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Old 01-10-2013, 01:22 PM
 
160 posts, read 467,733 times
Reputation: 49

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Hi,
We 've started to look for a home in the metrowest area. Based on perception/available information we 've short-listed the following towns:

Needham
Natick
Newton
Medfield
Westwood
Sharon
Sherborn
Walpole

One of the realtor's we spoke asked us to consider Norfolk & Norwood. Our budget is 400k (2b+;1.5+;1250+ sq ft). School is very important for us so we aren't sure about Norfolk, Norwood or for that matter Walpole. We would luv to hear opinions.

With this background, can you pls let me know your opinion considering the expense on the following categories so that its help us to prune or atleast be aware of what we are getting into.

1. Property taxes
2. Water tax
3. Garbage pickup/recycle fee's
4. Electricity costs (esp if the company is providing the service only for that town. Ex: Wellesley)
5. Avg cost of insurance for a home in the 300-450k price range.
6. After school care

Any other expense/category that I've left out?
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:26 PM
 
157 posts, read 533,817 times
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Walpole wouldn't be on my list, personally. And take this with a grain of salt, but given the prison there, the real estate values there won't appreciate at the same pace as the other towns you've listed. Taxes would be advantageous there, but the school ssytem is not well thought of so it's kind of a wash. Given your budget, I think that these 4 are the most realistic:

Natick
Medfield
Westwood
Sharon

That said, you don't mention where you're commuting to, which I'm assuming is something you care about. AFAIK the differences in costs of the items you mention would be relatively trivial amongst these towns.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Boston Suburb
2,245 posts, read 6,165,444 times
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I agree, which town is better can be influenced by where you need to commute daily or any location you need to be close to. With 400K are you shopping for single family homes only or condo/townhouse as well. If SF, forget about Sherborn, Needham, Newton right off the bat. In Westwood you probably find something that needs lots of renov work or on a busy street.

Sharon has a bit higher property tax. Medfield is kind of tucked away and not sure if 400k will buy anything decent either.

It doesn't sound like you are from the area. Are you coming straight from another state? Have you considered renting for the 1st year or so to get a better sense of how well you fit diff areas before sinking a lot of money in the purchase?
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Needham, MA
7,452 posts, read 11,614,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmyk72 View Post
Sharon has a bit higher property tax. Medfield is kind of tucked away and not sure if 400k will buy anything decent either.
I agree. At first blush, Sharon home prices seem more reasonable than Newton, Needham, etc. but when you add in the real estate taxes the margin shrinks. I'm not sure if it's still true, but at one time Sharon had the highest real estate tax rate in the state. Those taxes definitely help to create the good school system that the town is known for though.

I think you could find something decent in the 400's in Natick. I sold a house last spring in Natick in the low 400's. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, a detached 2 car garage, and was about 2,000 square feet. It was on a quiet side street too. The only problem with the house was that it didn't have a basement (slab).
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:05 AM
 
160 posts, read 467,733 times
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Hi,
Thanks for the replies. I'm not a new england native, per say, but I have lived in the g boston area for 5yrs now (does that qualify me as a native, now :-) ). We currently rent in needham & luv the town but pragmatic enough to realize that a SFH in the 400s (unless we are willing to do some sought of rebuilding) might not happen in needham.

I commute to bedford, MA for my work & my wife has a longer commute from needham currently but sooner or later she's gonna find something more closer to the towns that we are considering.

What's opinion on sherborn & norfolk? How are the schools & general town services like?
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:19 AM
 
Location: North of Boston
3,413 posts, read 6,310,501 times
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I don't think it's considered "MetroWest" but with a $400K budget I would be looking at the King Philip Regional towns: Norfolk, Wrentham and Plainville.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts & Hilton Head, SC
8,630 posts, read 13,223,086 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_junta View Post
Hi,


What's opinion on sherborn & norfolk? How are the schools & general town services like?
Norfolk has no trash pick-up, there's a transfer station. Not sure about Sherborn, but I think that's out of your price range, anyway.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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Why not Bedford?
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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No need for opinions on property tax rates. The 2013 tax rate table is online:

https://dlsgateway.dor.state.ma.us/g...valPublic.aspx

The rates are per $1,000 in house value. To calculate your yearly real estate tax, just drop the last three zeroes off your budget and multiply by the residential tax rate.

Needham: 400 x 11.30 = $4,520
Natick: 400 x 14.34 = $5,736
Newton: 400 x 11.49 = $4,596
Medfield: 400 x 15.73 = $6,292
Westwood: 400 x 14.89 = $5,956
Sharon: 400 x 20.45 = $8,180
Sherborn: 400 x 19.72 = $7,888
Walpole: 400 x 15.40 = $6,160

If you're planning on spending $400k no matter what, the tax numbers will matter a lot more to you. However, you will get much more bang for your buck (housewise) in some of the towns with higher tax rates.

I hope you're able to wait until at least April to purchase a house. There isn't very much on the market with your specifications right now.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
7,452 posts, read 11,614,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
Norfolk has no trash pick-up, there's a transfer station. Not sure about Sherborn, but I think that's out of your price range, anyway.
Private trash pick up is easy to arrange in towns that don't have a public service. I'm not thrilled with the idea of hauling trash in my car so I hired a service. The one I use is a flat fee of $35/month and includes the use of a very large trash barrel and two recycling bins. I just put everything out on the curb Wednesday morning and when I come home everything is empty. It's a nominal fee and if you add up the costs of doing it yourself (Needham - $55 for 1 year dump sticker per car plus ~$1.65/bag) the difference is inconsequential. It would be nice if this was included in my real estate taxes, but that's really the only difference between a town where there is trash pick up and one where there is not.

I grew up in Framingham and we had public trash pick up. There were always trash cans rolling around in the street and many streets lined with trash in the mornings. From an aesthetic standpiont, I kind of like living in a town without trash pick up.
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