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The good school district is one goal, but reasonable commutes is an equal one. Unfortunately the towns with good schools and commutes into Cambridge and Waltham also happen to be among the most expensive in the state. We're not willing to go over an hour for the commute.

I'm within that commuting distance, and you can certainly find houses in good towns with good school systems for $500k. With that budget, I would think you could find something in Concord, Sudbury, Stow, Carlisle, Acton or even Boxborough, all of which seem to meet your criteria. If you are looking in Cambridge, Belmont, or Arlington, I can see where you might not be able to find anything, but I'm wondering if you have looked further west.

Drop me a line off the boards if you want more suggestions.
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