Jump to content

Thinking about moving to Providence?


Cotuit

Recommended Posts

It seems that rental agents are very few and far between in Providence. Coming from New York and Boston where there is a real estate agent on every corner I was befuddled about how people find housing in Providence when I first started planning to move here. So much is owner occupied and the best deals are the apartments above the little old ladies house sign in the window type places.

I got my apartment by happening on a one-women agency on Federal Hill, and happenning to catch her at one of the rare moments she was in the office.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I will look up "happening one-woman agency" under realtors:) Can't be too many under that heading. And also try and get in with the little old ladies - that's exactly the scenario I imagine. I need to take up knitting or become better at Scrabble.

Thanks so much-

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I will look up "happening one-woman agency" under realtors:) Can't be too many under that heading.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Toni, Demco Realty, 831-2073. She has a few buildings on Federal Hill, triple-decker type places.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, the room I stayed in was quite nice (I swear to god it was)! But agreed, the location is less than ideal, which is why I'm open to other suggestions.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:lol: Well, it must at least have great bay views from the rooms facing south.

By the way, thanks, cotuit, for the hotel info/link. You are truly a fountain of information! :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No sweat. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it's still around I'd stay away from Bishop Realty as well.

It seems that rental agents are very few and far between in Providence. Coming from New York and Boston where there is a real estate agent on every corner I was befuddled about how people find housing in Providence when I first started planning to move here. So much is owner occupied and the best deals are the apartments above the little old ladies house sign in the window type places

I think the commission system is different in Prov vs. other cities, isn't it? Here, only the landlords pay the real estate agents to find tenants, other places the tenants often have to pay the agent a fee for finding an apartment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the commission system is different in Prov vs. other cities, isn't it? Here, only the landlords pay the real estate agents to find tenants, other places the tenants often have to pay the agent a fee for finding an apartment.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It works both ways in other places, it all depends on the agency and how hot the market is. In the late 90s when Boston was under 1% vacancy the tenants had to sign over their first-born to sign a lease. After September 11th the market crashed a bit and landlords were paying the fees and there were even some first month free deals and the ability to negotiate upgrades and fees was back on the table.

I'm not sure how it works in Providence, my agent and landlord were the same person, so there was no fee. Just first, last, and deposit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd also suggest "The Futuristic District" on Smith Hill (look for a crayon box made of houses around the corner of Esten and Orms). It's a bunch of ecclectic folk. You even have a gigantic Fourth of July party "Liberty Fest" (pretty much the whole block). Openings tend to be kind of rare so good luck. I forgot the address but it's a big, red, house with a yard and stone wall in front of it on Orms st. (the corner before Esten and Orms.). Sorry if it's not a whole lot of information but I don't have the number right now. I'll try and get it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd also suggest "The Futuristic District" on Smith Hill (look for a crayon box made of houses around the corner of Esten and Orms).  It's a bunch of ecclectic folk.  You even have a gigantic Fourth of July party "Liberty Fest" (pretty much the whole block).  Openings tend to be kind of rare so good luck.  I forgot the address but it's a big, red, house with a yard and stone wall in front of it on Orms st. (the corner before Esten and Orms.).  Sorry if it's not a whole lot of information but I don't have the number right now.  I'll try and get it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

a house made of crayon boxes-too fine! - i like your description vey much. i'll check into that neighborhood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,

First of all, thanks so much for this thread. It has been invaluably useful as I try to figure out my life for the next three years.

I will be moving to Providence from South Florida as a graduate acting student at Brown/Trinity Rep. (I promise, at all my parties outdoor urination is strongly discouraged).

I'm basically looking for some direction, not knowing much about the housing market in Prov.

My budget is about $200K and I'd love a place in a fun, safe neighborhood preferably within walking/biking distance to Trinity Rep.

I have a friend up there with an entrepreneurial bent trying to talk me into a multi-family, but from what I've seen the more realistic options for my price range are a single-family or a loft/townhouse. And I'd be fine with renting out a room to help with expenses, if I can find a place big enough. Of course, it would be nice if I could take a little appreciation when I sold it as well.

So basically, I'm looking for an affordable, well located property with low maintenance that generates its own income. I'd also love it if it made Julianne fries.

Could someone please give me some general ideas as to where I should start looking? Or should I just rent for three years, since those rates seem so low?

Help! :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I would start by doing is whipping out the map of the city neighborhoods Cotuit posted earlier in the thread and sit down and surf riliving.com... From there, you'll have lots of options. Take a look at some of the earlier message in the thread for a rundown of each neighborhood.

