Founded in 1640, Haverhill is a history buff’s cloud nine. Dotted with historic sites that commemorate the days of the Pentucket Indians, the Salem Witchcraft hysteria, and the Underground Railroad (among other historic events), Haverhill is a town that wears its rich history on its French-cuffed Pilgrim sleeve. Unsurprisingly, the majority of residential buildings are not exactly modern (2 in 5 properties were constructed pre-1940), and many downtown lofts and apartments once functioned as mills, factories, or industrial warehouses. Obviously, no two rentals are exactly alike, so don’t worry about having nothing but cookie cutters to choose from.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Haverhill ain’t cheap. It used to be, no question. But wise courting of business to then, much cheaper spaces, have given Haverhill a top-of-the-hill rep for Boston-convenient burbs. Most 1BR units with basic amenities cost at least a grand, while the average 2BR domicile goes for around $1200. However, some lower-income rentals can be found courtesy of the many downtown high rises, and apartment specials do occasionally pop up, so it’s not like you have to be rolling in dough to live comfortably in Haverhill.
Although many residents rely on jobs in big sister Boston to bring home the bacon, thousands of other locals have the luxury of both living and working in Haverhill. Numerous healthcare, construction, and research/development corporations are headquartered in one Haverhill’s seven industrial parks, and the 10-block Cyber District is quickly turning the city into the I.T. capital of the Eastern Seaboard. Bottom line: You shouldn’t have any problem bucking up for that fancy new apartment of yours.
As is usually the case, the easiest way to travel the mean (and not-so-mean) streets of this particular city is via your own set of wheels. But never fear, automobile deprived citizens: the MBTA commuter rail connects Haverhill to Boston’s North Station, while the MVRTA city buses do an adequate job servicing the city itself. Be aware, though, that the further you get from the city center, the less likely you are to find apartments located in close proximity to bus stops, so if you’re one of the city’s car-less, your best bet is targeting an apartment near downtown.
No matter how deeply you fall in love with your new apartment, chances are you’ll want to get out at some point and see the city’s various attractions. In addition to a slew of historic sites and homesteads, Haverhill boasts a massive natural conservation area, a lengthy trail system running alongside the Merrimack, and a plethora of fishing, swimming, boating, horseback riding, and skiing options. Night owls, meanwhile, have their choice of a variety of pubs, clubs, live music venues, and good old fashioned dive bars (many of which are concentrated in the downtown area) to choose from – not to mention night skiing. Just try not to mix the dive bars with the night skiing for maximum, next-morning contentedness.
Generally speaking, the lower-income, hit-and-miss areas of Haverhill (in terms of curb appeal and crime rates) are located near the city center and in the Avenues neighborhoods, while the outlying areas like Bradford, Rosemont, Riverside, and Ayers Village are generally more family-friendly, crime-free, and, yes, expensive. Remember, any time a Boston Suburb gives itself another name, it is decidedly trying to distance itself from its namesake, for reasons of status. Still, if you discard the entire urban core and concentrate on the outskirts alone, you’ll be missing out on lots of quality rentals in some really attractive neighborhoods. Your best bet for finding the neighborhood that’s right for you is to visit the city and see with your own eyes which part of town floats your boat.
A few things to keep in mind during the search for your Haverhill dream pad:
Apartments are easy to come by in Haverhill, no matter what part of town you’re looking to settle down in.
Waiting lists are extremely rare and most properties have at least a handful of vacancies year-round, so lessees can search the market leisurely without having to worry about a good apartment deal slipping from their grasp.
Renting requirements often differ drastically from property to property in Haverhill. One landlord, for example, may only consider accepting tenants whose monthly income exceeds twice the amount of rent, while another landlord may accept pretty much any leaser willing to write out that initial check. Before scheduling a visit to an apartment, you may want to call in advance and talk to a leasing agent if you’re not sure you meet the apartment’s financial restrictions.
Older properties tend to have some issues that newer ones don’t, so be sure to give your apartment a solid inspection before moving anything in. Also, mark down even the most minor blemish on your move-in checklist, or else you risk losing your security deposit over a preexisting flaw.
Pet-friendly, short-term, and pre-furnished apartments are (perhaps surprisingly) easy to find in Haverhill, and some apartment managers even offer month-to-month leases at only slightly elevated rates. No matter what your requirements are, you’ll find plenty of options, so don’t settle for second best.
And now, good citizens of Haverhill, it’s time to embark on the quest for your dream dwellings. Best of luck and happy hunting.