Monday, December 12, 2016

Staying Safe Around the Holidays in Boston

There is nothing quite like all the good cheer and joy associated with the holiday season. When friends and relatives get together to celebrate the season and leave behind the cares and concerns of jobs and other priorities.

Amid all this good cheer, though, it's good to keep in mind some points about holiday safety in Boston, so nothing spoils the mood. Unfortunately, some individuals see the holidays as a time to take advantage of others.

With this in mind, all Boston area residents would do well to remember some of the following precautions and keep the season safe. From a property manager in Boston, here are some easy safety tips to help you enjoy your holidays both inside & outside your home.

Holiday Safety Outside the Home

Once you step outside the safety of your home or apartment, there's literally a whole world of things that can go wrong during the holidays.

From weather to robbery to driving under the influence of liquid cheer, there are any number of ways that a good time can quickly be transformed into a holiday nightmare. Here are the best tips we have to keep you safe outside of your home.

  • Dress Appropriately - this might seem pretty obvious, but on a given winter day in Boston, the weather could range anywhere from spring-like to blizzard-like. Before you venture outside, it would be good to know which kind of weather you're walking out into. This means wearing layered clothing in cold weather, protecting your face, and having suitable footwear which can grip surfaces. 
  • Protect Yourself from Theft - when you travel somewhere, make sure your wallets are secure and purses are not left sitting anywhere, making them susceptible to easy theft. It's best to not  carry large sums of cash either, just in case the unthinkable does happen.
  • When you’re out shopping - remember to leave the lights on in your apartment, and maybe even leave the radio playing to give the illusion that someone is home. When you're Christmas shopping, don't get in a situation where you're carrying a number of boxes or bags, because someone can easily dash off with those shopping bags.

  • Child safety - don't let children get lost in the holiday crowd, and when you're out in a busy area, make sure to discuss a plan beforehand which identifies a place to meet, in case you should become separated for any reason.
  • Vehicle safety - even if it happens to be a super-cold day, you shouldn't leave your vehicle running while you 'quickly' run into a store for something, regardless of whether someone is in the car or not. If you're moving on to another store, make sure you don't leave your bags and boxes exposed to view in the car while you're inside.
  • Celebrating and partying - holiday driving can be one of the riskiest times on the road, not only because of potential weather issues, but because a lot of other people may be coming from celebrations, and are not as alert or responsible as normal. If you're hosting a party, make sure no one leaves intoxicated, and if you're attending one, be sure to eat something substantial before drinking.

Holiday Safety Inside Your Home

Most people feel very safe inside their own residence since all those external dangers discussed above are largely neutralized.

However, there are still some hazards to be aware of. Decorations add a great deal to the holiday spirit, but they also provide many opportunities for accidents. Here are the best tips and tricks we have to keep you safe inside your home during the holidays.

  • Have a functional fire extinguisher - in case any kind of fire breaks out, you'll want a working fire extinguisher which has been regularly tested.
  • Don't leave food in the oven - many fires in the past have started because something was left in the oven over a long period of time and forgotten. 
  • Don't leave candles lit - most of the time, a candle will just burn itself out right in its holder - but if you leave it burning while you're out shopping, that might be the one time in ten that a flame spills over the holder.
  • Water the Christmas tree - be sure that your Christmas tree is well hydrated, so it doesn't become overly dry in the de-humidified air of your apartment, making it a huge fire hazard.

  • Don't overload electrical outlets - when you have lots of holiday lights and gadgets that require electricity, you might be tempted to overload your outlets. This can create a dangerous situation, perfect for sparking a flame.
  • Remove frayed wires - especially on older Christmas ornaments and lights, frayed wires can be a hazard, so these should all be examined before usage.
  • Supplemental heat sources - make sure your fireplace is clean and the flue is unclogged. If you use portable heaters, make sure they're not stationed near anything flammable, and that they're not left running for hours at a time. Along those same lines, make sure your CO detectors are in good order.
  • Make sure smoke detectors work - Massachusetts law says there must be a functional smoke detector outside every bedroom, at the bottom of stairways, and at least one on each level of a home. This is an easy tip to make sure you are aware if any fire does break out.

Stay Safe and Spread the Holiday Spirit

All in all, the holidays are a great time to not get away from your worries and spend time with those who mean the most to you. Following the tips above will make for a stress-free and joyous holiday season.

We want you to enjoy yourselves and help prevent any safety issues from happening. From everyone here at Premier Property Solutions, we hope you have a safe and beautiful holiday with your friends and family.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pets in Boston - Tenant and Property Owner Tips

It's safe to say that most cities today are pet-friendly!

Boston is no different. Our pets have increasingly become a part of the family, so accommodating this new normal is something that many property managers in Boston now recognize.

If having a four-legged family member in residence is a top priority, there are certain things that both landlords and tenants should keep in mind so that there aren't any misunderstandings.

Here are several tips about pets in Boston rentals for both tenants and landlords.

Tips for Tenants

What should you do when you get a pet in Boston?
Owning a pet is a big responsibility. If you're going to live in Massachusetts, you'll also need to adhere to some legal requirements. The first order of business is to register your dog each year, which also requires that you keep them up-to-date with shots. You will also need to adhere to leash laws and pick up your pet's waste from public places. Finally, finding a pet-friendly apartment in Boston should also be a top priority.

Can a landlord in Boston ask for a pet deposit?
Yes, a landlord in a Boston rental can ask you for a pet deposit as long as it is less than one month's rent.  The deposit must act as a regular deposit, which will be returned to you, less damages, once you move out.

Can a landlord in Boston charge extra in monthly rent if you have a pet?
Yes, a landlord can charge you extra for rent to compensate for having a pet. However, this is an arrangement that you must agree to in your rental agreement.

