.  To me, it has this Scandinavian minimalist thing going on.  Remember, I’m coming from an antique and cluttered American perspective.  Rugs on rugs on rugs, but not here.

Ok, there are a couple rugs.  But they're not layered!

Ok, there are a couple rugs.  But they're not layered!

Let’s get down to brass tacks.  Let me pin up why this place is so cool (or not!).  The first thing that caught my attention, is that the house is totally electric.  I read that and was like, “wait what that’s so dirty and chaotic.”  But I got over it quickly.  Throw a couple Tachyon Disks over the fuse box and you should be good to go!  

Being 100% electric isn’t really an issue, because this house uses 70% less energy than a new home built to standard code.  Have you yet deduced why this house is called the “Net Positive Energy” farmhouse?  Because it produces 42% more electricity than it consumes!  I’m wondering if feeding back into the grid, how long this house will take to pay for itself.

One of the reasons this house is so efficient, is that it’s sealed.  You could probably submerge this thing.  Now that I think about it, this place could be the next Noah’s Ark.  Sealed and self sufficient.  I’m not going to get into the details of testing how air tight a building is, but it’s called the Blower Door method and is measured in ACH50, Air Changed per Hour at 50 Pascals.  The 2012 International Conservation Code set 3 ACH50 as the a good target.  This house is one of the tightest in the country at .27 ACH50.  In the case of losing power in the winter, and therefore heat, the house is so well insulated that it will take several days for the house to dip to 60 degrees.  There is one part of this house that’s outside the insulated envelope.  The root cellar!  Yeah, you heard me.  This place has a root cellar!

HVAC is not my area of expertise.  But this place has an “air source heat pump and energy recovery ventilator” and a “heat pump hot water heater.”  The kitchen appliances are conventional electric and Energy Star rated.  A monitoring system is in place, so the me owners can monitor their energy consumption.  The roof is covered with solar panels producing 13.8kW of power.  This house is even equipped to charge an electric car!

Since this is a farmhouse, it’s obligated to at least have a garden.  Well this place collects rain water for later use on landscaping and vegetable gardens!  On the whole, this house uses 60% less water than the federal standard.  I just hope this house isn’t connected to municipal water.  

I’m a huge fan of this house.  There was a lot of thought and attention put into it, as well as great craftsmanship with an eye for sustainability.  I think this is a great example of what we can do.  Let’s give credit where credit is due!

Architecture and Mechanical Design: ZeroEnergy Design

Construction:  Thoughtforms

Landscape Design: Soren Deniord Design Studio

Lighting Design: Lucia Lighting Design

Troy Boston - A Step Towards Sustainable Luxury

I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer.
— Denis Hayes

In my opinion, Troy Boston is the future of high rise luxury living.  It’s at least a huge step in the right direction.  Troy Boston was completed in 2014 by Gerding Edlen, one of the country’s largest property development firms.  Gerding Edlen is know for their green properties.  They currently have assets totaling $5,000,000,000.00, including 13 LEED Platinum, 45 LEED Gold and 5 LEED Silver rated buildings.  They clearly have the experience necessary to bring sustainability to the luxury market.  After all, sustainability is the best luxury.


You know that they’re doing something right when they’ve reached nearly 90% occupancy within the first year of opening its doors.  In fact, it’s the only building to reach 80% occupancy in such a short time in the city of Boston for the last 6 years.

Top floor deck.  Those cement pillars on the left are heated!

Top floor deck.  Those cement pillars on the left are heated!

The views are great.  Depending on your floor, you get a full panoramic of the Boston sky line.  Even if your apartment doesn’t have the greatest view, all you need to do is take the elevator up to one of the common outdoor spaces.  

Salt water pool with a view of Prudential

Salt water pool with a view of Prudential

The outdoor spaces are to die for.  The first one is right off a lounge with a small kitchen.  There’s some seating, heat lamps and a salt water pool!  I only know of 1 other building in Boston with a salt water pool.  You could take the elevator on up to the next common area, which houses a larger kitchen area.  In fact, the FoodNetwork is using the space to film a show, and allowing residents to watch and taste the food.  Right off of this is an expansive patio, with cabanas and grills.  

