With diverse neighborhoods, booming development and a current shortage in the supply of homes for sale, real estate in Boston can be a complicated matter, which is why it's critical to work with an experienced local agent. But there are other things about the city outside of real estate that have an impact on the average day of a Bostonian. If you're a local buying a home in Boston, it's easier to navigate some of these nuances of the city, but if you're moving in from out of State or a suburb you might not know what questions to ask or what kind of research to do. So, we asked our friend Jeremy Alderman at Zog Digital to put together a list of 5 important things people moving to Boston should know about the city before they move here. Here's what he had to say:
There’s a lot you need to know before moving to Boston. With schools like Boston College, Boston University, and of course Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, Boston reaps all the benefits of a youthful population brimming with innovation and enterprise. Boston even beats out both New York and Los Angeles as a top city for venture capital investing (surprising, I know), creating a great startup environment. But it’s helpful to understand a few things about the city if you’re planning a move to Beantown, so here are some things to review before loading up the moving truck:
Boston and its surrounding suburbs boast some of America’s most elite universities. This includes exceptionally prestigious institutions like Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson College, and Northeastern University, with Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale also in close proximity. What does that mean for homebuyers shopping for real estate in Boston for the first time? Expect a younger crowd when you’re looking in certain neighborhoods like Fenway / Kenmore, which is home to Boston University. Take the time to really explore the city’s neighborhoods so you can get a feel for the atmosphere, demographics of potential neighbors and how the local universities - and their students - affect the area. With over 30 colleges and universities within Boston’s greater metropolitan area, it’s safe to say that Boston is truly a college city and enjoys a multitude of benefits through university partnerships.
Boston + Sports = <3
The Patriots. The Red Sox. The Bruins. The Celtics. If you’re not a sports fan when you move to Boston, you will surely become one, as the fandom of Boston’s teams is extraordinary and contagious. If by chance you don’t get caught up in the allure of Boston’s teams, it is absolutely necessary to acknowledge that many Bostonians are deeply devoted, so each game has an impact on the city. For the non-sports fans considering a move to Beantown, keeping track of game schedules will prove to be immensely helpful when mapping out travel time through and around the city. On game days the influx of sports fans from around the city and surrounding area will certainly affect your commute, so it would be wise to keep note of who plays who even if you won’t be tracking the scoreboard.
Boston Loves Its Startups and Tech Companies
Boston and its neighboring cities, like Cambridge, have developed an attractive corporate culture for tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. In fact, Boston is a frontrunner for the site of Amazon’s second corporate headquarters. Plus, Boston has positioned itself to become a great place for hundreds of startups due to its proximity to nearby universities and abundance of well-educated students and post-grads with motivation and fresh ideas. Cambridge’s Kendall Square, which neighbors MIT, is a great example of a neighborhood that demonstrates a thriving startup scene thanks to eager students and recent graduates.
Day Trips, Getaways, and Breweries
There’s a lot to do with a weekend in Boston, and a trip to one of the city’s many craft breweries should definitely make the list. Although craft brewing has always been a common trade in Boston, the industry has grown quite a bit since the big breweries have entered the scene. Many breweries offer tours and host festivals, including Harpoon Brewery and of course, Samuel Adams. Keep in mind that while most bars around the city shutdown at 2 AM, the metro system stops running generally between 12:30 AM and 1:00 AM.
But if you need an escape, quiet destination spots like Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket are a quick drive away, and offer charm and refuge, especially during the warmer months. Even without a car, many nearby vacation spots are accessible by bus, train, or ferry ride.
One thing you should know about Boston is that Massachusetts’s winters are notoriously harsh. Each winter the city is hit by a few major snowstorms that halt activity and travel. Wintertime temperatures can often dip down into the low twenties and sometimes the high teens, so dress warm!
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (The T) is at the heart of many Bostonian’s everyday commute. Before you move to Boston, you need to embrace public transportation. If you plan to use the T, it would be wise to consider selecting a home or apartment with easy access to a station, preferably one on the same color line you need to take to get to work. Although living within walking distance from a T station would be ideal, expect that convenience to reflect in your rent. These locations are sought after and typically more expensive.
Real Estate Shopping
Your best bet for apartment shopping in Boston is to contact a Boston real estate agent who knows the city and it’s neighborhoods. Housing in the city is diverse - condos in Back Bay are very different from the real estate in The Seaport District or the common owner-occupied double or triple-deckers you’ll find in Somerville and Dorchester. These homes are often older, are individually managed, and come with fewer amenities than new apartment buildings. As with all cities, Boston real estate prices depend greatly on location, and a Boston real estate agent will be best able to identify an ideal location based on your needs.
Before you unload the moving van, think about reserving your moving permit online through Boston City Hall. Many rental apartments within the city are accompanied by a September 1st move in date to accommodate (for better or worse) all of the many college students moving back to campus in the fall, so be prepared if you’re moving in that timeframe!
Boston is a thriving city with so much to offer for newcomers. It has a timeless and historic appeal for both locals and visitors, while still maintaining a fresh East Coast atmosphere with endless opportunities in business, education, culture and entertainment. Trusting local experts will ensure you discover the perfect real estate property for sale in Boston - whether you're looking for a luxury condo in Back Bay or a townhouse in South Boston. Our friends at The Charles Realty have unparalleled knowledge of the city and it’s neighborhoods, having been in the forefront of the Boston real estate market for 34 years, and they help clients immerse themselves into the city and get acclimated to their neighborhood with leading insights on all things Boston.