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Old 11-04-2017, 08:55 AM
 
493 posts, read 402,412 times
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What towns did you look in? Many of the suburbs closer to Boston have older housing stock and surprisingly no sidewalks. I find the lack of sidewalks very odd.
Also, many suburbs have pretty useless town centers. A useful town center to me has a grocery store (small one is OK), a pharmacy, a place to grab coffee, a decent restaurant or two, and access to the library, a park, maybe a school, and the train. Very few towns closer to Boston have this. Many town centers are pretty spread out and along major routes, so while they are walkable, you have to constantly watch for cars.
All of the commuter rail stations I am familiar with tend to have smaller houses on smaller lots near the commuter rail station, since they tend to be near the downtown area. Towns that have multiple commuter rail stops, so almost every home in town is close to a station, may be a good idea to look at. Off the top of my head, Beverly (4 stops), Melrose (3 stops), and Needham (4 stops) are a couple I am familiar with. Needham would be tough with an 800K budget, but Melrose and Beverly would be doable.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:01 AM
 
Location: 02038
16 posts, read 11,042 times
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You are correct about the high cost of living in the Boston area and that bubble is still strong with many homes coming on the market are selling fast and for much higher than list price. Many of the towns surrounding the Boston area will have commuting rails and unfortunately the time to commute in will still likely be just as long as if you bought in a town further out like Mansfield (which has a commuter line) and the cost of living is much lower and still offers lots to do. Walpole/Dedham/Norwood also have lots to offer and many people choose to settle there because of the lifestyle and cost to live and the school systems.
If the increase in income from the job offer is going to be eaten up by the high costs of living in boston it doesn't seem like it would make sense for you and your family. IMHO
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:42 PM
 
21 posts, read 13,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alidmc View Post
What towns did you look in? Many of the suburbs closer to Boston have older housing stock and surprisingly no sidewalks. I find the lack of sidewalks very odd.
Also, many suburbs have pretty useless town centers. A useful town center to me has a grocery store (small one is OK), a pharmacy, a place to grab coffee, a decent restaurant or two, and access to the library, a park, maybe a school, and the train. Very few towns closer to Boston have this. Many town centers are pretty spread out and along major routes, so while they are walkable, you have to constantly watch for cars.
All of the commuter rail stations I am familiar with tend to have smaller houses on smaller lots near the commuter rail station, since they tend to be near the downtown area. Towns that have multiple commuter rail stops, so almost every home in town is close to a station, may be a good idea to look at. Off the top of my head, Beverly (4 stops), Melrose (3 stops), and Needham (4 stops) are a couple I am familiar with. Needham would be tough with an 800K budget, but Melrose and Beverly would be doable.
Medford, Malden, Lexington, Wilmington and Winchester and a few others I can't recall. However, we drove only by areas where there were actually homes on the market up to 600k at that time. I think Melrose and Stoneham may also have been on our list. Perhaps since we only saw limited areas of each town other than driving through the areas to reach there, maybe we missed more happening parts of these towns?
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:29 PM
 
21 posts, read 13,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1210 View Post
You are correct about the high cost of living in the Boston area and that bubble is still strong with many homes coming on the market are selling fast and for much higher than list price. Many of the towns surrounding the Boston area will have commuting rails and unfortunately the time to commute in will still likely be just as long as if you bought in a town further out like Mansfield (which has a commuter line) and the cost of living is much lower and still offers lots to do. Walpole/Dedham/Norwood also have lots to offer and many people choose to settle there because of the lifestyle and cost to live and the school systems.
If the increase in income from the job offer is going to be eaten up by the high costs of living in boston it doesn't seem like it would make sense for you and your family. IMHO
Your point regarding moving farther out is something I realized just 2 days ago when I was putting in points on the MBTA site. We don't mind if it's farther out at this point, if the commute is comparable to somewhere close. Have not looked at these towns you mention, but will do so. For the very reason you state, after looking at housing costs I spoke with my husband and basically said there really is no point a few weeks ago. We almost canceled our trip to scout out the area, but didn't. Upon our return, we realized what we feared and decided it wasn't worth it. We thought it was a dead deal. There was more talk between husband and employer and discussion reopened. After more mulling we decided the biggest plus would be career-wise and schools. The potential to advance professionally appears to be greater with the new position. I've been in touch with an agent who sent me Arlington recent home sales. It cited days on market, asking price and selling price. It was exactly as you say. So many homes sold for quite a bit higher than asking price.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Medford, MA
102 posts, read 81,332 times
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I live in Medford, work in Winchester (& surrounding). It remains a fairly 'hot' seller's market in this area, but with that budget you should be able to find something. I haven't read this thread entirely, but would you consider condo living? I ask because many of our older multi-family homes are being renovated & converted to 2/3 unit condos to offer more affordable living closer to public trans & city life. Some are really quite well done, but you have to be OK with that type of ownership.

