Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

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bigguy8437
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Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Is anyone familiar with apartment hunting in Boston? I am a recent college grad and I am kinda sick of living with roommates (from college days, I live at home now) and I was looking to get my own studio in Boston. My salary is 60k now and I am looking to get a 1 bedroom studio somewhere in the city. I've started looking using zillow and apartments.com and I have found some decent options already. Is there anything else I should be using? I know craigslist is an option, but I may just use that as a last resort. Also is it unreasonable to expect to get a studio in Boston for 1500-1600 range a month? Also, does anyone know how much parking costs since I am probably going to need that as well. Anything from parking garages to permits.

Also, is it unreasonable for me to want to get a studio with my salary? I am trying to max out my 401k, so I have set up my 401k distributions so that I max it out at 12 months, so my tax home pay after taxes is at 1150 now or 2300 a month. That leaves me with 800 a month left if I get a 1500 studio, and then I have a car payments and insurance which equals 330 total, so I am left with 470 a month, and that excludes if I am going to have to pay for any parking. I am sorta seeing now that I may be cutting it close money wise, so I guess my question really comes down to just general advice about getting an apartment in Boston, and can I really afford it just using my salary with the after tax and after 401k deductions.

As a little side note, I do have a large taxable account of $310K, a Roth of 32k, and a 401k at 12k, so in total my net worth is around 355k including cash, A large portion of that was due to a trust, but I have saved a lot of my salary by living at home since I started working full time in August. I just am getting ready to move out since I am 24 and have saved a decent amount of money already.
bigred77
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigred77 »

Can you live somewhere in Boston where you can get rid of the car? My impression of the Boston public transit system is that it was pretty decent. Remember, no insurance, parking, gas, maitenance, etc will pay for a lot of Ubers.

I think that's fine since you have the large taxable account. Keep maxing out your 401k. If you aren't planning to already, you should be funneling $5.5k of taxable money into a Roth IRA. If you have to draw a little bit from the taxable account for living expenses (maybe 500 - 700 a month) I think that's fine too.

Living on 3k a month in a HCOL city when you make 60k seems pretty reasonable to me. Just make sure you are taking advantage of all your tax advantaged space.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Where in Boston?

Locations are as different as asking "I'm coming from France and want to live in America".

Oh.....and you don't want to own a car in town.
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celia
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by celia »

Yes! Become familiar with public transportation options! On our last trip there, we used the rail and bus lines. Very clean and frequent. No worry about parking at all.
traveltoomuch
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by traveltoomuch »

bigguy8437 wrote: I know craigslist is an option, but I may just use that as a last resort.
Why as a last resort? If you want to avoid large/managed buildings (and I would!), c-l is one of the individual property owner's most convenient tools.

Boston's rental market includes lots of agents. Most of the ones handling rentals are terrible - they're often new licensees and they may not actually know the area. I've seen ones enter occupied units without knocking. I've seen them show totally inappropriate units. And the thought of paying them .5x or 1x of a month's rent for their bad "service" saddens me. In other words, if you use an agent, be willing to fire the first three. Or eight.

This tool may help answer the affordability question: https://www.jefftk.com/apartment_prices/
Last edited by traveltoomuch on Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
chw
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by chw »

If planning to live right in Boston, I would forget the car. Between insurance, and garaging(renting a space), you'll be spending over $400 month, let alone maintenance and car payments.

$1,600 month for a studio is entry level for a modest studio in a good building/neighborhood, and could approach $2,500-$3,000 depending on location and building amenities.

Your salary would seem to support a $1600 month rent, but maxing out 401k is dependent on your lifestyle and other expenses. Another option may be to look at an apartment along one of the MBTA lines a little farther out of the city which may have lower rent, free or reduced rate off street parking (if having a car is a requirement).

