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Old 04-01-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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We are relocating to Boston and are looking for advice on relatively affordable, family friendly areas in which to live. For the first year or so, we are looking for an apartment and our max rent is $1700, with heat included. One of us is working near Beacon Hill so a relatively easy commute to that location is desirable. We have heard good things about Somerville, Newton, and Chestnut Hill. Are there other areas that we should consider?

We would really like help on how best to look for a place: online sites? do we need to go through a broker or relocation service? when is the best time to look if we're looking for a unit starting around July 1? Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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I would check with craigslist for an apartment. The best deals seem to be there. Chestnut Hill includes both Newton and Brookline. Very pricey there. Somerville may not be for you if you have kids. You need to be looking now for July 1. You said that one of you would be working near Beacon Hill, is there another job involved? That would figure in where you'd want to live.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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Right now there is no other job involved since my spouse is staying at home with our young child. Just out of curiosity, why is Somerville not the best area to be in if you have kids? I have very little knowledge of the different towns and neighborhoods in the Boston area so anything you say is helpful.
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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Somerville is more city, less town, with schools that are not good and some, well, seedy areas. There are certainly parts that are nice, though -- it's mainly the schools. If you're careful about where in Somerville you rent, it can be a fun place.

Newton is pricey but very good for families. If you want to stay really close, you might look into Watertown, which is next door but more affordable. Arlington is another very nice town. Both are quite active and fun towns, but safer than Somerville and just seem more like family communities.

There would also be plenty of (semi) affordable and family-friendly towns farther out, such as Natick, Needham, and Westwood, which would all have decent commutes. Same general area as Newton, just a little west and south.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Right now, it seems like Arlington might be a good bet, or possibly Watertown since these towns seem more affordable than Newton. We're interested in an area that while family friendly still has "culture", i.e. a good bookstore, cafes, etc. Also, pedestrian accessibility is a plus. I have heard about Westwood and Needham from other threads. What are these places like?
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyut View Post
Right now, it seems like Arlington might be a good bet, or possibly Watertown since these towns seem more affordable than Newton. We're interested in an area that while family friendly still has "culture", i.e. a good bookstore, cafes, etc. Also, pedestrian accessibility is a plus. I have heard about Westwood and Needham from other threads. What are these places like?
Both are quite nice. In fact Westwood is on my list of places to buy, when we're ready. :-) Both very family friendly, both with pretty easy commutes(train lines in both towns, with a ride under 30 minutes). Both very good school systems. Both have walkable areas.

But it depends on what balance you want between "culture" and family; each of these towns is more on the family side of things. They each have little downtown areas with some restaurants. They each have coffee shops. Because Needham is closer to Natick, it will have more shopping and activity in general -- Westwood is a bit of a sleepier town.

But for real activity and bustle, Arlington and Watertown are probably much more of a fit -- more variety, more restaurants, more cafes, etc. A little more "artsy," in general.
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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Sounds like your looking for a two bedroom for $1700.w heat.
With that dollar amount, check out Braintree or Quincy.
The T (transit), Red Line, will take you to the Charles station in Beacon Hill in 15-20 minutes.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:35 PM
 
124 posts, read 674,412 times
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Originally Posted by bgrasser View Post
Sounds like your looking for a two bedroom for $1700.w heat.
With that dollar amount, check out Braintree or Quincy.
The T (transit), Red Line, will take you to the Charles station in Beacon Hill in 15-20 minutes.
I think it is longer than that -- from Wollaston to South Station was 20 minutes for me, and Charles is farther away.... But maybe my year on the T was just a particularly slow one! With my luck, that isn't out of the question. :-)

Braintree and Quincy are safe, but just wanted to mention the schools are not exactly wonderful, so if you have kids and they'll be in public school, this is not the best choice.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:19 AM
 
5 posts, read 92,415 times
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The more I hear about it, the more I think that Arlington and perhaps Watertown and Belmont are better fits for our needs. Since we're new to the area, we want to be close enough to Boston to explore and take advantage of all the things there are to do there. Once we're more settled I can see moving farther afield to look for a house. I am wondering about the rents. We are now living in a small city in upstate New York and paying about $1000 for a nice, large two bedroom with all utilities included. While I know this is obscenely cheap by Boston standards, I was surprised that $1700 including heat was kind of cheap. Is this really true? When I look at the median household income for Arlington it is really not that high. Am I missing something?
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,146 posts, read 6,051,479 times
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Originally Posted by Wyut View Post
The more I hear about it, the more I think that Arlington and perhaps Watertown and Belmont are better fits for our needs. Since we're new to the area, we want to be close enough to Boston to explore and take advantage of all the things there are to do there. Once we're more settled I can see moving farther afield to look for a house. I am wondering about the rents. We are now living in a small city in upstate New York and paying about $1000 for a nice, large two bedroom with all utilities included. While I know this is obscenely cheap by Boston standards, I was surprised that $1700 including heat was kind of cheap. Is this really true? When I look at the median household income for Arlington it is really not that high. Am I missing something?
You could probably get something for less in a 2 or 3 family, including heat & hot water, but obviously some of the apartment buildings have more amenities. As far as the income levels, sometimes they don't really tell the complete picture. For example, the town could have lots of senior citizens who own their own homes but have limited income. I don't know for sure that this is the case with Arlington, though. I do know that Arlington has a fairly large housing project.
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