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Old 04-13-2008, 01:29 AM
 
8,713 posts, read 12,337,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStein View Post
If I were you, I'd also at Watertown very closely. It's just north of BC and a really short commute. Were I not living with my brother, I'd be living in Watertown (with a car). There's no T nearby, but I'm sure there are buses.
Hello again JoshStein...

Watertown. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I've heard good, inexpensive things about Watertown and now you're saying the same thing!

What else can you tell me about Watertown? What's it like? Distance from 885 Centre St. in "Newton-Mass" (I keep thinking of this Saturday Night Live Skit from the early 90's).

Studio availability?

Furnished options even?

Parking (expensive, inexpensive, included in rent, etc.)?

Any more advice/wisdom from you (or anyone else) is so appreciated!
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:10 PM
 
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Quote:
The problem is that Boston (and other Mass towns) have these parking laws(!). And parking is so expensive.
Yeah, you can't park in Brighton overnight and renting a spot is going to run you $150ish a month, but if you live in Allston, Realtors tell me the parking there is free if you register your car there. You might want to try the DMV before you take my word on that, though.

If you're worried about money and looking for an apartment is difficult, selling the car is a good option. From what you say, it sounds like it might be less of a hassle to take public transportation to class than to find a reasonably priced apartment that has a parking spot- and if you take a place near BC, then you're really only looking at the difference between a 20 minute walk and a 2 minute drive.

When I was an undergrad, I lived about an hour from class, walked there everyday, and really enjoyed it. It was nice to have an hour to think about nothing and I'm sure that will hold true in law school. Besides which, they say parking is a big problem at the law school.

Quote:
Plus, the Massachussetts norm (so I've been told) of 1st month+last month+another month rent deposit up front! This is unheard of in my part of the country! I'm a student, not a tycoon. Wow.
Yes, but that's a little misleading- you're going to pay first month's rent up front and almost always last month's rent, too. Most landlords will accept a postdated check, though- especially if it's coming from a grad student (mine always have). The third month's deposit that you're talking about is the security deposit, which you will get back unless you destroy the place or abandon it. You can postdate that, too, and you could even use it for second-to-last month's rent if you work that out with your landlord.

Quote:
This bedbug thing is starting to freak me out. It's funny, I was reading the "off-campus housing booklet" from BC last night and I was kind of wondering why they had nearly a full page dedicated to bedbugs. I didn't think too much of it at the time...now I know--thanks for the information.
I'll give you the whole story- I had bedbugs for eight months, so I fancy myself an expert on the things. There's really not much to worry about.

1) Prevention: They like to live in clean apartments. Other pests can edge them out.

They can come in on used furniture, they can come in on pidgins/rats, they can come in on clothing, they can live in some weird spore-type state for years if the climate isn't right for hatching and be there all along.

Don't touch used furniture, don't brush up against beds and couches and things in the street, if pidgins roost outside your window, chase them away with a broom.

Don't sleep on a mattress laying on the floor- elevate it so it's harder for them to spread out.

2) Diagnosis: If you think you have bedbugs, look along the seams in your mattress. They're about the size and color of an apple seed and the same general shape as a tick. They leave little black dots of **** outside where they're hiding and like to hide near their meals (you) but will also go into cracks in the wall, ceiling, or floorboards if there are enough of them.

If you start waking up with little welts about the size of a large pimple on your body, you might have bedbugs. They tend to leave three bumps in a row, which correspond to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Depending on your immune system, you might not get any welts (I didn't).

3) Treatment: Throw your mattress out, throw your box spring out, and throw out your pillows (don't make the mistake of only getting rid of one, they're probably in both). Do everyone a favor and destroy your mattress with a knife and write "BEDBUGS" on it so some unlucky dumpster diver doesn't take it.

When you buy a new mattress, put a hypoallergenic cover over it ASAP. Do the same with your box spring and your pillows. Never take these covers off.

Put all your clothes in garbage bags and wash everything you own in the hottest water possible. Extreme temperatures kill bedbugs and their eggs. Keep your clothes in the garbage bags instead of in a closet or something and keep the garbage bags sealed so nothing can get in.