Good luck
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

So what sucks about my job is that I have to travel a lot for works so I unfortunately do need my car. And as for saving money into a roth, I am very lucky that a family member covers my roth IRA contribution so I am covered on that front. Maxing my roth and 401k are important to me. I am going to get promoted next October 2018 and my salary will be around ~72K, so in between the 13 month from sept. 2017 and october 2018 I may be tight on cash and saving money but whatever.

my preferred place for living would be beacon hill. i've seen some studios there for about 1600 a month, i just heard that they have really shitty parking options, something like 45 a year for resident parking but its really hard to find a spot. i would rather not have to deal with that hassle. I've also seen a studio in the fenway area for about 1500 which i would also consider too. I may also even hold out even more and save up money again all fall and move into a place starting in january. but as of now I'm leaning towards moving into somewhere in september.
taguscove
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by taguscove »

No, you can't afford it.

1. your income is below the Boston metro median
2. Boston is a top 5 cost of living USA city
3. Beacon hill most is the most expensive neighborhood per sq. ft. in Boston
4. A dedicated parking space in Boston proper is $300, with some select places at $350-400. As other people have mentioned, public permit parking is a nightmare.

edit: I just read your asset portion. Yes you can afford living in Beacon Hill with a private parking spot. IMO moving out of the parents home is a huge improvement in quality of life. Check out City Data forums for specific area recommendations. You won't be able to save anything though on the current salary.
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Yeah that's the biggest dilemma. I know I can afford it with my current net worth, but I just know I will probabaly not be saving any money besides the full 401k match and the Roth IRA which is gifted every year so that doesn't really count. I feel like if I can get a place for 1500 and figure out a cheaper parking option besides non-private parking I can do it
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rob
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by rob »

If you have to have the car what about a reverse garage storage... So find a garage like Alewife or alike - depending where you need to drive for work - that is easy to get to on the T and use it opposite to the commuting crowd :D. Also some local garages will have better rates for overnight/weekends but out each weekday.
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slayed
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by slayed »

it sucks having a roommate but you cannot afford to live in Beacon Hill on a 60k salary, you will end up depleting your savings.
WilliamRice
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by WilliamRice »

Lived in Boston and surrounding areas for many years and still work there. You can afford to rent a studio but try the surrounds areas such as Cambridge/Arlington/Somerville. I always opted for a building because they almost always include heart/hot water and in the long Boston winters I refused to sit in my apartment wearing a jacket and gloves so I don't blow my budget on heat.

Try driving around on main roads and most buildings will have a posting about rentals and a number to call and they always included parking, especially in Arlington and it's right on public transportation.

Broadway St in Cambridge has a few buildings and right on Mass Ave in Arlington has a few as well. Bring your check book and be ready to sign, they go fast, good luck!
Millennial
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Millennial »

How important is it for you to be right in the city proper? I was in a similar situation after college (wanted to live in the city, needed a car for work) and I got an apartment in Davis, which is ~20 minutes on the red line to Park Street. If I'm going out for a run, it's not even 3 miles to hit the Boston city line.

You could be closer if you looked at places near Harvard or Central Squares, or even East Cambridge between Kendall and Lechmere. All of those locations will have cheap ($30-50 per year) on street permit parking. You should be able to get a studio or (maybe) even a 1 bedroom in most of them at your budget. You can be into the city in 5-20 minutes on the T based on where you choose to look.

I think the best deals around are available via Craigslist, using the by owner/no fee section. I am now a landlord in Somerville and that's where I list. As another poster mentioned, the agents are terrible.
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Will do good
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Will do good »

If your main goal is to save and be FI, no you can't afford it, not at your current income.
If you want to be like most other folks and live it up a little, yes you can afford it.
It's really about what you want. Good luck.
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

When would I be dealing with agents though? Do you have to deal with them through zillow and apartments.com? Also what exactly do they do?
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ccf
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by ccf »

bigguy8437 wrote: my preferred place for living would be beacon hill
No. sorry.

