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Tuesday Tip - 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding Which Boston Neighborhood to Call Home

Last October, we wrote this blog post about the importance of selecting the right Boston neighborhood to call home.  As we mentioned, they all have distinctive attributes, and some characteristics that one home buyer might find charming will be the same things that turn another buyer off.  So, we've put together this list of 5 questions you should ask yourself when evaluating which of Boston's neighborhoods will be right for you:

-Do you need a parking spot?  It's well known that in Boston, some parking spots can cost as much as a small apartment, so if you're definitely in need of direct access parking for your car, you have to be very selective about what neighborhoods you're looking in.  You're best bet for finding a place that includes a parking spot is in the Back Bay.   There's a lot of on street parking for residents in the South End, and garage spots that you can rent or pay for monthly, but there are very few private spots available.

-Are you open to some street noise?  Some people find street noise to be comforting - even when you're alone you're never alone.  Others find it to be distracting and bothersome, especially if they have young children.  Neighborhoods like Kenmore Square and the North End are likely to have more noise as there are a lot of busy streets, restaurants, and event venues.  If you're looking for a quiet retreat in the heart of the city, Beacon Hill is a good choice, as the streets are narrow (meaning less heavy, speeding traffic) and many of the restaurants and shops are confined to the same area.

-Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or are you more drawn to new development?  It's no secret that Boston has it's fair share of historic homes.  In fact, the majority of homes in Boston were built hundreds of years of ago, though almost all have been renovated to stay competitive with the market.  That being said, there has been a TON of new construction in Boston lately.  If you're looking for historic charm, Beacon Hill is again great option, as well as the Back Bay.  For a more modern feel, check out the brand new and highly anticipated Millennium Tower in Midtown, the SOWA section of the South End or one of the many new buildings in the Seaport.

-What is your current community lacking?  Are you sick of having to get in your car and drive 10 minutes to the closest good restaurant?  Are you looking for more greenspace for your kids or your pooch?  Take some time to think about why you want to move to a new neighborhood, and what you'll be spending most of your time doing once you're there.  For an abundance of good restaurants, shopping and nightlife, consider The South End.  If you and your dog love to hang at the beach, perhaps South Boston is a good option, as you'll have quick and easy access to dog friendly Castle Island.  South Boston is also a good choice for young families; in addition to Castle Island, there are a number of other kid-friendly activities and a strong sense of community.

-How far are you willing to commute?  Do you walk to work, drive or take mass transit?  Most neighborhoods in Boston have easy access to public transportation, and as a whole Boston is a very walkable city (Walk Score recently ranked Boston the No.3 most walkable city in the country). However, some neighborhoods are certainly more walkable than others, specifically The North End, Beacon Hill and Downtown Crossing.  If you're planning on using your car a lot and don't have a parking spot or a small fortune to devote to parking tickets, make sure you pick a neighborhood that has plenty on street spots without meters.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Boston is a unique, dynamic city with a diverse population and a range of living options.  Whether you're drawn to the big city bustle, the restaurants, the architecture or the ease of getting around, if you're choosing to live in the city it's likely because you have a very specific reason for it.  So, make sure you end up in exactly the right neighborhood by asking yourself the right questions and working with an agent that has an intimate knowledge of the city.  For questions about a specific neighborhood or to connect with one of our experts, give us a call at 617-236-0353 or through our website at

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