Finding the Boston Neighborhood That’s Right for You

Are you thinking about purchasing a condo in Boston and not sure which neighborhood(s) would be the best fit? You’re not alone. Determining where you want to live is as important as the condo itself and is part of the overall search process. Boston is distinguished by its vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, each with a very distinct personality. I typically recommend that buyers explore properties in a variety of neighborhoods, either by going to open houses or by viewing properties with me, as well as by walking around different neighborhoods to get a first-hand feel for their character and the lifestyle they offer. I encourage my clients to think about the following:

Lifestyle: Think about what you want to have around you when you walk outside your door.  If you like a vacation-like setting, you might want a neighborhood that offers quick access to the waterfront or even marina slips.  If you run every morning, you may want to be just strides away from scenic paths along the banks of the Charles River.  If you prefer an eclectic community with access to art galleries and trendy cafés, the South End may be the place for you.

Commute: Consider not just your commute to work and accessibility to the “T”, water shuttle, and highways, but also the distance and convenience to the services you use regularly, like the supermarket, dry cleaner, pharmacy or even your favorite barista.

Budget: After speaking with a lender you should know what you can and can’t afford.  Buyers, whether first time or an empty nester relocating from the suburbs, have to make a tradeoff between the size of their condo and the location.  Some of Boston’s neighborhoods are considered up-and-coming hot spots, such as South Boston and Midtown, or perhaps the South End, where you can get more square feet for your dollar relative to the Back Bay or Beacon Hill, for example.

Family: Buyers with young children are often looking for neighborhoods that are near good schools and playgrounds. Whether you’re inclined towards Beacon Hill, Back Bay or the South End, there are a variety of choices. You might even consider living close in to Boston, such as Brookline, which offers a mix of urban and suburban living and is known for its fine public schools and easy access into Boston.

Amenities:  Comparing a list of your desired home amenities with neighborhood characteristics can help ensure a more targeted search. If a spectacular harbor view is essential, many of the luxury buildings in Charlestown, the Waterfront area or the Seaport’s Innovation District will fit the bill.  Those who prefer brownstones situated on picturesque streets, steps from a thriving retail area with high fashion boutiques may favor the Back Bay or South End. Or, if looking for luxury full-service options, you might find the Back Bay, Midtown, the South End, Waterfront or the Seaport your neighborhood of choice.

When you’re in the market to buy a condo in downtown Boston, let me help you narrow down which neighborhood is right for you!