I got rid of my rental in boston 2 years ago so I I don't know today's market, but I don't think you are going to find anything right in town for this price, and Beacon Hill is among the most pricey. I moved to the Boston right after college (lived there from 2000-2011, first in Waltham scraping by, then a studio in Cambridge, then Charlestown - each was more expensive than the previous) and I'm all for it, but don't blow all of your money on rent.

Definitely look at Craigslist from the start. I'm very biased, but consider Cambridge and Somerville,
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Just curious, as it seems the consensus is it's gunna be tough due to parking, would anyone's opinion change if I said I was making 72k, which will be my salary in 18 months? I may just get a rommmate for a year for a lower rent than a studio, and then once I get the promotion in a year I'll upgrade. Don't worry about the promotion thing and if it will happen or not, just consider the hypothetical
traveltoomuch
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by traveltoomuch »

Does work also have a fixed office location? Where? (Needing to be both in a downtown office AND have a car seems odd to me, especially at 60k.) Would you consider giving up Beacon Hill and instead living closer to work?

Making 12k more does not change the analysis for me. Being on Beacon Hill is a lifestyle choice. It's not a very Bogleheadish one.
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Pajamas
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Pajamas »

The budget you are proposing is cutting it much too close. Some people manage it, but judging from what you are saying here, you probably won't be happy living in the middle of the city if you are going to be completely broke all the time and can't do, eat, or drink anything that isn't free or very, very, inexpensive. What will happen is that you will end up reducing your allocation to your 401(k) to spend more now.

Consider living in a less expensive area, having a roommate, or at least giving up the car, which would be a liability rather than an asset in central Boston.
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slayed
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by slayed »

why do you want to live in Beacon Hill? for a recent college grad i would suggest Allston-Brighton area.
Hug401k
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Hug401k »

You seem way to young for Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill tends to be an older crowd. Plus, you can't afford it. Look in surrounding areas. Back Bay might be better but at your age, most recent college grads live in Cambridge, Brighton, Allston, Brookline, Somerville, Southie, Newton, South End etc. The secret to getting a low rent in Boston is something NOT close to the subway. Rates drop dramatically and parking is better. I lived in Brighton a long time ago, but the rent was minimal and it came with parking, but I only lived near a bus to downtown (Express bus). Yes, I could still walk to plenty of bars and restaurants. Good luck!
Niam
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Niam »

What are you looking for in a place to live? You haven't addressed that basic question. For almost everything a recent college grad would want, a place like Southie would be better than a place like Beacon Hill (and much cheaper).
youdiditr2
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by youdiditr2 »

Look for apartment next to public transportation so you won't need a car.

You can afford $1500 a month on $60k, only if you don't have a car. You'll be living pay check to pay check if you have a car and paying $1500 a month, eating cat food or ramen
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Alright so again, I have to have a car, so it looks like beacon hill is out of the question due to parking. I guess I'll look in Brighton or Allston.

2300 take home pay a month after taxes and 401k deduction
-330 car payment/insurance
=1970 a month left for rent/everything else
Topic Author
bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

youdiditr2 wrote:
You can afford $1500 a month on $60k, only if you don't have a car. You'll be living pay check to pay check if you have a car and paying $1500 a month, eating cat food or ramen
Are you saying this because of the 330 payment and insurance or the parking that I would have to pay? Or both
bluebolt
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bluebolt »

I would concur with the Allston/Brighton/Cambridge/Arlington/Southie crowd. Beacon Hill is centrally located and great, but typically for the very wealthy or post-college-willing-to-have-a-bunch-of-roommates crowds. Back Bay, waterfront, South End, Kenmore are similar to Beacon Hill from an affordability perspective.
Buffetologist
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Buffetologist »

There are some studios under $1000 on craigslist.

Watertown in a good location with parking included for $1000. I'd check out this one first.
Somerville near Tufts $950
Lower Allston for $975 in a building. Probably a charge for parking, though there might be street parking.
Waltham
Everett

A bunch near Kenmore, but you'll have to get a sticker and park on the street. Good luck during home games at Fenway.

