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Does anyone know how the rental market is in August/September in Boston? I've heard everything from "it gets really cheap because landlords are desperate to get rid of units that aren't leased yet" to "prices go crazy high because demand is so massive". I was pretty much set on going elsewhere but I just found out that NEU hired a great professor whom I really want to work with. The rent is my only drawback right now because 90% of the decent places/rooms I've found are way out of my estimated budget, and I'm worried that by Fall those 10% won't be available anymore. 

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Does anyone know how the rental market is in August/September in Boston? I've heard everything from "it gets really cheap because landlords are desperate to get rid of units that aren't leased yet" to "prices go crazy high because demand is so massive". I was pretty much set on going elsewhere but I just found out that NEU hired a great professor whom I really want to work with. The rent is my only drawback right now because 90% of the decent places/rooms I've found are way out of my estimated budget, and I'm worried that by Fall those 10% won't be available anymore. 

 

I guess this depends on what your estimated budget is! I'm living at the Cambridge/Somerville border and I think the prices might be comparable-ish to Allston/Brighton? If so, my room/apartment is on the expensive side compared to most of my classmates', but still affordable enough that my dept's funding package covers all my living expenses fairly easily. Keep in mind that the listings you see now (assuming you're looking for places online, like on Craigslist or whatever) may not totally reflect what you will see during the spring/summer, just because there will be so many (like, SO many) more rooms/apts available later.

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I'm looking for a private suite + decent shared kitchen, under 30 minute commute for no more than $1500 (rent & utilities). Right now it's looking like a "pick two" situation. I guess I'll see what I can get for funding and go from there. Hopefully I'll have enough to go on to make a decision by April. 

Thanks!

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I did undergrad in Boston and moved to Boston from Maine.  I also left Boston two years ago, so unless anything has changed since....

 

Avoid living in Allston or Brighton at all costs.  These are student ghettos.  

 

Not sure about Allston, but you need a parking permit to park on Brighton streets.  In order to get a parking permit, you must provide proof of residency (copy of your lease) and proof of vehicle registration.  Your vehicle WILL get towed if you do not have a permit.  There is absolutely no overnight street parking in Brookline, just so you know.  A parking spot behind my building ran $165/month.  Tow trucks patrolled the lot a few times per day, seven days a week.  Guests will get towed unless they get a guest permit and park in the proper space.  

 

People in Boston love to double, and sometimes triple, park.  Often times directly in a traffic lane.  

 

If you did not take the time to shovel out a spot during the winter, do not park in an open spot even if it is not marked.  You will piss someone off and might find a nasty note at the least, or a flat tire at the most.  Shovel your space and "reserve" it with an old chair, trash can, etc.  

 

Housing:  the Back Bay, if I recall correctly, has officially banned college students.  Not sure if that extends to grad students, though.  The North End is trying hard to ban college students, too.  Too many noise complaints and general disrespect towards year-round residents. 

 

Free stuff:  The streets of Allston/Brighton become full of apartment stuff between August 1st and September 1st.  Mostly Ikea stuff.  You might be hesitant to grab that brand-new looking couch because of the bed bug issue, but practically every type of household item can be found.  Lamps, desks, dressers, tables, etc.  My entire apartment was furnished this, including the mint-condition couch (after careful inspection).  I kid you not: many college students move in at the end of summer, hit up Ikea, then get rid of everything when they go back home for the summer.  Repeat for four years. 

 

Other:  Boston has almost all but lost its blue collar image/neighborhoods.  Practically everything is divided between professional/yuppie/richie and undergrad college student.  

Any insight on the living expense, nice neighborhoods to live in, ways to commute to school (Harvard or MIT), places to hang out, or crime rate? Thanks :D

Boston is insanely expensive, and you do not get much for you money.

