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Old 07-28-2013, 08:54 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,355 times
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We're two grad students with two young kids (under 4), a cat, and a medium sized dog who are moving to somewhere in commutable range to MIT, as my husband has a position starting this fall.

This is going to be a huge culture shock for us as we're coming from a small city where we could afford to own a 3 bedroom house on grad student salaries. We're checking Zillow for places to rent which is a depressing activity since the cat and dog limit our search results significantly and housing is not cheap.

Need suggestions of where we should live and how we should find a realtor (we need one of those, right?).
I think I'd prefer a more suburban than city feel. Having a yard would make things easier, but the biggest priorities are safety and ease of commute to MIT - it can be far, but no jumping bus to bus to bus. All this on a tight budget (1 modest income).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Needham, MA
6,333 posts, read 9,080,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post
This is going to be a huge culture shock for us as we're coming from a small city where we could afford to own a 3 bedroom house on grad student salaries. We're checking Zillow for places to rent which is a depressing activity since the cat and dog limit our search results significantly and housing is not cheap.
The cost of living in the Boston area is much higher than many other areas of the country. However, I like to think the area has a lot to offer. For instance, I'm sure many of our public school systems are much higher quality than you're used to. With your kids approaching school age, I would imagine you'd find this to be a huger plus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post
Need suggestions of where we should live and how we should find a realtor (we need one of those, right?).
It couldn't hurt to have a real estate agent if you can find a good one. Bad agents are quite a bit less helpful of course. Agents in the Boston area mostly tend to be tied to a particular area so better to get an idea of where you want to live before selecting an agent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post
I think I'd prefer a more suburban than city feel. Having a yard would make things easier, but the biggest priorities are safety and ease of commute to MIT - it can be far, but no jumping bus to bus to bus. All this on a tight budget (1 modest income).
Can you give us an idea of what kind of budget you'd like to stick to? Home prices vary quite a bit depending on what town you're talking about so knowing your budget will help in suggesting some locations.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:40 AM
 
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Acton; Maynard further out; Watertown and Melrose (closer in);Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by kingeorge View Post
Acton; Maynard further out; Watertown and Melrose (closer in);Good luck!
What kinggeorge said
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,058 posts, read 3,479,184 times
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Still not sure what your maximum rental budget is. Is one bedroom unthinkable, or must it be a two-bedroom apt.?

Is an apt. In a building okay, or must it be an apt. in a multi-family house?

Is a one-hour drive in heavy traffic okay, or 45 minutes max? You mentioned no switching of buses, but is subway or commuter rail acceptable?
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:45 AM
 
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Welcome rural geeks! ALthough I didn't attend MIT I did go to a comparable well known uni, but it catered more to nerds.

Anywhoo, perhaps you can consider lightning your load. Do you really need both kids or would one suffice? And what about the animals, I don't know about you but cats creep me out.

Anywhoo, I'll betcha MIT has some pretty darn good resources for finding housing. That's where I would go but I guess if it doesn't involve something that Pythagoras came up with it doesn't register with MIT people.

Best of luck and welcome again.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:10 AM
 
Location: East Coast
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Try searching around Braintree, Weymouth, or Quincy for rentals. You might be able to find something within your budget, and you could hop on the red line to go right to MIT. However, if you plan to drive instead of take the T, I would recommend living northwest or north of Boston. Do some google searching and sign up for an MLS search. Most properties for sale or rent will be listed on the MLS.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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Thanks so much for all the replies. Sorry I didn't respond earlier, I was driving here (to Boston!) for a scouting mission. We're just trying to figure out what our budget will be - we're Canucks and don't really know what the take-home pay will be (we think we pay Canadian taxes, but have lots of school tax credits to use so might not pay any tax at all). I think $47k was the salary, then I assume there are a million deductions for things like health insurance? Hubby is going to the International scholars office tomorrow to try and figure a few of these things out and to get us access to their housing services.

I think we need a 3 bedroom. My 3 year old cannot be trusted with the little one and I will kill the both of them if I don't have my own space.

Apartment building is do-able, but I'd really prefer some grass and ground floor for dog reasons... unless ground floor is a sketchy option safety-wise...

1 hour commute, with the majority of the time spent on one moving object (preferably train).

LOL at G-fused. You sure you don't want a cat?? Mine's not creepy at all, in fact, you'll hardly notice she's there!

Thanks again for the suggestions!
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:12 PM
 
5,059 posts, read 4,870,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post
we're Canucks
Wow! You guys are both professional hockey players!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post
You sure you don't want a cat?? Mine's not creepy at all, in fact, you'll hardly notice she's there!
That's part of what makes them creepy. I'm a dog person, my kids more of a cat person - we're headed for a major confrontation.

I couldn't really help much so decided to post something entertaining. Glad you found it funny. Some people think I'm an idiot, but not Canadians - they love me.

Sincere best of luck and welcome.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:41 PM
 
417 posts, read 538,095 times
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Commutable to MIT on a salary of 47K and a 3BR. Plus you will need daycare for the kids? I really don't want to scare you, but after taxes we pay about that for daycare for our 1 and 3 yr old. cambridge has a public preschool based on income that runs from 7-6ish which will be good for your grad school hours (if its a research program where you are really working all day.) or are you planning to alternate who watches the kids?

Also, if you go outside the city, you will need to factor in commuter rail passes for the train which can cost $100-$200+ each depending on how far out you are.

You could find a small triple decker 2 BR plus office or tiny bedroom for about 1600-ish/month where you could bike/walk to MIT and i would think this would be your best bet since then you will not be paying for a car/commuter passes/etc. and the fact that the public preschool costs are on a sliding scale and cover your hours. However, there is a pretty long wait for the preschool and you can only sign up for the waiting list once you are a resident of Cambridge. And I'm not really sure it would work at all with daycare/preschool costs thrown into the mix.

Another possibility that's cheaper is Somerville but then you will need to pay $60 each for train passes and the schools are not as good.

I don't know how feasible with your schedules it is to go out further way into the suburbs, because i know when my husband was doing his phd, he needed to be pretty close to his lab and basically lived there.
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