Can a landlord in Boston evict you if you have a pet in a non-pet apartment?
Unless you fall under the protections of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), your landlord can evict you if you violate the terms of your lease.  This means that, if you're living in a non-pet apartment and decide to get a pet, your landlord can obtain a court order for your eviction.

Tips for Landlords

What are the best rules and limitations to apply to tenants that have pets?
If you decide to make your apartments pet-friendly, have clear expectations that are detailed in writing. Require that animals be spayed or neutered and don't restrict tenants to one pet or ask for such things as debarking or declawing. Don't allow pets to be tethered outside and do ask that cats be kept indoors.

Why should you consider allowing pets in your Boston apartments?
If you want to expand your reach and keep your occupancy rates up, making your apartments in Boston pet-friendly is the answer. Apartments that accept pets can not only bring in more renters, but the Massachusetts Animal Coalition reports that these tenants will both stay longer and be more stable.

How can I handle pet-related issues such as damage or poor pet ownership?
When there is a nuisance case, the burden of proof generally falls on the landlord.  Your best course of action is to prevent problems before they occur.  Ask for references from previous landlords and evaluate each tenant on a case-by-case basis. Have clear rules in place and don't just interview your prospective tenants but also insist on meeting their four-legged family members before signing a lease agreement.

Boston Pet-Friendly Neighborhoods

When you have a pet, your choice of neighborhood should consider their needs in addition to your own. Specifically, dogs need parks and green spaces, and pet-friendly businesses are always a plus.

As a landlord in these already popular neighborhoods, you can capitalize on the pet-friendly businesses and communities that have been established by allowing pets in your rentals. Here are several of the most pet-friendly neighborhoods in Boston to add to your list.

Back Bay/Beacon Hill/Midtown - These areas give you access to some of Boston's largest parks, including the Boston Public Garden and the Commonwealth Mall.  The area is massive and should provide plenty of rental opportunities.

South End - Not only are there some great restaurants and businesses here, but you'll also find 13 parks on the tree-lined streets, a dog bakery, and Boston's Animal Rescue League in this part of town.

The Charlestown Navy Yard - Just one mile from downtown Boston, the Navy Yard has been described by some as a 30-acre dog park with plenty of open spaces.

South Boston - "Southie" is home to South Boston Bark Park as well as several other green spaces, a beach, and the entrance to the Boston Harborwalk.

Boston Dog Parks

The city of Boston has six off-the-leash dog parks where you can allow your four-legged bestie to roam with like-minded furry friends. Whether you are a renter or a landlord in Boston, proximity to any of these pet-friendly spaces is certainly considered a plus.

Boston Common - This 50-acre park has set hours when pets can be off their leash, but leashed pets are welcome anytime.

Peters Park - Located in the South End neighborhood, Peters Park has both an off-leash dog park and a separate area for smaller dogs.

Carlton Court Dog Park - This dog park in Back Bay provides a simple fenced-in off-leash area for pets to roam free.

South Boston Bark Park - A Southie treasure, the South Boston Bark Park has a separate area for large and small dogs, trees, tunnels, rocks, and benches for mom and dad.

Richmond Street Dog Park - Located in the North End, this is a popular fenced off-leash park that is maintained by a local community group.

Channel Center Dog Park - This simple dog park is located in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston.

Allowing pets at your rental property is a big deal. Now more than 55 million households in the U.S. own a dog, and 66 percent consider their pets to be family members. Many qualified tenants won't give you a second look if your apartments don't take pets.

If you're a pet owner, be sure to clearly understand your landlord's policies regarding pets. A good property management team is also helpful to ensure a positive and lasting experience in your Boston apartment.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Conserve Water in Boston Apartments

No matter who pays the water bills in an apartment it benefits everyone when less water is consumed.

Conserving water in apartment buildings protects one of the Earth's most precious natural resources, but it can also save money in the long run for both tenants and landlords.

Along with reducing water waste and expenses, water conservation steps can also help to keep the planet healthy and safe. Below are a few eco-friendly property management solutions to help landlords and tenants work together to conserve water.

Water Saving Tips for Apartment Tenants 

Even though apartment dwellers usually consume less water than stand-alone homes, there are many things renters can do to consume less water.

The following eco-friendly and sustainable property management steps are easy to take and can make a significant difference in the amount of water consumed on a daily basis.


  • Take showers instead of baths, since bathtubs usually require about 50 gallons of water to fill.
  • Reduce shower times by one or two minutes to save up to 700 gallons per month.
  • Turn off water when brushing your teeth or shaving to save about 3 gallons of water per day.
  • Never place trash in the toilet, since each flush uses about 1.6 for a water-saving toilet to 7 gallons of water for a conventional toilet


  • Scrape dishes with a spatula or a used napkin to limit pre-rinsing.
  • Wash dishes in a full dishwasher instead of by hand.
  • Fill containers with soap and rinse water for hand washables instead of running water.
  • Use sprayers and vegetable brushes to clean food.
  • Do not use your garbage disposal to get rid of food.
  • Defrost foods in a refrigerator, microwave, or cold water bowl instead of running water.


  • Wash only full loads of laundry to use less water and to reduce energy costs in Boston.
  • Avoid washing clothes and other types of laundry unless truly needed. For example, use or wear bath towels and clothing at least two times unless they smell bad or are stained.

Outdoor Areas 

  • Collect water used for boiling eggs, steaming vegetables or while waiting for it to heat up in the kitchen or shower to water grass, plants, flowers and trees on your patio or balcony. 
  • Save rainwater in a cistern, rain barrel or other type of container to water greenery.
  • Choose drought-friendly plants so that you will not need to water very often.