 

Boston does have a great public transportation system that is also not very great.  It is awesome in the sense that you can commute by public transportation to almost any destination you can think of within the Boston vicinity.  Some busses even run 24/7.  The downfall; none, zero, zilch, run on schedule.  The busses and the Greenline quite simply arrive when they arrive.  With the Greenline for example, you can wait for a half hour before a train comes in your direction, but you will see five or so pass in the opposite direction (they're supposed to run once every 10/15 minutes or so).  Or you can get three trains in a row.  Word of advice:  If you see a Greenline train approaching behind the train that just stopped at your stop, wait for the second train.  It will be a heckofalot less crowded as Bostonians seem to have a problem with waiting.  No matter how full the train is, no matter how much you think the car cannot carry anymore people, ten more people will get on.  Not try to board, but seriously, they will cram the fuck in.  Then you get to the next stop and think that no more people can get on....then ten more squeeze in.  Then that train breaks down because because it is carrying too much weight and causes a serious delay.  

 

Greenline tip #2:  Greenline trains will all-of-a-sudden go express if they are running too far behind schedule.  That means that they will all-of-a-sudden bypass many stops.  If you have your headphones on and did not hear the announcement....

 

Greenline tip #3:  Avoid the D line at all costs.  This is the line that ends at BC and runs past BU.  There are way to many stops in between and the train stops every 20-30 seconds because too many riders cannot be bothered to walk that "extra" 500 feet and most get off at the absolute closest stop to their destination.  And BU is an extremely long school.  If you ride the D line at night, it will be packed with drunk college kids....some of who are drinking and puking on the train.  

 

Greenline tip #4:  Just spend the extra ten minutes it takes to walk to the C line. Your trip will ultimately be a 1/2 hour faster....and less crowded.  

 

Greenline tip #5:  Catch the C train at least a 1/2 hour earlier than you would reasonably need to catch it in order to get to your destination on time.  The D line, an hour.  

 

Does anyone know how the rental market is in August/September in Boston? I've heard everything from "it gets really cheap because landlords are desperate to get rid of units that aren't leased yet" to "prices go crazy high because demand is so massive". I was pretty much set on going elsewhere but I just found out that NEU hired a great professor whom I really want to work with. The rent is my only drawback right now because 90% of the decent places/rooms I've found are way out of my estimated budget, and I'm worried that by Fall those 10% won't be available anymore. 

I lived in Brighton.  Most students move in September 1st.  Most rentals go through a leasing agency, that is just how Boston does it wheather you are in college or not.  In order to get a September rental, you need to have a place locked down by June.  Seriously, get a place at least 3 months in advance as the closer to September it becomes the less units are available unless you can afford a $2000/month studio.  

 

I don't think anyone can truly comprehend the sheer number of college students who live in Boston.  Some estimates place it as high 400K.  I guarantee you that no landlord is desperate to get rid of units.  In fact, the opposite is true:  too many applicants for the same crappy apartment.  Landlords jack up the rent because they can. 

 

I would avoid Allston/Brighton all together, except I did get lucky in Brighton.  The "street" I lived on "only" rented to professionals and grad students.  Seeing as how I did not begin undergrad until I was 23, I was able to easily convince the landlord I was a grad student.  I still heard people partying most nights...loudly.  And there was that one person who must have been a music major of some sort....bagpipes and other instruments were heard at all times of the day and night.  

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I should also point out that you more-than-likely will need a co-signer no matter how much money you have in your bank account.  Also, be prepared to show not only show proof of bank account, but also how much money is in said account. 

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The busses and the Greenline quite simply arrive when they arrive.  With the Greenline for example, you can wait for a half hour before a train comes in your direction, but you will see five or so pass in the opposite direction (they're supposed to run once every 10/15 minutes or so).  Or you can get three trains in a row.  Word of advice:  If you see a Greenline train approaching behind the train that just stopped at your stop, wait for the second train.  It will be a heckofalot less crowded as Bostonians seem to have a problem with waiting.  No matter how full the train is, no matter how much you think the car cannot carry anymore people, ten more people will get on.  Not try to board, but seriously, they will cram the fuck in.  Then you get to the next stop and think that no more people can get on....then ten more squeeze in.  Then that train breaks down because because it is carrying too much weight and causes a serious delay.  

