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Old 05-07-2011, 05:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,116 times
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Hello Folks,

My husband and I have been looking for our first home for the last 6 months or so. Some background about us, I work in Burlington and my husband works in Marlborough. We currently rent in Waltham but really wanted to move somewhere that would be mid-way for both of us, more or less. After some preliminary research, we decided to look in Acton and Westford and failed miserably :P. This will be our first home, we dont't have kids yet and really wanted to stay within 500k-510k price range. So then we moved to Littleton and haven't still found the perfect place that we can move ahead with. We also looked at Framingham and Natick and really didn't think it was for us. Again, we moved to MA just a year ago, so we really don't know much about the plce in general and this is just by some suggestions from our friends and colleagues.
There are certain things we are looking in a town, family-friendly neighborhoods, good schools, active town community. We are from the city but would like to settle in the suburbs. For now we think that we can live without the top school disctricts for another 10 yrs or so, hence we thought we can consider Littleton. Today we found another property in North Chelmsford right off Rt. 3, that might work for us. In a house, we prefer buying something newer and single family home. So at this point we are really comparing Littleton vs. N. Chelmsford, in terms of the town itself, schools , if they are comparable etc. Also resale wise, looks like both towns should hold their property value? Are there other towns that we should consider, for our commute and other things of interest? We also like Academy Hill in Groton but it will add another 30 mins to the commute which might be an issue on day to day basis. Any other towns that we should look at? Any suggestions would be relaly helpful! Best, KP.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:07 PM
 
Location: North of Boston
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Working in Burlington and Marlboro I think you are generally on the right track with the towns you are looking at. Acton and Westford will have the best resale and have the best schools for future little ones. I would sacrifice on the house to live in the better town.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:26 AM
 
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With the OP's budget, most new houses in Littleton are available. There doesn't seem to be a housing crash in Littleton. The schools are considered good and getting better, although not up there with Acton (few are). Littleton has something more of a prosperous blue-collar feel (at least on the "cheaper" side of town- Long Lake area) and I think there's a very unpretentious, decent feel. People are very town/community/family oriented and most high school grads go to college.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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A town with a reputation for a good school system enhances resale value. The only time to consider a town with a less-than-stellar school system is when you are planning to retire, and don't care about the resale value of your home.

That being said, I know nothing about Littleton's schools. My point is that you want to buy your first house in a town with a good school system because before you know it, you'll want to sell to move into a bigger home.

We nearly bought our first house over 25 years ago in Lowell. Because of some problems with the inspection, we backed out of the deal, and by chance happened to buy our first home in Newburyport instead. The house we nearly bought in Lowell 25 years ago for $115K is now worth about $250K (according to Zillow). The house we instead bought in Newburyport for $115K in 1985 we sold in 1990 for $178K, and it sold again in 2004 for $525K.

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is don't try to economize by moving to a town that has supposedly bad schools. You're better off buying less house in a better town, in my opinion. You don't say what problems you encountered in Acton and Westford, but I assume you couldn't find anything in your price range. I have to think there are SOME houses for sale for $500K in Westford, but I imagine they don't have all the features you think you need.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:51 PM
 
45 posts, read 147,683 times
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It would be also helpful to know what you did not like when searching (you say you "failed in Acton" - was it that you couldn't find anything in your price range, any other reasons?)
Also, what was it about Natick that turned you off? (That way we can understand which towns might turn you off as well)

Also, were you looking primarily online, or driving around as well?
Generally, especially if you are new to the area, it's quite helpful to just drive around a bit in different towns, to get a feel for the area. Go to a local restaurant or park. Walk along main street...
It may help you narrow down your choices, then you can look specifically for houses for sale with an agent etc.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:58 PM
 
4 posts, read 14,116 times
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Thanks for all the feedback! By 'failed in Acton/Westford' we mean that we couldn't find something is our price range for the newer house that we are looking for.

The way we are thinking about it right now is that if we bought in Littleton or Chelmsford right now, we can always upgrade to Acton/Westford in 6-7 yrs once we have kids old enough to send to schools.

About Natick, there are good parts of Natcik, where again its very expensive....and other parts seem too commercial for us. Whereas in Littleton and Westford we get a more community feel in general. We have found a new sub-division being built in North Chelmsford, hence the interest in that. However the surrounding neighborhood has kind of lower priced houses other than the sub-division itself. And again comparing Littleton to N. Chelmsford, we are getting confused.
We also saw a really nice community that is developing in West Groton! that we love. However we are debating if the additional 20+ mins commute worth or not !
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:35 AM
 
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There are new/newer houses in Littleton in the Apple D'Or subdivision and in Whitetail Way. Also, since development is often a house here or a house there, there are new and newer houses scattered around the town.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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Hi 'brighdoglover', the houses in Apple D'or and Whitetail are in the high 600s and 700s, way out of our budget....how does N. Chelmsford compare to Littleton in terms of the town and schools?? There is a new subdivision in N. Chelmsford we are considering but when we drive around the neighborhood, it didn't look as nice.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Just a thought - Would you consider a townhouse? Since you said you liked pricier parts of Natick. There are nice town homes there (as well as in Needham). Just ran a sample search, and drive by again, it might be what you are looking for, and in your price range. Many are either newer construction, or thoroughly remodeled, they give you the space and the feel as well as the backyard of a SF (they are connected by a garage, for example, it's one common wall), yet cost less than a SF in similar condition and location. Again, just a thought to play around with.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:21 PM
 
12,842 posts, read 24,488,520 times
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Sorry, don't know about N. Chelmsford/schools. I think there are more typical subdivision developments in Chelmsford (a relative lot of houses on land outside the town area).
I still think you could find something you'd like in Littleton, but then, I'm biased. I think it's a terrific town.
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