Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Thinking about housing April 5, 2008

At the end of my lease, I will have lived in the same apartment for 2 years. We have the top 2 floors of a 3 floor, two family house. I love how big it is, and how low the rent is compared to that of some of my friends. But it’s too far away. I complain, when I note that it takes me 20 minutes to walk home from the subway, when I’m walking quickly. And many friends complain that we live to far away to visit or come to parties. I’ve begrudgingly become used to the walk, knowing which buses to catch if I want to get a little bit closer to the T, shorten my commute by a few minutes to get out of the rain/cold/wind/heat/uncomfortable shoes. And I’ve noticed with such a large, open apartment in an old house leads to relatively high gas/heating bills. So that cost would be nice to lower…

So there are many things to consider:

Q. Should we move?

A. Technically, we could probably get another lease for the next year. We’d have to find a replacement for at least one of our roommates, since he’s planning on moving out at the end of the lease anyway.

Q. If we move, who should we live with?

A. This is a rather complicated situation for us. So, A and I have been dating for almost a year, but we’ve both been living here (with 2 other roommates) for the 2 years of the lease. And we’ve known each other since the begining of college. So we know each other pretty well. I wouldn’t mind living with some of our friends…in fact I think I’d still prefer that to just the two of us…I think it would be weird if it were just the two of us. Plus it would (most likely) be more expensive with just the two of us.

Q. Where should we live?

I very much want to live closer to the T. Both for the sake of shortening my commute, and to urge friends to visit more often. Plus I think living closer will help me get more motivated to be social and go out instead of being lazy and staying in. I’m thinking I’d want to live on the Red Line, perhaps Davis, Porter, Harvard, or Central Square.  I guess I could also live in Boston, but that would mean a bit longer of a commute (switching from the Green Line to the Red Line).  I love all the fun stuff to do in the squares, and living closer to at least one of them would probably get me out trying new things.

Q. Rent or buy?

A. With the current housing market, I keep thinking about buying.  But then I realize it’s a heck of a lot of money, and that I don’t know how long I’ll be around this area (hopefully a while, but who knows?), and well, owning is pretty darn permanent by comparison to renting.  I would like the ability to alter things more (I’ve been watching plenty of decorating shows!), but I figure I can wait a little bit longer and continue to put money away towards a down payment.

So, what am I doing about all these questions?  I’m browsing Craigslist, and discussing housing with friends, both to determine roommate possibilities and to learn more about some apartment and house hunting experiences and opinions.

Sorry for the large gap in postings.  I was having a blog-identity crisis and wasnt sure what subjects to post about.  I was thinking about what my friends blog about, and wondered if I should shift in that direction.  I think I’ll still stick with personal finance related topics and decisions that 20-somethings face.  But we’ll see where we go from here.  Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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3 Responses to “Thinking about housing”

  1. You can get some good deals on some nice places in Davis and Porter. Also, have you looked at any houses between Alewife and Mass Ave in Arlington? I have a few friends there with gorgeous places and you’d always have a seat on the Red line! I wouldn’t recommend Central, and Harvard is too expensive. Good luck!

  2. Stephanie Says:

    Thanks for the advice, Tough Broad! We’ll keep looking!

  3. Hey Stephanie,

    I found your blog through Kendall’s site, and must say I like it a lot. As far as this issue goes, I understand your dilemma… I graduated from MIT last year, and my current lease will be up in September. With the current buyer’s market in housing, I’d really like to buy a place (maybe a two-family home and rent out all but one room – hoping to build a lot of equity without too much of my own investment), but the main thing stopping me is indecision about whether I’ll stay in Boston or not.

    Anyway, location for me is an easy choice. My job is on the Red line, so I’m definitely staying in Porter or Davis Square. Right now, I’m about half way in between, and I love the apartment and the location. Rents are cheaper out here, plus the area is really great. If I want to go downtown, I can, but if not, I can still do anything I want around here (nice restaurants – Gargoyle’s; live music – toad; salsa dancing – Johnny D’s, etc.).

    Good luck!


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