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Moving to Boston from Europe

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Moving to Boston from Europe

Hi all,

I'm going to be moving to the Boston area early this year and I'm currently orientating myself. What would be a good time to actually start looking for an apartment (I guess six months in advance is too early). Also, what would a rough estimate for the rent for a 900-1000sqft, 2 bedroom appt within walking distance to the T in say, Cambridge? I known this is going to be expensive for European standards so surprise me ;)

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1. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

There are several websites you should check out...

www.craigslist.org

www.boston.com

www.classifieds.bostonphoenix.com

Leases usually run from September to September, and there is no such thing as "too early". With all the students who flock into town year after year, some people are ALWAYS looking, and have to settle for places they don't like while they wait for something acceptable "next year"!

As far as the price... in Boston or Cambridge, what you are describing is what everyone wants... $2000 plus utilities wouldn't surprise me. You might find something more reasonably priced in other close communities such as Malden or Somerville.

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2. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

Firstly, welcome to Boston! (ok, not yet, but who cares!)

You will find the prices here for housing to be quite high, and in many cases you don't get what you pay for. I would begin by looking online at rental adverts in the paper. The Boston Globe on Sundays has the biggest listing section. It covers metro Boston as well as most of the suburbs. The end of August - first week of September is traditionally moving time. Although apartments are available all the time it seems as if landlords work their rental agreements around the school year.

A two bedroom apartment in the Cambridge/Boston area could run you as much as $2000.00 USD. That may/may not include heat, hot water or other utilities. If it's just you alone perhaps a 1 bedroom or studio would be more affordable.

Another question: do you need an apartment that's furnished or will you be bringing your stuff with you? Most rentals are unfurnished, so you need to scroll through the listings if you want a furnished place.

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3. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

Hi,

The majority of apartments in the Boston area turn over on September 1, so if you are able to move in then, you will probably have a better choice of places.

However, apartments are always available, so don't let that bother you too much. As far as looking in advance, usually the apartments aren't advertised until one to two months before they are available. If you check ads now, you will see mostly places available for August/September. So, while it's never too early to start looking to get a feel for the marketplace, you probably won't see anything appropriate until a couple of months before you move.

As far as price, Cambridge apartments are very pricey, especially in the Harvard Sq., Central Sq., Porter Sq. and Davis Sq. areas near the Red Line. The estimates of $2000 and up for a 2 bedroom including heat are pretty much on track. Any place much cheaper than that in those areas is probably cheaper for a good reason (old, small, noisy, above a smelly restaurant, in a basement, etc.)

If that price is an issue, you can find less-expensive places outside of Cambridge, or in a location where you need to take a bus to the red line or green line (Inman Sq. for example). Also, you might find something a bit cheaper in East Arlington, near Alewife station (might, I said...).

If you want to be on the Red Line, you could find much cheaper rents on the southern edge, such as in Quincy. I don't know if you want to be in Cambridge for school/work, or because you just think it's a fun place to live (it is), but that is what makes it pricey.

Because of the cost of renting, many people here also have roommates, to share expenses. You might want to consider that as well. You can find roommate listings in the Boston Phoenix website.

The websites posted here before are good places to look. Also, check out http://www.boston.com, and http://boston.citysearch.com

I hope you enjoy your stay :)

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4. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

Thanks for your replies, I'm moving for work (not study) with my wife and my employer is setting me up with a relocation agency, furniture is coming with me. Any other less expensive decent neighborhoods near M.I.T.? Somerville looks interesting, so does Allston/Brighton. I'm guessing the Back Bay is worse than Cambridge in terms of price. I'd rather rent someting close to public transport since we only have one car, budget is $1500-$2000 a month including utilities.

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5. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

I would stay away from Allston/Brighton. Those are university neighborhoods and many college students live in the apartments around there, so there is noise, drunken parties until all hours of the night, etc. Not a good family friendly area, in my opinion.

Somerville is great, but not much cheaper than Cambridge, unless you are willing to take a bus to the Red Line. Union Sq. in Somerville is a fun area with nice restaurants and somewhat cheaper rents, but it's a bus ride to the nearest subway stops. As you can tell from my responses, rents tend to rise when you are walking distance to the subway.

If you want to be near MIT, you could try the Cambridgeport neighborhood in Cambridge. Although it's a bit of a walk to the Red Line at Central Sq. or Kendall Sq, it's a very nice, quiet residential area and not far from MIT.

Again, you might find something suitable in the East Arlington neighborhood in Arlington, which is walking distance to the Red Line at Alewife. It's a very nice area, with lots of shopping, good restaurants, quiet streets, safe too. Has your relocation company recommended any areas?

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6. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

you might also try renting in salem; it is on the commuter rail, a 20 minute ride into the city. it has many apartments/condos. further you go out from the city, the cheaper it becomes. here is one for ya: sunny large 3+ bedroom, eat-in kitchen, living room, wood floors, coin-op laundry, walk to train and common. $1400/mo. this is advertised in the www.salemnews.com

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7. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

ahh, make sure you are looking at SALEM, MA and not NH. and wherever you rent, make sure you have a parking space; you don't want to rent a space that you are responsible for digging out during a winter storm. it is nice to walk in good weather but come winter; cold and snow does not make for a pleasant walk.

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8. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

I would definitely take advantage of craigslist.com. Have you considered Jamaica Plain? It used to have a bad reputation, but it has really perked up in the last five years or so. The prices have risen quite a bit, but you can still find some good bargains for large apartments within walking distance to the orange line. I've looked at apartments around the Stonybrook/Green Street area, and they were really nice.

I used to live in Winthrop on the blue line, and I found it to be an easy commute into the city. Unfortunately, you do need to take a bus to the T, but it's extremely reliable and runs according to schedule. The blue line is very fast and gets you into the city quickly. You can even get apartments on the beach there that are very reasonably priced. Winthrop is a great place to live.

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9. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

Another word about the apartments in Winthrop... many of them are set up with basic furnishings, cable TV, and include utilities.

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10. Re: Moving to Boston from Europe

Reasonably-priced apartments are rare but not extinct in Union Square and other East Somerville neighborhoods. Since you've brought up MIT, I mention that area because there is bus service right into Kendall Square during the rush hours and daytime. The "CT2" express route originates at Sullivan Station and runs along Washington St to Union Square, then down Webster Ave into Cambridge. Route 85 begins in the Spring Hill section west of (and uphill from) Union Square. Neither, however, operate much before 7 AM or after 7 PM.

Affordability is a relative thing in a place like Cambridge, but the neighborhood immediately east of Kendall Square remains one of the least expensive in the city. Some of the better streets in that vicinity are the numbered streets, and Charles, Hurley, Thorndike, Gore, and Otis. A few former factories and warehouses in the Lechmere area have been converted into loft-style apartments, with more on the way, and the management of the Museum Towers high-rises is offering incentives so as to fill the buildings. (This is mostly due to having dozens of units in a fairly slow rental market.)

A time-honored way of locating apartments is to visit neighborhoods you're interested in and look for rental agencies. These businesses post pictures and descriptions of properties, and while you'd probably have to pay them a fee if they find the home you move into it eliminates some of the detective work on your part.

I'm not as pessimistic as others have been on this thread, but by the same token $2,000 is not an unrealistic figure for rent on a 2-bedroom. Some of that, however, would be for the building's convenience and/or perceived appeal. Find a building without "niceties" like central a/c or high-speed Internet wiring, or more than 5-10 minutes' walk from the nearest bus or train stop, and you could be looking at as low as $1,600 - $1,750.

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