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Old 08-23-2011, 03:20 AM
 
9 posts, read 7,444 times
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I know, another one of these "need advice threads". However I was wondering if anybody could help me out with some advice, information, constructive criticism.

First off, I have been running through the forums for quite some time now and finally decided to register so I could post. I have seen lots of great info on here, but nothing really pertaining to my particular situation. Or at least none that I have come across, I should say.

A little about me. I am currently a 27 year old white male. I included race not to be racist but just help clarify myself. I was born outside of St. Louis but relocated to Florida at a very young age with my parents. Spent the majority of my life between the Tampa area and the central Florida area before joining the military in 2003. I served 7 years in the military with many overseas tours during that time. Now I am out of the military but currently back in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor.

I owned a house out in Texas for a few years while I was stationed there and recently sold it. Currently I have no obligations to anywhere in the country. I know the cost of living is much differant than it is in Texas, so I am not expecting to find a big pad for cheap. I make great money (100k+), but this line of work is not what I care to do anymore. I am interested in attending school to take advantage of my GI Bill that I earned while serving.

I am a big sports guy. Always been a big fan of the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. However up until this past March, I had never even been to Boston. I visited for my vacation and spent roughly a week there. Fell in love with the place! I had always dreamed of visiting, but after leaving I came to the conclusion that Boston is where I would eventually want to live.

Currently my contract ends in February 2012. I will have a very comfortable nest egg to be able to relocate anywhere that I choose to. As mentioned before I am very determined to make college a top priority. I don't have friends in Boston, or family so technically I would be "winging it" by just moving there and attending school. I am currently completely out of debt with no vehicle as well. So the common issue with vehicles would not be an issue for me.

I am a very social person, but I don't depend on being in a "heavily social area" per say. I would like to enjoy the sites and sounds and people of Boston, but at the same time again my top priority is school. I won't be looking to work while in school unless it becomes an issue financially down the road. Then I will cross that path when it gets there.

I don't have any pets, nor am I a huge party guy. My idea of fun at this time would be attending a game at Fenway or the TD Garden every once in awhile, or just going out to one of the numerous area bars to watch the game and socialize with people. As far as education goes, I have been researching trying to go to some place like Bunker Hill Community College for 2 years then transfering to BU for the remaining time.

I can adapt to my surroundings very well and I am very capable of taking care of myself as I have had to for so long. Cold weather doesn't bother me one bit. I have spent time in many areas of the world that has extreme weather climates. I am so sick of the heat, that the changing of the seasons in Boston is actually a plus.

For rent I would love to try and stick to a 1,000-2,000 area price range to start out with and become comfortable with the area. I don't desire to live in the ritzy parts, nor do I desire to live in the bottom end. When I spent time in Boston, it was mostly geared towards vacation and just seeing the place and enjoying my time. So I didn't really focus so much on reviewing the areas to pick and choose which I enjoyed better. So I am clueless as far as that goes.

In your opinion, is me choosing to "wing it" and just move to Boston to attend school a good idea? If so what areas do you recommend? I take opinons well and I am open to each and every ones opinion. You all are the ones who have been living there for a good amount of time, so I am learning from you.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou!
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:32 AM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
1,168 posts, read 1,733,803 times
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Seems that you have a good game plan at your age as well as a good financial footing.

Are you choosing BU for a certain major or dept.? It's such high tuition, but you say you'll be well funded. It's a private school; some think it's public. Northeastern Univ. may be an option, with its co-op program, but it too is private and quite expensive, at least vs. Florida schools (I assume). Suffolk University on Beacon Hill has a law school and may offer what you want. BU and NU have night school/continuing ed programs for non-traditional age groups or those with full-time day jobs. Harvard has its Extension program (not sure if most courses, certificates and degrees are open enrollment, and whether one is granted a different type of Harvard degree). Others here will know better. Not even sure if regular Harvard professors teach there.

If starting at Bunker Hill, living in parts of Somerville or Charlestown may work for you. Check East Cambridge and Central Sq. in that city for convenience sake.

Roxbury CC is right at the subway and should be safe in the daytime.

Don't forget U-Mass-Boston.

If attending BU later, Brighton, Allston or Brookline as well as Cambridgeport or Central Sq. would be adequate. The Fenway or Mission Hill areas can be another option when you check CraigsList for apts.

South Boston may be fun at your age, no matter which school. Your budget will get you a 1 br in any of these areas, but not necessarily gourmet amenities.

Last edited by bostonguy1960; 08-23-2011 at 04:35 AM.. Reason: Typos
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:06 AM
 
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Thankyou for the reply with good info.

To be honest I am still researching schools in the area. I am considering a path in the Psych profession but not 100% sure on that just yet. I have looked at UMass-Boston as well and would definitely consider it due to them having a good program for working with children with Autism. However I am keeping my options open.

I am not Ivy league material per say and it's been 10 years since I have really been involved with school (due to military and such) so Harvard would probably be out of the question for me. I honestly didn't know BU was private. My tuition will be covered through the GI Bill, however the bill only covers up to the highest public tuition rate in the state. So if BU is private I will most likely have to pass on that unless I can get lucky with financial aid and such.