Touch Base With Your Landlord

  • Report any type of leak to your landlord, including dripping faucets, seeping plumping joints or running toilets. Also contact your landlord right away if you notice broken sprinklers, washing machines or pipes.
  • Notify your landlord if you observe any type of water waste. For example, let your landlord know if gardeners use water to clean pathways rather than sweeping with a broom.

Water-saving Tips for Landlords

Promoting eco-friendly property management practices can help landlords streamline their operations and save water and money for everyone.

In addition, renters are more likely to consume less water if landlords take the steps below.

Promote Conservation Habits

Make sure tenants understand that you support water-saving measures and other earth-friendly conservation efforts so they feel comfortable contacting you with their water conservation issues and suggestions. Preventative maintenance to mitigate common HVAC problems or burst pipes can help to keep everyone safe from issues.

Encourage tenant water conservation efforts by posting the above tips in a common area.

Plumbing and Water-Saving Appliances

  • Fix any reported leaks, seeps or drips as soon as possible.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and water-saving faucet aerators.
  • Place low-flow toilet, since they use only 1.6 gallons for each flush and can save thousands of gallons of water per year.
  • Install water-saving dishwashers.


  • Design outdoor landscaping with drought-friendly plants, flowers and grass to reduce overall water consumption and include automatic shut-off devices on irrigation systems to prevent water systems from operating during inclement weather.
  • Make sure gardeners use hoses with shut-off nozzles and incorporate efficient outdoor watering schedules to prevent water runoff and water waste. 
  • Advise gardeners to keep mower blade settings high so that longer grass to prevent water loss and protect roots from harsh weather.
  • Mulch any plants, trees or flowers to reduce water evaporation and weeds. 

Eco-Friendly Property Management

Premier Property Management is an eco-friendly and sustainable property management company that can help keep your investments solvent. Whether you decide to save money on new water heater efficiency standards or take steps to reduce water waste, green habits like these can help you earn the respect of the community, reduce your impact on the environment and preserve your working capital.

Friday, September 16, 2016

How To Prepare For The Baseball Playoffs in Boston

To prepare for baseball playoffs in Boston, a survival guide is in order.

Which sports bars are best for watching a game?
Which roads in and around Fenway should be avoided?
How can tickets be obtained?
Just how crazy can the playoff scene get?

These are important questions for hardcore Boston baseball fans, of course, but they also matter even more to those who are just trying to go about their normal routines during the October craziness.

Preparation Tips:

Professional Baseball in Boston: A Communal Phenomenon

A Quick Overview Of Recent Boston Sports Domination

Many residents of Boston are enthusiastic about sports, and with good reason. There may be no other city which can claim a similar level of excellence from their beloved teams.

The New England Patriots have four NFL titles to their credit and are arguably the most dominant team of the millennium. The Boston Celtics have 17 championship banners hanging in TD Garden. Six times, the Stanley Cup has made its way to Boston courtesy of the Bruins.

It is rare for a year to pass without Boston hosting a playoff game of some kind, yet there is one team above all others which drives the city into a frenzy when the postseason time arrives: the Boston Red Sox.

Boston’s storied professional baseball franchise is a communal phenomenon that touches every aspect of New England life in the fall. Whether one is a fan or not, the pulse of Boston changes when the Red Sox take that magical trip through October.

Tuning Into Baseball Forecasts in Boston

With all of this renewed success, knowing how to prepare for baseball playoffs in Boston is a must. This is especially true for those that might not be a fan of the Sox or America’s pastime.

Monitoring the outcome of games via radio and television will go a long way towards giving fans and non-fans alike a heads-up if celebrations are likely to spill over into the streets.

WEEI 93.7 FM is the local flagship station for the Red Sox and can be trusted for the latest real-time information. It can also be useful to explore lists like 10 Things to Know about Living in Boston for a general and practical overview of how the city moves and breathes.

Come October 4th of 2016, it appears that the division-leading Red Sox are primed to make another deep run in their quest for a fourth World Series title since 2004 and ninth overall. The city will resonate with increased activity in addition to its normal hustle and bustle.

From Cursed to First - The History of the Sox

From 1918 until 2004, the infamous Curse of the Bambino hovered over Fenway Park, the oldest operating ballpark in the United States, like a funeral shroud. Thought to be punishment for selling Babe Ruth to the hated New York Yankees in the 1919 off-season, the curse was broken in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to capture the World Series.

Since that time, the home team has brought the city two more World Series titles. It is clear that any slight suffered by the Bambino is forgiven. If the Babe were alive today, he’d probably be joining in with the locals at the Cask ‘n Flagon in the shadow of Fenway Park for a cold beer and a bowl of New England clam chowder.

Navigating Traffic During the Baseball Playoffs in Boston

The first consideration for Boston residents is how the baseball playoffs can impact traffic in the city. Those who commute to Boston for work every day are particularly affected.

Each year at playoff time, the City of Boston publishes a list of routes and tow-zones that locals should familiarize themselves with. The City of Boston first and foremost advises the use of public transportation during the playoffs whenever possible.

Areas and streets that are typically designated as no parking tow zones include:
  • Boylston Street from Yawkey Way to Ipswich Street
  • Van Ness Street from Kilmarnock to Ipswich Street
  • Brookline Avenue from Kenmore Square to Overland Street
  • Lansdowne Street from Brookline Avenue to Ipswich Street
  • Ipswich Street from Boylston to Lansdowne Street
  • Yawkey Way from Brookline Avenue to Boylston Street

Don't Get Towed: While restrictions are typically imposed beginning at four hours prior to game time, parking in one of these areas prior to the implementation of traffic and parking regulations does not exempt one from being towed. In other words, those who park at 8 a.m. in a restricted zone could be very unhappy when they return from work or other activities at 5 p.m. and find that their vehicle has been towed.

