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Old 05-13-2014, 11:16 PM
 
58 posts, read 152,520 times
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My wife and I were in the market looking for homes as inventory started to open up a few months ago. We are currently renting in Dorchester, but are waiting for construction to complete on the house we bid on in Randolph -- more on that later.

I work in Boston near South Station. My wife works in Everett. We considered both north and south of Boston, originally considering Melrose, Malden and Stoneham. Slowly but surely, we targeted more of our open house visits in Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth, Milton, Canton and as far south as Stoughton. Her family lives in Dorchester and it was more convenient for her to pass through to and from work than to save visits until the weekends to see her family. We also have two yorkies that we drop off at her parents' house while she's at work now -- 1. so that they can be let outside and 2. she can visit on her lunch break.

Thing is, we were not considering Randolph. The biggest issue for us, as is also for a lot of young couples and families, is the issue of school performance. Would it be wise for us to move into a level 4 district? I did some nosing around and I did find out that Prop 2 1/2 was overridden to help make improvements to the schools there. I also saw that a new school superintendent could help bring some fresh ideas. These and the reminder from colleagues that our kids are only imaginary at this time -- i.e. we don't have any -- means that there is time for the school system to turn around.

So in our search we found some delightful homes within our modest price range in Braintree, Quincy and even in Milton (!). The draw backs were square footage and/or yard space. I'm from North Carolina and I still have the notion that a home I own should have some distance between it, the street and the neighbors. Nonetheless, we found a few we liked (with some compromises, but the schools were good), ready to place bids on them and then *poof* they're off the market before we get to toss our hats in. Sometimes, we didn't get as much time as to go to the open house or set up an appointment through our agent. We did finally make a bid on a place in Stoughton/closer to Canton, but she really wanted a open floor plan and I suspect our condition to the builder/owner to knock down a wall was too much.

Finally, we got to looking in Randolph where everything becomes much more affordable and we got bigger homes. Lo' and behold, we stumbled across a still-in-construction, split ranch (how weird!). There were two of them and our agent was told we'd have to wait until the open house to see them. 2 days later, one of them is gone. We were already a bit fatigued in the home search. Also, we were convinced by the pictures and descriptions that it could work. We'd get new construction in a new subdivision and would have half an acre to play with. We bid and got it. It's still in construction now, but we hope to close on it over the next few weeks.

In the back of my mind is the school system. Hopefully, we took a reasonable risk and don't lose value on the home if we later have to move to get our (real) kids into a better school system. I am not sure we could afford private school later.

What do people think? Did we make the wrong compromise?
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:37 AM
 
Location: MA
675 posts, read 1,604,088 times
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I don't think schools will take imaginary kids.

Sorry, bad joke. Seriously, I don't think you made a bad decision. Think about it: even IF you knew 100% you didn't want your future children to be in the school system, and even IF somehow you found out tomorrow that you were expecting you still would have 9 months + 5-6 years before you would need to enroll in that school system (kindergarten not required in MA). So in a worst-case gotta-move-somewhere-else scenario that still leaves you within that respectable 6-7 years between moving houses.

That is all IF. Personally I think people write off Randolph undeservedly. (I live in Braintree on the Randolph border). It's a town with history, a good commercial base, an active downtown, lots of transportation options, and lots of nice homes. Yes, some parts are nicer than others but the town has a lot to offer. If you search on the forum you can find others who live there and enjoy it.

So you will have 6-7+ years to see where the schools go, especially as more young families like yourselves find that it's affordable and begin moving in. In the meantime you'll get to enjoy your nice roomy new construction home with your easy commute to work and close proximity to family. Welcome to the neighborhood and congrats on your new home!
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:32 PM
 
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Thanks for the welcome!

Which parts of Randolph are nicer than others? The house we're moving into is close to JFK Elementary.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,865 posts, read 13,065,778 times
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The farther south the better, generally speaking.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:44 PM
 
Location: MA
675 posts, read 1,604,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raggedsweater View Post
Thanks for the welcome!

Which parts of Randolph are nicer than others? The house we're moving into is close to JFK Elementary.
Without knowing your exact street I think that's a nice area, seems to be a lot of long-time owners (although most of my experience is with yard sales so that may be skewing my perception since I'm interacting mostly with down-sizing seniors ). It's not too far from the Braintree line, seems like a quiet, woodsy, close knit kind of neighborhood. Someone from Randolph would know for sure.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:42 PM
 
19,863 posts, read 14,926,086 times
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It's a fine area. The trouble spots in Randolph are around the apartment complexes near the center, and along Rte. 28.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:44 PM
 
19,863 posts, read 14,926,086 times
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Originally Posted by goyguy View Post
The farther south the better, generally speaking.
North is actually the most desirable (with the exception of N Main St.), due to its convenience.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Hyde Park, MA
729 posts, read 892,089 times
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I live up the street from the JFK. Depending on where you live in proximity to the school, your neighborhood might be S.Randolph, Crawford Square or 'East Randolph' (it's really just Randolph near the Braintree/Holbrook line).

On North St. the town wants to tear down the Ice Rink since it's mostly used by Braintree residents. However based off of a poll by the local town paper, Randolph residents don't mind the rink in town. They're building a new Youth & Senior community center in the area as well.

Randolph pretty much has three defined (distinct?) areas and everything else is up to perspective. Aesthetically South Randolph is more quaint and suburban than North Randolph and Crawford Square. The southern part of town does not have a commercial area like Crawford Square and N.Randolph (unless you count the Hol/Ran station area).

North Randolph has a large Vietnamese presence which is felt by the amount of Vietnamese businesses in that neighborhood. Crawford Square is the towns CBD, so it is more vibrant than other parts of town.

In Randolph I’d avoid living in the large apartment complexes. I've heard too many complaints about Woodview and the complexes around the Highlands area. Coincidentally, immediately outside of those complexes there are great homes. Not many homes for sale around there, but I point it out because the apartments don't destroy the character of the neighborhood.

Finally, the School Committee has been trying to improve the scores and reputation of the district. I went to private school (elementary) and attended Randolph Public for only Middle School. I went to the Regional Voc Tech for High School. I’d say a large plurality of Randolph school aged children do not attend school in town.

Welcome to Randolph!
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:51 PM
 
1,768 posts, read 3,044,118 times
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I would think resale value if you need to move. Buying and selling are big out of pocket costs, plus moving and all that fun. I would not rush, and would be looking for something you can see yourself in for next 10-15 years rather than just 5, just in case things do not work out as you plan. I also think that unless you are OK with buying on a relative high this year in Randolph, you should be OK with possibility of selling on the lower end in 5-7 years just in case things stay the same or worse (and I do hope Randolph figures it out and becomes more desirable overall).
Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Hyde Park, MA
729 posts, read 892,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingeorge View Post
I would think resale value if you need to move. Buying and selling are big out of pocket costs, plus moving and all that fun. I would not rush, and would be looking for something you can see yourself in for next 10-15 years rather than just 5, just in case things do not work out as you plan. I also think that unless you are OK with buying on a relative high this year in Randolph, you should be OK with possibility of selling on the lower end in 5-7 years just in case things stay the same or worse (and I do hope Randolph figures it out and becomes more desirable overall).
Good luck.
Relative high? Housing values just started to recover from the paranoia of a couple years ago. People have been coming from out of state in droves and locals have been selling to move to places like Brockton and Holbrook.

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