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Old 08-26-2017, 04:30 PM
 
50 posts, read 79,287 times
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Hey everyone! I skimmed the first page of moving questions, but didn't see anything about families.

My husband has a unique opportunity to go to Harvard for a year, and after living in several different states, we're so excited about being in the NE and Boston. We'll be moving with 2 kids under 3, so fortunately we don't really have to worry about schools, but I want to find a family friendly neighborhood that is also convenient to Harvard and then fun parts of Boston. I'm a stay at home mom, and our closest museum, aquarium, whole foods, great restaurants, etc are 45 minutes away right now, so being closer to these things would be A+ in feeding and entertaining kids. Budget would be about $4K a month in rent, and we'd need at least a 3 bedroom/2 bath, but a 4 bedroom would be preferable so we can have a guest room if family members want to visit. Any good recommendations on what neighborhoods to look at? I really appreciate it! I don't know the first thing about Boston other than they have a few sports teams that are somewhat decent. Kidding.
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Old 08-26-2017, 04:34 PM
 
Location: North Andover
442 posts, read 348,539 times
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Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline should work with your rental budget
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:01 PM
 
Location: London, UK
3,385 posts, read 3,779,349 times
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I would focus on Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington. Pretty much check all your boxes.

All have Whole Foods markets, in some cases multiple locations.

Easy access even via public transit to museums and the acquarium.

All have an excellent park systems.

Cambridge and Somerville have more established restaurant scenes but Arlington isn't bad either.

Another option if you wanted some additional space is Watertown.
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:04 AM
 
1,693 posts, read 3,216,072 times
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Cambridge ticks all your boxes-- walk or short ride to Harvard, walk to playgrounds and the Charles River walking/running paths and playgrounds, many good places to get food, including Whole Foods. Red line subway takes you from Cambridge to the Boston Children's Museum, a great indoor resource. N. E. Aquarium not too far away from there. Towns around Cambridge are at least a little less expensive. Somerville has some of the same feel. Arlington is upscale inner-ring suburban with restaurants and other amenities; Watertown a little sleepier. In-between the two is Belmont which ranges from densely packed two-family houses on the Watertown line to posh estates on Belmont Hill. Harvard Square is a hub on the T system served by many feeder bus lines as well as the red line subway. As a result all these towns have good connections to Harvard. Across the Charles River are Boston, Brookline and Newton. Brookline would be great for you too but the connections to Harvard are not as easy.

Lots of Yankees in Boston! Are you up for it?
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:12 AM
 
50 posts, read 79,287 times
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Thanks everyone for the responses! And missionhill - I'm originally from Mississippi, so I'm sure it'll be a learning experience. I'm up for it.
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Old 08-27-2017, 05:22 PM
 
419 posts, read 247,672 times
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Beware the stupid "lead paint law" in MA. Landlord cannot rent if kids under 6 and the apartment/house is not de-leaded.
Most housing stock is built before 1970's and probably have lead somewhere in the house...

Keep this in mind if you find landlords start to sour or keep pressing you about kids, its not a matter of you 'accepting' to live in a non-deleaded place, the landlord cannot take this liability.

Cambridge is probably better than Newton since access to Harvard is a priority (30 mins drive to Harvard from Newton, public transport not that great to Harvard). But Newton might have a better balance of cost and good school for kids.
Anyways, since you mention Whole Foods, Newton actually has 2 whole foods. Living in north newton (newtonville) gets you 5-10 mins drive all 3 markets whole foods, Stop & Shop, Russo's. Not to mention 10 mins walk to elementary AND middle school, express bus/commuter rail during work hours to Boston (schedule outside of work hours are horrible)... but no walking access to any decent restaurants.

Last edited by bugelrex; 08-27-2017 at 05:33 PM..
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Old 08-27-2017, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
3,472 posts, read 4,360,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugelrex View Post
Beware the stupid "lead paint law" in MA. Landlord cannot rent if kids under 6 and the apartment/house is not de-leaded.
Most housing stock is built before 1970's and probably have lead somewhere in the house...

