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Old 02-18-2009, 10:19 AM
 
189 posts, read 272,752 times
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I hope someone can help with this, as we must make a decision fairly soon on whether to move back to the Portland area.

My husband and I lived in Windham eight years ago, with my husband working in Portland. He had a good job (from which he was later laid off) but we found the rental market to be just dreadful. We moved to Maine from Delaware, and took a week off to find a place after he'd accepted the job. We'd been misled by the many rentals listed in the Portland Press Herald, but when we started calling them they were all taken. After a week in which we couldn't find a single property to even look at, we took the first place that wasn't already taken when we called. It was ridiculously overpriced and unsuitable in every possible way (our kitchen had one electrical outlet!), but we were stuck in it for two years due to the tight rental market.

After my husband's lay-off, we moved North and now have an opportunity to move back to the Portland area. Since the economy is what it is, I expected there would be more rentals than before and that the prices would somewhat reflect the lowered value of real estate. So far, looking in the Press Herald, Craigslist, etc., I'm finding the same old insanely expensive rentals we dealt with last time. There seem to be more of them, and many that are obviously for sale but not selling in the present market. Still, the costs of renting appear to be very high - more than a $1000 a month for ratty looking apartments with no modern conveniences - and I'm getting the impression the owners would rather let them sit empty than come down on the price.

We're being offered a nice salary (considerably more than we're making now) but it appears as though the extra expense of living in or near Portland would eat that up and more. We don't see anything promising in the surrounding areas - Gorham, Windham, Westbrook - they're equally overpriced. So what I'm asking is - is my first impression wrong, or is the rental market in the Portland area still tight and overpriced?
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:59 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,237 posts, read 18,355,724 times
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Different strokes I guess. I am in Portland and find it to be incredibly affordable given what you get for your rent (space in a small, safe, oceanfront city with most of the basic needs and wants).

What exactly are you hoping to get for rent? I can't imagine any place that has what Portland does with lower rents. I grew up near some dying old crime-ridden cities that still have higher rents than Portland.

$1,000/ month will get you a pretty decent place in Portland (unless you're looking to rent a whole house). It's New England so the housing stock is a bit older which may explain the (rattiness) of the places, but they're not bad. In fact, I quite like the older housing stock. Also, you mentioned that rental prices are similar to 8 years ago... well, considering that inflation goes up between 4-5% per year, that's not a bad thing.

I'm in a modern, comfortable 1 bedroom in Portland with all utilities included and off-street parking for one and paying $795/mo (split between my girlfriend and I). I don't see how we can beat that. Two bedrooms and three bedrooms are available for a little more.

In the end, if Portland's rents are too expensive for you and you're comfortable where you're living and don't like the housing stock in Portland, then don't move. I would say you're impression is wrong as I hardly consider this overpriced for what you get, but again, different strokes for different folks.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:25 AM
 
189 posts, read 272,752 times
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Well, I'm in midcoast right now, one block from the ocean, renting a completely renovated 2 bedroom house with space for two cars, modern appliances, a yard that my landlord takes care of (he plows as well) for $825. I like old houses but not the ancient kitchens with no ventilation, lack of electrical outlets, etc. It seems that to duplicate our situation in the Portland area, we'd have to pay close to $2000 a month, plus utilities. That would wipe out the raise (even though it's considerable) and then some. Not as expensive as Boston, but way more than friends are paying for very nice places in, for example, Princeton, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.

Aside from that, I'm concerned about duplicating the situation we had eight years ago, where there was nothing suitable available and we got stuck in a place we didn't want to live in. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has actually tried to get a rental within the last year or so.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:41 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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Your friends have gotten a HELL of a deal. Aside from the fact that both Princeton and Philly are 60+ miles from the ocean, I doubt they could duplicate that unless they moved to a bad area of Philly or to the Outskirts of Princeton. I have family in Princeton who pay $1450 for a tiny one bedroom near the university and close to the center of town.

