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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
is it really as bad as everyone tells me? im pretty sure my dh is going to buy us a house there in the next couple weeks. i know there are some nicer neighborhoods, which is where we are looking - but what about the town, schools, police, etc?
 

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We used to live in Boxford, right near Lawrence (other side of North Andover) and it wasn't too bad. There are some really crappy parts, but it was an up and coming town. However, due to the housing crash, the town has gotten hit particularly hard and the forecast is that it will only get worse. There was a whole program about Lawrence recently on NPR (I think the program was Radio Boston) and talking about how the risk of fire is so great because homeowners are torching their places to get insurance money before it can be foreclosed on. If I were you, I'd hold off on buying there for a few years until it recovers, seriously.
 

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I live in North Andover, and we never set foot in Lawrence unless we have to. The fire situation is sadly true, plus there is a high incidence of car theft. I would say Lowell is a better choice for city living.
 

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One of my best friends grew up there - and although this was 20 years ago she had several friends that were killed (2 by a drive-by) and was asked to be part of a gang. I think her mom got her out just in time. Dont buy there. If you are looking for a less expensive area try townsend, littleton, ayer (still not super good schools and communities but WAY safer than Lawrence).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
well dh works on the andover line and wont pay the price for a house in andover. so sadly i dont think i have a choice as he is buying this house, not me. i was hoping to find someone that actually *lives* there rather than the same rumors from ppl that live in neighboring towns. i know lots of ppl that say "oh i would never live there" - i was just hoping to get a point of view from someone that actually does live there, something dont have. but thanks anyway.<br><br>
so if i want to join the any of the andover moms groups i likely should not say that i live in lawrence.
 

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Have you (he) looked inot Haverhill or Bradford? Much more affortable than Andover and much safer than Lawrence. School system is just OK though but that may not matter to you.<br><br>
My BIL and his wife moved there from Arlington. They researched all the surrounding towns so while *I* don't know anyone who lives there my BIL talked to a lot of people and spent time in Andover, Lawrence, Haverhill, Bradford, Plaistow NH and 1 or 2 other towns. While there are a few up and coming nieghborhoods in Lawrence he did not find any he was comfortable moving is 2 year old daughter to. He found Andover and Bradford were too $$ for what you get and they were not ready to to move out of state so they landed in Haverhill.
 

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I personally wouldn't want to live in Lawrence. I'd look at Haverhill, Bradford, and Merrimac if you could find any affordable housing. New England is so expensive and <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">:<br>
I grew up in Lawrence. I guess it depends where you live and it's probably changed but I got out as soon as I could. I moved to North Carolina and don't regret it...but that's my story and not your question! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Well my best friend DID live in Lawrence and her mom still talks about how scary it was, but she was on welfare and had no choice. They move from there in 1998 (so its only been like 10 years).
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">well dh works on the andover line and wont pay the price for a house in andover. so sadly i dont think i have a choice as he is buying this house, not me. i was hoping to find someone that actually *lives* there rather than the same rumors from ppl that live in neighboring towns. i know lots of ppl that say "oh i would never live there" - i was just hoping to get a point of view from someone that actually does live there, something dont have. but thanks anyway.<br><br>
so if i want to join the any of the andover moms groups i likely should not say that i live in lawrence.</div>
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Why don't you have any say where your family will live? I don't get that part ??<br><br>
I have a friend that lives in Lawrence and doesn't love it. He moved there from Lowell. He bought a two family and is not sure he made the right decision.<br><br>
They don't have kids yet so I can't speak to the schools.<br><br>
I realize now that none of that may help you - sorry. But I do think it is as bad as everyone tells you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
we have been looking in all those areas for close to a yr. and he is buying this house cuz i still own one in maine that i have negelected to sell, plus i am currently a sahm with not so great credit. he is extremely cheap...seriously. i found these houses (the ones he found were in the ghetto) so that is about as far as my say goes. i drove through the neighborhoods that the houses we are looking at are in and they seem very nice, so much different from the neighborhoods where we looked at multi family houses back last summer, i didnt realize there were nice neighborhoods in lawrence until i saw them with my own 2 eyes. i am pretty sure that dd will go to private school no matter where we live, dh was educated in the british school system and feels like us public education is a joke, so i guess that isnt too much of a big deal. i think im going to show up early for our appointments today and take a walk around the neighborhood to really get a feel for which one is the nicest/safest (hopefully it will stop raining). maybe i will see some neighbors to talk to.
 

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Definitely talk to the neighbors!!<br><br>
And try to sell that house in Maine, at the very least to feel like you have some say in decisions <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> I hate to hear that you feel like your opinions don't matter because you don't bring in $<br><br>
I understand the SAHM thing, but as I tell my DH...he would not be able to build his business and have the life he has now if I did not stay at home and take care of EVERYTHING else. That's just our situation.<br><br>
Good luck checking out the new nests <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> We just bought a house so I know how stressful it is.
 

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yes! Talk to the neighbors. We did that when we bought and it was one of deciding factors for my bil. You can learn a lot that way. Good luck!!
 