They're less likely to move into a couch or a chair than they are a bed. This is because they feed between 4 and 6 in the morning and you're less likely to be on your couch or chair at those hours than in your bed. They also tend not to wander too far from the food, so it's likely that they will live in only one room of the apartment.

The key to everything else is steam cleaning. You can get a cheap one pretty easily and you want to steam between your floorboards, along the corners of your walls and ceiling, near any cracks, and near any clusters of black spots. Do this slowly and often so the steam has time to work down to them and kill them.

They reproduce every two weeks (I think), so if you steam and call an exterminator every two weeks, you will get them before most of the adults reproduce and this way cut down their numbers again and again and again until there are none. The exterminator can use chemicals to kill the adults and adolescents, but the eggs are nearly unkillable (steam does the trick).

A word of warning- exterminators will tell you that extreme cold or extreme heat will kill bedbugs and this is true, but if you're from the south and unaware of such things, leaving the windows open in your apartment in the dead of winter to try to freeze them will cause the water in the pipes to freeze and burst and then you'll have even more of a problem on your hands. I know it's a no-brainer, but if you're coming from a warm climate, it might not be in the forefront of your mind.

4) Extreme methods of extermination: I had them really bad. I had them worse than anyone my exterminator had ever met. This is because they showed up over the summer, while I wasn't there, and my roommate thought she was getting bitten by mosquitoes, giving them a 3 month advantage.

My roommate eventually moved out, which is always an option- if you abandon your apartment, you forfeit your security deposit and last month's rent, but that's the cost of doing business. After she took off, I washed all my stuff and moved everything sterile into the living room. Then I sealed off the doors to both our rooms with tape and left the bedbugs in there to starve.

I moved my bed to the middle of the living room so they could not climb up the wall and I put all four legs in large Tupperware buckets which I filled with water. I had a hypoallergenic mattress cover over everything and washed my sheets/clothes obsessively. I also made sure the sheets weren't touching the water buckets.

Thusly, I defeated the bedbugs.

5) Why it's not that bad: If you don't get welts and you can get over the thought of the things biting you, it doesn't make much difference. They've been around as long as people have and there's no need to start getting squeamish nowadays. They don't carry any serious diseases, either.

They're not that widespread. I had them, but I have yet to meet anyone else who did- much less anyone who had such a severe infestation. In fact, most of the people I mention it to have no idea they exist. I'm told that a lot of people who catch it early can get away with just throwing out their mattress and cleaning once. I really don't mean to make them sound that endemic; I'm just paranoid and hell-bent on never dealing with them again.

The problem is that they're difficult to exterminate, cost landlords a lot of money, and make a good news story. That's why people talk about them and that's why BC gave so much space to them.

My landlord told me that I was going to have to pay for the exterminator myself. Don't fall for that- it's the landlord's responsibility to pay for an exterminator. If they give you trouble, you can leave or you can do what I did- tell the landlord that you're not going to pay for the extermination, either. Say they don't really bother you, so you're just going to let them get worse and worse and good luck finding someone to rent the place next year.

Quote:
the apartment search will not be easy or inexpensive...it's a severe (and financial) disadvantage. I've even had thoughts (just a few!) on whether or not I can attend.
If it's really that bad, I live in the area and am looking for apartments as we speak. I'd be happy to meet up with a prospective landlord and email you some pictures and measurements if you're having difficulty getting to Boston to see apartments. It wouldn't be a problem- of course, if you don't want some guy from the Internet moving around your potential apartment, I understand.

Quote:
What else can you tell me about Watertown? What's it like? Distance from 885 Centre St. in "Newton-Mass" (I keep thinking of this Saturday Night Live Skit from the early 90's).
I have actually never been to Watertown. I say it looks like a nice place to live for a BC law student solely based on what I've seen on google maps. I was actually thinking of living there myself, but it would not be possible if I'm to live with my little brother, who is a BU student.

Generally, the farther you get from the center of town or major student population centers, the cheaper rent becomes and the easier it is to find parking. There are a lot of parts of town where parking on the street is really easy and you don't even need a permit (Somerville, for instance, I think). Watertown is pretty out there and it's right across I-90 from the Newton Campus, so it's an ideal location. If you follow Centre Street north and cross the river, you're there!