I don't know what to tell you. However, I don't know if you're looking in the right places. For example, I just logged onto craigslist and found these for WELL under $2,000 (some under $1,000):
Townhouse, H/HW included, garage (http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1040002308.html - broken link)
Quiet 2-3 Br. Available April 1 (http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1039881852.html - broken link)
2 floors of charm and character HEAT INCLUDED (http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1039835180.html - broken link)
USM Close, Big & Nice (http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1039816438.html - broken link)
http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1039768550.html (broken link)
Spacious & Newly Painted 2 bedroom (http://maine.craigslist.org/apa/1039818313.html - broken link)

All of these were on the FIRST PAGE of results. Now, given the density of New England cities, it's going to be a bit harder to get a yard (though we have a yard that's maintained) or a big driveway (though we have one that's plowed too) like you have in a smaller town, so you may have to sacrifice that or pay a little more. It comes with the territory... you can't expect to "duplicate" a small town home and property in a city and not pay more... it's supply and demand. In a city there is much less space.

I do, however, think you can find something that has ample space (2+ bedrooms), parking, and reasonable rent for WELL under $2,000. For example, the last link provided is a 2 bedroom place, heat/ hot water included, off street parking and a large yard for $1,100 in Westbrook. I can't imagine expecting more than that for the money.

If it's still too much, then stay put. If you're happy with your situation, there's no need to move, right? If you're concerned that properties come and go too fast, then wait until you're almost ready to move to rent. We got our place 3 weeks before we moved in. You can't expect to lock up an apartment more than 1 to 1.5 months in advance, it's just really difficult to do.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:08 PM
 
189 posts, read 272,752 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
I do, however, think you can find something that has ample space (2+ bedrooms), parking, and reasonable rent for WELL under $2,000. For example, the last link provided is a 2 bedroom place, heat/ hot water included, off street parking and a large yard for $1,100 in Westbrook. I can't imagine expecting more than that for the money.

If it's still too much, then stay put. If you're happy with your situation, there's no need to move, right? If you're concerned that properties come and go too fast, then wait until you're almost ready to move to rent. We got our place 3 weeks before we moved in. You can't expect to lock up an apartment more than 1 to 1.5 months in advance, it's just really difficult to do.
At this point, we're trying to gather information so that we know whether it's worth our while or not. We don't want to incur the expense (not to say trauma!) of moving and changing jobs, to find that we end up with less living space and less money than we had before. And, having checked on craigslist recently and finding all the listed properties already rented, we weren't encouraged. As I said, we'd once before been in a situation of having accepted a job and then discovering that we couldn't get anyplace to live. We're being very cautious, not wanting ever to be squeezed like that again.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:09 AM
 
300 posts, read 712,207 times
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Angelo,

I start my new job in Portland at the end of March, and will be moving into a new townhome on about the 25th. The 1200 sq foot 2/2 I am renting is 975/month, and is only 1 year old. It is located in Yarmouth, which from what I've read is a decent place. DM me if you want more information :-)
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
89 posts, read 243,064 times
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Due to the housing market as it were nation rent prices are increasing - NOT decreasing. This is due mainly to the lack of home loans being made. So thus a person who could have purchased a house 4 years ago won't have a shot now; thus, they rent.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:45 PM
 
34 posts, read 136,378 times
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I don't know what size place you need or if you have pets.We moved here in May & live in Back Bay Tower on Cumberland Ave - 16 story high rise in the Arts District, 2 blocks from Congress St., walking distance of Old Port, the water. It's not cheap for Portland but it's a lot cheaper than a comparable bldg in DC area where we came from. They have 24 different floor plans. Utilities are not included & elect heat is high in winter but they have a rebate program for Dec.-Mar elect. bills that is really good. (I can't guarantee they will continue to do this forever but I understand they've done it for several yrs.). There is underground parking which you also pay for, they allow dogs & cats for a fee, there is a swimming pool, exercise room, rooftop garden. Management is extremely nice & helpful. You shd go to their website, www.backbay.com to see photos & floor plans. It may be too expensive for you but you can check it out. It's a security bld., no smoking. Good luck
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:56 PM
 
643 posts, read 1,380,686 times
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Originally Posted by lbcherokee View Post
You shd go to their website, www.backbay.com to see photos & floor plans. It may be too expensive for you but you can check it out. It's a security bld., no smoking. Good luck
When I used that link it took to me to a site that didn't have any real estate rentals on it.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:15 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,237 posts, read 18,355,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunday1 View Post
When I used that link it took to me to a site that didn't have any real estate rentals on it.
Nope, that link isn't the link to the apartment complexes website. Here's some info (not the official site though): Back Bay Tower Apartments Portland, ME - Apartments for Rent in Portland Maine
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