If you are relocating to Boston from a small city, you might be in for some sticker shock. Boston is expensive! The median house prices up to $350,000 in desirable neighborhoods like Beach Hill and Downtown. Renting isn’t cheap either. The average rental cost for an apartment within 10 miles of Boston is almost $2,500 according to Rent Jungle. If you are looking to save some money, finding a roommate in Boston might be a great option.
To give a little more perspective on the living costs, Forbes ranked the Boston-Quincy metro area the third most overpriced in the country. Utility costs are 23 percent above the national average, medical expenses 22 percent higher, groceries 15 percent more expensive, and everything else 28 percent higher. Roughly 45% of Boston renters are paying more than 30% of their income to rent.
So we know it is expensive and finding a roommate is a good way to reduce costs, but where should you live? Boston has 21 neighborhoods, each vibrant and diverse. The most expensive neighborhoods are South Boston, Back Bay-Beacon Hill, and South End. You will find politicians, successful businessmen and even famous authors living there. Lower priced options are Hyde Park, Mattapan, and South Dorchester. The largest and most diverse neighborhood is Dorchester, which is made of up mainly working class people live.
Like many large cities, traffic can be a nightmare, so you may want to find a place that is relatively close to work. Boston’s “T” (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) can be a useful option to get around the city if you do not have a car. Some good options to live could be Cambridge or Somerville. Both are located close to the subway (redline) and are a straight shot into South Boston (roughly 15-30mins).
Once you have figured out the general area of where you want to live, it is time to start looking for a roommate. Make yourself a list of qualities you are looking for in a roomie. Things like smoking, cleanliness, pets, sleeping habits and work schedule should be on your list.
It is always a great idea to ask friends and family for some roommate recommendations. They know you better than anyone, so there is a chance they might know someone that might be a good living companion for you.
Another popular option is searching for a roommate online. While many people turn to Craigslist, it can be a bit sketchy. Thankfully there are many alternative websites dedicated to helping you find the best roommate. Roommate searching sites like roomster.com even have verified members with links to their social profiles so you can get a good idea who the person is, who their friends are and much more. Currently, roomster has more than 185 private rooms for rent in the Boston area.
Once you narrow down your potential roommate list, you probably want to meet in person before making a commitment. Choose somewhere in public like Dunkin Donuts. Bostonians loves Dunkin’ Donuts, so chances are there will be one close to where you want to live. If you are uncomfortable meeting someone on your own, bring a friend along with you even if you just want a second opinion.
Once you find the right person, prepare a roommate agreement so you know what your responsibilities are. The agreement includes things like cooking, cleaning, groceries, utilities, etc. Keep in mind that a vague roommate agreement may lead to problems later on, so be specific.
So you know Boston is expensive, but it more than makes up for it with its wicked sports teams, the strong economy and diverse culture.
Start your Boston roommate search today.