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Old 08-01-2008, 06:02 PM
1 posts, read 1,950 times
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Hi all!

I'm potentially taking a job offer in Cambridge, MA - right in Central Square. I'd be quitting my job here in Princeton, NJ. I'm currently paying $1,400/month for the apartment I'm in.

My question to you all is what surrounding towns should I be looking at to find something nice for $1,200-$,1400/month? I've heard good things about Somerville, Watertown, Winchester, Arlington, and Westwood. Can you provide me with some insight as to where I should and shouldn't be looking? I have no children as of now, so schools aren't an issue.

I've looked all around on craigslist and saw some apartments that interested me, but some of the towns I haven't heard of, and I don't want to end up in a "shady" town - I'm used to plain old suburbia.

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:22 PM
Location: Westwood, MA
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If you're just looking to rent, Cambridge and Somerville are good high density options. Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont are good options a bit further out. All nice towns with lower rents but a longer commute, less density, and less to do. If you're looking to be in a more urban environment try Cambridge or Somerville, but Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont are good options if you want something a bit more suburban but with reasonable commutes. There's plenty to rent in all five of these towns so you should be able to find something.

Winchester and Westwood are both very nice towns, but both a bit further out and more places for buying as opposed to renting. I live in Westwood now and can attest it's a great town, but it takes about an hour to Cambridge on the train. Winchester is much closer to Cambridge, but public transportation to Cambridge is trickier.

I don't think you'll find anything like Princeton in the area, but there are certainly many good options. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-02-2008, 05:55 PM
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For suburbia I would agree with Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont. I would ignore Westwood and to a degree Winchester.

My advice would be to live in an area where you can get to Central Sq via public transportation in under 45 mins because driving/parking in Boston, and especially Cambridge is a huge pain. Arlington has the 77, 79, and 67 which combined with the T can get you there in that time frame (I'm not sure about Belmont and Watertown, as I didn't live out there, but I commuted to Kendall and other Boston for 5 years via bus/train).

You're not going to end up anywhere sketchy given your constraints. As a young childless male I'd personally live in the Central/Kendall area, but I like it a bit more urban
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:45 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
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A $1,400 affordability ceiling pretty well prices you out of most of Cambridge, but Arlington and Belmont and Watertown should have much to offer. You could also consider Brighton Center and Oak Square, Boston neighborhoods served by a bus route (#64) which originates in Central Square (with an extension to and from Kendall during rush hours.) Say "Allston" and most people recoil at the mention of that noisy and littered and all-around sketchy student slum, but the part which is situated between the turnpike and Western Ave is a decent neighborhood: somewhat down-at-the-heels, but with tree-lined streets and spacious single- and two-family houses. A short walk in one direction would take you to the 64 bus; in the other direction, to the 70 and 70A which also go right to Central Square.

In many parts of the US, mention of a roommate or housemate when you're post-college attracts raised eyebrows regardless of the gender of the person(s.) 'tain't so 'round here. Rent costs are such that it makes good economic sense to double-or-more up on living quarters. The houses in Boston's outer neighborhoods, in Cambridge and Somerville, and in the inner-ring towns - as well as many multi-bedroom apartments - are large enough that you don't get a sense of claustrophobia or compromised privacy. There'll of course be times when you'll want the place to yourself, but the "pluses" of lowered expenses and the potential for a social life without leaving home outweigh the inconveniences. During my home-sharing days, one of the biggest stressors besides having to wait for the shower or stove or laundry room to be freed up was worrying about missing a phone call. Now we're in the age of "cellies" and that's a total non-issue. A lot of people (perhaps the majority) working toward advanced degrees, and/or launching their careers, around Boston are living with unrelated persons but not sleeping with them. Nearly everyone at my job who's under 35 is. So look at that sort of arrangement as a viable option.
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