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Go to NPR and find the Radio Boston program and look up Lawrence, MA. I think it was on about a month or two ago. It will give you good resources on the situation in Lawrence with declining housing values, foreclosures, etc. That's fine about private schools, but like some people have said, Haverhill is way cute and the houses are still affordable. They have a Montessori charter school that is excellent and we would have moved there but my hubby got transferred further south in Mass. Rather than just house price, look at the long term. If something happens and you need to sell, if the market hasn't recovered (and the experts on the program on Lawrence said it was one of the hardest hit in MA and will be slowest to recover) in the town, you'd be stuck. As for the mom's groups in andover, there is the Mother Connection (and yes, some of them can be very snooty about Lawrence, but there are some really cool ones. they've got around 1000 families in the group, so there are a mix!). Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
we have lots of family in haverhill and that is the town my parents have been pulling for, but all the houses there in dh's range need so much work and he is not handy. so lawrence it is. we actually found a really good neighborhood where 90% of the neighbors have been there 15-40 yrs. we are certainly going to be there a good 10 yrs min, so i think we are safe price wise. and if we get the house we think we want, its very cheap so in that sense we are safe as well.<br><br>
thanks for all the input. still looking other (soon to be fellow) moms that are braving the scary town of lawrence <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">:
 

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Here is a Link to All of Lawrences factoids. I would try Haverhill. My uncle moved there from Maine. He does not love it but it was very affordable. If I had to live up that way I would never choose Lawrence. My best friend grew uo there (now lives in Andover and does all she can to stay away) I was a Pampered Chef Consultant and had 15 shows in Lawrence and all at night all but two were in "safe" neighborhoods. Iw as pulled over (by police) and told I may not want to be driving in the neighborhood I was in past dark. Talk to the nieghbors.
 

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I don't live in lawrence but I've worked there- I spent a year in the school system and now I do home visits there. I never found it to be "as bad as people say".. I don't know how familiar you are with it, but it is predominantly people from Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, with transplants from NY. There are also a lot of people who bounce between there and lowell or methuen. There is a really nice neighborhood/development on the Andover line (in the South Lawrence East School district) that people are often surprised to find out is actually in Lawrence, not Andover. I would try to find a home on the Methuen or Andover line, regardless.. If you can't convince your DH to move to Southern NH, where the housing prices may also be better. Because of the housing issue people mentioned before, it is hard for people to move out of Lawrence once they're there.. Private schools are a good choice and being in Lawrence your lo will have good opportunities for acceptance and scholarships for private high schools and colleges. Lawrence is about 30 minutes away from where I live in So. NH so if you are looking for a mom's group to join, pm me for the link to the mom's group i belong to. It's nice, open-minded mamas who won't judge you for living in lawrence!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sprouthead</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10740008"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't live in lawrence but I've worked there- I spent a year in the school system and now I do home visits there. I never found it to be "as bad as people say".. I don't know how familiar you are with it, but it is predominantly people from Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, with transplants from NY. There are also a lot of people who bounce between there and lowell or methuen. There is a really nice neighborhood/development on the Andover line (in the South Lawrence East School district) that people are often surprised to find out is actually in Lawrence, not Andover. I would try to find a home on the Methuen or Andover line, regardless.. If you can't convince your DH to move to Southern NH, where the housing prices may also be better. Because of the housing issue people mentioned before, it is hard for people to move out of Lawrence once they're there.. Private schools are a good choice and being in Lawrence your lo will have good opportunities for acceptance and scholarships for private high schools and colleges. Lawrence is about 30 minutes away from where I live in So. NH so if you are looking for a mom's group to join, pm me for the link to the mom's group i belong to. It's nice, open-minded mamas who won't judge you for living in lawrence!</div>
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thanks for the nice words! we realize that most of the ppl that live there are puerto rican and dominican and that is fine with us. my dh actually came here from another country several yrs ago and is used to maybe cultures. the house we made an offer on is actually right on the top of tower hill (not on the cemetary side). i had hoped to find something large enough that was closer to the mt vernon neighborhood and andover, and although this is a good mile north of that, the surrounding houses are very nice, it is surrounded by single family homes and most of the neighbors have lived in there houses for upwards of 15-20 yrs. we are still waiting on the acceptance of our offer as it is a short sale and thus practically in foreclosure. once we move and get settled in i will definitely pm you for that moms group info! thanks again
 

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I live in Haverhill and teach in Andover. One of my former prinicpals grew up in Lawrence and still lives there and wouldn't live anywhere else. Lawrence has suffered from a bad reputation for a long time but there are some nice spots--- Tower Hill is decent. If for some reason this house doesn't work out, Haverhill is a great spot as well as Southern NH.<br><br>
Lawrence is trying very hard to revitalize and there are lots of incentives for businesses to move there.<br><br>
I don't think it is as grim as some say but just like any city, one needs to use caution. We live on the NH side of Haverhill and we rarely go to the downtown area. I do all of my shopping in Plaistow or Salem NH although a new Target and Lowes just opened up down the street from us in Haverhill.<br><br>
I look forward to hearing how things are going.<br><br>
Stay in touch.<br><br>
Susan
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Why don't you have any say where your family will live? I don't get that part ??<br><br>
. But I do think it is as bad as everyone tells you.</div>
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I was wondering the same thing and.....<br><br>
I agree, the city does not have a great reputation, at all. Even if you aren't going to use the public schools, the lack of a good one, among other things, will always effect the resale value of the home.
 
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