Pay Parking Fees: The city regularly deploys extra enforcement personnel to the Fenway/Kenmore area during the playoff to ensure compliance and that all parking lots are duly licensed to provide parking for a fee. Attempting to park in a lot without authorization is ill-advised. Extra personnel are also utilized for maintenance and emergency support.

Carpool or Avoid Driving: Like all major cities, Boston has a natural flow and rhythm. It will pay to work within the context of how the traffic flows toward the epicenter that is Fenway Park in October. The ballpark is the hub, and for those few magical weeks it dictates the flow. This is a great time to carpool or even avoid driving whenever possible.

3 Popular Bars to Enjoy the Baseball Playoffs in Boston

Not everyone will be fortunate enough to score tickets and great seats at Fenway. Even though nothing can compare to the sound of the ball as it explodes off of Big Papi’s bat, here are some popular bars in the Fenway area where the game can be enjoyed in comfort while surrounded by other passionate Red Sox fans.

1. The Baseball Tavern

Since 1963, The Baseball Tavern at 1270 Boylston has been a friendly gathering spot during baseball season. Featuring one of the city’s only roof decks, patrons can sit atop the pub and look out over Fenway Park.

Rooftop grilling is illegal in Boston, so picking a spot like this is a way one can still enjoy a nice meal and alcoholic beverage outdoors in the vicinity of the ballpark.
The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is laid-back.

2. The Bleacher Bar

The Bleacher Bar is truly a Fenway landmark. Located at 82A Lansdowne Street, this bar actually sits beneath the centerfield bleachers in Fenway very close to Ted Williams’ Red Seat.

It features screened windows that look out directly on the outfield. Those who prize ambiance as well as great food and drink will love this little tavern which truly embraces a love for baseball.

3. McGreevy’s

McGreevy’s traces its history to 1894 when it was called McGreevy’s Third Base Saloon.

McGreevy’s in Back Bay proudly claims the title of America’s first sports bar. It is situated at 911 Boylston, close enough to the ballpark that it captures the essence of playoff fever.

This is the place to go if you want to soak in the rich history of sports in Boston. With fine Irish Whiskey and signature drinks like Peach on a Bender, McGreevy’s has a great vibe. If one happens to be a fan of the Yankees, heavens forbid, it is probably wise to give McGreevy’s a wide berth at playoff time. The Red Sox fans who congregate here are among Boston’s most loyal.

Final Reminders for a Safe and Fun Experience

Rooting for the home team as they contend for a championship is something all sports fans enjoy, and the City of Boston encourages everyone to get in the spirit of the postseason. With that being said, responsibility should always rule the day.

The standard exhortations apply: have a designated driver, respect the surroundings and locales, and take some time to prepare for baseball playoffs in Boston ahead of time.

Get Last Minute Tickets

Playoff tickets can be hard to come by, even in September, but outlets like Stub Hub often have tickets available from other fans. Shopping the various ticket outlets online is the most efficient way to find the best prices and the best seats.

Check the local papers and television stations each day for weather information and other specifics related to the game. As always, the best source of information is that which is received from local sources.

Drink Responsibly

Remember to always carry extra cash and identification. Assign a designated driver to get everyone home safely. When in doubt of yours or your designated driver's sobriety, always choose to take a professional car service instead of driving. Your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road is paramount. Additionally, Police are waiting to catch drivers who are under the influence and getting a DUI is a sure-fire way to ruin your time at the playoffs.

Have a Peaceful Celebration

Things can get a little rowdy in places where fans gather during the playoffs. Emotions run high. When combined with alcohol, those emotions can occasionally turn a peaceful celebration into an ugly scene. It pays for individuals to mind their surroundings, monitor the pulse of what is taking place, and avoid trouble before it starts.

The worst place to watch the Red Sox is a Boston jail, and local law enforcement is probably less tolerant of those who engage in bad behavior during playoff time.

Practice Good Sportsmanship

Lastly, respect for the game and Boston’s fine sports teams includes respect for fans of opposing teams. Good-natured ribbing is fine, but locals can seize the baseball playoffs as a great opportunity to put a great face on Boston as a courteous host.

Celebrating Boston Pride & Excellence

Boston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. When Boston sports teams make the playoffs, however, a unity emerges that touches the entirety of Boston culture. For a few blissful days, sports fans and those who have little interest in stolen bases and walk-off homers join together and take pride in their city.

As a leader among Boston property managers, Premier Property Solutions gets the concept of excellence which drives professional sports in Boston. To be the best here, it involves a commitment not only to one’s sport or business, but to the great city of Boston and the many people that make it thrive.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Spot a Good or Bad Property Manager - Before You Move In!

When choosing a rental home or apartment, there are several aspects of the property that you want to examine critically. 

Most important is that the management company does a great job caring for the property, handling any issues, and dealing with you professionally to ensure your rental period is enjoyable. 

In this post are important tips to find you a great property management company before you make the big commitment to move in.

What to Look for in a Good Property Manager

Finding a great property management company is not too difficult; ask for referrals from people you know and read online reviews. Look for positives and negatives and get information from a range of sources so you are sure it’s not biased.

Take your time to research your potential home in detail and identify any red flags. This will save you wasted time in the future if you learn about the bad habits of your property management team when you've already entered a lease agreement with them.

Finding an ethical property management company should always be your goal. This means you’ll have a certain level of trust that they will handle any problems and deal with you fairly throughout your lease term.

Learn our best questions to ask during your property screening...

Interview Questions When Meeting a Potential Property Manager

We hope the following questions will assist you on your search for the best property manager in Boston. Bring these questions with you to ensure a property screening.
  • How long have you managed this property? Or, how long has your company managed properties in general? Look for a company with experience managing properties.

