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How and When to Search

Searching for an apartment can be a time-consuming and complicated process.

  • If you are not planning on paying to use a realtor to help you look for a place, you should be prepared to spend a few weeks in the late spring or early summer conducting your search in the Greater Boston area.
  • Most leases require tenants to give notice 30-60 days before vacating apartments, and leases generally begin on August 1 or September 1. The peak for finding apartments in this area is May and June, although early July is also a very good time to search.
  • Your goal should be to find an apartment by the end of July as the supply drops dramatically at this time, and you may have more difficulty finding an apartment that suites your needs.
  • If you cannot come to Boston to search for an apartment, you will want to either hire a realtor ,or you may want to strongly considering renting through Harvard University Housing.
    • Many students utilize a real estate broker in their apartment search. The big advantage to this option is that a realtor has more experience and can more quickly find potential apartment matches for you. You can even work with multiple realtors in order to see more listings. However, most realtors will charged you a full month’s rent if you choose an apartment that they have shown you. Make sure to factor this into your housing budget.
    • HUH are private, off campus apartments, but the entire apartment selection process is done online.
  • There are many resources that you can use to search for an apartment, but the most popular way to find an apartment in the greater Boston area is craigslist, which has multiple ways to view apartment listings.
    • The HLS Housing office recommends using Padmapper in order to search for apartment listings. Padmapper draws from craigslist,,, and several other websites, and it places the listings on a googlemap, so that you can actually see the physical location of these apartments in relation to HLS. This is an especially great option for those who are unfamiliar with the Greater Boston area.
  • Other websites for apartment-hunting