 

Greenline tip #2:  Greenline trains will all-of-a-sudden go express if they are running too far behind schedule.  That means that they will all-of-a-sudden bypass many stops.  If you have your headphones on and did not hear the announcement....

 

Greenline tip #3:  Avoid the D line at all costs.  This is the line that ends at BC and runs past BU.  There are way to many stops in between and the train stops every 20-30 seconds because too many riders cannot be bothered to walk that "extra" 500 feet and most get off at the absolute closest stop to their destination.  And BU is an extremely long school.  If you ride the D line at night, it will be packed with drunk college kids....some of who are drinking and puking on the train.  

 

Greenline tip #4:  Just spend the extra ten minutes it takes to walk to the C line. Your trip will ultimately be a 1/2 hour faster....and less crowded.  

 

Greenline tip #5:  Catch the C train at least a 1/2 hour earlier than you would reasonably need to catch it in order to get to your destination on time.  The D line, an hour.  

 

 

Any advice for the E line of the Greenline for this material culture / museum kid (i.e. visits to MFA Boston)? Or, is it better to take Orangeline to Ruggles and just walk?

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Any advice for the E line of the Greenline for this material culture / museum kid (i.e. visits to MFA Boston)? Or, is it better to take Orangeline to Ruggles and just walk?

 

The E line isn't too bad, since it's sectioned off in the middle of the street (although it still has to follow traffic lights, unlike the red/orange/blue lines). I used to live on the E line and it's definitely convenient if you want to go to the MFA. It's actually free on Wednesdays after 4 PM in case you didn't know.

 

Also, I think that Crucial BBQ offers some good tips about the Green line, as it can be pretty unreliable (just yesterday I waited 25 minutes for a train to come while 5 trains going the opposite way drove by). Unfortunately I think they mixed up the D line with the B line. The B line is the line you want to avoid, as it ends at BC and runs past BU. It runs right in the middle of the road (with no divider), and is usually packed with college kids. Also, the stops are so close together that you don't really move anywhere quickly.

 

The C line and E line are better than the B because while they're still "in the road", they're sectioned off so they don't have to compete for space with cars.

 

The D line is actually by far the best line, since it's completely off road and therefore moves much faster than the others.

Also, while it's true that the Green line is very unreliable, the buses are pretty reliable, and you can easily check online (or using various apps) to see when the buses are scheduled to arrive at a specific spot. While the buses can sometimes be delayed, it's still fairly accurate and not that unreliable. The majority of them run on schedule and are easy to plan around.

 

In addition, I've never heard of any buses in Boston that run 24/7. Public transportation basically shuts down around 12-1 AM, which is a major hassle on the weekends. But I know that the MBTA is going to do a trial run soon and keep the T open for a few more hours on the weekend nights to see whether they should extend their hours. Hopefully it proves successful!

 

That all being said, public transportation in Boston isn't perfect, but it really isn't that terrible either. The buses are fairly reliable and every line except for the Green line is pretty good. The only two major downsides are the Green line and the fact that public transportation shuts down so early. Other than that, it's definitely manageable!

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The E line isn't too bad, since it's sectioned off in the middle of the street (although it still has to follow traffic lights, unlike the red/orange/blue lines). I used to live on the E line and it's definitely convenient if you want to go to the MFA. It's actually free on Wednesdays after 4 PM in case you didn't know.

 

Thanks so much!

 

As you can see, my GradCafe profile picture of Paul Revere II is from the MFA Boston. I have been just chomping at the bit, to return to the city, in mid-Spring! 

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I thought I could get this board going again.  I'm seriously considering attending Brandeis in the fall for my PhD.  As a native Floridian that has never been to Boston, the idea of moving there is somewhat daunting.  Are the same neighborhoods still recommended?

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Does anyone know if Lowell, MA is near "enough" (i.e. doable) Tufts? I am considering an offer from Tufts, but I do NOT want to live with roommates; I need my very own 1 bedroom apartment--or even a studio as a last case scenario. I will have a car and am willing to live farther away if it is not impossible to get to school during the week.