  • What kinds of property do you manage? You want a management company that works specifically with the kind of home you want because different properties have different management needs. 

  • What insurance do you carry as a management company? Expect a good property management company to carry general liability insurance that would cover anyone who is hurt on the property. Also, a legitimate property management company should have errors & omissions (E & O) insurance. E & O insurance covers the manager in the event of a claim of negligence, and can keep the community solvent. 

  • How many property managers do you have, and how many units does each manage? Less than 50 to 60 units per manager is best to ensure the management company has the capacity to handle any repair issues and customer service for tenants. 

  • Can I see a copy of your lease? Read over the blank lease, with an eye toward any issues that you might not have already discussed. Likewise, look for any phrasing that appears to conflict with what you've heard from the property manager. Actively ask questions!

  • How often do you have to evict someone? Hopefully, the answer here is very seldom. Good property managers don’t typically have to evict well-screened tenants.

  • How do you screen tenants? A criminal background check is the most vital, but speaking to previous landlords is often telling as well, as is a credit and employment check. Fully employed, responsible adults make the best tenants and neighbors.

  • How can I pay my rent? Can I drop it off at the office, even when closed? Is there a dropbox for checks? Can I pay it online via the company website? Having a number of options makes it easier for you overall, and the best property managers know that keeping their tenants happy is crucial.

  • When is the rent due? Is there a late fee, and if so, when is that due? Understand your responsibilities, and what the management company expects, so that you comply with your lease.

  • What do you do for routine maintenance of the property? Do you perform regular inspections? Pest control service? Lawn, landscaping or snow removal services? Know what is and is not included in your rent so you can estimate your overhead accurately.

  • What is your repair process? How quickly can I expect a problem to be handled? Their answer to this should not be vague, and they should be able to commit to a certain timeframe, such as “Within 24 hours”.  

Watch Out for Red Flags of a Bad Property Manager

Drive by some of the properties the company manages; you can tell by looking at a complex whether you could expect a clean condominium in many cases. If they are not in good shape and well-cared for, that’s a definite red flag.  

Likewise, if talking to current tenants gleans less than glowing opinions of the management company, that’s another red flag.

In particular, if they talk about things not being fixed, noise at night, dirty common areas, trouble getting your security deposit back, and finding somewhere better to live when their lease is up - red flags!

    How Can I Find the Best Property Manager in Boston?

    Are you looking for the best property management company in the Boston area? Well, look no further, because you have found Premier Property Solutions.

     We manage properties all over the area, so no matter if you prefer close to the action at Fenway Park, or in the Back Bay area, we have you covered. 

    Give us a call at 617.345.0045 and let’s find your new home, today!

    Monday, August 1, 2016

    Making the Right Choice: Condo vs. Apartment

    Whether you're already live in Boston or want to move into the city, it's important you understand the difference between a condo and apartment.

    Although there has been something of a condo building development craze in Boston in recent years, you'll still find a lot of great choices for renting apartments in Boston.

    In this article, we'll consider some of the advantages of each, and why you might choose one over the other.

    What's The Difference Between Condos And Apartments?

    Apartments are units contained within buildings owned by a company or a person, who often serves as the building manager and handles maintenance for the grounds.

    Either this person or a manager is responsible for renting out individual units and supplying them with appropriate appliances.

    Condos are individual units that are owned by the occupants, similar to owning a house. The difference is that there is shared property with other condo owners. Owners can decide to rent out their condo to someone else.

    As far as the common areas of a condo building, a single condominium corporation (e.g. a property management company in Boston) usually owns and manages all of them, and then charges individual condo owners for that service.

    Advantages Of Renting An Apartment

    One of the biggest advantages of renting an apartment is that you have the flexibility of securing a lease.

    This is especially useful if you're uncertain about the future and do not want to commit to one place for a long period of time

    Since you don't own anything, you're not responsible for any of the maintenance. When something breaks, all you have to do is inform the landlord to get it fixed.

    You'll also spend a lot less renting an apartment than you will buying a condo. Your upfront expenses will only involve a security deposit and the first month's rent, as opposed to the down payment on a condo and paying for closing costs.

    Disadvantages Of Renting An Apartment

    Every month, you will be sending your landlord a check to pay for place you do not own, which does nothing to secure your future.

    You are also subject to monthly or annual rental increases, which you have no control over.

    You will also be subject to whatever restrictions are in place for the apartment complex, and you'll have to accept the apartment furnishings as they are. It's even possible that you could lose your residence after the expiration of your lease, if the landlord declines renewal.

    Advantages Of Buying A Condo

    Buying a condo is not as expensive as buying a house, so if you really want the thrill of ownership without the massive expense of a house, a condo might be ideal for you.

    Your monthly payments on a condo will not be subject to increase as they would be in an apartment, and each one of those monthly payments does actually accumulate as an investment.

    Ownership also carries the benefits of tax breaks and asset appreciation. Even though you own a condo and must recognize the importance of cleaning your condo, the condo homeowner's association usually will handle things like landscaping, snow removal, leaky roofs, and faulty plumbing.

    For questions about specific responsibility, check with your homeowner association, or the Boston property maintenance and emergency support.

    Disadvantages Of Buying A Condo

    As a condo owner, you automatically become a community member in a shared facility, which translates to paying homeowner association fees monthly. These can be fairly significant, so make sure to include them in the total cost of ownership.

    You also are responsible for the shared space. You have no choice, but to respect the other owners in the complex because they pay the same fees you do. We aren't saying be a bad neighbor, but in a condo you were there for more than just a year like an apartment.