There is a 1Br in Melrose for $1000
chw
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by chw »

bigguy8437 wrote:Alright so again, I have to have a car, so it looks like beacon hill is out of the question due to parking. I guess I'll look in Brighton or Allston.

2300 take home pay a month after taxes and 401k deduction
-330 car payment/insurance
=1970 a month left for rent/everything else
You can't afford $1500 on a studio in Boston. You should be budgeting no more than $1,000 month for rent/parking- not doable in Boston (I work in RE). You should find a roomate and you may find something in the $1200 mo range in Cambridge (for 2 bedrooms) with permit on street parking. Another poster mentioned Arlington, which you can rent for $1000-1100 mo with roomate. Medford/Malden/Melrose are good affordable options, with free offstreet parking typical, and you can be in downtown Boston in 20 minutes by MBTA.

Budgeting anything more than $1000 for rent based having about $1900 net (for rent, food, utilities, cell phone, dining out, clothes,etc) will leave you with dipping into your savings.
Fox
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Fox »

I lived in Boston from 2011-2012. We had a one bedroom apt in Allston (near Boston University) that we rented for $1400/month. We found a parking spot 3 blocks away that we got for $150/month.

Our jobs required a car, but most days we took buses to work. We used the B line to get downtown and to Back Bay, which seemed to be one of the slower lines. The C line was much better in our opinion.

I would consider an apartment a little ways from downtown, use the commuter rails if you can for work, and hopefully get a place with street parking...
nimo956
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by nimo956 »

Bad news is that you need to live with a roommate, but the good news is that you should be able to save 50% of your gross salary! You don't want to live in Beacon Hill or Back Bay; everything in those areas is expensive and overpriced. Look along either the red, green or orange line. Red line has Somerville, orange line has Malden/Medford, green line has Brookline/Brighton.

Income- $60k

Savings:
401k- $18k
IRA- $5.5k
Taxable/HSA/Mega-backdoor Roth- $6.5k

Costs:
Rent- $10.8k ($900/month)
Util- $1.2k
Food- $2.4k
Taxes- $8.3k (guessing 13.8% effective tax rate; fed, state, ss, medicare)
Insurance- $1.8k (guessing 3% of salary for medical, dental, vision, disability, renter's)
Gas (Car)- $600 (don't know how much you drive)
Car Insurance- $1000
Vacation/Fun/Other- $3900 ($325/month)
50% VTI / 50% VXUS
Da5id
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Da5id »

Minimizing your commute is a good idea. Saves expense, saves time. In what general area is your office? If you work downtown, maybe living out on one of the subway lines and taking the T to work when you don't need your car is a win anyway. Or do you need your car every day for work?

I used to live in various spots out on the red line (Porter/Davis). Both nice areas with lots of young people around. But perhaps expensive these days, they have gentrified some since I lived there (I live out in the burbs now).
Wellfleet
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Wellfleet »

How frequently do you need to drive for work? Enterprise was very convenient for me when I was carless living in Boston for 10 years renting.

I really have a tough time recalling any friends or acquaintances with similar incomes at that age who could afford a studio in Boston.

I also suggest reconsidering roommates. There are people looking for roommates who have 9-5 or 9-9 type jobs and really just need a place to sleep and eat dinner, travel on the weekends and aren't looking to continue college, if that was the issue.

I have friends who have lived and live now in these more professional type situations for years with no issue beyond having to share the apartment. Everyone really keeps to their own routine except for watching tv together some nights and cooking dinner together periodically.
jlcnuke
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by jlcnuke »

bigguy8437 wrote:
Also, is it unreasonable for me to want to get a studio with my salary? I am trying to max out my 401k, so I have set up my 401k distributions so that I max it out at 12 months, so my tax home pay after taxes is at 1150 now or 2300 a month. That leaves me with 800 a month left if I get a 1500 studio, and then I have a car payments and insurance which equals 330 total, so I am left with 470 a month, and that excludes if I am going to have to pay for any parking. I am sorta seeing now that I may be cutting it close money wise, so I guess my question really comes down to just general advice about getting an apartment in Boston, and can I really afford it just using my salary with the after tax and after 401k deductions.
I'm ignoring your current assets as I assume you want to use those for little things like retiring someday, emergency fund, etc.

