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Old 08-28-2012, 05:48 AM
7 posts, read 9,699 times
Reputation: 11


Hi there,

Nice to ‘meet’ you all. This is my first post here, and certainly not the last. I have been following the forum for quite a long time; I have found a lot of useful information and handy tips, so thanks for that already!
But… yet here it comes another thread about someone moving to Boston and looking for advice.
First of all, I am not native English, so sorry for my language! I’m Spanish and will soon move to ‘Boston’ with my girlfriend, Spanish too.

We have been living in London for the past year and a half, and really enjoyed our time there. Some people say -I agree- that London is a bunch of micro-cities next to each other. I have happily lived in one of them (Clapham Junction/Battersea) a self-contained, self-sufficient neighborhood which has anything you may need at a short walk or bus ride, and on top of that Central London (Victoria) just 6-train-minutes away, and Gatwick Airport just 25 minutes away by train too. I didn’t have, nor need or wanted a car there.
We are very keen on finding a similar neighborhood in/around Boston, and we would be very grateful to read your suggestions.

I will try to be brief while giving enough information about our ‘lifestyle’.

We are 30 and 29 years old, no children, no view to have any in the next couple of years. No preference given to schools and/or kid-friendly areas at the moment.

We love to go for very long walks, sometimes around shops, restaurants and people, sometimes along a river, park or just quiet streets. So a bit of both environments would be just great.

We dine out a lot and like to try all sorts of different restaurants, from all price ranges and kitchen types, preferably within walking distance from home. But we also like to do big food-shopping and cook at home, so at least one good supermarket near is a must.

We hardly need any nightlife, just an occasional cocktail and some social hanging out.
We don’t mind culture and racial mix at all, as long as it is a safe area.

It doesn’t need to be downtown Boston (as a matter of fact, I don’t think it could be anyway, given our budget and needs) all areas are considered, here some of our preferences:

We’d like to be close to at least one public transport link to a reasonably central location. Ideally not further than 30 minutes’ ride (yeah, I know)

The first months I will work on a home-based office and she won’t have a job, so commuting time and method is not a factor to consider for the time being. Eventually I will look for a small serviced office and at some point -I hope- she will find a job (hence the possibility of reaching Boston within a reasonable commuting time by public transport is a big plus)

We would love to live somewhat near the coast (Again, I know)

Good links (by public or private transport) to the airport would be awesome, as I will travel a lot. Also for work reasons I will have to drive every now and then to Hartford, and Providence, but this is secondary.

My company pays up to $15K for the annual rent. I can top it up a bit, but of course I’d rather not.
We are looking for a 2, 2+ bedroom home with some outside space; call it terrace, balcony or garden (better)
I will probably need off-street parking and due to the nature of my job, I will need a lot of storage space in either a garage, storage room or a spare room (so a 3rd room)

Unfortunately I have never been to Boston, so I have no idea at all, although I love England and I believe New England is so called for a reason. I’m sure I’ll like it anywhere.
I have been looking around Salem, Quincy, Lynn… but completely blindly.

I am aware I will not have everything I wish, and that it is not an easy task, but I was hoping you could give me some guidelines to look further.

So any help will be more than welcome. From areas to look at, real estate agencies, people to meet, anything.

My idea is to rent a short-term accommodation (1-2 months) and house-hunt once there. Any recommended short-term apartments within my budget?

Also, it doesn’t need to be Boston at all, although I would prefer to be in/around Boston. I am also considering other cities like Providence, New Haven, Stamford, Bridgeport… The only condition is to be no farther than 2-3 hours’ drive to Hartford. I know other alternatives are more likely to be found on other forums, but just in case.

Thank you in advance for your help!!
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:33 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA/London, UK
3,867 posts, read 5,293,801 times
Reputation: 3368
Welcome to Boston in advance. Right off the bat though I need to warn you, housing costs are borderline insane close to the city.

If you could possibly lower you 2 Bedroom requirement and pitch in some of your own funds to at least $1500/month it would open up your options considerably. If so I would advise looking into Somerville, Cambridge, Brighton, Allston and Arlington. Quincy may work as well and it is on the coast. Lynn as you mentioned is also an option, but if you wanted to stay on the "T" (Metro) that would not be an option.

Is you size/housing budget flexible?
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:02 PM
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 8,174,683 times
Reputation: 4108
Welcome to the forum!

As edward pointed out, your budget doesn't give you a whole lot to work with, especially considering your requirements for 2 bedrooms, off-street parking, outdoor space and storage space. Unless you will be paying more out of your own pocket or your girlfriend will also be contributing to the rent, all of these things will be very difficult to find in the Boston area on your budget.

Of course, if you're looking for off-street parking and multiple bedrooms then it may be difficult to find a neighborhood that reminds you of Battersea in as far as walkability, diversity, and access to public transportation are concerned. (Most of the Boston neighborhoods that truly evoke London are beyond your budget, I believe ).

I think Quincy is a good place to start. It's a small city with a more suburban character but also with its own (smallish) walkable commercial areas and good transit links to downtown Boston via subway (the "T"). It's on the water, and also more affordable than most towns around the city. Relatively simple to reach the airport as well.

Salem ticks a lot of your boxes, and would probably evoke Britain more than the other areas you can afford to live in, but it sounds like it might be a little less accessible to the city than you're hoping for - the commuter rail train will take at least 40 minutes to downtown Boston and it's more expensive and less frequent than the subway. Although I prefer Salem, I also think it would be harder to satisfy your space requirements here than in Quincy.