    Another significant disadvantage of condo ownership is that when it comes time to sell, these units typically do not move as quickly as single-family units would.

    Since their value appreciates more slowly than a house, you probably won't receive a big profit from the sale of your condo If it becomes time-critical that you sell, it's entirely possible that you will absorb a financial loss.

    Deciding Between A Condo And An Apartment

    Ultimately, your decision on whether to look for a condo or an apartment will probably be influenced strongly by your financial situation and your goals in life at the time.

    If you want to become a property owner, a condo is the way to go - but if you don't want the responsibility of maintaining the place, an apartment setting would be better.

    Should you have any questions about living in an apartment or owning a condo in Boston please contact Premier Property Solutions for expert advice and personalized recommendations.

    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    How to Get Your Security Deposit Back in Boston, MA

    Getting Your Security Deposit Back in Boston: A Move-out Checklist

    A security deposit is a TON of money! No one wants to sacrifice that sum if they can help it.

    This article will provide a checklist of steps which you can use to ensure that you get your security deposit returned when your tenancy ends with a property management company in Boston. 

    By following these guidelines, you should receive the full amount of your original deposit, and perhaps be able to use that money as a security deposit for your next place of residence.

    What is a security deposit?

    A security deposit is a dollar amount which is paid to the landlord by a renter, generally equivalent to the first month's rent, although it could be more or less.

    It is intended to cover any damage to an apartment, home, or another residence which exceeds wear and tear which might be expected during normal living at the premises. It also serves as a substitute for rent money in the event that a tenant abandons the premises without paying.

    What are common reasons for a landlord to withhold a security deposit?

    If a tenant skips out without paying the last month's rent, a landlord is well within his rights to keep a security deposit in lieu of that unpaid rent money.

    Apart from this, deductions can be made to the deposit amount for anything considered to be above and beyond normal wear and tear during the term of the tenants' residency.

    A partial list of deductions from a security deposit may include the following:

    • stains or cigarette burns in carpeting or on curtains
    • water damage on walls, floors, or furniture
    • missing appliances that came with the rental, e.g. microwave oven
    • damaged washer/dryer
    • damage done to doors or windows
    • holes or abrasions on walls, doors, or floors
    • excessive damage caused by pets
    • abandoned furniture that you decided to leave, the landlord must pay to remove
    • excessive filth, which landlord is obliged to clean up prior to next rental

    According to Massachusetts State Law

    A landlord is entitled to withhold a security deposit when damages beyond normal wear and tear have been sustained by the residence.

    The landlord must give the tenant an itemized list of the costs of damage. If a tenant should willfully or maliciously destroy either personal property or real property under the control of the landlord, the security deposit can legally be used to repair the damage.

    Security deposits held by a landlord must be maintained in a separate, interest-bearing account for the duration of the tenancy, and a receipt must be provided to the tenant within 30 days of deposit acceptance.

    This receipt must include the name and location of the financial institution where the deposit is being held, along with the amount and the account number. If these terms are not complied with by the landlord, immediate return of the security deposit becomes mandatory.

    Move Out Checklist to Ensure Return of a Security Deposit

    Of course, the most obvious thing you need to do to ensure the prompt refunding of your security deposit is to avoid damaging any part of the residence while you are an occupant.

    Assuming you haven't trashed the place somehow, here are other steps you should follow:

    • Know the details of your lease - The number one way to lose a security deposit is by violating the terms of your lease, so make sure you have read and understood everything in your lease agreement, and that you abide by those terms during the period of the tenancy.
    • Make cleaning a priority - Prior to departure, set aside a day where you conduct a thorough cleaning of the residence, making sure that it has been returned to the same condition, as nearly as possible, as it was when you first occupied it.
    • Arrange a Landlord walk-through - Arrange for a walk-through with your landlord, perhaps a week before you intend to leave. At this time, ask about any potential deductions from your deposit, so that you might still have time to remedy them. This should be a courteous exchange between you and your landlord, ideally a session in which you both agree on the condition of the residence, as compared to its original status.
    • Document the condition of the residence - Take pictures when you move out to have documentation of the exact state of the residence, should any subsequent disputes arise.

    Choose the Right Property Management Company to Ensure Compliance

    Choosing the right property management team in Boston ensures that all security deposit matters are dealt with fairly. If you believe that your property management company has not followed the laws for returning a security deposit in Boston, you may need to seek legal help.

    Having good conduct as listed above will prevent you from giving the management any reason to hold onto your security.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    Preparing for Summer Apartment Turnover in Boston

    School's Out for Summer! How to Prepare, as a Tenant or Landlord, for Summer Apartment Turnover in Boston

    Many American cities undergo a remarkable transformation as the summer season approaches, but for Boston property management, that changeover is can be quite a drastic changeover.

    The primary reason for this notable makeover hinges on the fact that more than 150,000 students are registered in Boston-area learning institutions, and while those numbers swell the city population when school is in session, there is an equal diminution when classes let out.

    Apart from all the changes which occur to Boston's daily commerce and its prevailing atmosphere, there are also huge changes in the tenancy of apartment buildings and other student housing facilities in the area. 

    In this article, learn how landlords and tenants would be well advised to take steps to prepare for the coming mass exodus in the summer, and to keep an eye on the inevitable fall return.

    What should a property manager or tenant do to prepare for Summer vacation?

    Tenants will, of course, have to provide landlords with notification about their intentions regarding the premises, i.e. whether you intend to actually leave for the summer, and if so, whether you intend to return in the fall, should the premises still be available. 

    According to Massachusetts State Law, when open-ended rental agreements are in effect for three months or longer, a full three month's notice is required to be provided to a landlord. For month-to-month leases, only one month notice is necessary.