You'd probably have better luck looking at the street view on google maps or craigslist than talking to me about it, though.

Last edited by JoshStein; 04-13-2008 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 7,937,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aries4118 View Post
Plus, the Massachussetts norm (so I've been told) of 1st month+last month+another month rent deposit up front! This is unheard of in my part of the country! I'm a student, not a tycoon. Wow.
Don't forget the broker's fee on some of the places. At least it's not NYC, where you almost always pay a 15% fee. That's almost two months. You need over 10 grand to move into a cramped 1-BR.

Watertown has some great deals. The town has its very nice streets and some kind of ugly ones, and more of a local, blue-collar vibe. You'd have to drive to BC Law or take a couple of buses and walk over the bridge. There are parking restrictions in the winter but a lot of places are in houses and come with parking off-street. Many of the apartments are quite large and nice for the price, though less likely to include heat, which is expensive in a big space, so be careful. If you're going to look in Watertown and thinking of driving, you can also do well in Belmont along the Belmont St corridor, which has the 73 bus to Harvard Sq.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:21 PM
 
8,713 posts, read 12,337,772 times
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Thank you JoshStein and holden125. This information is helpful.

And unbelievable. I'm thinking that I really can't do this move to Boston this year. I'm thinking of deferring until 2009. I hope I can keep my scholarship.

All of these upfront costs and during law school costs. My scholarship really won't help me until 2012.

Thanks again for all of y'all's help! I may appear again with more crazy questions. I'm going to need to talk to BC in the next two to three weeks.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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Sorry to hear that! Good luck getting things straightened out with BC and trying again next year, though.

Watch out about waiting two or three weeks, though- seat deposits are due on the 15th, right?
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:25 AM
 
8,713 posts, read 12,337,772 times
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Default We'll see...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStein View Post
Sorry to hear that! Good luck getting things straightened out with BC and trying again next year, though.

Watch out about waiting two or three weeks, though- seat deposits are due on the 15th, right?
Hey there Stein--

I've already turned in my seat deposit (and yes, they are due today). And I will turn in the next one for June 1st.

I may not defer after all. I'm going to work out a budget this weekend with my friend and see what I can do. Law school entering costs shouldn't just be this expensive (this is what I will tell BC...in a "nicer" way though). In all of my professional working life, I've never had this much money upfront...and I definitely do not have it now.

Thanks for your advice...we may still meet in late August 2008.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:07 AM
 
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I've actually been looking around with Realtors a bunch lately and have seen some pretty nice three bedroom places (that's all I'm looking at) for $2150, Realtor fee included, so you can find cheap things out there. I found a great one for $2400 and offered $2300. It seems to me that $700 a person is the bottom of the market and $800 is the top, but I'm sure that will change with location- a friend got something for under $500.

From what I've been told, the heat and hot water bill isn't as bad as I said it was (I think I'm a bit of a pessimist). The tenants in the $2400 place said their absolute worst bill was $200 and the others were all $150- and this was for a gigantic three bedroom apartment, though it has a new heating system which is probably fairly efficient. Still, you don't really need to heat your apartment that much during most of the year, late November through early March are the cold months. And, of course, if you get a place in a building, you'll get radial heat from your neighbors.

The idea is a bit out there, but you might also want to consider renting a place west of BC. I have no idea what rent is like out in the more distant suburbs, but if you were to look for a place beyond I95 and commute in from there (it's an easy drive down Commonwealth Ave/Route 30), it may be cheaper.

Also, I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you really want to live on the cheap, you could always try heating your apartment with a wood stove. It would be very New Englandy and wood is cheap! I think you can get it for $150 a cord and, if you have a small place, you could probably get away with only burning one or two cords over the entire year (though I'm no expert). Just make sure you keep the regular heating at 40 degrees or something so none of the pipes freeze overnight or while you're at class. That and make sure you don't burn the place down.

And if BC gave you a scholarship, they'd probably be willing to pay a little bit more to get you over the hump. Honestly, I think if you told an admissions person that you're one or two thousand dollars short of the upfront money, they'd just give it to you.
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:43 AM
 
8,713 posts, read 12,337,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStein View Post
I've actually been looking around with Realtors a bunch lately and have seen some pretty nice three bedroom places (that's all I'm looking at) for $2150, Realtor fee included, so you can find cheap things out there. I found a great one for $2400 and offered $2300. It seems to me that $700 a person is the bottom of the market and $800 is the top, but I'm sure that will change with location- a friend got something for under $500.