You start with $2,300/month take home, then pay for:

$1,500 studio
$800 remaining

$330 car and car insurance

$470 remaining. From that, you still need to cover a few things like:

Parking $XXX
Food $XXX
Health, renters, dental, vision, LTD, STD Insurances $XXX
Clothing $XXX
Household supplies $XXX
Entertainment (bars, clubs, dates, vacations, etc) $XXX

Also, I can't say what is normal for Boston, but many places you rent don't include utilities in the rental cost, so you may need to add that $XXX also.
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Are people saying that its a huge pain to use an agent/realtor? Or are an agent and a realtor completely different? I was talking to some friends and they were saying that they were looking without a realtor first and then it was hard to get in contact with people so they ended up just hiring a realtor and paid a months rent to them and it was worth it they said, because they told them exactly what they were looking for and the realtor was able to get them into places to see in person pretty quickly. does anyone in the boston area have any good recommended realtors?
Wellfleet
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Wellfleet »

An agent and a realtor is the same thing when looking for an apartment rental in Boston.

I would say that despised dealing with them.
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

My wife went to college in Boston and then lived there for a few years before we got married. I saw what the scam was with real estate agents there. Many buildings used a real estate agent who would show you all of the apartments available in the buildings who paid her salary. So you get the privilege of paying a few months extra rent to have them show you units in their captive market.

As others have noted, if you drive (or walk, even better and faster in Boston) around neighborhoods where you might want to live, you will see signs on buildings and in windows for units for rent without an agent (some of the signs will specifically say "no fee").

From my years of getting around Boston, in case you don't know, the absolute fastest way is by bicycle. Next is walking and using the T. Lastly is by car. If you're driving out to Framingham for work to visit a client and taking him to lunch, you gotta have a car. If you need to get from back bay to someplace on the red line in Cambridge, the T will be much, much faster. If I were to move to Boston (have thought about it for retirement), I'd get a zip car membership and get rid of all my cars.
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Liberty1100
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Liberty1100 »

As a renter in boston, I hate renting in Boston.

Over the years, I have needed to see a lawyer to get a landlord to act like he should, have seen other commercial landlord companies take complete advantage on foreign students. I toured a place where four foreign students were living where they had leaking water from the ceiling (looked like it was doing that for a while) and rat traps placed around the apartment. Oh, and that was walking through with an agent. For some reason, the agent decided to show us that apartment... and he lost all credibility at that point. It just reiterates that they are not worth the 1 month rent you have to pay.

If I was in your situation, I might look into buying a condo or a house. You have a sizable taxable account that you can pull from for a downpayment, more than 6 months of work history at your current job, and you can live alone!
Da5id
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Da5id »

Liberty1100 wrote:
If I was in your situation, I might look into buying a condo or a house. You have a sizable taxable account that you can pull from for a downpayment, more than 6 months of work history at your current job, and you can live alone!
Housing in Boston area is really pricey, I'm not convinced buying is a good plan for OP. He is 24 years old, and who knows how long he will be here? Even if he stays in Boston area, will his initial choice of house be the one for the long term? If not, bad bet. And anyway, not so clear that he can afford on his salary somewhere he wants to live, even if he uses his savings for a downpayment. Not sure I'd go for that.

I'd re-consider the roommate thing myself at that age, but each to their own.
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bigguy8437
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

yeah honestly im not trying to buy something at this point. I don't know if my job will be the same in ten years. I dontt know if I will marry someone and want to move or stay here, just tastes and living circumstances change and im not willing to take that risk of a down payment at an early age. you should go back and look at one of my first posts on this website, and one of the things I asked was using the taxable money to buy a vacation home or just a regular home, that got shot down pretty quickly
jharkin
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by jharkin »

Disclaimer I haven't rad every reply in detail so apologies if I repeat something.


