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Old 05-21-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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Hi everyone! My husband and I are relocating from Montreal (Canada) to Boston in the coming months with our 11 month old son and a dog. Hubby will be working in the financial district. I'm not sure where I'll be working yet but possibly in the Lexington area.

I've read that it's a good time to buy a home in Boston as home values are on the rise. We are contemplating West Medford, Watertown and Melrose. Maybe West Roxbury? These seem relatively close for my husband to commute. We would like an upper middle class neighborhood that's family friendly and close to some decent childcare/schools and amenities (grocery store, etc.). We would like to spend no more than $500K for a 3-4 bedroom single family home, ideally with a yard for the kiddo and dog.

Can you guys tell me what you think about these choices? Where are homes most likely to increase in value out of these areas or are they all about the same? Any other towns in the vicinity that might fit the bill?

Thanks in advance for all input!!
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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That price should work in Medford, Melrose and West Roxbury. Watertown does not have as many single family homes as Medford or Melrose. You could probably get an older ranch or cape on the Waltham side. You may need to up your budget $100K on the Belmont side (Common Street area). If you like Melrose, you might look in Stoneham and Wakefield, very similar towns.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Camberville
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I love West Medford - it's a cute area. The schools aren't particularly great, but aren't horrible either. It's not something I'd really worry about until your son is in middle school. I drive through the neighborhood on my commute and see lots of kids waiting for the bus (always with parents!) or playing in the early evening hours.

The only worry would be the commute to the financial district - not horrible, but also very reliant on a bus.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:13 PM
 
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I live in Medford and like it a lot. However, if I had it to do over, I would pick Melrose for my starter house.

Melrose is filled with young families, and almost the whole town is walkable, plus you have three commuter rail stops that go to North Station. The town has several active moms groups, and you'll find a mix of working and stay-at-home parents. By far, Melrose would be the easiest place to make friends as a newcomer.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
I love West Medford - it's a cute area. The schools aren't particularly great, but aren't horrible either. It's not something I'd really worry about until your son is in middle school. I drive through the neighborhood on my commute and see lots of kids waiting for the bus (always with parents!) or playing in the early evening hours.

The only worry would be the commute to the financial district - not horrible, but also very reliant on a bus.

Why couldn't they drive and park at Wellington or use the commuter rail from West Medford?
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Why couldn't they drive and park at Wellington or use the commuter rail from West Medford?
My husband would definitely be taking public transit.

Thanks to everyone who responded thus far! It's great to hear from people who are familiar with West Medford/Medford and the comment about young families in Melrose gives me food for thought...

I worry about the commute from Melrose to Lexington or Waltham. Is traffic terrible everywhere or should I be OK going from east to west?
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Why couldn't they drive and park at Wellington or use the commuter rail from West Medford?
Wellington is $6/day for parking, and large as it is, it still fills up. Medford has one commuter rail spot, and getting to it quickly depends on your location in Medford. There are faster and easier ways to get Downtown from Medford using the bus lines.

However, I wouldn't rule Medford out, since it has some beautiful sections, and might be a bit easier for the commute if you're going to Waltham. For Lexington, I don't think Melrose is that bad, although you may hit some traffic if you're going right at rush hour.

But overall, for children, I feel like donewithpretty is right. Melrose is just geared towards families with young children. Tons of little league sports, events for kids, Halloween is an actual thing in a way I never saw in Medford when I lived there, and an ice cream truck that trundles down my block at least three times a day on weekends.

Last edited by tickybox; 05-21-2013 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: visible html
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
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West Medford is your best bet for escalating resale value. The eventual Green Line extension to nearby Route 16 can't help but up property prices within two miles. (Until NIMBY's made enough noise the plan was for this rapid-transit line to extend all the way to the West Medford commuter rail station.) And the neighborhood's close proximity to Tufts University - separated only by the somewhat more affluent Medford Hillside - means there's a segment of the population always guaranteed to want to live there. FWIW a family I'm acquainted with (husband a Tufts staff member, wife a physician in training, year-old daughter, young canine) invested in West Medford two years ago and have never had second thoughts. It's always appealed to me because of the inviting variety of home styles and its "mixed" demographic character. Among too few enclaves in Greater Boston, and longer than for most, West Medford has been home to numerous middle-class AA folks as well as Whites from all sorts of backgrounds. This is opposed to the remainder of Medford, which is traditionally (and largely still) decidedly Italian.
Other than being 95% or more Caucasian (and with the largest Armenian population in the US, along with quite a few Greeks and Italians) Watertown as a whole is similar to West Medford in character. Both have small independent neighborhood grocery stores that spit in the eye of chain supermarkets, and offer stable and safe surroundings. Commuting to Lexington would be fairly straightforward from either place but getting downtown is somewhat simpler from Medford (direct transit service instead of a transfer in Cambridge - unless you count the express buses to/from Watertown Yard.)
Melrose is by far the most "suburban" out of the three, with most of its apartment buildings clustered along Main St and the vast majority of side streets consisting solely of SFH's. Its foremost claim to fame to some people is its symphony orchestra, said to be the oldest of its kind nationwide. Here also you'll find scrappy local businesses in the main shopping district holding their own against McStores and franchise restaurants. The public schools are probably the best of the lot. Plus, as has already been mentioned, the feeling of community is entrenched and solid. Melrose's main downside is commuting convenience or lack thereof. Getting into Boston isn't so bad, what with the Orange Line terminal at the Malden border complemented by 3 commuter rail stops. But the daily trek to/from Lexington could get tiresome since 128 is perpetually congested and sometimes an eight-lane parking lot.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Camberville
11,395 posts, read 15,995,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 495neighbor View Post
Why couldn't they drive and park at Wellington or use the commuter rail from West Medford?
Because parking at Wellington is at least $160 a month on top of a T pass. It gets pricey quick, and I've tried to park there at 8AM when the whole lot was already full. I only got a spot because I had a handicapped placard at the time. It's also not a fun drive from West Medford to either Wellington or Sullivan in traffic.

I live right across the Mystic River from Medford Center, right down the block from buses to Sullivan and Harvard via Davis. It took a former roommate about 45 minutes from our house to the Financial District in the morning, and over an hour coming home. That's not bad - about the amount of time I spend in my car going to and from work in Waltham - but if you have to walk to either the bus or your work, it can really add time.

I did forget about the West Medford commuter rail. If living close to that, it's convenient for getting to the Financial District quickly.


To the OP - regarding commuting to Lexington or Waltham, I absolutely would not do it from Melrose. I sometimes commute to Waltham from Malden, and it generally takes an hour and 15 to an hour and 45 in the morning. It would be longer leaving at 5 - but I never do that! It's the one reason why I haven't moved in with my boyfriend. The 2 miles difference between my boyfriend's place and mine adds half an hour to my commute! 93 North backs up at the 95 interchange, and then 95 can be a parking lot. You can cut through Medford Center and Arlington to get to Route 2, but Medford Center backs up. It would be much easier to drive to either from West Medford.

The problem is that Waltham is a huge industrial center in of itself, so there is no real "reverse commute" going to and from Waltham.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:09 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,482 times
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This is great info!! Please keep it coming if you'd like to weigh in.

I guess it all depends on whether I get that job in Lexington/Waltham. If so then it sounds like the commute from Melrose would be a nightmare. Melrose sounds great for a young family like ours but I hate driving so the commute would probably kill me.

On our upcoming visit to Boston I will ask the real estate agent to show us around both West Medford and Melrose, just to see what these neighborhoods look like.
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