From what I've been told, the heat and hot water bill isn't as bad as I said it was (I think I'm a bit of a pessimist). The tenants in the $2400 place said their absolute worst bill was $200 and the others were all $150- and this was for a gigantic three bedroom apartment, though it has a new heating system which is probably fairly efficient. Still, you don't really need to heat your apartment that much during most of the year, late November through early March are the cold months. And, of course, if you get a place in a building, you'll get radial heat from your neighbors.

The idea is a bit out there, but you might also want to consider renting a place west of BC. I have no idea what rent is like out in the more distant suburbs, but if you were to look for a place beyond I95 and commute in from there (it's an easy drive down Commonwealth Ave/Route 30), it may be cheaper.

Also, I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you really want to live on the cheap, you could always try heating your apartment with a wood stove. It would be very New Englandy and wood is cheap! I think you can get it for $150 a cord and, if you have a small place, you could probably get away with only burning one or two cords over the entire year (though I'm no expert). Just make sure you keep the regular heating at 40 degrees or something so none of the pipes freeze overnight or while you're at class. That and make sure you don't burn the place down.

And if BC gave you a scholarship, they'd probably be willing to pay a little bit more to get you over the hump. Honestly, I think if you told an admissions person that you're one or two thousand dollars short of the upfront money, they'd just give it to you.
That's good info about the areas further west. My best friend was saying exactly the same thing...with relation to the scholarship (she graduated from law school in 2005).
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,815 posts, read 7,743,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStein View Post
Also, I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you really want to live on the cheap, you could always try heating your apartment with a wood stove. It would be very New Englandy and wood is cheap! I think you can get it for $150 a cord and, if you have a small place, you could probably get away with only burning one or two cords over the entire year (though I'm no expert). Just make sure you keep the regular heating at 40 degrees or something so none of the pipes freeze overnight or while you're at class. That and make sure you don't burn the place down.
Yes. It does sound ridiculous.... I have not seen any apartment with wood stove. Are you going to install one yourself? and where would one store a cord of wood (4x4x8=128 cu ft) in an apartment?

Btw...$150 a cord of wood? Please check prices... like gas is $2.

Quote:
And if BC gave you a scholarship, they'd probably be willing to pay a little bit more to get you over the hump. Honestly, I think if you told an admissions person that you're one or two thousand dollars short of the upfront money, they'd just give it to you.
I wish my college is that nice...
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 7,937,417 times
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Originally Posted by JoshStein View Post
Yeah, you can't park in Brighton overnight and renting a spot is going to run you $150ish a month, but if you live in Allston, Realtors tell me the parking there is free if you register your car there. You might want to try the DMV before you take my word on that, though.
It's not the DMV (which, by the way, is called the RMV in Mass.) that determines this. Rather, the issue is that the city of Boston has resident-only parking on many streets, so you'd have to get a neighborhood parking sticker at Boston City Hall. To do that you'd have to have the car registered in the neighborhood you want the sticker from.

Allston and Brighton are in the same neighborhood for this purpose (the sticker says "Allston-Brighton") and you can park on the streets at night with the sticker in both places. It's Brookline, a totally different municipality, where you can't park at night. This is also true in Belmont and Watertown (at certain times of year) but there you're likely to get parking included with the apartment.

There are also many streets in Brighton near Brighton Center and Oak Square that do not have resident-only parking, and are 10 minutes drive to BC Law. I have friends on Oakland St. and I have parked many borrowed cars, not registered in Brighton or even in Mass., on the streets overnight there many times. I've never even had to go more than 100 feet from their house. The only issue is moving the car for street cleaning, which is twice a month and, in the winter, not at all. Brighton along Comm. Av. is more of a student ghetto and is more urban. Parking there, while permitted all night, is resident sticker only and harder to come by (as it is in central parts of Allston even if you have the sticker). The side streets off of Washington St west of Market St are a totally different story.
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