    Property owners and managers should immediately begin seeking replacement tenants, as soon as current tenant intentions are known. By advertising vacancies at the earliest opportunity, chances become much greater of finding tenants to replace any departing students.

    What are the Options for Tenants to Return to the Same Apartment in the Fall? 

    It would be ideal to arrange this, since it would eliminate the need to search for suitable accommodations in the fall, as well as help avoid the necessity of removing all your furnishings when you students leave for the summer. 

    If you have the financial means to continue the rental agreement during your absence, or you can arrange with another student or friend to serve as a replacement tenant, it could certainly save a great deal of hassle.

    In most cases, this would also probably work out very well for landlords, since it would not be necessary to search for replacement tenants. This is especially true when the possibility arises at the end of every semester, and the same requirement of renting the apartment becomes necessary.

    Planning in Advance for Extended Leave from an Apartment

    In a situation where you are vacating the premises as a tenant, and they will not be occupied until you return in the fall, there are some preparatory steps you should take. 

    Checklist for Tenants to Prepare for Summer Vacation

    • Turn off utilities like gas and water
    • Make sure appliances are all off
    • Take out trash and clean dishes
    • Stop or redirect mail to your summer place of residence.
    • Provide your landlord with your emergency contact information, should there be a need to reach you prior to re-occupation. 
    • Arrange with your landlord to pay online, or remit the monthly amounts via postal mail. 

    Checklist for Landlords to Prepare for Summer Vacation

    • Confirm that all utilities have been turned off for the duration of the tenant's extended absence.
    • Make sure you have the correct key for emergency entry according to tenant privacy laws.
    • Review with your tenant any potential maintenance that may be upcoming during summer
    • Provide your tenant with contacts for Boston property maintenance and emergency support

    Enjoy Summer, Prepare for the Fall

    By following these simple guidelines for summer preparation, both tenant and landlord can enjoy the summer season equally. 

    If both parties take the time to inform themselves of Massachusetts regulations regarding landlord and tenants, misunderstandings should be virtually eliminated, and both will have an understanding of their rights and obligations. 

    Enjoy your summer, and come back to watch the autumn transformation take place in the city along the Charles River!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Guide to Purchasing a Property Tax Lien in Boston

    How do I purchase Property Tax Liens in Boston?

    The condo building development craze in Boston is still going strong in 2016. New condo buildings are being erected and buyers of condo units are attracted to the potential long-term return on investments. It's easy to get caught up in the hype of the numbers game, but before closing on a condo purchase with a lien, you need to do thorough research.

    This article will provide you with the Boston property management fundamentals for dealing with condo unit owners who are buying property and refuse to pay common monthly expenses or if you, yourself, are buying the property with priority tax liens.

    What is a property tax lien?

    Put as simply as possible, a property tax lien is a legal hold put on a property due to outstanding debts or legal issues. This hold prevents the property from being sold or refinanced until the issue is resolved. This lien could be placed on the property owner's tax title account once they are delinquent on monthly condo fee payments, or once the property has been foreclosed.

    The government auctions these tax liens, because they would rather get their money back than track down the property owner for the issue or money. Eventually, the property owner will have to pay back the lien - to you! And the benefit is that you will have accrued a percentage of interest for owning that tax lien as it accrues interest over time, just like a savings account in a bank.

    If you are a property owner, prevent legal issues by enlisting accredited Boston property maintenance and emergency support to manage your property.

    How do I Purchase a Lien at Tax Auctions In Massachusetts?

    Thr primary way to purchase a lien on a home is by bidding for a condo at a tax sale, or a tax deed auction. You must pay cash and you will inherit all the risks and associative problems of that legal responsibility when you purchase a tax lien certificate.

    When you do your research, pay special attention to the property tax costs and whether the previous owner has some outstanding tax debts owed on the condo.

    If you are going to buy a property at a tax auction, be certain about what type of auction you made the purchase at, in order to know your rights and responsibilities.

    What kind of interest can I earn from purchasing a tax lien in Boston?

    The percentage of interest varies greatly, but interest could reach up to 36% for return on your investment. The Massachusetts Assessing Department sends "ownership information to the Collector -Treasurer, and the Collector-Treasurer mails out quarterly property tax bills on July 1, October 1, January 1 and April 1." - City of Boston

    In Massachusetts, tax payments are due within 30 days of the billing and accrue at an interest rate of 14 percent. Priority liens are imposed on the property every quarter of the homeowner association or condo association's fiscal year, and if the taxes are not paid by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), the interest rate jumps up to 16 percent.

    What Additional Fees may be Included In a Tax Lien Purchase?

    A recent court ruling in the Drummer Boy Association, Inc. vs. Britton case on March 29th upheld what's called a "super-priority lien" that allows a Condominium Association (COA) to extend a lien for longer than a single 6 months period (this had been in effect since 1992), to cover successive 6 month periods. The case is a win for Massachusetts condominium associations, which will sustain future economic stability for one of the remaining statutes of affordable housing in Massachusetts.

    Even with this great news, there are still a ton of risks associated with purchasing a priority lien. These mystery charges could all be rolled into the single lien, depending on state laws. In Massachusetts, a COA is allowed to roll the following charges into the super-priority lien:
    • legal fees from the court case to make the decision
    • collection fees outstanding
    • estimates of the past due total cost
    • expenses incurred from malpractice of the landlord or tenant
    • late fees and miscellaneous fees that have been incurred to the date
     Before investing in the property, it would be wise to contact a real estate attorney for assistance.

    Responsibility after Purchasing a Tax Lien

    If the taxes are not paid after six months, the property is subject to foreclosure. If you purchase a tax lien at the auction, you are not the owner of the property - you are only the owner of the tax lien.