Honestly... avoid Lynn. It's cheap for a reason.

Consider looking into Somerville too. It's certainly more urban in character than these other towns, being an integral part of the core Boston area, but compared to other parts of the city it might be easier to find what you need without sacrificing safety etc. If you're looking for a more "exciting" and "interesting" lifestyle than what the burbs offer, it's a good option. (As an aside, it also happens to have one of the very few good and affordable supermarkets in the Boston area).

My guess is that most parts of Cambridge, Arlington, and Allston-Brighton would be beyond your budget for a home, but it doesn't hurt to look I suppose...
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:58 AM
7 posts, read 9,699 times
Reputation: 11

Thanks for your replies.

Edward, thanks and yes to both.

My budget is as flexible as I want to make it. The company pays up to 15K and I am free to top it as much as I want/can with my own money. I would consider going up to 1700/month if the difference is worth it.

And yes, the requirements are flexible too. Being a home-based office as it will be, the 2 rooms were obviously one for us and one as a guest/study room, but I can downsize to a one-bedroom and settle a desk in the living room.

Storage space could be arranged separately on a self-store location or something similar.

And off-street parking... it doesn't really need to be off-street. We will have one car, I just need somewhere to park it

Verseau, thanks too.

I am quite excited about the Salem option, for some reason. 40 minutes by train to central Boston is good enough, and I'll have the car too.

I am aware I will not have all I mentioned within that budget, but, as you say, I'll try to find the area that ticks more boxes. And budget is flexible to tick some more!
Evoking UK is not as important as it may seem, I was just being a bit melancholic, but I am sure we will like it wherever we go. We are just like that, we always enjoy the places we live in.

I will have a look into Sommerville, sounds good.

I figured about Lynn, noted.

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Old 08-30-2012, 08:16 AM
Location: Lynn, MA
325 posts, read 486,888 times
Reputation: 415
Lynn isn't bad. I bought a house on the Salem border, the neighborhood is basically a 1950's suburb, if that's your thing (it happens to be mine). Closer to the coast is fine too. Look into buying near the Swampscott train station.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:40 PM
6 posts, read 8,375 times
Reputation: 10

Te he mandado un mensaje personal con mi nombre y email.

Vi tu mensaje buscando un piso para alquilar en Boston. Yo tambien soy espanola (mas o menos) y tenemos una casa en un suburbio de Boston. Tenemos la casa a la venta pero estamos a punto de alquilarla en ved. Nuestra casa parece tener muchas de las cosas que buscas.

Esta cerca de Boston - se puede andar al tren que llega al centro de Boston en veinte minutos. Tiene 2 dormitorios en el primer piso (con dos cuartos de bano) y tambien tiene una oficina enorme en el segundo piso. Mi marido trabajaba mucho desde casa y le sirvio muy bien como un espacio de trabajo separado del resto de la casa. El tambien viaja mucho y se puede llegar al aeropuerto en 20 minutos sin tener que cojer autopista (evitando trafico). La casa tiene un jardin grande, buenos vecinos (los de al lado son escoceses), y esta un area cerca de restaurantes y paseos.

No vi cuando pensais venir a Boston. Si estais interesados mandame un mensaje y te puedo mandar fotos de la casa. O simplemente si teneis preguntas sobre cualquier cosa de Boston. Es una ciudad preciosa.

Se me olvido decir que tenemos parking de sobra (para 3 coches) y espacio de garage y sotano para guardar cosas, asi que con eso no habria problema.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:02 PM
6 posts, read 8,375 times
Reputation: 10
About the areas in which you're looking, we also looked in Salem when we were first house hunting but are glad we did not choose it as it would have severely limited my job choices from a commuter perspective - I also job-hunted after moving in. Plus, Salem is a very small-town (some may like that) compared to Boston.

If your gf is going to be looking for work you may be better off closer to Boston proper. Towns that could work, are nice, and are close to the airport include Melrose, Wakefield, Malden, Medford, Somerville, Arlington. I agree about staying away from Lynn, along with Everett, Chelsea, Revere and parts of Malden. I'm north-shore based so I can't tell you much about the south-shore (Quincy, etc.) but they would take longer to get to the airport (gotta drive through Boston traffic).
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:14 PM
Location: Beverly, Mass
940 posts, read 1,936,956 times
Reputation: 541
Salem is 30 minutes from Boston by train. It's restaurant scene is exploding and shows no signs of slowing down. Plus it has museums and a lot more going on. More waterfront development is planned, as well as bringing cruise ships to the city. outside of Boston and Cambridge it's hard to beat.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:38 AM
6 posts, read 8,375 times
Reputation: 10
I was not trying to attack Salem. It is a very nice town. It does not however have anywhere near the job opportunities that Boston has. The other towns mentioned are all MBTA accessible with shorter commutes to Boston.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:07 AM
Location: Beverly, Mass
940 posts, read 1,936,956 times
Reputation: 541
They want to be near the coast and they are Spanish - Salem is about half Spanish-speaking! Plus North Shore has jobs, too. There are lots of office parks and companies in Beverly, Danvers, Peabody. In Boston you have to compete with job seekers from all of metro Boston. On the North Shore there are fewer jobs, but also fewer people to compete with.
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