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Old 10-13-2013, 05:02 PM
6 posts, read 5,933 times
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My boyfriend and I are two late-twenties professionals (no kids) looking to move in together when he finds a job near Boston. My current lease (in Marlborough) ends in July, so we would want to find somewhere August 1 or September 1st. Our ideal apartment (budget of $2000 to $2300 per month + utilities) would be a 2 bedroom (or 1 bedroom with large common space) apartment that's dog friendly and has some kind of parking, in a bike/walk-able neighborhood with interesting restaurants and bars, and easy access via bike or T to Cambridge. Relative safety and school districts are not currently important to us, as we're both used to living in pretty dangerous cities. I commute to Hopkinton, so living close to 90 is a must to keep my reverse commute manageable (hopefully under 45 minutes on average). We are kind of going for a last hurrah in a sweet neighborhood before we eventually have kids and probably becoming boring suburbanites.

We really really like Cambridge and JP, but southern Cambridge (i.e. Cambridgeport) is super expensive (possibly somewhat out of our budget) and JP is a bit far for my commute. We have also looked at Waltham, but it was a little too suburban for our tastes.

We'd like suggestions on specific neighborhoods to check out in the next few months. Our current list is Allston, Brighton, Brookline, and Mission Hill, mostly for their proximity to 90. What neighborhoods/streets/cool bars & restaurants should we look at to get a feel for each place? Are there any known dog-friendly apartment complexes in those areas that we should look at? Are there any notable places/neighborhoods in Cambridge that might work for our needs? What streets/T-stops should we be searching for on Craigslist?

Also, we know that right now it is very very early to be looking for a place for Aug/Sep 2014, but when do listings for that time period generally become available around here? Should we talk to a broker/agent right off the bat, or just try to find something on Craigslist on our own? I feel like our requirements (i.e. dog friendly, close to 90) are specific enough that a broker might be able to help, but they seem pretty skeezy.
My current apartment was rented from the owner, and that's how all of my apartments have been, so I have no experience dealing with brokers or large apartment complexes.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:27 PM
Location: Massachusetts
5,945 posts, read 6,768,902 times
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You will still fight city traffic coming from Brookline and Mission Hill to get onto the Pike.

If you are looking at Brighton/Allston, you should check out Watertown. Watertown is a little less suburban than Waltham and a little less studenty than Cambridge and Allston. There are cool places to eat such as Town Diner there.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:18 PM
5,763 posts, read 13,346,051 times
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Originally Posted by lml24 View Post
We'd like suggestions on specific neighborhoods to check out in the next few months. Our current list is Allston, Brighton, Brookline, and Mission Hill, mostly for their proximity to 90.
Being that you're in your late twenties, I'd guess you've outgrown the student party scene. If so, you might want to avoid Allston, except possibly a tiny area in the very northernmost part of Allston across the river from Cambridge. To avoid the high concentrations of noisy undergrads in Brighton, look west of Market St., around Brighton Center and Oak Square, where you'll find a mix of townies, grad students, and young professionals, with small neighborhood kinds of bars and eateries. I don't know Mission Hill really well, so keep in mind that I'm basing this on hearsay mostly, but I do hear that the neighborhood has gotten a serious population of undergrads in recent years, and may be headed toward becoming a noisy student ghetto kind of area, even if it's not quite there yet.

In Brookline, you're likely to find the best area for young professionals in Coolidge Corner. Brookline Village might be another possibility, although my impression from occasional visits to that neighborhood is that it has more of the upscale well-to-do family kind of small shops than Coolidge Corner, but still might have some of what you're looking for locally, plus of course having good proximity to Boston.

Are you mainly interested in staying close to the Mass Pike? Would Somerville or the Porter Sq. area give you too long a commute just to get to the Turnpike? How about living near the very eastern end of the Pike, like South Boston? Southie has become somewhat of a mix of the old blue-collar townies and young professionals, and is close to the eastern end of the Mass Pike. Just trying to offer as many suggestions as possible, because there aren't really a lot of urban options west of Boston once you get very far at all outside the city.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:20 PM
288 posts, read 490,420 times
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You can live in South Boston on that apartment budget. One person jumps on the Red Line for a straight shot into Cambridge at Andrew or Broadway stations. South Boston has a couple of direct, easy entrances into the Mass turnpike. I live in South Boston and and work in the Metro-West. It's 30-35 minute on the Mass Turnpike to Wellesley/Natick, and the reverse commute is pretty good.

If you live in Allston Brighton or Brookline, you have to have a car or bike to get into Cambridge in order to preserve your sanity. The Green line is super slow. It will drive a person crazy during rush hour.
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