I'll definitely research those areas you listed for living areas. Is there anything that I should look for in particular with places. Where I am from usually you just pay for electricity but I see on alot of apartment listings up there some include heaters and some don't and other odds and ends things. Also what is the deal with broker fees? I see alot of places listed with No Fee, Some Fee or Full Fee.

Thanks again for the quick suggestions.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Boston
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I recommend starting with classes at Bunker Hill, then transferring to UMass Boston after you have been here long enough to establish residency. Going to Bunker Hill, you'll want to live either in Charlestown or somewhere with good Orange Line access. For UMass, you'll want access to the Red Line. UMass is in Dorchester, which has lots of nice parts, but it takes a while to figure out Dorchester, and it may not be the best choice for somebody new to the area. Also, as I said, some nice things in Dorchester, but it's more residential, not as much happening action for a young single person to enjoy. I'd recommend Sommerville, Cambridge, the North End, South End, or Kenmore/Fenway as good, vibrant areas for an apartment, and all have decent subway access.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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Heat and hot water are sometimes included, sometimes not. How much you will pay for heat can vary so much and depends on the size of your apartment, condition/age of your windows and how high you keep the heat. It can be anywhere from $100-$300 per month in winter. Having heat included in your rent generally means it is set by the landlord according to legal standards, which may or may not be what you actually want, so there are some pros and cons there.

If you rent an apartment through a broker, you will either have to pay a full fee (the equivalent of one month's rent) or a half-fee (half of one month's rent). A lot of landlord use brokers because they do the screening/credit checks for them so sometimes it can be hard to avoid even if you don't actively hire a broker to find you a place. You can do a search for "no-fee" apartments, which either means you are dealing directly with the landlord or the landlord has decided to pay the fee him/herself. Again, the cost benefit of a no-fee place is negated by the fact that you will have fewer apartments to choose from.

Luckily, your budget is realistic, though you may be surprised (or downright shocked) at what you get (or don't get) for your money.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Thank you

Does anybody have any expierence with UMass Boston?

When I was in Boston in March, I remember visiting the North End and eating dinner up there. Very very nice area. Seemed more upscale to me. I wanted to see more of South Boston, but all I got around to seeing was for the St. Patty's Parade. I felt like my time there went by wayyy to quick to be able to see enough. I was staying in a hotel over off Tremont, so I got to at least see a lot of that area. Then went to the C's vs Pacers game so that was really neat too. I fell in love with Boston. So I am definitely going to research everything possible in order to get up there and at least get residency to apply for schools.

Thank you again to both of you for the advice and suggestions.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:09 AM
 
9 posts, read 7,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
Heat and hot water are sometimes included, sometimes not. How much you will pay for heat can vary so much and depends on the size of your apartment, condition/age of your windows and how high you keep the heat. It can be anywhere from $100-$300 per month in winter. Having heat included in your rent generally means it is set by the landlord according to legal standards, which may or may not be what you actually want, so there are some pros and cons there.

If you rent an apartment through a broker, you will either have to pay a full fee (the equivalent of one month's rent) or a half-fee (half of one month's rent). A lot of landlord use brokers because they do the screening/credit checks for them so sometimes it can be hard to avoid even if you don't actively hire a broker to find you a place. You can do a search for "no-fee" apartments, which either means you are dealing directly with the landlord or the landlord has decided to pay the fee him/herself. Again, the cost benefit of a no-fee place is negated by the fact that you will have fewer apartments to choose from.

Luckily, your budget is realistic, though you may be surprised (or downright shocked) at what you get (or don't get) for your money.
Thank you for clearing that up for me. I had no idea that they set the heat like that to certain temps. I guess that's why the hotel I was staying at in March had the heat turned up and I couldn't turn it down or anything. I handle cold weather very well, so it was almost annoying to me. I will definitely keep that info you just mentioned in mind when looking.

I was researching through a few other threads and people mentioned that landlords have been known to require co-signers due to not being able to provide proof of employment. I may end up just having to go through a broker for the convienence factor. I will have more then enough to pay for a full years rent up front, but I didn't know if that was smart to do or not so I figured I would just take it by the month and of course pay the deposit and fee.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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You should never, ever pay for a full rent up front. For one, it's illegal for a landlord to collect more than first/last/security upfront, so anyone who asks for/accepts more is doing so illegally. Second, it strips you of any bargaining power you might have if things go south and you are stuck on a lease.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
You should never, ever pay for a full rent up front. For one, it's illegal for a landlord to collect more than first/last/security upfront, so anyone who asks for/accepts more is doing so illegally. Second, it strips you of any bargaining power you might have if things go south and you are stuck on a lease.
Oh wow, I didn't know that. I appreciate that. You definitely bring up a valid point.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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Oh and I had another question. How is the grocery store situation around there. My whole time up there I never saw one store to stop and get groceries at... was I missing something? I don't intend on having a car, at least not for awhile...but I wondered what everybody does when it's time to go out and get stuff like that. Do you ride the "T" with bags of groceries in your hand? Pardon my ignorance, every where I have ever lived was easy access for cars, so this would be completely differant for me.
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