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Old 07-01-2013, 12:37 PM
 
444 posts, read 460,724 times
Reputation: 384

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I got a job at Boston College and my fiance is going to be working at Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury. We are not planning on having a car (but could if we got a place with a parking spot).

Wants/needs:
Laundry in the building
1 bedroom
dishwasher
walkability to stores, restaurants, etc.
commute of no more than 45 minutes for either of us
less than $1900/month for rent, preferably around 1700
some level of safety (we've moved from Memphis, so we're not unused to a little grit)
starting Sept 1
aren't particularly keen on living with a bunch of students

We have no kids and aren't planning on any for a few years.

People have suggested Coolidge Corner to us. I'm also curious about Mission Hill.

Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,936,243 times
Reputation: 6450
Although no one could blame you for not wanting to set up housekeeping in an overpriced student slum, your alternatives narrow significantly.
Mission Hill has in recent years devolved into yet another student slum due to escalating rents closer to campus. (It's bordered by Huntington Ave, the connecting thoroughfare with Northeastern/Wentworth/MassArt etc.) But the farther up the hill and away from Brigham Circle you go the fewer screaming parties you'll have to contend with. The "sketch" factor increases the closer to Roxbury Crossing you get, but not to any major extent. (I've been to many an event at the Reggie Lewis Center nearby as well as paid social visits around the neighborhood - have had zero issues.)

Closer to BC is the Brighton neighborhood, which is partially overlapped by the section called Chestnut Hill (wherein BC lies.) You can pretty much rule out any apartment/condo building along Commonwealth Ave anywhere east of campus, or in the Cleveland Circle vicinity, for reasonable rents and peace + quiet. But the picture changes when you look northward. Brighton's Oak Square area has been discovered by degree-seekers; however, from my observation most if not all of them are grad students or older undergrads. The majority of residents is middle-class and they've probably dwelled there for generations (to the point of inheriting their houses and staying in them.) Some blocks mainly consist of single-family homes with a few duplexes thrown into the mix, while others are predominantly multi-family houses (2-families and Boston's ubiquitous "three-decka.") Oak Square is anchored by the square of the same name at the base of one of Boston's higher hills. Yes, "one of Boston's higher hills." Of course this is all relative given that we're in a coastal city. But the ascending trek should be a good physical conditioner. And speaking of physical conditioning, the newest YMCA in town is there. Commuting - particularly for the BC worker - is a breeze, by way of Washington St east and Lake St south. The MBTA transit system serves the vicinity well, with its frequently-running 57 bus passing through Union Square in neighboring Allston (whence one can transfer, free, to the also-frequently-running 66 all the way into Dudley Square.) A 45-minute trip on the latter might be wishful thinking though.

Dishwashers are an amenity not always easily found in this city of pre-WWII houses. But a basement (or even in-unit) laundry room shouldn't be a tough order to fill.

Have a look-see also at Jamaica Plain, here again a student slum to no small degree (no avoiding the pun) but less so the farther from Huntington Ave and the Orange Line you go. Living in JP would allow for a more equitable travel time to/from work for the both of you. "T" maps are going to come in handy, so here's the link: MBTA.com > Official Website for Greater Boston's Public Transportation System

While Beantown definitely has its crime-plagued parts we happily are nowhere near Memphis in terms of annual homicides or the overall rate of "bad things happening." Even the sections of town routinely recommended as those to steer clear of have their peaceful pockets where nothing goes on and the cops recognize no one who's from them.

Coolidge Corner is majorly overpriced, so any apartment (even an efficiency) priced at under about $2k/month is likely going to be "bare bones" in terms of features. Your best bet in Brookline would be south of Route 9 in the vicinity of Cypress St, but the choices are few.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,533,429 times
Reputation: 3804
Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeger07 View Post
I got a job at Boston College and my fiance is going to be working at Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury. We are not planning on having a car (but could if we got a place with a parking spot).

