My family is looking to move from California to the Boston area.

Asked by Joy, Menlo Park, CA Mon Dec 1, 2008

Our first priority is good schools. I have read that Lexington and Newton have good schools, and the area would make commuting to Cambridge pretty easy for my husband. But as a first time homebuyer, how in the world to we afford these places? Also, what is the best way to find a house when we live so far away?

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Val Cloutier, Agent, Londonderry, NH
Mon Dec 1, 2008
Hi Joy
What brings you to Massachusetts from California? My first guess would be for a job? In any case, since you're coming from so far away, you may want to seriously consider finding a suitable home to rent for the time being. This would allow you to really get a feel for the area, the commute, etc. You may want to experience a New England winter before setting down roots and buying property!

I am licensed in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and I've had experience helping to get people settled into rental homes so that they can make the a good decision based on first-hand knowledge of the area. There are a number of very nice homes available for lease, so don't think that buying from 3000 miles away is the only path you have to take.

To give you an idea of prices in Massachusetts, you are welcome to search for homes here: and if you'd like to have listings delivered to your inbox, you can do that as well. Of course there is no obligation... The best thing for anyone who is considering a relocation is to educate themselves as much as possible.

If I can help. please feel free to drop me an email (, and best of luck with your decision...

Valerie Cloutier, REALTOR®, e-Pro®
Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®)
NH & MA Real Estate Services

603-965-5197 Cell
800-746-8448 x424 Toll Free
603-425-1193 Fax
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Robert Byrne, , 02118
Thu Dec 11, 2008
Your husband's new employer is the place to start. Ask the HR director for information on schools, towns, commuting routes, etc. They can also direct you to professionals who can help you on everything from moving the boxes, to registering to vote. Congratulations on your impending move to Red Sox Nation!
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Zelda Kohn, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Fri Dec 5, 2008
Newton's and Lexington's home prices are, actually, no higher than those in Menlo Park area... in case it helps soften your shock :)... Give me a call 617-869-5987, so I can advise you. I know my good school neighborhoods well, understand 1st time home buyers issues, advantages and usually do minimize the stress for my 1st time home buyers so they love me :)
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William Brok…, Agent, Jamaica Plain, MA
Tue Dec 2, 2008
If you want better schools but can't afford the Newton prices you might want to try Milton, MA.
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Judy Boyle, Agent, Marlborough, MA
Mon Dec 1, 2008
Hi Joy!

Without giving you too much of a long-winded answer, the best advice I could give you as you begin your eastward journey is to have a long conversation with an agent who meets all four of these criteria:

1.) Has relocation experience...and you want to ask this question for reasons too numerous to list here.

2.) Is knowledgeable about the "Greater Boston" area which consists of numerous towns in various price ranges...any of which will be suitable for YOUR needs. It's a matter of matching your criteria and budget to the town. If you are flexible and patient, and find an agent who is the same, you will find what your are looking for.

3.) Will be your eyes and ears three thousand miles away. You need to feel confident that the person you've hired knows exactly what you are looking for....will be here in MA beating the pavement to "preview" your options...and will have a short list for you when you arrive to house hunt in person.

4.) Is not afraid to go above and beyond the call of duty. Things will come up that will be unrelated to real estate (trust me) and you need a trustworthy person on the other end you can call upon in a time of need.

I don't need to tell you that this move will be complicated, confusing and stressful. It will also be very exciting....Massachusetts is the most wonderful state in the country if you ask me! If there's one thing you can do for your family to ease the transition...that would be to have an excellent real estate agent on your side making sure that you have found your new HOME!

Best wishes and please keep us all posted!
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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Mon Dec 1, 2008
Joy -
Best way to find a house when you are in California is to identify a great buyers agent you can lean on for advice and guidance, and also good transparent website that give you agent-level access to every property on the market in MA (addresses, maps, market history, etc). Working with an exclusive buyers agent will guarantee that someone is looking out for your best interests rather then their own (ex: not steering you towards the listings/sellers they represent on the sell-side) and helping answer any/all buyer focused questions. Once you have found the right buyers agent begin to outline your needs (price range, schools, proximity to your husbands job) and then begin searching online during your free time. The personal online access to everything on the market will get you familiar with areas and what money can buy you without the pressure of an agent.

Lexington and Newton are great places to start. Well located to Cambridge and good schools.

Every property currently for sale in Lexington - there is actually a 4 bedroom home on the market right now for under $400K:…

and Newton:…

Other places to consider ....





Here is a fantastic website for school info:

Hope that helps get you started. Feel free to contact us direct if you would like more info :) Best of luck!
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon Dec 1, 2008
Joy you will want to find a good buyer broker who can provide you with listing sheets so you can begin to narrow your search., you will then want to view the houses when you are ready to choose the one you wish to buy, the agent then will handle everything here while you pack up and get ready to move. If you would likle a referal for some good agents i work with in thise areas just send me an email. good luck with your move.
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