“Get Real” with Mildred Wong
FACT: The Boston metro area and all of its neighborhoods are easily accessible by an extensive underground subway system, locally called the T. It is important to weigh your “need” versus “want” to have a car.
Never let parking dictate your housing search. Address the parking issue AFTER you secure appropriate housing. Apartments with off-street parking are rare and the demand for them is high.
An off-street parking space will save me time each day from having to scour for a spot on the street. GET REAL! Don’t sacrifice an all-around perfect apartment because off-street parking was not available. See ALL of your options so you can make an informed decision. You will not know if you are getting a good value if you do not see everything.
Maybe I won’t need my car. Whether you are a frequent, occasional, or first-time rider, the subway and bus system is simple and convenient. For example, the Red Line runs from Cambridge all the way to the South Shore. Buses offer more options and fill in the gaps where subways don’t reach. They are often faster too. The Express 501 bus runs directly from Brighton Center to Downtown Boston via the Mass Turnpike. No stops! Who rides the subways and buses? Smart folks with great apartments who know how to use the system! The “Trip Planner” on the MBTA’s website is a great tool to help you maneuver your way around the metro Boston area.
Still debating? Consider the costs. Some apartments offer off-street parking spaces for additional rent, and can cost anywhere from $100-275 per month, depending on the neighborhood. Most garages charge $100-200 per month, and higher in neighborhoods closer to the city.
In Brookline, there is no overnight parking, so you will need to rent a parking space. “Parkopedia” is a database of thousands of parking lots and garages, street and metered parking, and even private driveways that are available. Craigslist always has spaces available for rent. If an apartment does come with a parking space, that extra value will already be built into the monthly rent, so you will need to expand your price range.
If you must have a car, be prepared. The City of Boston offers free on-street parking permits for residents. Drive around neighborhoods and read the signs, especially at night to get a better sense of parking conditions. Keep in mind that you will have to register your car in Massachusetts, change your insurance, and pay Boston rates. Think Boston rates are too expensive? GET REAL! When you break down the cost of a free permit and car insurance, it is ALWAYS cheaper than paying monthly for an off-street space AND car insurance.
Take a day to explore the subways and buses. Time yourself. Finding a great apartment that you will live in for
2-3 years is worth the one day investment. It will also help you figure out which neighborhood to narrow your apartment search.
MBTA Trip Planner: http://www.mbta.com/rider_tools/trip_planner/
CALL TO READERS: Have questions? Call or email and your topic could be the next discussion. Mildred Wong is a Licensed Real Estate Agent at City Central Realty, LLC. She can be reached at 617-236-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GetRealwMildred.
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