Spot Easy: Frequently Asked Questions

photo saying spot easy: frequently asked questions with blue text bubbles asking common rental questions

Spot Easy has come a long way since February. In the past five months, we've nearly quadrupled in user traffic. We have been working hard to create a reliable environment to browse verified apartments, and enjoy the city of Boston along the way. Our goal is for you to find an apartment, and since we are local to Boston, we love engaging with the community. We asked on our Instagram story what you want to know about our platform, and today we're answering all of your questions.

text reading spot easy streamlines the rental process for renters agents and landlordsPhoto Source: Spot Easy About Page

Why should I rent in the city of Boston?

The question of renting, owning, and moving in general always sparks an interesting conversation. For starters, if you have a reason to move to Boston, do it. Whether it be school, a job opportunity, or you want to freelance while working in the public gardens everyday, moving to Boston is never a bad idea. As for renting versus owning, we can argue either side on this battle. Owning means all of your monthly 'rent' (mortgage) goes right back into the house, rather than to a landlord. On the flip side, if you decide after one year you'd like to move, you can't just end your lease, you must sell your house. 

While purchasing a home is a great investment, renting is better for younger folks who still can't decide where they'd like to live. Renting in the city means you can most likely afford more, leave your apartment the following lease cycle if you outgrow it, and you can choose any location across the city you'd like, rather than only neighborhoods with homes for sale. Nevertheless, a penthouse in Beacon Hill sounds lovely, but I'd suggest not taking out a loan for this move, just get the luxury apartment instead. 

Why are the apartments on Spot Easy only in Greater Boston?

Our platform came about when the rental industry across the country took a detour, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. After 11 years in the rental business, we kept in touch with our friends in the industry, and they shared their fears about the overwhelming vacant apartments, and the heightened prices to list apartments on Zillow. Spot Easy was in fruition before Covid-19 struck, but February 2021 came around and it was time to finally launch. We stuck to what we know by keeping our platform in the Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville and Boston neighborhoods, directly helping the agents, landlords and brokerages feeling the heat of the pandemic. We do plan to expand, but for now, we're focused on those four neighborhoods.

Why should I use Spot Easy instead of Zillow, Apartments.com, Etc.?

Funny you should ask... there's a lot we do differently than our competitors. For starters, it is free for agents and landlords to post. This means that agents will post more ads, since they aren't forced to pay $10 per ad, per week like some other sites! Spot Easy also offers tools for users, including automatic listing uploads from brokerages using our site, a handful of filters renters can use when searching, a live chat-box, and so much more.

Spot Easy strives to make this process as easy and user friendly as possible, so we work on advancing our tools on the site everyday. After 11 years in the industry, we know what agents, landlords and renters want from a site. We are made in Boston, for Boston residents. Bottom line is: if you are listing apartment rentals in Boston, or looking to live in Boston, you should be using Spot Easy.

spot easy homepage showing the filters you can search by, with a chat box welcoming you in the bottom left Photo Source: Spot Easy Search Page

How do I get in touch with an agent about applying for an apartment?

On the right side of each listing, there is a 'request an in-person tour' and a 'request a virtual tour' button. We urge renters to request tours, get in contact with the agent, and ask any additional questions by using this button. After the tour request has been sent, agents receive both an email and text message stating they've received a lead. When the agent reaches out about the apartment showing, this is the best time to explain any requirements needed for an apartment and ask any additional questions. Our platform is filled with only verified agents and landlords, so everyone listing apartments is real and not a bot! Therefore, if you don't receive an answer on an apartment inquiry, we reach out to you so we can get in touch with the agent for you. We urge renters to only reach out to agents via tour request to keep things organized for both you and the agent, since it is saved on your account as 'requested tours' and the agents account as 'leads'. 

request an in person or virtual tourrequest an in person or virtual tour

How many agents, renters and landlords use Spot Easy?

As of July 2021, we have 25% of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville renters using our site, and over 60% of active Boston agents posting to our site.

What's a broker fee? 

A broker fee, listed on the lefthand side of the listing information, is the fee an agency will receive when you sign your lease. The broker fee will be listed in an apartment listing when the apartment is being listed by an agent. When there is no broker fee, most times it is because the apartment is being listed by the landlord, or someone looking to fill a room in their apartment. However, each case is different, and sometimes agents don't require a broker fee. 

When renting an apartment, Boston etiquette is to pay the first months rent, last months rent, security deposit, and the broker fee. This will often equate to four months rent per person in the apartment, but sometimes this amount will be less, either because one of those fees is not required, or because a full month's rent isn't needed for all four of those payments. This information will often be posted in the listing, but it is best to ask each agent/ landlord you're working with because each apartment's move-in requirements are different.

screenshot of moving costs for renting an apartmentPhoto Source: Spot Easy listing

What makes Spot Easy Different than Zillow?

As stated above, before July 2020, it was free for agents, homeowners and landlords to list their ads. However, it is now $10 per ad, per week, to post one ad, averaging anywhere from $40, to $2000 per month that agents, landlords and homeowners spend on Zillow. At Spot Easy, we made sure it is free for agents to post their listings. This encourages agents to post more often, and to post real apartments.

When Zillow agents list apartments, they will often post unavailable apartments, just to bring in leads with pretty pictures of off-market units. Spot Easy only posts verified listings that are on market. Once they go off market, our site takes the listing down, so you'll never have your time wasted. In addition, we have a handful of tools for agents, landlords, brokerages and renters to use, assuring your time spent on Spot Easy will be efficient and worth your while. 

Does Spot Easy only do Rentals?

As of now, Spot Easy only hosts apartment rental listings. In the future, as we plan to expand our listings across New England, we may also allow sales on our site. But for now, just rentals.

However, Spot Easy does more than just real estate. We publish weekly blogs (like the one you're reading right now), and offer discounts to Spot Easy users at Spot Easy Connect. We've collaborated with small businesses in the area to give Boston people a unique experience in the city. We have deals at fitness centers, coffee shops, boba tea shops, restaurants and shops. 

This is only the beginning for Spot Easy. As we continue to make updates to our site, and add more tools, resources and discounts for users, we will keep you updated! We want users to succeed on our site, and we can assure that our site will continue to improve to optimize your time and find an apartment faster than ever. 

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