    The property owner will owe the taxes plus the interest on the lien to the lien holder. Therefore, you do not need to pay the homeowner's association fees past due. If you purchase a property at a foreclosure auction you are liable for all outstanding liens against the property you purchased.

    Final Thoughts

    Tax liens tend to be very complex, so always conduct diligent research prior to making an investment towards a new property, or a tax lien. If you are looking to accrue payments via interest from another buyer, then you can make a substantial profit from the sale. Or if you continue to keep the property, the value of the property will certainly appreciate in the Boston housing market, which continues to boom at an all-time high.

    Have you thought about investing in a property, or have you ever dealt with being delinquent on payments to your COA or HOA monthly fees? Tell us your thoughts.

    Friday, February 26, 2016

    A Guide to Tenant Privacy in Boston, MA

    This article is a brief description of tenant vs. landlord rights and the importance of honoring tenant privacy upon entering a rental unit.

    Best Practices for Tenant Privacy and Communication in Boston

    Landlords and property managers have to deal with multiple tenants for their rental unit work orders and repairs on a daily basis.

    Sometimes landlords feel the need to check on multiple units to make sure all units are running smoothly. Although they may be exposing their ardent nature as a landlord, this helicopter approach could be a breach of privacy.

    It's imperative for a landlord or property manager to have effective communication methods or technology installed for tenants to place work orders. If you don't have this installed, this could leave a wide margin of error for when the tenant is expecting you to arrive at their rental unit.

    Whether they are dealing with the landlord, or property management company on behalf of the landlord, showing up to a unit unexpectedly can be problematic for the landlord.

    Respecting the Tenant's Privacy Is The Key To a Successful Investment

    You would be surprised at the percentages of tenants and landlords who don't have a clue about the Massachusetts state laws about Tenant vs. Landlords Rights. Not knowing their rights could be the cause of much acrimony and insincerity felt in tenant-to-landlord relationships.

    Details about Tenant Privacy in Boston

    Possession of a master key does not give the property management team staff members, nor the landlord, the right to walk into an apartment without notice. Review this list of examples and facts about tenant privacy to mitigate the risk of increasing legal drama from the lack of communication between the property owner and the renter:

    • Tenants should screen the property manager/landlord, and vice versa. This is an important first step for tenants know how a landlord and their property management team members are for arriving and handling work orders for their rental units. As they are researching the tenant in a background check through former residences, tenants can use software programs to review the history of property management companies and landlords.

    • Learn about the state laws on tenant privacy.  Many states have laws limiting landlords access rental privacy. As a tenant or landlord, it is your personal responsibility to learn about the Mass. state laws in the event of a dispute. The more knowledge you have about the permissible and impermissible reasons for landlord entry, as well as the required amount of notice, the more prepared you will be when enforcing your privacy rights.

    • Never sign a lease with a tenant privacy waiver. A diligent tenant and a responsible property manager or landlord will always look for the inclusion of this important waiver in a lease. For example, if a landlord walks in on a tenant to carry out a work order request, but the tenant is not ready for the appointment in their rental unit due to lack of communication, then there will be guaranteed confusion and frustration between the tenant and landlord. Most state laws require at least 48 hours of notice to the tenant about the landlord or property management team's arrival time. Tenants should expect the landlords to only show up during their business hours that corresponds with the office hours of the property management office. If a landlord shows up with less than one day's notice, is not good for the reputation of the property.

    • Notify the property owner about any negligence of the property staff.  The property owner or landlord mord may not know what his or her manager is doing unless you speak up. There are cases of property staff who come into the rental units unannounced.  Every tenant has the right to respect and consideration when entering their personal space. Supers, landlords, maintenance workers, or property managers are never allowed to simply walk in and scare their tenants of their unit. All tenants have a right to feel safe and secure in their home.

    • Always put everything in writing when you deal with your tenant and landlord. Whether it be via email, SMS text,  printed, hand-delivered, or handwritten correspondence, it is essential to have all complaints and requests recorded between landlords and tenants. That way, you both know what you signed up for going into this business relationship.

    • Review tenant rights listed in the Move-In Checklist, together. All landlords are require to hand a tenant a move-in guide at the beginning of their signed lease term. This should give the tenant information about renters insurance (or flood insurance, if they are moving into a ground floor unit), garbage pick-up days, and detailed information about their tenant privacy rights.

    • Remember to communicate about extended vacations. If a tenant has been in seclusion or has left their unit for a long time without notice, then some states give landlords the right to enter if they discover the tenant is not around. Landlords are encouraged to include some guidelines in the lease to avoid an unauthorized entry, asking tenants to alert management of a vacation so necessary repair can continue uninhibited. Tenants who leave to paradise in the winter, remember to turn off the heat in winter, drain the pipes, and secure the windows. 

    • Rent payments cannot be withheld after an unauthorized entry from landlord. This only makes legal drama steamroll more than it should. Court orders can be very time-consuming and can throw a monkey wrench in the tenant-landlord relationship. Property managers have long memories about their tenants in their units, so you don't want to initiate a legal fracas over a minor lack of miscommunication that can be easily resolved. 

    • Tenants can only change doorlocks with the landlord's consent. Mysteriously changed locks often prevent work orders from being done. Property managers differ greatly in their rules about changing locks on the unit, but it could be as simple as handing over the new key.

    Final Thoughts on Tenant Privacy

    It's a two-way street between the tenant and landlord: The landlord has to show respect to the tenant at all times, and vice versa, regardless if their previous dealings were extremely negative.

    Have you ever been pushed so far to the point where you feel like you have no privacy in your rental unit? If you are a property owner, have you ever dealt with a tenant who lived unsatisfactorily for you to keep in your unit, and want to evict them immediately? Tell us your thoughts.