For your price range, you'll hit the entry level for East Side condos/SF's in places like Hope Village and the West Side of Providence. If you really want to be within "rolling of bed range" of the Trinity Rep, you'd best rent one of the great new lofts on Westminster St or elsewhere Downcity. You won't get closer to the Rep than that, and unfortunately, there is really no place to buy for your price range downtown now...

- Garris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My budget is about $200K and I'd love a place in a fun, safe neighborhood preferably within walking/biking distance to Trinity Rep. 

I have a friend up there with an entrepreneurial bent trying to talk me into a multi-family, but from what I've seen the more realistic options for my price range are a single-family or a loft/townhouse.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If your budget is in the $200k range for a single-fam. or condo, it will easily be over $330k for a 3 family. This would get any number of very nice houses on the west or south sides, pretty close to Trinity Rep. and downtown if you are will to landlord a bit....

The Pearl Street development might be a place to look...the Trinity Rep setbuilding studio is going to be onsite (!) and it is very close walking distance to downtown.

there are pretty cheap condos popping up on/off Broadway that might be an option for you....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I've been lurking for a bit and I beg your indulgence while I explain my situation. First, we are going to make a trip out to Providence sometime in August, but until then, I really can't contain myself. I have questions.

My husband and I moved out here to Flagstaff, AZ from Chicago (he's originally from MA) because we thought we could make a living out here before the bursting of the internet bubble. Oh well. Anyway, he's getting a mid-life second B.S. in Accounting, whilst I labor away doing tech support at a small ISP. I'm hoping that my web design/networking skills might translate there -- working for myself or someone else.

I am *longing* to go back to city life and to downsize to one car. We each have motorcycles, so we'll need a garage, I think. I was wondering about Wayland Square: is it possible to get in there for under 500k? What are some of the street names so when I go to riliving.com I can guess where I'm looking? I'm really trying to understand the neighborhood "vibe", for lack of a better word. We are in our 40s, have dogs, but no kids so we don't give a fig about schools. My husband isn't fond of the whole apartment thing or the HOA thing, but still, are there decent townhouses to be had at all? I would really, really prefer to stay away from Suburban Family Valuesland.

Thank you

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been lurking for a bit and I beg your indulgence while I explain my situation. First, we are going to make a trip out to Providence sometime in August, but until then, I really can't contain myself. I have questions... snip... I was wondering about Wayland Square: is it possible to get in there for under 500k? What are some of the street names so when I go to riliving.com I can guess where I'm looking? I'm really trying to understand the neighborhood "vibe", for lack of a better word... snip...  I would really, really prefer to stay away from Suburban Family Valuesland.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hello Meg!

Welcome to UP-Providence! I live in Wayland Sq, so I can give you some hints/tips.

First, the most important thing... Cost. Is it possible to get in for under 500K? Absolutely, but it depends what you want. It's far more likely for condos then for single families. I got into my 2 bed, 1 1/2 bath, 15-1700 sq ft, 2 parking space (one garage) condo for about half that, but I was very, very lucky. I'm also in one of the few (only?) rowhouse style condos in all of Providence, not just Wayland Sq, as most condos are home conversions. I believe one other unit in my condo (12 units in all, built in the 60's) has sold for a little over $300,000 recently, so it is certainly possible to get in (sorry, no one selling right now that I know of). Other condos in converted homes come on and off the market (usually 2 bed, 1 baths, 2 parking spots) for $275-$350,000 but are snapped up quickly, especially in the spring. It's amazing how many listings have vanished from riliving in the last 1-2 months. It's best to have a relationship with a realtor here who can move quickly for you.

If you're looking at condos, you owe it to yourself to look at Eastside Commons (www.eastsidecondos.com). They're 1-2 bedroom condos in a huge condo development being built right now at the edge of Wayland Sq next to a surprisingly inoffensive strip mall housing East Side Market (a fantastic supermarket), a BB Video, and a bank. I believe the price range is $300,000 for a one bedroom to up to $650,000 for the top two bedrooms with bay views, with lots of configurations in-between. They're being done by a very good builder and are touted as "luxury" units. If you're interested, move fast, because I've heard they're selling quickly (maybe 70% sold?) despite not even being half done yet. This is also as inexpensive as Wayland Sq condos will get for a whle. Everything else being proposed or built right now is $600,000-$1,000,000.

For single families, it's going to be tougher. Most houses in the square proper are old, grand places, and I think $500,000 is unrealistic. I want to say most SF's here go for $550,000 and up, but those streets tend to feel more suburban anyway. Something within walking distance (say, near the Brown athletic fields on a map) might be doable for under that, but if so, it won't be by much.

