Dana Bull is a Realtor®, landlord, and investor who started buying property right out of college and racked up a couple dozen apartments in the Boston area before her 28th birthday, while working full-time. Now she’s dedicated to helping first-time buyers and first-time investors make smart real estate purchases in the Greater Boston Area. You can contact her through her website at danabullrealtor.com.
For the past few years, Southie has been all the rage among new buyers. But if Southie, or areas like the North End or Back Bay, just don’t seem to fit your lifestyle or your price point then don’t worry — there’s a lot more to see! Whether you’re looking for an investment opportunity or a beachfront condo, there are plenty of areas in and around Boston to find your future home.
As a real estate investor and agent specializing in working with first-time buyers, I know part of the fun is discovering opportunity in new markets. Below are some of my favorite places to house hunt — some of them you may know, and some you may have never heard of.
1. For the Young Professional
As a Charlestown resident, perhaps I’m a little biased, but it really can’t get any better. The tight-knit community is known for its traditionally Irish population, but more and more young professionals are flocking to the area to settle down. Spanning less than one square mile, Charlestown is known for being the oldest neighborhood in Boston and is jam-packed with several historic landmarks including, the U.S.S. Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. Ideally located just a stone’s throw from the North End and Assembly Square, it’s hard to go wrong in good old Chucktown.
2. For the Investor
Rapidly developing East Boston is a hotspot for economic growth and it’s one of my favorite areas to work with young buyers to find a “diamond in the rough.” From affordable brownstones to classic triple deckers, the various neighborhoods have a little something for everyone. If a fixer upper is not your cup of tea, you might fall in love with the brand new harborside luxury developments. Plus, with Logan airport right in your backyard, it’s a perfect place for those who travel frequently.
3. For the Suburban at Heart
Driving around West Roxbury feels like stepping back in time. While technically part of Boston, West Roxbury has more of a suburban vibe with beautiful homes dotting tree-lined streets that bring you back to yesteryear. The bustling main street offers all the amenities and a variety of restaurants. Other main attractions include Millennium Park, a sprawling six-mile natural retreat, and the Chestnut Hill Mall, which is chock-full of upscale shops.
4. For the Trendsetter
As Boston’s largest neighborhood by area, Dorchester is extremely diverse in terms of real estate. Some of the popular and increasingly trendy neighborhoods include Savin Hill, Ashmont and Neponset. Pockets of Dorchester are rapidly growing and my forward thinking buyers are opting for Dot over South Boston to get more bang for their buck.
5. For the Practical Spender
Tucked away in a gated community in Chelsea, you’ll find Admirals Hill, a gorgeous waterfront complex with all the bells and whistles. Situated on the Mystic River, this hidden gem offers condos and townhouses – many with stunning water views. I’ve always found the impeccably maintained grounds, spacious floor plans, and extra amenities impressive. The price you would pay in the Back Bay for a one bedroom affords you a multi-level pad in this community. It’s certainly a place worth investigating for those who value square footage over a downtown location.
6. For the Foodie
Ask any local resident and they will tell you that Waltham is on fire. Drive down Moody Street and you can’t help but notice the buzzing food scene, from tapas to Indian buffet and anything in between. Not only does Waltham have a walkable downtown, it’s also centrally located to major highways. A short ride on the commuter rail gets you to Boston, but you may be fortunate enough to work at one of the many Waltham-based tech or pharma companies — so why would you ever leave? The cherry on top for outdoor enthusiasts is Prospect Hill Park, a scenic area for hiking and walking.
7. For The Quirky History Buff
Beautiful architecture, world-renowned museums, thriving restaurant scene, and witches — is there anything Salem doesn’t have? This vibrant and quirky seaside city has been dubbed “little Cambridge” and offers countless attractions along its pier and cobblestoned streets. During Halloween, the city comes alive, drawing tourists from all corners of the globe. With easy access to Boston by both train and ferry, it’s the ideal getaway, while still being practical for commuters. Did I mention that historic Salem condos are available for under $300k? Trust me, Salem will charm you.
8. For the Beach Town Bargain Hunter
Winthrop is yet another waterfront community making waves for those who want small-town suburban living in close proximity to the city. This coastal neighborhood offers some killer ocean views as well as amazing peaks of the Boston skyline. You can literally flag down a bus from all around the peninsula for transfer to the Blue Line. Keep in mind, both real estate and the cost of living are more affordable here than in Boston Proper. With all the money you save, perhaps you could buy a house and a boat.
9. For the Nature Lover
Family-friendly Medford has over 24 parks and playgrounds that comprise 118+ acres of land. There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in the summer time, when you can swim and fish at Medford’s Wright pond or boat and canoe along the Mystic River. With access to pet friendly/off leash sections of the Middlesex Fells nearby even your dog can join in. Medford has a quant downtown area as well as easy access to the city. Plus, you’re just a quick bike ride away from booming Somerville.