In Medford, specifically, I would suggest looking in the West Medford area. Commuter rail runs right through it, and though the center is small, it's definitely more hip/ up & coming than Medford center, IMO. There is also an Express Bus into town, I believe (although I've never taken it so I can't speak to the schedule or reliability).

'Good schools' means something different to everyone, but Winchester's (right over the line from West Medford) school system is very well regarded and I love their downtown. You might be able to find a house or townhome in that range near the center.

Melrose has another decent downtown area, decent schools, and definitely homes in that range. Arlington has a more urban feel to their downtown, and again I think you could still find something in that range.

Tough to do when you can't be here every weekend to scour the market, but do-able, with patience, which it seems as though you have based on your last purchase!

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Boston
2,198 posts, read 1,297,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
Amazing how good New Jersey is at the practical level of day to day needs— walkable communities, good transportation, good schools, culturally diverse, relatively affordable. From a drive along Route 3 or the Turnpike you wouldn’t expect to find anything livable right nearby but now we’re stretching to find something as workable for OP here in the Boston area. Most of the towns suggested are much more scenic, with more aesthetic variety, more beautiful natural assets than Rutherford or anywhere a stones throw from Giants Stadium but beauty doesn’t help you feed, clothe and house your family.
This is why I always have been a fan of NJ in real life and on this board. For all of the reasons stated above.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BostonBornMassMade View Post
This is why I always have been a fan of NJ in real life and on this board. For all of the reasons stated above.
NJ has every problem Massachusetts has on a much larger scale. The state is going broke, has excessive property taxes and can't figure out how to stop big businesses and the wealthy from fleeing.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Chibostoncaliseattle
2,083 posts, read 1,101,247 times
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Originally Posted by Dm84 View Post
NJ has every problem Massachusetts has on a much larger scale. The state is going broke, has excessive property taxes and can't figure out how to stop big businesses and the wealthy from fleeing.
MA budget balance is certainly out of sorts, but property tax rates are somewhere in the middle, and the local economy and subsequent GDP continues to jolt forward outpacing the national average.

Nonetheless, you're correct about NJ. It's a very similar story in CT.
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:06 PM
 
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My wife and I recently relocated with our 2 year old from Lyndhurst, NJ (just south of Rutherford on Orient Way) to Melrose, MA (near the southern/Malden end). We were renters in both places however. We like Melrose much more than Lyndhurst but I remember going to Rutherford downtown quite a bit and it was quite nice, plus NJ Transit was very convenient. However, since we're renting, we can actually take the T Orange Line from Oak Grove in Melrose into Boston which is really convenient because both my wife and I work steps from the Orange Line in downtown. So transit wise, I think it's fairly better although it's nuanced (Orange Line rolling stock is very old and stops 10x before getting to my stop so it still takes 45 minutes which is what it used to take me to get from Rutherford or Lyndhurst to NY Penn Station. However, Orange Line cars are getting upgraded next year supposedly). For you, you may be better off taking the MBTA which is also in Melrose, although I'm not too familiar with it. I would guess it's better than NJ Transit which I felt was very irregular and had many issues (recent Hoboken train crash, jam packed trains going into NYP and coming back, etc).


Overall, we like Melrose as a town because it's charming and there's lots to do within an hour drive (beaches, farms, Stone Zoo, downtown Boston, Assembly Row outlets, historical sites, etc). Also believe it or not but a Wynn casino is opening up in 2019 in Everett, a few miles away (most people consider this a negative but you might consider a positive). Schools are fairly good too we hear and people in the town are fairly friendly. Someone up above posted the following: "A useful town center to me has a grocery store (small one is OK), a pharmacy, a place to grab coffee, a decent restaurant or two, and access to the library, a park, maybe a school, and the train." Melrose town center definitely has all of these things, and we love the public library system in the area (Melrose and Wakefield have great libraries for kids).