As far as a map of the "square," go to google, type in 199 Wayland Ave, Providence, RI, and select the "Mapquest" map option, zoom into level one (the closest zoom), and that'll essentially be the square proper with all the streets.

As far as neighborhood character, it's an odd place. There are essentially three demographics in the square. Elderly retirees (probably the biggest), graduate students renting in some of the large aparment buildings in the square (#2, and the polar opposite of #1), and folks like me round out the rest (young single or recently married professionals). So it makes for an interesting mix between very quiet conservative folks and very edgy, "out there" progressive folks. CVS feels like the generational United Nations here sometimes :). Families are rare, as is diversity.

The commerical mix is also odd. On one hand, there are neighborhood services (a good CVS, 2 barbers, two excellent cleaners, two excellent supermarkets, a decent wine/beer outlet). On the other hand, the prominent developer here wants Wayland Sq to be an upscale shopping area, so we also have a jaw-droppingly expensive home goods store, a gourmet cheese store (which is great, but how much gourmet cheese does one need?), Chicos clothings (the newest entry), an upscale candy store, an upscale linens store, a top-cost antiques store, etc... Restaurants are a new entry, and are the first things here arguably to draw people from elsewhere in the area. A top Japanese/sushi restaurant, a newly opened New American restaurant that is getting rave reviews, a good bakery, a deli, a diner, a lunch soup/sandwich place, a Subway, a good pizza joint, and probably, soon, an upscale Italian place. Also here are two book stores.

Despite the good mix, the neighborhood on the whole has a very sleepy, very quiet feel that doesn't have nearly as dynamic an aura as you'd think by reading my desciption, something that probably doesn't help the retail all that much. The elderly retiree set thinks there is too much retail already, and the conservative neighborhood association has already battled to keep closing times of restaurants down and restrict beer/wine licences. While quiet, it certainly doesn't feel suburban (if it did, I wouldn't live here :) ). I have some photos of Wayland Sq up in the "Providence Photo of the Day" area in the forums.

If you're looking for a similar neighborhood that's a bit "edgier" in feel, more active, and certainly cheaper (often by 1/3rd or more), with arguably a near identical but more diverse and stable mix of retail, look at the "Hope Village" (not a widely used term, BTW) area that is at the intersection of Hope Street and Rochambeau, NW of Wayland Sq. It's a younger, hipper, more highly trafficed area that's cheaper because it's slightly more downscale, farther from the downtown, and does boarder a "sketchy" area that surrounds Camp St to the West. A bit farther North and cheaper still, but I think nicer, especially if you don't care about schools, is the "Oak Hill" area of Pawtucket, right on the boarder with Providence. It is at the intersection of Blackstone and Hope, boardering a park, and has some nice commercial options with Maximillian ice cream (Providence's best), "India" (a nice fusion Indian restaurant), and Ran Zen Japanese sushi restaurant. There's also a market/pharmacy in a strip plaza that also houses Barney's Deli (a nice Jewish-style deli), Ronzio's pizza, and Garden Grille (Providence's best vegetarian option and one of the tastiest and hippest restaurants around, period). It starts to feel slightly more suburban here, and it's not as walkable and doesn't quite have the "Main St neighborhood" feel of Wayland Sq and Hope Village, but is a nice area as well. You need to search under Pawtucket in riliving.com, not Providence, for that area, but you'll notice your taxes will be a ton lower. Also, many folks who have dogs choose to live In Oak Hill because the park in this area is one of the city's few accessable wide open spaces to run with them, play, throw balls, etc. Wayland Sq and Hope Village have no open space at all.

I hope this helps! Ask any questions you may have.

- Garris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meg's husband here... Thanks for the advice! The only caveat is that I'm not sure where her "under 500K" figure came from -- I'd put our upper limit at least 150K below that, which obviously limits our options... but you've given us some ideas.

I grew up in the Boston area (specifically, Wayland, MA -- not to be confused with Wayland Square!), went to college in Worcester, then lived in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale for a couple of years, before moving out to Hudson, then points west. We're looking to come back east, but Boston is ridiculous now, so we're trying to find other options. I'm working on getting a degree in accounting, and am going to look for a job in either Providence or Boston (now that you can take commuter rail there from PVD), or somewhere in between. At least that's Plan A.

Thanks for your help!