Thoughts:
#1 - 1600 rent on a 60k salary with maxed 401k. No way, the numbers just dont work. At your age you will want a social life :(
#1.1 - But dont forget that Mass allows you to deduct rent on state income tax so you will get a little help there :)

#2 - BUt dont get too discouraged yet - Starting out with a 350k net worth and maxing your 401k in your early 20s is a fantastic head start. It took me until I was married and close to 40 to get to those levels, many people never do. You may find you will be able to retire quite early if you dont make any major mistakes along the way.

#3- Agree with the recommendations to look beyond Beacon Hill. The only people Ive known who lived on Beacon hill all worked in Private Banking ;) If you want a cheap studio but plan to commute on the T you can widen your search. You can look at the south end, Cambridge/Sommervile, Allston/Brighton, etc. Even Brookline and Newton are easy acess to the T. (edit - I see this was reccomended already) Brighton and Sommerville in particular are both relatively inexpensive , near a lot of college nightlife and still only a modest T ride to the financial district.

If money is really tight you can be as far north as Milton/Revere or as far south as Milton/Quincy/Braintree and still be on the T.



When I was right out of college I had a couple of apartments in the Brighton and Newton area. Relatively affordable, lots of restaurants etc nearby, convenient green line acess to go downtown or easy to the pike and 128 to drive out, etc.
PowDay
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by PowDay »

Consensus seems to be that you can't afford a studio, and I agree.

Put your efforts into finding good high quality roommates. The stigma of having roommates is gone, It's common for professionals into their 30s to live with roommates, I know some who even spend upwards of $1,800 a month per person for high end three bedrooms with multiple bathrooms, and lots of space. Cleaning is generally the main pain point, but easily alleviated with a weekly cleaning service.
Topic Author
bigguy8437
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 12:02 am

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

Ok so I think I found a manageable studio in Jamaica Plain for $1,150 a month with utilities included. Jamaica Plain doesnt have that bad street parking, so i can get a permit for street parking or pay $100 a month to park in the lot behind the building. Not sure what I'll choose yet, but I just wanted to see what people think of this price and my situation below. I am probably paying ~200 more than I would be if I were to live with a roommate, but I feel like this is a good price and a good location that I will probably take it.

The math comes out to this for me:

After-tax/401-K deduction monthly take-home pay: $2300
Rent: $1150
Car Payments/insurance: $330
Left over spending money: $820

So in this situation I will essentially be living in a studio in jamaica plain, have a place to park my car, and be a 25 minute ride away from downtown on the green line, and have $800 a month to spend on food. I feel like it may be pushing it for someone who was a big spender, but I feel like I can control it. I also do get a decent amount of gas mileage reimbursed from my company whenever I travel. For example, from January-March it comes out to around ~$130 a week that i get from mileage, so that will help too.

*edit i just realized the only thing i haven't counted in is wifi. heat/water is included, electricity is not but supposedly it only comes out to about $20 a month (asked tenants who live there). anyone know how i can factor in wifi? am i just gunna have to buy myself a wifi box?
Last edited by bigguy8437 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
logicteach
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by logicteach »

You might also try the Somerville area; that used to have some reasonably affordable apartments. If you're dead set against a roommate, you'll need to move further out. If you move west of the city, Waltham is a nice place to live. You can still utilize public transportation but it is harder and less convenient. But there is also a chance that you can find a studio with free parking out there. There are usually plenty of people looking for roommates if you're willing. Good luck!
bluebolt
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bluebolt »

bigguy8437 wrote:Ok so I think I found a manageable studio in Jamaica Plain for $1,150 a month with utilities included. Jamaica Plain doesnt have that bad street parking, so i can get a permit for street parking or pay $100 a month to park in the lot behind the building. Not sure what I'll choose yet, but I just wanted to see what people think of this price and my situation below. I am probably paying ~200 more than I would be if I were to live with a roommate, but I feel like this is a good price and a good location that I will probably take it.

