Tell me about Waltham, Mass

Nov 5th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,115
Tell me about Waltham, Mass

We will be relocating to Boston area in a few months. DH has accepted a position at Brandeis. I have lived in Boston area for 7-8 years when I was in school, so I'm somewhat familiar with Boston. However, I've only lived in Medford and later Brookline, and not too familiar with Waltham area.

We are looking to rent a single-family house, but it seems like options are not too many. It seems like the Waltham area has more townhomes. Our budget is $1600-2000/month for 2+ bedroom. We prefer not to live in apt buildings.

DH wants to be within walking distance to Brandeis, but we don't want to live close to college students. We're too old for late night parties.

Another option is finding a place near the commuter rail line. We know Belmont is a nice area, but what about the area around "Waverley station"? Also, I think we want to stay inside 128 loop.

Any "bad" areas in Waltham we should avoid? BTW, we have been looking at craigslist which seems to have the most listings. Any other pointers are appreciated.
yk is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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The housing market in the Boston area is dominated by the academic calendar. Most leases turn over on September 1. So don't be alarmed by the dearth of housing options right now; by spring, there will be far more places available.

However, I expect that you'll find that the housing within walking distance of campus is dominated by students; after all, a group of 3 or 4 roommates can afford more rent than a working couple.

Living along the commuter rail would tremendously increase your options, of course. And don't overlook the various bus lines; check for the user menu called "service nearby" to identify useful bus routes.

I myself recently rented a single-family house, which I found on Craigslist, in a small city south of Boston. It was listed as an apartment despite being a small house; so read the listings carefully so you don't overlook a good place.
Anonymous is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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I would think that as far as character of the community, Waltham and Medford are very similar - distance from Boston, variety of housing types, mix of residential, light industry, commercial, retail. Also proximity to a college (Tufts/Brandeis).

While Brandeis students do not have a rowdy reputation, I can not imagine any place within walking distance to any college that is not "close to students". I also do not understand the commuter rail thing, since I do not know of a commuter rail stop within easy walking distance to Brandeis - so if you have to take a bus, car or something else to/from station, what is the difference.

gail is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 11:19 PM
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I was wrong about commuter rail - Fitchburg/Acton line has stop labelled as Brandeis.

In Boston area commuter rail works well for people who work regular business hours and not as well for those who work weekends, evenings and out of rush hour times. Service during these is much less frequent, so before relying on commuter rail, consider this.

Is he teaching or doing something else at Brandeis - my husband is an adjunct professor (part time) there - what department.
gail is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:49 AM
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Where are you moving from? I ask because I have found that people coming from different parts of the country have very different ideas of what is acceptable. Single family houses with nice lawns are relatively rare.

Waltham is an ex-mill town and the former watchmaking capital of the US with a lot of older housing stock originally developed for blue collar workers. There are still lots of them there, of many ethnicities, but it has reinvented itself, at least the downtown, as an entertainment center with a good movie theatre, excellent restaurants, brew pub, etc. There are also luxury condos downtown in a former department store, and there may be others as it has been about 5 years since I was in this area regularly.

Brandeis is a bit apart from the rest of the city, and there are newer apartment/townhouse areas near there and toward the Newton town line. Back in the day, Brandeis ran shuttles to the commuter rail and (IIRC) the Riverside T station. Worth inquiring about.
Ackislander is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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Thanks for your replies. Yes, gail, there's a commuter rail stop right at Brandeis, so DH can take the rail to work instead of driving. He is a post-doc fellow at the NeuroSc. Dept.

Both of us used to live in Philadelphia in high-rise apts. However, for the last 3.5 years we've been living in Dallas, renting a single-family home with own yard. We are definitely spoiled by the low prices and extra space here in Dallas. We are expecting a sticker shock. It seems like it's more realistic to look for townhomes, though we really would like to stay away from apt buildings. I don't think we need a yard/lawn - I'm never a big fan of it anyway.
yk is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 10:29 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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Re Waverley Square in Belmont: it's a decent neighborhood, straddling Trapelo road near the town lines with Waltham and Watertown. Has a big supermarket and all the other necessities of a residential neighborhood. You didn't mention if you had kids going to K-12 schools; if so Belmont's schools are among the best.

Waverley also is served by Commuter rail--the same line that goes to Brandeis but check the schedules at -- trains don't run as frequently as buses, which also serve the area.

Waltham itself has a great downtown area with lots of unique restaurants and shops. Welcome back!

Ralphie is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Lots of the rentals in the Waltham/Waverly Sq area will be "Boston doubles." They are basically large houses with up and down apartments. They're nice and big. We lived in Waverly Sq when we were first married 25 years ago and returned a few months ago and walked all around. It was better kept up looking, but still basically the same. Enjoy!
shoefly is offline  

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