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Old 05-01-2012, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 718,615 times
Reputation: 572

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So it seems as though there might be some threads already dealing with questions somewhat similar to mine, and I apologize for that. Nonetheless, I would like to re-initiate the dialogue, perhaps with some more current insight.

I've lived in Greater Boston for my entire life except the college years, which I spent incidentally in a city labeled by many as dangerous and deprived. There, I learned to be street smart and to take ordinary precautions that make city life safe, and I loved it. Nonetheless, I returned to Boston to be closer to family and friends, and I've established myself here.

I've spent almost thirteen years renting in Boston, where I've managed to get myself a couple of sweet deals that have lasted me years at a time. I know that some day my luck will run out with this, and I have a bit of money saved, so I'd like to buy a place. The question is where. I'm a public servant paying back graduate school loans, so my salary will only go so far. I'm currently not married and do not have any children, so schools are not an issue for now. I should also say that I'm very community-oriented and would like a place with other like-minded folks.

I'm interested in an area that is walkable / accessible by public transit. Obviously the demand for such areas is high, and many of them are far beyond my price point. Cambridge would be great, but unfortunately, it hasn't been an affordable place for many years. Most of Somerville seems to have gone in this direction as well. South Boston, an area with which I am quite familiar, has many of these features too, and it is also out of reach.

I work a bit north of the city (on the T) and would like to find a condo or small single family that is T accessible. I could fairly easily afford a condo in Chelsea or Dorchester. I know that both are known for crime issues, but I have a bit of a nuanced knowledge of both places, and as I mentioned before, I have experienced living in areas often categorized as "dangerous". I would appreciate if folks who know both places and recognize that there are variations in any community could respond.

How would the public safety of Prattville or the Soldiers' Home area of Chelsea compare with that of Saint Mark's parish, Pope's Hill or Neponset in Dorchester? Are there other areas of Dot that are affordable, relatively safe and accessible to the T that I am missing (Savin Hill seems to be too pricey as does the Polish Triangle)? Would I be better off pushing the envelope and moving into a fixer-upper in a more far-flung part of Malden (where the housing near the T is markedly more expensive than on the outskirts of that city), Everett or possibly Revere? It seems like some of the walkability might be missing in the latter areas, but would the community assets or sense of safety outweigh that? Roslindale is another place I have thought about, though it seems as though the affordable property is either in very suburban parts or in somewhat sketchy areas. Am I really safer on the blocks adjacent to the Archdale housing than I am somewhere between Adams Street and Dot Ave south of Fields Corner? Should I save up more and just hope that I can keep renting for a few more years under a sweetheart deal? Sorry for all the questions!

Moving farther out of Boston would perhaps save money on housing, but the transportation costs, either spent on the commuter rail or on (shudder) gas / driving would cancel that out. Is anyone else out there facing this dilemma? If so, what have you done about it?

Any and all information from those with experience with these issues, sympathizers and those who are familiar with the ins and outs of the communities mentioned (especially Dorchester and Chelsea) would be greatly appreciated.


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