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Old 10-08-2009, 11:54 AM
 
6 posts, read 24,617 times
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I am looking for suggestions of where I can find affordable rent and good schools somewhere near New Bedford. My wife has a job offer that would base her out of New Bedford but she will sometimes need to drive to Jamaica Plain.

We would be moving from Wisconsin so our version of affordable rent is less than $1,000/month for a 2-bedroom. Affordable housing is in the $150,000 range which doesn't quite compare to Mass. affordable housing of $300,000.

I have a 12-year old in middle school who is fairly bright and into music so schools are important to us. I also have one in high school who needs a good AP program. Previous posts on New Bedford don't speak highly of the school system so we need alternatives on where to look.

My wife is excited about the job and the area but we are afraid that we cannot afford to live there and keep our kids safe and in good schools. I would appreciate your suggestions on where to look. Her commute would be by driving (needs vehicle for work).
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
12,573 posts, read 21,726,252 times
Reputation: 14041
Hello!

I would suggest looking at Fairhaven and Dartmouth primarily. These towns are right on the interstate highway system (This area is about an hour from Boston) and share borders with New Bedford so commuting in/out of the city is easy.

You are right to be concerned about New Bedford's schools. They're terrible. The city itself has some wonderful historic districts and a great downtown area, but it has a large poor population which contributes to the troubles of the public school system (one of the highest dropout rates in MA). Fairhaven is a beautiful town sitting on New Bedford Harbor and Buzzards Bay. Run a quick google image search for Fairhaven High School... it's beautiful. As far as quality goes, Fairhaven is good. It's not the best, but it's pretty good and has good college placement and good test scores (keep in mind, MCAS scores are reflective of income as much as quality of school systems). You can find a 2 bedroom in Fairhaven for under $1,000 easily... perhaps even a 3 bedroom for that much. OH! and Fairhaven's music program is quite good. It's actually won awards. New Bedford next door has some very good extra-curricular music programs she could join as well as a very highly regarded symphony orchestra that's involved in the community.

Dartmouth doesn't have the history and charm of Fairhaven (well, South Darmtouth does but it's very exclusive) but it has some good rental properties, suburban shopping (a mall and most chain box stores) as well as an excellent school system. Like Fairhaven, you can find rentals for under $1,000 in Dartmouth.

Mattapoisett and Marion are regarded as exclusive communities and to a degree, they are. However, there are good values to be found if you have patience. The schools in these towns (they actually share a high school) are up there with the best. Keep your eyes open because affordable rental properties in these towns go quickly. If you can find a place in one of these two towns, grab it as they're the best for schools in the area.

I'd also look into Freetown, Acushnet, and Lakeville. Possibly Rochester. These towns are a bit more rural and quiet which will make rentals harder to find but they rentals that do exist here are reasonably priced and schools are good (Freetown/Lakeville share a high school). I'd avoid Westport. While it's a beautiful town, the school district is sucky to put it nicely. Fall River is similar to New Bedford in that the schools are terrible. Avoid it. There are some great, very livable (and quite affordable) neighborhoods in New Bedford, but unless you plan on sending the kids to private school, I wouldn't do it... the schools are just that bad.

One option to consider for the short term is a winter rental. Towns like Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Marion and Mattapoisett are popular summer communities for tourists. What that means is that rental properties that sell for $1,000/week in the summer are usually open for cheap from September-May. These places are usually a great value for a short-term rental which isn't a bad idea if you're trying to get a feel for the area. You can probably snag one of these while you search for something a little more long-term.

Craigslist is a good place to begin looking for apartment. Check the "Southcoast" region of Massachusetts as that's technically where New Bedford is located. I'd also look at listings in the New Bedford Standard Times Newspaper (link to their website... check the "marketplace" section. THIS is the current apartment listings for the New Bedford area on South Coast House and Home. I noticed a lot of Middleboro apartments. This will make for a lengthy commute to New Bedford (30-40 minutes) but WILL give you access to Commuter Rail service to Boston from Middleboro. New Bedford will have rail service to Boston within 6 years, but for the short term, Middleboro is the closest station. Middleboro is geographically closer to Boston too, so you may be interested in that. I consider the commute to be a bit too much of a hassle, but it's not awful. Finally, the Fall River Herald News may have some decent listings.