Btw, one of the big advantages of Boston is that you can actually drive into the city and park in the evenings. I remember living in Lyndhurst even though we had a car, we probably went into NYC for a date night once in a year. From Melrose, we've gone in probably around 10x in the last year. On the other hand, the food options are nowhere near what they were in NYC here. (So hard to find a good falafel...) Even Main St in Melrose (which is quite charming and has a few great restaurants like Turner's Seafood and Giacomo's) offers a lot of parking in lots behind the storefronts. I remember finding parking in Rutherford and Lyndhurst was a giant pain...


As others have said, I believe there are Single Family Homes in Melrose for 800k but they may be older. Also keep in mind that I haven't seen really any new development in Melrose, apparently there are a lot of restrictions to building new -- new houses must keep the same footprint as the old house and such. Property taxes are much better in Massachusetts in general than NJ. Also our son needed EI (Early Intervention) which was free in Massachusetts but we had to pay out the nose in NJ.


But please let me know if I can provide any details that would help.

Last edited by vikkyg; 11-13-2017 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Chibostoncaliseattle
2,083 posts, read 1,101,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikkyg View Post
My wife and I recently relocated with our 2 year old from Lyndhurst, NJ (just south of Rutherford on Orient Way) to Melrose, MA (near the southern/Malden end). We were renters in both places however. We like Melrose much more than Lyndhurst but I remember going to Rutherford downtown quite a bit and it was quite nice, plus NJ Transit was very convenient. However, since we're renting, we can actually take the T Orange Line from Oak Grove in Melrose into Boston which is really convenient because both my wife and I work steps from the Orange Line in downtown. So transit wise, I think it's fairly better although it's nuanced (Orange Line rolling stock is very old and stops 10x before getting to my stop so it still takes 45 minutes which is what it used to take me to get from Rutherford or Lyndhurst to NY Penn Station. However, Orange Line cars are getting upgraded next year supposedly). For you, you may be better off taking the MBTA which is also in Melrose, although I'm not too familiar with it. I would guess it's better than NJ Transit which I felt was very irregular and had many issues (recent Hoboken train crash, jam packed trains going into NYP and coming back, etc).


Overall, we like Melrose as a town because it's charming and there's lots to do within an hour drive (beaches, farms, Stone Zoo, downtown Boston, Assembly Row outlets, historical sites, etc). Also believe it or not but a Wynn casino is opening up in 2019 in Everett, a few miles away (most people consider this a negative but you might consider a positive). Schools are fairly good too we hear and people in the town are fairly friendly. Someone up above posted the following: "A useful town center to me has a grocery store (small one is OK), a pharmacy, a place to grab coffee, a decent restaurant or two, and access to the library, a park, maybe a school, and the train." Melrose town center definitely has all of these things, and we love the public library system in the area (Melrose and Wakefield have great libraries for kids).


Btw, one of the big advantages of Boston is that you can actually drive into the city and park in the evenings. I remember living in Lyndhurst even though we had a car, we probably went into NYC for a date night once in a year. From Melrose, we've gone in probably around 10x in the last year. On the other hand, the food options are nowhere near what they were in NYC here. (So hard to find a good falafel...) Even Main St in Melrose (which is quite charming and has a few great restaurants like Turner's Seafood and Giacomo's) offers a lot of parking in lots behind the storefronts. I remember finding parking in Rutherford and Lyndhurst was a giant pain...


As others have said, I believe there are Single Family Homes in Melrose for 800k but they may be older. Also keep in mind that I haven't seen really any new development in Melrose, apparently there are a lot of restrictions to building new -- new houses must keep the same footprint as the old house and such. Property taxes are much better in Massachusetts in general than NJ. Also our son needed EI (Early Intervention) which was free in Massachusetts but we had to pay out the nose in NJ.


But please let me know if I can provide any details that would help.
Super helpful post! Two thumbs up.

Having lived in Chicago, I second the lack of proper Mediterranean/Shawarma in Boston. What I would say is that towns like Newton/Brookline do have a steadier and diversified food scene than most suburbs directly north or south of the city. There are a few places that come to mind in that generally area with excellent falafel-Jake's, Farm Grill & Rotisserie, Rami's, etc. I would imagine that you'd have a lot of luck in Cambridge as well, but tbh whenever I'm in Cambridge I tend to choose the high-end culinary experience.
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