Urb

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Meg's husband here... Thanks for the advice!  The only caveat is that I'm not sure where her "under 500K" figure came from -- I'd put our upper limit at least 150K below that, which obviously limits our options... but you've given us some ideas.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:rofl:

You're fine in Providence even at $350k.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Garris/Ank/Cotuit/Others, how ya doin? After reading some of your posts it looks like all of you have a good understanding of the real estate market down there. I have made an offer on a one bed condo at 1200 Westminster st.- 2 parking spots, on bus line, etc. It is listed at 165,00 and while I understatnd you are not agents per se, do you think I am getting a fair shake? Tangibles- high ceilings, central A/C, hardwood floors, etc. SO did I do okay? :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And so, you've glimpsed the life of a former Bachelorette of Fine Arts tied, irrevocably, to An Accountant. To his credit, he is a fine jazz/classical trombone player (among other low brass instruments. I'M WITH THE BAND! :w00t: ).

If you know of any real estate agents with a background in mediation, marriage counseling or abnormal psychiatry (with dispensing priviledges), we'd welcome a letter of introduction.

As far as the so called "number" goes, we all gird ourselves to dealing with Eastern Seabord Sticker Shock in our own way. :whistling:

Thanks so much for your thoughtful posts and the pictures are great. I thought maybe Hope Village might be worth a look only because the Rochambeau library had the best hours. Is Oak Hill on any bus lines? How much of a haul would it be to any of the commercial areas or to, say, Whole Foods? As I said, I am petrified of being stuck in Suburbia again. My other little problem is being a Chicagoan, I'm so used to a grid system where you can pinpoint anything just by address and the simple equation of 8 blocks to the mile.

Oh, and Urb lived in Hudson, MA. Cute little town but too many lawns and not enough cement.

Okay, I'm off to formulate more questions....many thanks. I'll be around.

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Garris/Ank/Cotuit/Others, how ya doin? After reading some of your posts it looks like all of you have a good understanding of the real estate market down there. I have made an offer on a one bed condo at 1200 Westminster st.- 2 parking spots, on bus line, etc. It is listed at 165,00 and while I understatnd you  are not agents per se, do you think I am getting a fair shake? Tangibles- high ceilings, central A/C, hardwood floors, etc. SO did I do okay?  :huh:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm no expert, but that all sounds good to me. The 2 parking spots in itself is quite a find.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful posts and the pictures are great. I thought maybe Hope Village might be worth a look only because the Rochambeau library had the best hours. Is Oak Hill on any bus lines? How much of a haul would it be to any of the commercial areas or to, say, Whole Foods? As I said, I am petrified of being stuck in Suburbia again. My other little problem is being a Chicagoan, I'm so used to a grid system where you can pinpoint anything just by address and the simple equation of 8 blocks to the mile.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think Hope Village may seem a tad suburban to your Chicagoan sensibilities. The 42 bus line from Providence to Pawtucket does run rather frequently, but service on the weekends isn't as great, you could feel a bit trapped, especially in winter when you're so close to downtown, but so far by the bus schedule.

You might get more urban for your buck by looking on the West Side where it looks like scheffler is going. Look at West Side/End, Armory, Federal Hill... The West Side is not as gentrified yet as the East Side (which means you can get a bit more home for a bit less money), but you can walk to Downcity in a pinch. I live on Federal Hill (on the west side) and work just east of Downcity on College Hill and walk to work most days (about 15-20 minute walk).

The West Side is still rough around the edges, I live in one of the more gentrified areas off Atwells Ave. and I have an alarm system because we had some problems. Depends what level of roughness you are comfortable with, you can view crime statistics for each area on the Providence Police website. The West Side is District 4.

Smith Hill is also worth a look, it's closer to Downcity than Hope Village, but it's a bit seperated because of the highway and the mall. You can walk from parts of Smith Hill into Downcity rather easily. Again, it's a bit rough around the edges, and seems like it's not quite ready to stop being rough, the focus is really on the West Side right now and it may be years before Smith Hill really turns the corner.

You might also want to rent for a while, rents are still pretty cheap even in areas that are considered quite sought after. There are a lot of projects about to breakground Downcity and in other areas so you might want to rent on the cheap for a bit, sock away some cash and see what's available in a couple years as far as condos. Although, now may be the time to buy as Providence is quickly becoming discovered by disenchanted Bostonians and people from around the country looking to return to New England.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The West Side is still rough around the edges, I live in one of the more gentrified areas off Atwells Ave. and I have an alarm system because we had some problems. Depends what level of roughness you are comfortable with, you can view crime statistics for each area on the Providence Police website. The West Side is District 4.

Thanks for this Cotuit...