Keep this in mind if you find landlords start to sour or keep pressing you about kids, its not a matter of you 'accepting' to live in a non-deleaded place, the landlord cannot take this liability.

Cambridge is probably better than Newton since access to Harvard is a priority (30 mins drive to Harvard from Newton, public transport not that great to Harvard). But Newton might have a better balance of cost and good school for kids.
Anyways, since you mention Whole Foods, Newton actually has 2 whole foods. Living in north newton (newtonville) gets you 5-10 mins drive all 3 markets whole foods, Stop & Shop, Russo's. Not to mention 10 mins walk to elementary AND middle school, express bus/commuter rail during work hours to Boston (schedule outside of work hours are horrible)... but no walking access to any decent restaurants.
This is absolutely not the case. In fact, landlords can't refuse to rent to families under 6 even if they haven't remediated lead. Here's what the state's website says:

No. An owner cannot evict, or refuse to rent to anyone because of lead paint. Discrimination is against the law and carries penalties.


Instead

The lead law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any children under 6 live.


In practice, this means landlords with possible lead paint issues just have to be craftier about how they discriminate. They can't just start asking about kids, but there are lots of tricks they've got to determine if you've got kids. I think this is less of an issue in the $4k/month range. I assume they are bit more aggressive when the rent is lower because their margins are slimmer and people that can afford $4k/month usually aren't as easily pushed around.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:16 AM
 
149 posts, read 138,011 times
Reputation: 323
Hi dginnc,

As the other posters here have mentioned, your commute is going to help focus your choices. Boston is really two separate areas divided by the Charles. There are great neighborhoods on both sides of the river and you should pick the side of the river where your husband is working. If he's based out of Cambridge that means Cambridge, Somerville or Arlington, depending on how urban/surburban of a place you want to live in.

If he's working at Brigham and Women's or another location on the Boston side of the river you probably want to look at the South End, JP, Brookline or Newton, again depending on how urban/suburban of a town you're looking for.

You've got a lot of great neighborhoods to choose from. I hope you'll let us know where you end up.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:25 AM
 
50 posts, read 79,287 times
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He'll be on the Cambridge side. And yes, I've been reading about the lead laws and how it gets tricky finding rentals with kids.

A couple of more questions about finding something in general -

I'm looking super early trying to get an idea of neighborhoods to target and what $4K can get us, but we won't be moving until next June (June 2018). When should we get serious about emailing and putting down a deposit on something? When do summer rentals typically pop back up on online searches?

Are there realtors or apartment finders out there that we can work with and pay a fee to find something? Would this be worth it if we're trying to find something without ever visiting first?

I've also been looking at indoor apartment options. I'm thinking for the right place and amenities, we could make a smaller space work for a year. My fear is that in my experience, these places do attract a younger, louder crowd. I'm guessing it would be the same in a place like Cambridge with all the universities?

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:04 AM
 
Location: East Coast
2,772 posts, read 1,578,266 times
Reputation: 4008
To throw another option out there, since you're only going to be here for a year, perhaps consider really maximizing the location. Could you make do, for example with a 2 bedroom and have any guests stay at a hotel in exchange for an apartment that has amenities and is in a very vibrant, walkable area that is convenient to lots of things?

We stayed in the apartment complex linked below for a short time when my husband relocated. The area was superb and there were families with children who lived there. There was a park across the street, you could walk to the Science museum and the Cambridgeside Galleria, and to many restaurants and shops. The T stop was about a three minute walk away. They have 3 bedroom units, but to stay under 4K, you'd probably have to drop down to a 2. (We stayed in a 2 bedroom unit with 2 kids, and while it wasn't ideal, and not what I'd want permanently, it worked fine for a few months. I'd consider it for a year.)

https://www.apartments.com/third-squ...ge-ma/2wmfvg8/
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