The majority of people living in Brookline actually work in Boston, but prefer the feeling of the town life to the bustling city. This has led to a unique housing situation compared to many towns of similar size. Whereas most towns have a lot of single family homes, there are a huge number of apartments in Brookline -- from high-rises to small complexes. So you'll have a lot of choices when trying to find an apartment rental in the area, and you can have as many bedrooms as your heart (and roommates) desires.
The most important thing to consider when planning to get an apartment of any size in Brookline is money. Even by Massachusetts standards, Brookline costs you a hefty heap of dollars (or, in native-speak, "dollahs"). In return, you get lots of trendy shops and restaurants, top-of-the-line services, and you're within spitting distance of Boston. Brookline residents say it's all worth it, but be prepared to shell out some serious dough.
Great apartments are hard to come by, so be sure to have all your paperwork in order before you begin your search--you may need to pounce. Referrals from your employer, last landlord, and any important individuals you may know are necessary (got any senators in your contact list?). Proof of employment, credit checks, pay stubs, and bank statements are also essential in all but the cheapest rentals. Think of it as getting an impromptu audit.
Frankly, all of Brookline is nice, but some places are nicer than others, and some areas are more affordable. Here's a brief description of the various 'hoods, with relative price ratings.
Saint Paul Street: Situated in north Brookline, this is the best of the best, filled with high-rise apartments. If you can get a place here, you know you're on top, regardless of what floor you end up on. $$$$$
Westbrook Village: A fairly stable part of town filled with single family homes. Renting a 3 bedroom home or a small studio home (1 to 2 bedrooms) is possible, but there isn't an apartment as far as the eye can see. $$$$
Hellenic College: Filled with historic houses, this old neighborhood is a fantastic snapshot of old style architecture. $$$
Boylston St.: This is the most renter-friendly place in Brookline, with low-rises full of 1 to 2 bedroom apartments. $
Brookline Village: Another affordable neighborhood, Brookline Village always has a few empty units at the small apartment complexes and high-rise apartments that make up the community. $$
Brookline residents tout the peace and quiet of their hometown. But, because of its rich community -- filled with highly educated people and lots of big-city professionals -- it is also a place to connect, learn, and have fun. There are many options for recreation and entertainment in the area, including sports clubs, fancy restaurants, stylish boutiques, and trendy nightclubs.
For people who are more into relaxing than living it up, Brookline is filled with parks, cafes, historical sites, art galleries, and other more sedate activities to fill up your time.
Brookline is often considered one of the best places to live in the entire Northeast. If you can put the price aside, it's a rich and dynamic community to join.