 

Any advices?

 

Thank you!

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Hi, I attended Tufts grad school on the Boston campus ( Nutrition, Med School campus) . If you are studying on the Medford campus campus Lowell is a bit far. Most students on the Medford campus live in Medford itself, Somerville, Cambridge. If you are on the Boston campus, most people tended to stay in the same areas as well as Jamaica Plain. I am also not sure about Lowell security wise.

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I'm coming to Harvard in the fall; when is a good time to start looking for an apartment? I'm wondering if now is too early, but I'd like to get it out of the way ASAP so I'm not scrambling to find a place over the summer.

 

Other general advice is also appreciated, but I know a lot of my questions have been addressed by previous posters.

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I'm coming to Harvard in the fall; when is a good time to start looking for an apartment? I'm wondering if now is too early, but I'd like to get it out of the way ASAP so I'm not scrambling to find a place over the summer.

 

Now would be too early. You can get an idea of what's on the market now by looking at Craigslist. Most of what you'll find won't be for next year. Leases in the Cambridge area almost without exception start on September 1. That means that most landlords ask for notice in April/May and that's when you can start looking for an apartment for the fall. I'd say late May or June the market really picks up. 

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Does anyone know if Lowell, MA is near "enough" (i.e. doable) Tufts? I am considering an offer from Tufts, but I do NOT want to live with roommates; I need my very own 1 bedroom apartment--or even a studio as a last case scenario. I will have a car and am willing to live farther away if it is not impossible to get to school during the week.

 

Any advices?

 

Thank you!

 

Lowell is at least a half-hour to Medford if there is no traffic at all and no weather conditions making it hard to drive. Because there is always traffic (especially during rush hour) and the last few winters have been among the snowiest and iciest in awhile, I would not recommend it. Lowell is also a former mill town, and has all the charm (and the security concerns) of any post-industrial city. 

 

There are plenty of one-bedrooms and studios in Cambridge/Medford/Somerville if you're willing to shell out for them, but it's almost certainly cheaper than Lowell with gas, parking, and car maintenance included. 

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Hey all! I just found out I was admitted to Harvard. I'm pretty excited but also freaking out about housing, especially since I have pets. What are my options?

What kind of pet and how many? I think Harvard housing allows one pet in each apartment so if you have only one, you may want to check them out. I will be bringing my two dogs with me in the fall and currently looking for a place too.

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What kind of pet and how many? I think Harvard housing allows one pet in each apartment so if you have only one, you may want to check them out. I will be bringing my two dogs with me in the fall and currently looking for a place too.

I have an older cat that spends most of his time outdoors. I also have two dogs - one is a chihuahua/terrier mix and one is a pomeranian/terrier mix.

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I have an older cat that spends most of his time outdoors. I also have two dogs - one is a chihuahua/terrier mix and one is a pomeranian/terrier mix.

Having a mostly outdoors cat in Boston is a really bad idea. I can't tell you how many cats get run over... I know a lot of people who have said, "oh my cat's used to be outside in a city" who have faced unfortunate news shortly after. Would he be okay living indoors? Also, many apartments are okay with cats, but dogs are a little more tricky, especially since you have 2. It is possible to find a place that will let you have three pets, but those are usually room rentals as opposed to individual apartments. Good luck!

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Having a mostly outdoors cat in Boston is a really bad idea. I can't tell you how many cats get run over... I know a lot of people who have said, "oh my cat's used to be outside in a city" who have faced unfortunate news shortly after. Would he be okay living indoors? Also, many apartments are okay with cats, but dogs are a little more tricky, especially since you have 2. It is possible to find a place that will let you have three pets, but those are usually room rentals as opposed to individual apartments. Good luck!

What I mean by outdoors is he chills on the porch or fence most of the time. He'd be fine indoors, too.

 

Thanks for the tips/info.

