Home Buying in 01801>Question Details

Mathew J, Both Buyer and Seller in Massachusetts

Seeking advice - town north of Boston with good school systems (K-HS) with decent area to live in move in condition house for aroun

Asked by Mathew J, Massachusetts Sun Jul 18, 2010


We currently have a townhouse we are trying to move and are looking to get a single family in the 450-500K range preferably newer construction and hopefully in a good younger family oriented town as we currently have a child soon to be entering kindergarten.

The two most recommended seem to be Winchester and Lexington however from what we have seen the prices for entry are a bit higher than we are willing to go for what we are looking for.

Towns we have considered are as follows:
Acton: not familiar with town, a bit further out, houses on average seem at high end of our figure
Burlington/Woburn: Not overly thrilled but it is recommended
Wilmington: Seems hit or miss with the areas
Wakefield: Rather congested and overall not our style (too industrial)
Reading: seems nice but small town and hard to find options
North Reading/Andover/North Andover: don’t know much about either
Lynnfield/Wayland/Stowe: see above for Winchester

Any help/advice appreciated

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Mathew J’s answer
Hello All,

Thanks for the great information. I just wanted to provide an update on this as we went to a number of open houses today in various towns, specifically; north Reading, Andover, Acton, and Wilmington (so depressing seeing what is available for 450-500K in these areas)

As for the list of towns, I think from what we have seen we are leaning more towards North Reading, Reading, North Andover, and Acton. These towns and the respective houses in them seemed a better "fit" with our style though the houses in Acton were a bit older and or seemingly not as kept up as we had hoped for.

As for the other respondents, thanks for the suggestions, we had considered Needham and briefly Arlington, but nothing ever seemed to pop on the various web searches we did in our range. We didn’t consider Concord and Carlisle due to cost, much like Wayland and Wellesley.

New Hampshire and too far north is somewhat out as my wife’s commute to Waltham would be potentially too much for her to handle, she really wants to be max 30 minutes from work in case something happens with our child at school which needs to be attended to.

We have been checking http://www.greatschools.org and find the information helpful but also wonder how much of a difference there is between the towns and their quality of the school system, also don’t know how much weight to put into the MCAS.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and keep them coming.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
Hi Matthew,

You've already received lots of great answers here, so I'll try not to duplicate too much. Since you have a number of towns within your range, I'd first start off with the suggestion that you drive around the different towns, if possible, and get to know them a bit. As you mention in some of your town descriptions, you've already noticed some things you may or may not like (ie. Wakefield being a bit congested and industrial) so it's always best if you can check out the towns yourself. Also try visiting them at different times of the day, particularly during rush hour. What might seem like a quiet little street on a Saturday afternoon could also be a short-cut for rush hour traffic and could be incredibly congested during those times.

I also suggest checking out the WickedLocal.com web site for community info. If you go to their community search page (http://my.wickedlocalhomes.com/massachusetts/homes/real-esta…) and enter the name of a town or city, you'll get just about all the local info you'd like.

Finally, I'd also like to put in a plug for Arlington, MA. It's very close to Boston, as you know, and the home prices stayed relatively stable during the recent economic downturn. So you can't really go wrong for your money - it's cheaper than both Belmont and Winchester and the schools are pretty good (especially the Peirce Elementary School). If you have any particular questions about Arlington, I'd be happy to answer them for you.

Best of luck with both your sale and new purchase!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
You may want to go a little further North, Georgetown, Rowley, Topsfield These towns are near rt 95 offer lots of options close to the beach, walking and biking trails and canoeing. You will be able to find homes in your price range, even new(er) construction. Also you are within a 1/2 hour of NH and Maine and 45 min to Boston 25 min to Peabody (malls, target, wal mart ect). These towns are quaint non industrial, Schools are good Georgetown has it own middle high school where Topsfield and Rowley are regional. Each graduating class in Georgetown is 100- 140 total kids. Georgetown offers small grocery store, CVS, and Dunkin Donuts enough if you need anything in town with out the big stores! If you need any help please call anytime Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
These areas have become very popular over the last 5-10 years increasing the entry price, however worth keeping your eye on the market because properties in your range do come on (just be ready to act fast):
Lexington: http://www.territoryre.com/idx/search.html?search=true&s…

Other areas to consider:
Andover: http://www.territoryre.com/idx/search.html?search=true&s…
Concord: http://www.territoryre.com/idx/search.html?search=true&s…
Carlisle: http://www.territoryre.com/idx/search.html?search=true&s…
Acton: http://www.territoryre.com/idx/search.html?search=true&s…
(not north but definitely worth considering) Natick and Needham:
Web Reference: http://territoryre.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
I realize this is a huge decision and you can only do it right once.......
I was just rethinking it and you might want to try this website - it has many facts you might find of interest.


If you need me just call, I hope it helps, J

Jamin Jones
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
Hi Matthew,
I work on the North Shore and an often overlooked town is Danvers. It is a very strong community and always seems to be fiscally sound. This is because it has it's own Municipal Electricity which like Peabody and Wakefield provide a solid source of income. They also have a good deal of commercial taxes being paid by the many stores,malls,restaurants and industrial business along Rte 114. Public schools are among the best on the North Shore and it is very commuter friendly with access to RTEs 128, 1, and 95. Here is a community report for you to view. http://tponline.realty-wire.com/Users/F360D994-178B-4ED7-B3E… Please contact me if you would like to discuss Danvers or if you would like a similar report for any other towns. Good Luck!! --Mike
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
Hi Mathew,

Your town list is very diverse. I'd recommend spending a little time getting to know the towns and learning about the schools, and trying to narrow it down some. Visit open houses, drive by the schools and even try to visit them when they are open. Get to know an agent in each area you are looking at, so more information.

You are right about Acton- it is further out (if you are commuting to Boston) but its schools are award-winning and rank high on just about every list (MCAS, SAT scores, etc.) You can find houses in your price range, but probably not newer construction. (This is the town I live in, so it's the one know the most about.)

Two of the biggest factors that affect price (besides the house itself) are schools and proximity to Boston. So I think you have to decide which of these is the most important to you. There is no right answer- just the one that's right for you.

Good luck in yout search,

Web Reference: http://homes.debn.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
North Andover!! I grew up in town and am currently raising two children here now. The value that you will find here is quite strong AND the community has a great deal to offer. Check out the youth center, stop by Stevens pond, walk around the downtown area and make sure you visit the library. You will see for yourself what makes North Andover such a sought after place to raise a family.
Web Reference: http://www.route495.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
My advice is to come a little further north, that is right, come to new hampshire, much lower taxes, bigger homes at a better price, bigger lots, great schools, upscale areas in that price range. Windham is a wonderful area right over the border and easy access to I93.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
Have you tried further east like Gloucester, Manchester, Rockport - many option there.
I would be glad to help you in any area but I am very familiar with these communities if you interested in working with me.

I am available at all hours - just Call, EMail or Text and I will be happy to send you the lastest properties directly to you and we can see them at a moments notice.

Be safe - J

Jamin M Jones
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 18, 2010
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