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Old 10-03-2005, 03:37 PM   #1
ScuubyT
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Default Contemplating move from DC area to Boston Area

Greetings from MAIC

I'm looking to move from the DC area to the Boston area in the next year or so, and I'm having a lot of trouble planning because I don't know what cities or towns I should look in. I don't particularly want to live inside Boston, but I'm not entirely against it.

I guess this question would best be answered from someone who has also moved from the DC area to Boston, but who knows. I live in the Fairfax area. It's mostly suburban, but somewhat urban, im about 25 miles outside of DC so I can get there whenever I want. For the most part I like my mix of suburbia and the city. If I'm looking to move from here to the Boston area, what are some cities/towns that I should search for housing in? I'm mostly looking for general answers which is why I'm not giving much detail. If it makes a difference, public transportation would be nice, but not necessary. I work in finance, so I guess it would be nice to be within a reasonable commute to the city.

If there is any other info that would help me get a better answer, let me know. Otherwise, I appreciate any advice that I can get.

Rob
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:51 PM   #2
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Look in the rt. 128 loop that goes from rt. 128/93 intersection to rt. 128/90 intersection. Most places there are decent a mixture of suburbia and city. If you want more city and less suburbs, try the usual city rat hangouts - Cambridge ($$$), Arlington, Somerville, Brookline, Newton, etc.

Going outside the 128 corridor generally puts you more into generic suburban Ma.

Raj
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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There are A LOT of suburban towns within 25 miles of Boston. Your first thought should be, do you want to live north, west, or south of the city. Assuming you are going to be working in the financial district in downtown Boston, I would highly recommend West or south of the city. If you plan on commuting, the trains from these regions go directly to South Station, which is about 1 1/2 blocks from the financial district.

That said, if you are driving, the commute from the west is a little better than the commute from the south... but they both suck.

Your second meter should be price. If you are buying a house, you need a max price. That will help decide where you are going to live in a hurry.

Drop me a PM if you have any questions. I just moved back to Boston 6 months ago.

Rich
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:52 PM   #4
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In deciding where you want to live in/out of Boston it heavily weighs on the amount of money you can spend on a house (rent or buying).

The cool thing about Boston and Boston area is that you can get that suburban feel and not be far from the city. I live in NH and im only a 40min drive to Boston proper. I have friends, and family who live right outside Boston area. Some pretty nice town are...

Close, close (BUT very nice towns)
Newton, Brookline, Cambridge (more city)

Close (more west 30-40min drive on Pike)
Westboro (very suburban)
Hopkinton
Weston
Southboro

The real questions you need to ask yourself and answer are:
1. How much willing to spend
2. Family (kids)
3. Where are you going to be working (weighs on your move HEAVILY due to traffic)
4. How close to city you want to be.

Hope this helps...as you asked somewhat general, hope it helps get the ball rolling.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:04 PM   #5
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Partially venting...but being honest it took me 1hr and 15 minutes to get from Reading to North Washington street in Boston during this morning's commute. That's a 12 mile commute from the North side of the city. Certainly not a typical day...but not uncommon for the first months of the school year.

Boston Traffic blows...
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:10 PM   #6
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then of course you need to factor in a snow wheel + tire combo to attend the snow meets + Team O'Neil driving schools + Ice Racing...
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8ah121
Partially venting...but being honest it took me 1hr and 15 minutes to get from Reading to North Washington street in Boston during this morning's commute. That's a 12 mile commute from the North side of the city. Certainly not a typical day...but not uncommon for the first months of the school year.

Boston Traffic blows...
While one of my reasons for moving is traffic, I do know how to deal with it. T obe a little more specific, I live in Loudoun county, which is borderline rural. It's only about 5-10 minutes from Fairfax county though, which is how I described it above, and also where I grew up so thats the environment I would like. Even in my semi-rural area, it can take me in the mornings as long as 20-30 minutes to get out of the rural area (to Fairfax county)...which is approx 3-4 miles. After that I have about 15 more miles to get to work.

I any case, once I picked out an area, or a couple of possibilities, I would probably come up there and try to drive around a little, see how it is getting around in rush hour.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamrazor
then of course you need to factor in a snow wheel + tire combo to attend the snow meets + Team O'Neil driving schools + Ice Racing...
The good news is he is coming here with a 05 WRX already...so he'll get to really enjoy the winter driving :-)
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamrazor
then of course you need to factor in a snow wheel + tire combo to attend the snow meets + Team O'Neil driving schools + Ice Racing...
I have BFGoodrich Traction TAs. They aren't Blizzaks, but they are the best all-around tire that I've ever owned, at an affordable price, about $80/tire.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Styley1
There are A LOT of suburban towns within 25 miles of Boston. Your first thought should be, do you want to live north, west, or south of the city. Assuming you are going to be working in the financial district in downtown Boston, I would highly recommend West or south of the city. If you plan on commuting, the trains from these regions go directly to South Station, which is about 1 1/2 blocks from the financial district.

That said, if you are driving, the commute from the west is a little better than the commute from the south... but they both suck.