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Boston/Cambridge is tough for those with multiple pets.  Most landlords simply don't want to deal with them because of the high number of students that live here (i.e. students who decide one day that it would be really fun to adopt a dog, but don't know what that actually involves and it wrecks the apartment).   Hence, most just have a no pets policy, no matter what.  To get an idea for what this means, go on craigslist and do a search for whatever would suit you, and then do the same search after checking the "cats" and "dogs" boxes and watch how your options dwindle.  You can find something, but you'll probably need to look in a less student-heavy area and find a landlord who also loves animals, especially because you have 3.  Even my own landlord very specifically stipulated that I could have ONE (1) pet in the lease.  Look at Watertown, Arlington, Medford, maybe Davis square.  Davis and Arlington will be more urban, a bit younger-feeling and Watertown/Medford a bit more suburban (though still retaining some urban features).

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I did undergrad in Boston not too long ago.  I am not sure what Harvard offers in terms of housing and pets, but seriously having pets in a rental in Boston/Cambridge is going to be a nightmare for you.  If you do find a place that is cool, except to pay a huge (probably non-refundable) pet deposit, and/or "pet rent".  Yup, you can be charged x-amount more a month...per pet.  I want to say this is illegal, but Boston-area landlords are not known for giving a shit if it is.  I lived in Brighton, in what was supposed to be "professional and/or grad student only" housing.  It was, for the most part, but it was smack dab in the middle of BU and BC  right on the border with Allston.  Student ghetto hell.  Anyways, I just had to pay one rather large lump sum for a pet deposit and that was it for me. 

 

Also, start looking for an apartment/rental NOW! and try your damnedest to have a place by June 1st.  Also, seriously expect to have co-signers no matter how old you are or how much money you have in the bank (and be prepared to show bank statements, too).  Expect to pay first, last, + security deposit months before you move in (you know, to secure your spot). 

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 Look at Watertown, Arlington, Medford, maybe Davis square.  Davis and Arlington will be more urban, a bit younger-feeling and Watertown/Medford a bit more suburban (though still retaining some urban features).

Medford will be okay, same with Somerville in my opinion.  I'd also suggest looking at Jamaica Plain, but that might be too far out.  Eh...what ever bus runs down Harvard St...the number 9(?) runs 24/7 although severely limited at night...goes into Longwood...could take it to Huntington and the E train to Heath St. Or, the Orange line to the Red Line. 

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I think people are overstating the challenge of having pets in the Boston area. I have lived in multiple spaces where multiple pets were completely allowed (don't own any myself, so it was never an issue). In terms of finding a space that is pet friendly, you're probably going to want to look in more residential sections where there are small houses and three-flats and the like as opposed to apartment complexes/buildings. There's a lot of this more "traditional" housing available without even leaving Cambridge; some in walking distance to Harvard Square, and then a lot also around the two red line stops before and after Harvard Square, plus Kendall Square. You may even be able to find a place with a small fenced in yard in some of these places!

 

Whatever you do, don't live in Allston. Unless you don't mind never sleeping again due to the constant loud parties.

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I think people are overstating the challenge of having pets in the Boston area. I have lived in multiple spaces where multiple pets were completely allowed (don't own any myself, so it was never an issue). In terms of finding a space that is pet friendly, you're probably going to want to look in more residential sections where there are small houses and three-flats and the like as opposed to apartment complexes/buildings. There's a lot of this more "traditional" housing available without even leaving Cambridge; some in walking distance to Harvard Square, and then a lot also around the two red line stops before and after Harvard Square, plus Kendall Square. You may even be able to find a place with a small fenced in yard in some of these places!

 

Whatever you do, don't live in Allston. Unless you don't mind never sleeping again due to the constant loud parties.

I agree that there would be better luck with converted, detached/stand alone, housing; which is why I suggested Jamaica Plain. In hindsight, I understand that most would not have picked up on that, though.  I apologize.  I also agree with, and strongly encourage, all avoidance of Allston.  Brighton is hit-or-miss depending on street.  I lived on Comm Ave and Washington near the Whole Foods yet could still hear the parties and tuba players at night. 

 

My experience with pets is just my experience.  

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