The math comes out to this for me:

After-tax/401-K deduction monthly take-home pay: $2300
Rent: $1150
Car Payments/insurance: $330
Left over spending money: $820

So in this situation I will essentially be living in a studio in jamaica plain, have a place to park my car, and be a 25 minute ride away from downtown on the green line, and have $800 a month to spend on food. I feel like it may be pushing it for someone who was a big spender, but I feel like I can control it. I also do get a decent amount of gas mileage reimbursed from my company whenever I travel. For example, from January-March it comes out to around ~$130 a week that i get from mileage, so that will help too.

*edit i just realized the only thing i haven't counted in is wifi. heat/water is included, electricity is not but supposedly it only comes out to about $20 a month (asked tenants who live there). anyone know how i can factor in wifi? am i just gunna have to buy myself a wifi box?
When my take-home pay was $2300, I was paying $250/mo in rent with 2 roommates in a slumlord owned dump (in the Boston area).

For wi-fi, you'll probably need to get Comcast or RCN for internet service, so that's another $40-$80/mo (without video).

For electricity, do you plan on having AC in the summer? That will be an additional $60-$100/mo.

$20/mo. in electricity seems pretty low. I had a small condo in Boston and our (non-summer) electricity bill was $60-$80/mo.

You're just not leaving yourself a lot of room in your budget and it doesn't seem like you have the best handle on your current or future expenses.
Topic Author
bigguy8437
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 12:02 am

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by bigguy8437 »

I mean I talked to two people that have lived in this studio and the exact one next to it and they both said electricity is 20-30 a month..

I forgot wifi so add 50-80 for that and I'm around 750 a month left for just food and maybe going out for a few drinks here and there. I also know that I am going to be paying first and last month rent up front, so I'll have 10 months to pay on this budget. I know some people say it's tight but I feel like I want to live alone like this more than I want to keep living at home or live with a roommate so I'll make it work
chw
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by chw »

OP, this is a good studio rate for a decent location. You can continue to look, but if it meets your needs, try it out for a year. Personally, I think your budget may be a bit tight, but at least you're looking at it now, and can adjust as needed.

Agree with others, electric seems low, but could be in the $30-40 range if no electric stove. And not running AC in summer.

Also, add in cost of wifi/cable, and cell phone.

Good luck!
Natsdoc
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:53 pm

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Natsdoc »

We live in Cambridge and it's not cheap up here by any means. JP is a great area and that's a reasonable price on a studio. It will be a little tight but you should be able to afford it if you're careful, which it sounds like you can be.

If you wait until fall you get into student moving season and prices will be higher than in March and it will be much harder to find a place.

You might be able to use street parking over the summer and just pay for a spot in the lot over the winter. Otherwise plan on investing in a good shovel!

We use an internet service called Netblazr, I think it's mostly only in larger buildings and it's internet only, but we've had great service with them and I would recommend them if they're available to you.
Da5id
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Da5id »

Natsdoc wrote: You might be able to use street parking over the summer and just pay for a spot in the lot over the winter. Otherwise plan on investing in a good shovel!
Not sure if it has died down, but people used to "reserve" spots they had shoveled out and be pretty vicious about people taking "their" spots on the public street. Not ideal.

I'd still go with sharing rather than being "apartment poor", but we each get to prioritize our spending and OP has made this his priority. JP is mostly a very nice area.
Liberty1100
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Re: Boston apartment hunting advice/can I afford a studio?

Post by Liberty1100 »

bigguy8437 wrote:Ok so I think I found a manageable studio in Jamaica Plain for $1,150 a month with utilities included.
Nice find. It seems like you are on a good path.
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