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Need advice - Danvers area

 
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jrk123



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:19 am GMT    Post subject: Need advice - Danvers area Reply with quote

Hi All,

I am relocating to MA for my job and have heard from many of my colleagues that Danvers is a good location for my family. I need to be within a reasonable distance of Boston (for Asian markets for my wife) and Gloucester (for my job).

I am currently in the San Jose, CA area and the first thing I noticed is that the rent in Danvers area was higher than I expected, although still roughly $100/month lower than comparable rents here. I also noticed that housing costs are apx 40% lower than comparable houses here, so I am seriously considering purchasing something vs renting. I have been saving for the last few years and have enough cash to do a standard 30 year fixed mortgage with 20% down.

I decided to post hee since the market is decidely different due to the locations from what I can see. On to my questions:
(1) The Condo I am most interested in is in the <$300k range. Fair market seems to be about $270-275k, asking is close to $300k. Unit has been on the market for over half a year. The loan servicer has advised me to start an offer in the $230k-240K range and negotiate up. I am thinking that may be too agressive and alienate the seller. I prefer the final proce be $270k or less so I have more buffer in my starting money and based on my income. Any advice on where to start?

(2) The loan servicer (my bank) has also advised me to work directly with the sellers agent to get the lowest price (forfeit some commision) as there does not appear to be a lot of buyers in this market.

(3) What are the thoughts of folks on this board on units with rent with option to buy? Except for me, my family has lived their entire lives on the west coast, so renting first may give them a chance to see if they can acclimate to east coast weather before we commit to buy.

I appreciate everyones help and advice !!
jrk123
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Kaidran



Joined: 17 Mar 2010
Posts: 289

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:12 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

You surely want to rent at least a year for your family to come to terms with the disappointment of MA housing before you commit to buy.
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JCK



Joined: 15 Feb 2007
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:27 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second the idea of renting for at least a few months to get a feel for the area. I don't know anything about Danvers in particular, but I would hesitate to move without getting a better "on-the-ground" understanding of the area. Each town has its own personality, and I think it's hard to get a real sense before spending some time here.
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john p



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 1820

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:55 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, I would rent for a while to get a feel for the area.

I am from the North Shore of Boston. Danvers is a very nice New England middle class town. It has a couple of big malls right there, a pretty busy regional road filled with strip malls, and a range of old New England feeling areas to little pockets of mini malls and neighborhood service areas. It is a few towns in from the ocean.

If you're going to be up in Gloucester, I'd honestly rent up that way. Magnolia, Manchester by the Sea, Rockport are areas on the ocean that people vacation, so they are very lovely. Hamilton and Wenham are nice bedroom communities.

Unless your wife is going into Boston every day, I'd find a place up by Gloucester, it is just beautiful. They say once you live right near the ocean you're hooked. I do think there is a commuter rail that goes up that way, but the times are limited.

http://mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=NBRYROCK

These commuter rail lines go into North Station; the Asian Markets are predominately in Chinatown which is near South Station.

It is going to be totally different than San Jose.
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Boston ITer



Joined: 11 Jan 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:01 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

john p wrote:
If you're going to be up in Gloucester, I'd honestly rent up that way. Magnolia, Manchester by the Sea, Rockport are areas on the ocean that people vacation, so they are very lovely. Hamilton and Wenham are nice bedroom communities.

Unless your wife is going into Boston every day, I'd find a place up by Gloucester, it is just beautiful. They say once you live right near the ocean you're hooked. I do think there is a commuter rail that goes up that way, but the times are limited.

http://mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=NBRYROCK

These commuter rail lines go into North Station; the Asian Markets are predominately in Chinatown which is near South Station.

It is going to be totally different than San Jose.


There's basically no comparison between the North Shore of MA and that of the center of Silicon Valley, San Jose-to-Santa Clara nexus.

I think the first course of action is to adapt to both the culture shock and the atmosphere/weather shock of the region, before looking at buying properties.
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jrk123



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:04 am GMT    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your replies. I definately am concerned about my family getting used to the area, so we will be checking out several rentals as well as the townhouse I referenced above. I am originally fron NE PA so I don't expect too much culture shock Very Happy
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Former Bostonian
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:52 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would second the comment of the disparity between North of Boston and San Jose.
Have you considered looking inside Route 128 - Watertown, waltham, Winchester, Medford (West Medford is a charming area next to Winchester/Arlington).
From all of these towns you can get to Cambridge or Boston in 10-15 minutes - Danvers will be a bit of a culture shock - I think.

Your monthly rental may be a bit higher - but, you may have a happier family. You need to evaluate whether your primary need is good public schools or proximity to Urban center.
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TV Producer
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:11 pm GMT    Post subject: skype interview Reply with quote

Hi JRK123,
I am a producer at WBZ-TV4 in Boston and I am working on a story about the rental market here in Massachusetts. Would you be interested in doing a Skype interview with me about what it's like relocating here and seeing what rental properties are going for?
My name is Bob Dumas and my email is rdumas@wbztv.com.
Thanks
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john p



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 1820

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:10 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

JRK123:

I think the whole cultural thing can either be a "physical environment" or a "type of people".

If you are more into the outdoor natural thing, then you want to get a bit away from Boston.

If you want to live with the "hipsters", then Cambridge is what you'd be interested in. Former "hipsters" or ones that want to raise a family but don't want to be too far away from the cool activities of the City settle in the Arlington, Melrose, Belmont, Winchester. The further you get out, you end up being around more New England natives.

I would look at things like this:

Boston is a global city and has many companies that serve a broad market. Within Boston you also have, like every other city, a Service Industry.

Within Boston Proper you have old Brahmin neighborhods (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Brookline), older "culture" communities like the South End, young hipster neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain or areas of Brighton, a few middle class family / city neighborhoods like South Boston. The Middle Class neighborhoods are either the White Laced Irish or the non White Laced Irish (basically, the houses that are a little more cleaned up are white laced and the dumpier ones are a little more white trashed up.

The further you move out from Boston you see a higher percentage of the "Service Industry". For example, if you raise your kids in say Wakefield, your neighbors might be HVAC fabricators, contractors, shop owners, etc. If you live in nicer towns, your neighbors might work at State Street Bank or Millenium Pharma. If living with service industry middle class people is not what you prefer, you need to figure out where to hobknob.

If you like to mountainbike, drive a motorboat, have a clambake on the beach and listen to crickets on your rocking chair after you've gone shopping to buy your dinner at a fish market on the dock and a roadside farm stand you need to look at other areas.

I find that most of the younger familes that work in these firms that serve global markets live closer to the city and they want shorter commutes so they can get home and spend time with the kids. These areas typically have great restaurants and coffee shops and lots of formerly rundown neighborhoods are seeing a rebirth because alot of people who have moved in from out of State have brought more wealth to them.

California is kind of different though, Because of the topography, on one side of a Valley might be totally crowded and the other a large natural park, so you can really have the best of both worlds. In Boston, there aren't that many places where you can have both that are affordable.

Five years ago or so, they used to categorize people as "Whole Grain" or "Wonderbread" types.

If you live in some of these urban yuppie neighborhoods, you'll be happy if you like going to a gym, shuttling your kids to all kinds of organized and supervised activities, and going out to dinner as a hobby. Be ready to pay over $10 an hour for babysitting and a premium for any type of service industry service you'd need along with paying a lot for an older building with not alot of privacy.

If you want your kids to be able to be free to go out and climb trees, catch frogs, build forts in the woods, ride dirtbikes etc. you might want to move further out.

Beause so many places are so different, I think this is why many people will advise you to rent for a bit to see what you like personally.

Best of luck!
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