Wrap your head around non-traditional rentals when you first begin scouting options in the Attleboro area. Although several modern apartment and townhome communities have been built in recent years, many of the rental homes you'll find in this area are actually houses.
Older homes that are far too spacious for today's average family have been split into multiple apartments that regularly come on the market as rental properties. But jump on these gems quickly, as the demand is often greater than supply. In addition, some history-infused older homes have had their basements, attics, maid quarters, barns, and garages turned into quaint living spaces, which also move rapidly on the local market.
Tenants, Sublets and Leases, Oh My
Of the handful of condo and townhome communities in Attleboro, a majority of the units are owned by individuals. This means that you need to read carefully before you sign the lease on your new home. Make sure you understand whether you're going to be renting from the owner, someone who will be subletting to you, or if you may be dealing with a corporation instead. Each situation has its own complications, so take a close look at the paperwork before you add your John Hancock. On the plus side, because multiple units in the same complex may be available at the same time through different owners, you may be able to negotiate better terms and pricing.
Costs a Lot, Costs a Little
Compared to the national Cost of Living Index score of 100, Attleboro scores 131, 11 points higher than the Massachusetts average and just a bit higher than both Providence and Boston. Fortunately for renters, however, the factors that drive up the area's costs are largely outside of the rental market, where it's possible to find one bedroom units starting in the $700 range, and two bedroom apartments typically under $1000. When you check out non-traditional units, like historical homes that have been converted to a few apartments per floor, you'll often find opportunities to grab rental housing at just over $1 per square foot. You may be able to rent a 1200 square foot home with three bedrooms for a fairly reasonable sum (do the math yourself, it's not that hard). Just remember that these units will likely be more "quaint" than up-to-date; think tiles with character, not marble inlay.
Like many Colonial cities, Attleboro's neighborhoods spread out as settlers homesteaded areas increasingly distant from the original town center or trading area. When a large homestead or parcel of farmland broke up, a neighborhood arose. Of those that comprise Attleboro, you'll find a mixture of historic properties interspersed with more modern buildings. No cookie-cutter neighborhoods here--it's strictly a mix-n-match type of town and that's how the locals like it.
Downtown Attleboro: Host to the city's municipal buildings as well as various commercial enterprises in distinctive red brick mill buildings, you'll find lofts and condos in this area, plus an MBTA commuter station.
Briggs Corner: Home to Briggs Corner Pizzeria and the Briggs Corner Store, this neighborhood may only have occasional rentals, but is high on the tasty quotient.
Dodgeville: Close to Briggs Corner and near the south side of the city, Dodgeville has both South Main Street and the Ten Mile River running through it.
East Junction: The East Junction neighborhood is in the triangle bounded by South Main Street, Thurber Avenue, and Oak Hill Avenue, and you can find some of the lowest rent prices here.
South Attleboro: Warning – Family Guy's Jack's Joke Shop isn't actually here, but as the gateway to Rhode Island and location of the city's two MBTA stations, this is a well-connected neighborhood.
You may get tired of hearing the word historic, but when in Attleboro, well, it's kind of hard to escape. Still, there's actually a lot to do in the present: whether a stroll along the water would float your boat or you're more the museums-and-theaters type, Attleboro has it. And remember, the cultural hubs of Providence and Boston are only short drives away.
A Night at the Museum
Take in a mixture of local artists and the occasional visiting exhibits at the Attleboro Arts Museum, which also hosts frequent classes, benefits, and contests. Local industry is on display at the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum and the Museum at the Mill. Check out a unique homage to the gentler gender at the Women at Work Museum, which touts the many achievements of the region's and country's largely unsung workplace heroines.
Take in a Show
Whether you enjoy playful primates or costumed productions, you'll find them in Attleboro. Spend a day at the Capron Park Zoo and then head to see the latest productions at the Attleboro Community Theatre or Triboro Youth Theatre. The Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary is also worth a visit.
A Pearl Along the River
Although the L.G. Balfour jewelry company is no longer in Attleboro, the site of the former plant has become the L.G. Balfour Riverwalk, along the Ten Mile River. Stroll along, grab a bite at one of the eateries, and find many other jewelry sellers in this former jewelry capitol to ensure you're bling-ed out for a night on the town.
With a WalkScore of a lowly 38 and the only train option swinging commuters north to Boston, you'll need a car in Attleboro to get around town and join the throngs on Interstate 95. If you have errands to run between surrounding towns, you may also take advantage of bus routes provided by the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, though not if you're expecting to ride on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.
Living in Attleboro, you'll find yourself surrounded by history, natives who can trace many generations of ancestors in the region, fun local attractions, and great eateries. Sure, the pickings can be slim on the rental market, but once you're settled in, you'll love the proximity to Providence and Boston, and all the options at your doorstep.