What Do Boston Renters Really Want in a Home? We Found Out.

Charlesgate Property Management recently took a poll of over 300 of our past rental and sale clients to ask them questions about their housing preferences. We requested feedback on how they looked for a home, what they looked for, and their feelings on public transportation and parking. The results showed some clear preferences in the market:

The Search

Overall, it seemed that people had clear ideas about where they wanted to live, resulting in a low level of neighborhoods and home considered. From our respondents, more than half looked at 5 or less homes before making a decision. 71% of people looked in 3 neighborhoods or less.

When asked about the ways in which people ultimately found their home, 46% utilized an agent with another 32% turning to online sources like Craigslist, Zillow, and Trulia. This showcases the importance of having strong advertising in these areas as potential tenants use them as trusted resources.

The Building & Unit

There were some very clear preferences found in the amenities and features residents are looking for in their homes. 42% of people said that a home being pet friendly is very important. They also liked a rooftop terrace of some kind and gym facilities.

In the home itself, respondents ranked a good layout and space as the most important feature by far. Coming in second was a parking space – which more than half said they would pay a premium. Within the unit itself, one feature ranked significantly higher than any other as the number one feature a tenant wants in their home.


The neighborhood a home was located within was ranked as importantly as the home itself with some clear preferences as well. Proximity to mass transit ranked number 1 with almost 80% saying it was a very important feature. Take a look at some of the others:

mass transit graph

When asked about their willingness to live without a car, the answers came back almost equally split. If living within a 5 minute walk to a T Station, only 52% said they would be willing to live without a car. This can be driven by many factors including commute to work/school, price of parking space, or if they already own a car or not already.

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