Cabanas overlooking the city.

Cabanas overlooking the city.

On top of all that, the apartments themselves are very cool.  Troy Boston’s apartments range from studio to 2 bedroom.  Although, there are no studios currently available.  Studios start are $2,395/mo, with rents going up to $4,600 for a 2 bedroom.  They’re very clean and modern looking.  One thing I really like about this place, is that microwaves are not built in to the cabinets.  They do offer one, but they just sit it in a cabinet under the counter.  That means you can just take it out and give it back!  Not that these spaces are lacking storage.  They actually have pretty good storage.  Along with walk-in closets and plenty of cabinet space, the large windows and high ceilings contribute to a clean, airy feel.

Another nice feature of this building are the services offered.  There are trainers, nutritionists, chefs and life coaches available for tenants.  In house stylists and tailors are available.  If style really is an issue for you, you can also call on Troy Boston’s interior design team to help furnish your apartment.  Doggy day care is offered, as well as pet supply delivery.  An out door self cleaning dog walk is accompanied by a washing station.  There are also regularly community events, including a recent cocktail making class, and adult halloween party.  The more I find out about this place, the more it seems like a city based rental version of the Yellowstone Club.  

Dog walk, with grooming station at the end.

Dog walk, with grooming station at the end.

On top of all that, Troy Boston is more environmentally friendly than your average luxury high rise:


  • 1,616,551 kwh energy saved (147 homes powered)
  • 2,789,620 gallons water saved. (139,481 showers saved)
  • 1,132 Metric Tons CO2 saved (241 cars off the road)
  • designed to operate 25% more efficiently than a code-compliant building
  • 82% post-industrial recycled content flooring
  • electricity co-generator also produces 100% of the building's hot water and 54% of its heat.
  • all plantings are local non-invasive species

If this building tickles your fancy, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  I’d love to schedule a visit!

William Charleton, Key Realty Group, LLC

268 Newbury St. 3rd Floor

Boston, MA 02116

Piano Craft Guild - Historic South End Living

Built in 1854 by Chickering and Sons as a piano factory, Piano Craft Guild is now the site of 177 unique loft apartments.  Piano Craft Guild was turned into apartments in the late 1970s and still has some original residents!  As a full service apartment building, there’s a concierge, a community area, conference room and soon-to-be indoor pool and fitness area.  Historically, this has been an artist’s haven.  Many artists still live in the building and there’s actually a gallery on the first floor that’s open to the public.  Something I found very interesting, is that tenants are encouraged to paint their doors in any way they see fit.  Some were covered with bumper stickers, landscapes and geometric patterns.

It’s located in the South End, right off Mass Ave at 791 Tremont St.  Being off Mass Ave, it’s relatively close to the green line and the orange line.  The South End in general is more accessible by bus, but I do not know how the buses work.  The South End is the newest up and coming neighborhood in Boston.  It’s my go-to place for good food.  Toro, Coppa, Stella, Kitchen, and Picco are a few of my favorite spots.  You didn’t hear it from me, but word on the street is Jamie Bissonette, co-owner of Toro and Coppa, used to live in Piano Craft Guild.

The apartments range from studio, to three bedrooms up to 1900 square feet.  There’s a lot of variety at this place.  The first apartment I saw was not my favorite, and I sighed in relief when the woman showing me around said every apartment was unique.  Here’s my warning: avoid the ground floor.  Ground floor units, or units that include a ground floor level have wall to wall carpet, and potentially limited light.  The first unit was considered a studio, because neither bedroom had a door.  Neither bedroom had a door because there were no windows.  Although, one bedroom did have a sink.

The interesting thing here is that the next studio we looked at was the complete opposite.  Very high ceilings, lacquered original wood floor, expansive windows letting in a great deal of natural light.  The kitchen was pretty good too.  A standard galley kitchen with lots of storage.  It could’ve done with an island, but that can always be added.  There is an actual loft above the updated bathroom.  Outside the bathroom was a rack for hanging clothes and there were 2 large armoires on wheels.

On the whole, there are some great apartments.  The building is pretty cool, it could do with some updating.  Luckily, that’s happening now.  Unfortunately, they’re not done yet.  