Your second meter should be price. If you are buying a house, you need a max price. That will help decide where you are going to live in a hurry.

Drop me a PM if you have any questions. I just moved back to Boston 6 months ago.

Rich
Well, to be more specific, I'm a business analyst for a fairly large government IT contractor. I don't think there is much of that work up there (I could be wrong) but the point is, I'm not really sure what field I would end up in. So I'm not gonna try to plan on where to live based on a job, yet. Also, thats another reason why I don't know a price cap for housing yet.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuubyT
I any case, once I picked out an area, or a couple of possibilities, I would probably come up there and try to drive around a little, see how it is getting around in rush hour.
Even better... Get a radio, sit in a bar and listen to 1030am WBZ for traffic on the 3s. You don't have to deal with traffic, and you can drink while the traffic sux.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuubyT
Well, to be more specific, I'm a business analyst for a fairly large government IT contractor. I don't think there is much of that work up there (I could be wrong) but the point is, I'm not really sure what field I would end up in. So I'm not gonna try to plan on where to live based on a job, yet. Also, thats another reason why I don't know a price cap for housing yet.
What kind of Govt work? Military? If so, Boston may not be your place. Look to Newport/Middletown RI, Portsmouth NH, Groton CT, or Lexington MA... all outside of Boston proper.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:23 PM   #13
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Now that I've vented...A lot of the public trans is pretty good if your job and your home are convenient to the stations. You might like an area like Hopkinton or Ipswich. Far enough from the city but an easy train ride in. Otherwise southern NH might be the best bang for your housing dollar.

- Jason
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:25 PM   #14
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Rob,

Some questions for you as it'll make a huge difference.

Are you going to rent or buy?
Are schools important? (I have kids, so they're #1 in my choice)
How long of a time are you looking to commute?
If buying, how much do you want to spend for what discription?

In general, Boston and the area is all over the map for price, time, what's available etc. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the city, the more expensive it is. A 1 acre lot in Brookline, 5 miles west of Boston with a 2800sq ft house is probably $2M. In Hopkinton, 25 miles (1 hour commute) west, $600k, in Leicester, 50 miles west, probably $350k.

There are commuter rails that spread out from the city. Check the MBTA website for schedules. They go west to Worcester and out to Franklin, Acton and others. IF you can take a train, you're lucky. There are a lot of new stations along my route (worcester line) but the timing is key as the new stations like Westborough, Southborough have far fewer stops than big ones like Framingham.

There are scattered, less expensive (relatively) places where houses are much closer together such as Waltham.

I used to work around the beltway occationally, so don't worry about traffic compared to there. I used to come home and call Boston traffic "girly traffic" compared to DC rush hour.

jack
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by re92
Going outside the 128 corridor generally puts you more into generic suburban Ma.

Raj

Generic Suburban Ma.......where the garages have actual usable space....

birthday boy....

jack
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846
Generic Suburban Ma.......where the garages have actual usable space....

birthday boy....

jack
Dear Jack,

I meant "generic suburban Ma" with teh utmost respek and affexion

Regards,
raj
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC
What kind of Govt work? Military? If so, Boston may not be your place. Look to Newport/Middletown RI, Portsmouth NH, Groton CT, or Lexington MA... all outside of Boston proper.
We actually have an office in Newport, but I couldn't likely get a job there, mainly just because I don't think there are any positions, that I could fill, now or in the near future.

I'm not set on MA, but Boston is definetly my top choice right now, so I would like to be within a decent drive/ride to it.

Also, I'm not set on staying within government. As for what type of government work we do, all types, a lot of military, but plenty of other areas too.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846
Rob,

Some questions for you as it'll make a huge difference.

Are you going to rent or buy?
Are schools important? (I have kids, so they're #1 in my choice)
How long of a time are you looking to commute?
If buying, how much do you want to spend for what discription?

In general, Boston and the area is all over the map for price, time, what's available etc. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the city, the more expensive it is. A 1 acre lot in Brookline, 5 miles west of Boston with a 2800sq ft house is probably $2M. In Hopkinton, 25 miles (1 hour commute) west, $600k, in Leicester, 50 miles west, probably $350k.

There are commuter rails that spread out from the city. Check the MBTA website for schedules. They go west to Worcester and out to Franklin, Acton and others. IF you can take a train, you're lucky. There are a lot of new stations along my route (worcester line) but the timing is key as the new stations like Westborough, Southborough have far fewer stops than big ones like Framingham.

There are scattered, less expensive (relatively) places where houses are much closer together such as Waltham.

I used to work around the beltway occationally, so don't worry about traffic compared to there. I used to come home and call Boston traffic "girly traffic" compared to DC rush hour.

jack
OK

1. I don't know yet. I would like to buy but I don't know if its a good idea to move somewhere I am unfamiliar with and just buy a house. I may try to rent for a year, make sure I find a job I'm happy with and an area, and then buy. That part I won't really know until it comes closer to moving time.

2.Schools aren't yet, I don't plan on having kids for roughly 3-5 years, so I can move if necessary.