Wants/needs:
Laundry in the building
1 bedroom
dishwasher
walkability to stores, restaurants, etc.
commute of no more than 45 minutes for either of us
less than $1900/month for rent, preferably around 1700
some level of safety (we've moved from Memphis, so we're not unused to a little grit)
starting Sept 1
aren't particularly keen on living with a bunch of students

We have no kids and aren't planning on any for a few years.

People have suggested Coolidge Corner to us. I'm also curious about Mission Hill.

Thanks!
Orchard Gardens is a very borderline neighborhood in Boston. The area north of Boston Medical Center is the South End and is very nice. If you lived there, it would be an easy walk down Albany St to the School. Anywhere in the South End is good.

East of BMC is the ugliest stinkiest part of Boston - South Bay. It's an industrial wasteland that utterly reeks. Orchard Garden South, East and west to Columbus is pretty ghetto. A lot of housing projects and all the assorted problems. You could live there - I did - but you ought not start there till you figure out the jigsaw pattern of what's ok and what's not.

To get to Boston College you'll need to ride the Green B, C or D Line. For that you have to get to Hynes, Kenmore, or Copley Station. The number 1 bus goes up Mass Ave to Hynes and is pretty good, but better if you live in the South End a brisk walk to Copley or Hynes is quite pleasant. Pick a middle location between Copley or Hynes and Boston Med Center and you'll do great. The South End is a great place to start. Less students more families - good racial mix, a bit of a gay influence. Easy access to everything.

I hope your fiance is the groom not the bride. I (48 year buff male) would have no problem biking down to Orchard Gardens. Wouldn't be keen on walking it all the time. The stretch from Mass Ave to the school at Melnea Cass - well you never know who's gonna be lurking there.

Typical St in the South End

Last edited by xS☺B☺s; 07-01-2013 at 05:44 PM..
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:23 AM
 
5,017 posts, read 4,833,112 times
Reputation: 11667
I'm in Coolidge Corner. It's a great place but it's in high demand right now. I hate to discourage you from it but it may not be your best bet. It can be a frustrating place for people who don't have 750K+ in cash and are ready to plunk it down sight unseen for a place that makes one say "huh? This is a $750K place?" That's a bit of an exageration, but only a bit. It's just as bad for people who are looking to rent.

That said, I would still encourage you to at least look and give it a chance so you can find out why it's in such high demand and if those things matter to you enough to go for the gusto and find a place. But you'll have to be vigilent and ready to strike...we know a couple of great families who are solidly upper middle class and were unfortunately shut out and then dropped out of the brookline mkt because it's such a PITA to find a place.

My experience has been that if you want an adequate place (buy or rent) in a good neighborhood, don't overlook the importance of a good realtor who is very familiar and specializes in that specific area. He/she will have the scoop and should be straightforward with you about what's what rather than stringing you along. You want a mature person with good experience that understands his/her mkt. Places here are high cost so there is a lot of $ to be made and consequently there are a great many realty places and realtors in those places who are younger and without enough experience to do a good job - just throtwing crap against a wall and seeing what sticks. Even some of the more well known realty places have these types of people. So my advice is to do your research on some neighborhoods (like you are currently doing) and remain flexible but after that shop for a realtor, otherwise you're much less likely to find a place that works. Best of luck.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
5,945 posts, read 6,748,830 times
Reputation: 4277
Goyguy, have to disagree with you about JP. Most of the people I know living there are professionals not students. When I was checking out some of the larger apartment complexes, a few of the complexes were entirely senior citizens.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:11 PM
 
444 posts, read 460,724 times
Reputation: 384
How's Washington Square?
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Dallas
4,625 posts, read 8,533,429 times
Reputation: 3804
Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeger07 View Post
How's Washington Square?
Dunno where that is.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,864 posts, read 6,815,901 times
Reputation: 6589
Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeger07 View Post
How's Washington Square?
It's good, down Beacon Street a bit from Coolidge Corner on C line. Nice area.
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