The parking here is not ideal, but it is better than nothing.  There are 55 unassigned spaces.  That sounds good, but there are 177 units to split those between.  Cars need to be moved every 3 days.  

There’s a concierge on site from 7am to 11pm.  They deal with packages and maintenance for the most part.

There is a communal laundry room on site, however I believe most of the 3 bedroom units come with the washer/dryer hook-ups.  

All utilities are included, with the exception of cable and internet.  There is no central air, however if you purchase an air conditioner, maintenance will install it.  There’s a one time fee to set up an air conditioner.

This apartment is currently being offered at $2,800/month.  Fees and rent are subject to change.


William Charleton, williamcharleton@krgboston.com

Key Realty Group, LLC

268 Newbury St. 3rd Floor

Boston, MA 02116

Avalon at Prudential Center - 780 Boylston

A window - it’s more entertaining than TV. Just ask a cat looking out, or a man looking in on a life he desires.
— Jarod Kintz

I feel confident in saying that this is the best studio apartment I’ve ever seen.  It’s spacious, in a full servicing building with unparalleled views from the 26th floor.  To give some perspective, Avalon Prudential is 27 stories.

The original Avalon buildings were completed in 1969.  This is somewhat obvious from the exterior.  However, all of the buildings are currently going through renovation.  Common areas have been modernized, and individual apartments are slowly being updated.  The updates are based around the kitchens.  Appliances and counters are being replaced, and in some cases walls are being removed to open up the spaces.  Since this building is a little older, the apartments are a little more spacious than in most of the newer buildings.

This is the mirror image of the apartment I saw.

This is the mirror image of the apartment I saw.

This studio is larger than my one bedroom, at 543 square feet.  The plan for this apartment is pretty basic.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact think this place would be particularly easy to maintain some privacy around your sleeping area.  The bathroom has plenty of room, and an old fashioned hamper built right into the wall.  Connecting the bathroom and living area is a decent sized dressing room and closet.  The dressing room is nice for the studio because it’s got great storage and can conceal a mess of laundry when friends visit.

The kitchen is small, but not terrible.  There’s a good amount of storage, but counter space is limited.  The cabinets and drawerss are very cool.  They’re actually white painted metal.  The sink is deep with a garbage disposal.  Most importantly, there is a dishwasher.

The living area is spacious.  The basket weave parquet floors remind me of an old New York City Co-op, but that’s not a bad thing.  They definitely date the place a little, but fewer and fewer places have real wood floors.  Parquet floors are meant to last for a while without maintenance, so they’re serving a purpose and don’t look all that bad.  I don’t know If these are held in place with asphalt though.

The windows and the view are by far the past part of this apartment.  Fifteen feet of windows overlooking the heart of Back Bay.  This place even looks down on the Mandarin.  You get a clear picture of the Charles River and beyond to Cambridge.  I bet the Fourth of July fireworks are quite the spectacle from up here.  

Cats are allowed with provisions.  An additional $500 deposit is required, as well as $50/month rent per cat.  You may have up to 2.  Unfortunately, no dogs.  Or any other animal that isn’t a cat.

Parking is available for, I believe, $385/month.  It’s through the garage under Prudential.   Avalon rents a certain number of spaces and offers them to residents.  What’s nice is, they only rent them to reserve them.  You pay no more than if you were to rent the space directly from the garage!


Being a full service building, there are many Community Amenities:

  • 24 hour fitness center
  • Exclusive resident events
  • Community room and courtyard
  • Valet laundry and on site laundry center (Not all places have been updated yet, and concierge will take care of your dry cleaning.  But don’t dry clean if you don’t have to)
  • Bike storage
  • 24 hour full service concierge
  • On site management with 24 hour emergency maintenance
  • On site ZipCar
  • Additional on site storage available


This apartment is currently being offered at $2,900/month for a 12 month lease.  Leases as short as 2 months are available, however the monthly rate will be higher.  Prices vary with the market and availability.  Sometimes incentives are offered, currently there is no fee.  All fee’s subject to change.


William Charleton, williamcharleton@krgboston.com

Key Really Group, LLC

268 Newbury St. 3rd Floor

Boston, MA 02116