3.My commute right now averages about 40 minutes, which I'm pretty much fine with. My problem though, is that my commute, if I did it at 3AM, would take me about 25 minutes. And given any tiny disruption in the flow of traffic between work and home, its taken me as long as 1 1/2 hours for my commute. THAT is what I hate.

4. As for how much to spend I have no idea. I rent a house right now and I've never bought one. Not to mention I know that housing costs here are absurd, so my 'basis' might be a little off. Hopefully this will make sense...

I want to spend around $300K (definetly not sure because I have no clue about job yet) which I guess puts me further out in the suburbs from what I'm hearing. I don't need anything brand new either, something to fix up is OK so long as its not destroyed already.

2-3 BR
1.5-2 Baths
Would prefer atleast a one car garage, or hopefully atleast a driveway
Decent living space (TV room, kitchen, dining room i guess)
Big enough yard for a small dog

I guess that mostly sums it up. Like I said, I really don't know what I'm looking for yet.
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846

I used to work around the beltway occationally, so don't worry about traffic compared to there. I used to come home and call Boston traffic "girly traffic" compared to DC rush hour.

jack
well that definetly makes me feel better
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Old 10-03-2005, 05:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScuubyT
OK
I want to spend around $300K (definetly not sure because I have no clue about job yet) which I guess puts me further out in the suburbs from what I'm hearing. I don't need anything brand new either,


Are you sitting down?

Boston is an insanely expensive place to own a home. You cannot buy anything inside the 95/128 beltway that is not a crack-house or total gut for <$300K. Modest comfortable suburban homes with good schools are half a million. Starter homes w/ 2 br/2bath/ 1 car garage w/in 95/128 beltway are $400K and they will need work. For ~300K you need to look in RI, NH, and out near Worcester; all 1hr + (in perfect weather) drives into Boston. To rent a single family, like you note, figure ~2,500/month. Oh sure you may luck out and find some special deal from some empty nest couple retiring to Fla, but thatís a needle in a hay stack. Increase your budget by 50% and your expectations will be met. Otherwise prepare for wallet shock!

Young couples are leaving here in droves because of the cost of housing. DC, Baltimore, Durham, St Louis, Atlanta, San Diego, Portland, Miami: all similar wages but cheaper housing. If I wasn't in Biotech, I'd be gone.

And, yes, you'll need winter tires up here. RE92s will not cut it.

Good luck!
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Old 10-03-2005, 05:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDrum


Are you sitting down?

Boston is an insanely expensive place to own a home. You cannot buy anything inside the 95/128 beltway that is not a crack-house or total gut for <$300K. Modest comfortable suburban homes with good schools are half a million. Starter homes w/ 2 br/2bath/ 1 car garage w/in 95/128 beltway are $400K and they will need work. For ~300K you need to look in RI, NH, and out near Worcester; all 1hr + (in perfect weather) drives into Boston. To rent a single family, like you note, figure ~2,500/month. Oh sure you may luck out and find some special deal from some empty nest couple retiring to Fla, but thatís a needle in a hay stack. Increase your budget by 50% and your expectations will be met. Otherwise prepare for wallet shock!

Young couples are leaving here in droves because of the cost of housing. DC, Baltimore, Durham, St Louis, Atlanta, San Diego, Portland, Miami: all similar wages but cheaper housing. If I wasn't in Biotech, I'd be gone.

And, yes, you'll need winter tires up here. RE92s will not cut it.

Good luck!
Like I said, I'm kinda guessing here. I've never bought a home. But to give you an idea, my house is 30 miles from DC, its in a relatively rural county. Its the size of a large townhouse, but its a single-family detached home with 3 bedrooms. It was built in 1999 and has a two car detached garage. Its a nice house, but theres nothing special about it. It goes for $550K. If I step over into Fairfax County, the same house shoots up to about $700K. One bedroom condos here cost at bare minimum about $260K. Housing here is very expensive, but its all I know, so I don't know what to go by. Also, I still don't know for sure what I'll be doing, but I have no idea what my salary will be like, so that makes a difference.
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Old 10-03-2005, 06:24 PM   #22
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The best idea (which u stated) is to rent for a year or so and get situated. Learn the area, make sure you like both your job and the environement. After that youll have a better idea at how much you can afford...plus jobs in boston area usually pay pretty well and if you work in boston area you can def afford to live in boston area, you just gotta do your research. Start saving now, and hope your future job offers you help with moving (most gov't or gov'tly affiliated companies do this, I know mine did).

Here is a little help getting an idea of how your salary may change in boston area.

http://nd.placementmanual.com/workplace/
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Old 10-03-2005, 11:01 PM   #23
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i was actually just looking through westborough and I found plenty of places going for between $300K and $350K, so it doesn't seem too bad
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
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i was actually just looking through westborough and I found plenty of places going for between $300K and $350K, so it doesn't seem too bad
Yeah Westboro is a good area....a lot of companies close and if you want to work in Boston its still a possibility. I have friends who live in Westboro and it's not a bad place at all.
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Old 10-04-2005, 10:50 AM   #25
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im still gonna take a look at the other areas, but last night before I went to bed I checked out Westboro, and it seemed pretty reasonable
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