I think I'm going to invest in some more security. :unsure:

My district looks pretty high for burglaries, but then again, my district has a large number of private residences. So, I guess its important to keep that in mind. The number of break-ins will be much lower in locations that have fewer places to break in to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I said, I am petrified of being stuck in Suburbia again. My other little problem is being a Chicagoan, I'm so used to a grid system where you can pinpoint anything just by address and the simple equation of 8 blocks to the mile.

Meg

Being from Boston I wish we had a grid system, now post big dig things are even worse. My advise- don't drive, I know how to get there ( places of interest) but explaining it to people new to the city is alomst impossible. I found Providence to be similar in that nature also. I was following mapquest just fine until one of the streets I was supposed to take a right on didn't exist and then I had major problems figuring out why Westminster st. dissapears and then re-appears about 2-blocks away. I have a pretty good sense of direction, but found Providence difficult to navigate by car. There is a thread out there listing Providence as one of the worste places to drive, and now I know why. Other than that the city is a great up and coming place to get in on before prices take off. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was following mapquest just fine until one of the streets I was supposed to take a right on didn't exist

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

A lot of times, when a street changes it's name (which seems to happen almost every other block to Providence's streets) MapQuest will tell you to make a turn, really there's no turn, the street just changes names.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of times, when a street changes it's name (which seems to happen almost every other block to Providence's streets) MapQuest will tell you to make a turn, really there's no turn, the street just changes names.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good to know, I took a wrong turn and ended up in a "barrio" that I shouldn't have been in, people were standing in the road and wouldn't move- I decided to be patient and not get my face pounded in. Good move on my part. Those service roads are fun, especially when you go around them a few times! LOL :rofl: Like Boston I am sure I just need to get to know the town a little and I'll be fine, but thanks for the tip just the same!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm no expert, but that all sounds good to me. The 2 parking spots in itself is quite a find.

I agree, it sounds in line for that area, although it depends upon the condition of the property. I saw a listing a year and a half ago for a 2 bedroom condo in a building in Wayland Sq for $205,000 with 2 garage spaces. It sounded great, but then I went to look at it and found out why... The place felt barely habitable.

I think Hope Village may seem a tad suburban to your Chicagoan sensibilities...  You might get more urban for your buck by looking on the West Side where it looks like scheffler is going. Look at West Side/End, Armory, Federal Hill...

That may be true. Thinking of Chicago, Wayland Sq feels like a tiny Oak Park or, thinking of Boston, a tiny Brookline. Hope Village does get more suburban, and Oak Hill more so.

The West Side is not as gentrified yet as the East Side (which means you can get a bit more home for a bit less money)...  The West Side is still rough around the edges, I live in one of the more gentrified areas off Atwells Ave. and I have an alarm system because we had some problems...

All true. It also doesn't (yet) have the degree of neighborhood services the other areas enjoy...

Smith Hill is also worth a look, it's closer to Downcity than Hope Village, but it's ...  a bit rough around the edges, and seems like it's not quite ready to stop being rough...  the focus is really on the West Side right now and it may be years before Smith Hill really turns the corner.

I agree again. I'm not a big fan of the Smith Hill area. I work frequently at the Providence VA Hospital there, and the area feels very rough in an entrenched fashion. It's odd, since the area boasts beautiful architecture, some fantastic restaurants (Thai Star, Little Chopsticks, NY System, a backery I can't remember the name of right now, several Latin American themed restaurants), parks, Providence College, hospitals, and other essentials. For Smith Hill, you have to look at specific neighborhoods in the Northwest corner, which is beautiful and where many of my co-workers have bought homes. It also, unfortunately, is the farthest part of the neightborhood from the Downtown. The areas closer (near Roger Williams Hospital, the VA, the middle school, etc.) are very sketchy. Lots of idle folks hanging out on stoops who are quick to harrass, overcrowded triple deckers surrounded by metal mesh fences, garbage on the streets, etc.

It has tons of potential, but I think four things hold that area back:

1 - I think the highway and mall are big psychological barriers.

2 - Save for a small part of Smith St., the area isn't actually very urban, so it won't have that buzz or feel that a rejuvenated West End has, for example.

3 - The presence of big institutions (that huge and annoying middle school, Roger Williams hospital, the VA) will keep some areas of the neighborhood down (who wants to live across from the Roger Williams ER or the middle school playground?)

4 - Some areas near PC have the reputation of frat havens...

I think the West Side/Armory has better potential, and areas of the South Side may even come up before Smith Hill. I'm surprised PC doesn't do more in their area. Compared to Brown, RISD, and J&W, you never hear a peep about PC doing anything for/in/with the city.

- Garris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.