It's a nice area and one of the better kept secrets in Massachusetts which keeps rents lower. New Bedford is regarded as one of the most up and coming cities in the region. It still has a ways to go, but the revitalization, particularly in the downtown area (which has a huge chunk of it designated as a National Historic Park), is absolutely stunning. Great restaurants, museums, shops, and entertainment. You're also an hour from Boston, 45 minutes from Cape Cod (though beaches in this area are in many cases better than Cape Cod beaches), 25 minutes from Providence and 45 minutes from Newport RI. New York City is a 3.5 hour drive. If you can locate near but not in New Bedford, you'll probably enjoy the relative value of it when compared to the rest of Massachusetts.

Any more specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. I'd also ask the moderator to move this thread out of the "Boston" subforum and into the Massachusetts one as even though New Bedford is close enough to Boston, it's not considered part of the metro area. You'll find that people in Massachusetts have an issue with distances... 1/2 hour is a LONG drive to many here.

Anyway, good luck!

Last edited by lrfox; 10-08-2009 at 12:49 PM..
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:04 PM
 
6 posts, read 24,617 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for the info.
looking at Craigslist there is lots for New Bedford and Fall River but slim pickings for the other towns you mentioned to look at. I'll try some of the other links you mentioned. Are there any property management companies that would be good to contact for finding a rental house?
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
12,573 posts, read 21,726,252 times
Reputation: 14041
Quote:
Originally Posted by MWeind View Post
Thanks for the info.
looking at Craigslist there is lots for New Bedford and Fall River but slim pickings for the other towns you mentioned to look at. I'll try some of the other links you mentioned. Are there any property management companies that would be good to contact for finding a rental house?
Yeah, New Bedford and Fall River are the real population centers so that's where the vast majority of the rentals are. Some respected property management companies for apartments are MB managment (http://www.mbmanagement.com/ledgewood/ - broken link) (Ledgewood, Dartmouth), North Dartmouth Properties, Cornell (mostly in NB, but some Dartmouth properties too), Peabody MGMT(Kensington Court right at the Commuter Rail Station in Lakeville), Dartmouth Woods.

The problem is that I don't know too many places other than craigslist to find a detatched home for rent. You can check a vacation rental site like Homeaway (that link is to New Bedford area rentals) and see what's available. The "weekly" rates are for summer time... winter rentals are monthly and a lot lower than what you're seeing so if you see something you like, it's worth it to ask what they'd charge for a monthly winter rental. Some of the cheaper rentals will be in Onset/Wareham which is home to decent but not wonderful schools and about 20 minutes from New Bedford. That site gives you a good way to contact the property owners who will usually negotiate a winter rental rate. Some of them have winter rental prices posted (like THIS one in Marion which costs $1500/week in the summer is $1,000/month in the winter), others do not.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
9,208 posts, read 14,763,261 times
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Maybe Swansea or Somerset as well? They are nice areas close to FR.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Sharon, MA
368 posts, read 1,383,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Maybe Swansea or Somerset as well? They are nice areas close to FR.
Depending on the poster's flexibility as far as schools. I looked at both of these areas and the schools were rated VERY low. I communicated with parents 'in the know' about both areas, and the consensus was avoid both Swansea and Somerset due to schools. Adding the caveat that I had a lot of SPECIFIC interests in schools that may not apply.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
12,573 posts, read 21,726,252 times
Reputation: 14041
Quote:
Originally Posted by AandD View Post
Depending on the poster's flexibility as far as schools. I looked at both of these areas and the schools were rated VERY low. I communicated with parents 'in the know' about both areas, and the consensus was avoid both Swansea and Somerset due to schools. Adding the caveat that I had a lot of SPECIFIC interests in schools that may not apply.
Agreed. If schools were not an issue, housing is affordable in these towns which are safe and in good proximity to everything. However, the schools there aren't that great. Somerset in particular has some issues but Swansea isn't much better.
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:43 AM
 
6 posts, read 24,617 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks everyone for the input. My wife had job offers in two different states and she decided to go with the other one. It was easier finding good schools and affordable rents there. Given the economy we decided this was the safer thing to do right now.
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