As of June 2003, Boston is the third most expensive city to buy a house, behind San Francisco and Honolulu. Realtor Rick Calvi, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Needham, explained, with the lowest interest rates in years, and no inflation on the horizon, "The best investment you can make is in real estate. Besides, it's an investment you can live in." Calvi added that house appreciation's are on the rise, especially in towns with limited available land.
The real estate sections of The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald are good places to begin. They both list apartments, homes, financing sources, and moving tips and companies. The Globe's boston.com "Community Profiles" features overviews of Boston's neighborhoods, and the outlying cities and towns. Listed alphabetically, the articles inform the reader on such topics as housing news, information on schools, history of the neighborhood or the town, and the demographics of a community. This is valuable information to help you decide which is the right community you. For people who desire to live in a specific area or town, the Herald's homefind.com has links to the real estate sections of its sister suburban newspapers, of the parent company, Herald Media Publications.
In today's' world of cyberspace, homes are being sold on the internet through sites like isoldmyhouse.com. The buyer saves money on realtor fees, and because the seller wants to sell quickly they tend to provide attractive prices. There are issues however to consider when going this route. "Selling and buying a house is an emotional thing," said Rick Calvi. Sellers can have an emotional attachment to their home and set unrealistic prices he adds. An agent can guide the buyer through such processes as finding the right place to live, what he can afford, information on school systems, and refer clients to contractors, painters, bankers and other resources they will need before and after the sale. To check on current interest rates, bankrate.com surveys thousands of lending institutions, reporting on more than 100 financial products, at no charge.
There is an abundance of on-line sources for apartment hunters. In general these sites list properties (some without any site or broker-fees), and links for other related resources. An example is bostonnofee.com where prospective tenants can search for the type of dwelling they desire (re: house or an apartment), and the neighborhood, or city or town where they wish to live. The site provides tips for moving to Boston, and addresses and phone numbers for local utilities, and government services. There are information links for sports and entertainment, the arts, and maps and directions. The sight also also runs free credit reports for it members prepared by Experion. A six-month membership to bostonnofees.com costs $39.95.
Finding a place to live in Boston for a college student can be an arduous task. Sublets.com lists houses, apartments, and rooms for sublet, to graduate students and business people. Matchingroomates.com has helped more than 100,000 people in the Boston area find a place to live. The oldest roommate service in America, Matching Roommates originally started in 1966 as service for college students. It since has emerged as a resource for anyone looking to rent, or to find someone to rent an available room.
If you decide to rent a truck and move yourself, or to hire a professional mover, moving day can be another big expense. To check on truck rental and moving companies, the Better Business Bureau web site (www.bbb.org) provides the relevant data to make the right choice. Gentle Giant Moving Company has won the Better Business Bureau's Torch of Excellence Award for 2002 and 2003, and was voted small business of the year by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Customers can purchase professional quality boxes, packing materials, and miscellaneous moving supplies from Box Express (boxxpress.com), which is owned and operated by Gentle Giant. Many people do not realize that boxes obtained from businesses, especially restaurants and supermarkets may be infested with insects, molds, or bacterial organisms.
There is no getting around the fact that buying a house or renting an apartment in the Boston area is expensive, so be prepared to look for a while. If you research the market, find out what you can afford and where you afford to move, the search will be less daunting. If you take the proper steps to find the right home, you can reap the rewards of living in one of America's greatest cities.