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New Jersey - recommend some towns


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#16
BLewis1968

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Thanks very much for the replies thus far.

 

To clarify, I would like to purchase a house with a yard, and access to transit in to the city (train or bus), no more than 50 mins commute (god help me), but I don't necessarily need walking access to that station.

Thanks

 

Again, I wouldn't ask you what you make. And if you're not comfortable disclosing price range for a house, that's understandable; but the answers are going to be more vague. The single most important question I'd have before I even gave a well thought-out answer is this: Do you have kids? And do you plan to? Because the quality of the public school can vary. Of course, there are always privates, parochials and charters, but the privates are obscenely expensive and the parochials may not interest everybody and the charters are often not available.

 

 

Montclair might offer the best of all worlds, ie , say about 37-40 minutes into the city, six train stops, good schools, fantastic downtown, tons of folks moving from the city for the exact same reason. Maplewood has a smaller downtown, but is nearby. If you're conservative, might not be the town for you, since both are very liberal, Maplewood exceptionally so. Both have obnoxiously-high taxes, though. I know about seven or eight people between the two towns and only one pays less than $15,000 in taxes. He pays $13,500.

 

I second the Ridgewood suggestion. Great schools, nice downtown, safe, houses seem to hold their value (and rebounded back faster than many other towns, like mine lol), train. Costly, although the taxes might be a shade cheaper than Montclair because you're not supporting Newark.

 

Paramus has similar priced homes to those, but the taxes are absurdly low in comparison because of all the ratables. All the malls/stores keep the taxes way down. But there is no downtown, traffic is a bitch on Saturday and no train to speak of, although there are plenty of buses, and you're right off 17 & 4 to drive in.

 

West Orange, South Orange, Westwood, Glen Rock are all nice. As is Edgewater, although yards are harder to find there.

 

Teaneck, Englewood, Hoboken, Weehawkin, Jersey City (some sections like Newport) all have great qualities, although (if you have kids) their public schools have all faced various degrees of questions, and yards will be a lot harder to come by in all but Teaneck & Englewood. I see that was a strong preference for you.

 

Hope some of this helped.



#17
hoofit

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Very helpful, Brian, as are other comments.

Yes.  Got a little hoofit on the way soon!  

 

Was a bit hesitant making this inquiry on here, but glad I did.  Some excellent thoughts and advice.

Been actually visiting some of the towns (car trips and via train) on the weekends mentioned by you and various good folks on here. 

 

Thanks much!



#18
JayDelight729

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Parents have been living in Paramus for the last 30 years. Probably the lowest taxes of anywhere in the area for the value of the property.

 

As Brian mentioned schools are critical... do your research there. Seems to be a correlation between quality of life and the school systems. Better schools, higher cost of living. 


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#19
ianuaditis

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OK, so forgive me for asking, but why in particular New Jersey?  No Westchester or Fairfield County?  There are plenty of places up there that fit the bill of house with yard and less than 50 mins commute.

 

Schools in Rye town, rye brook, Westport and Greenwich are highly ranked nationally (same with New Canaan but stay out of there if you're ethnic...)

 

I have no idea how the taxes compare though...


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#20
BLewis1968

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Well, congrats on you guys expecting. 

In light of that, I'll make some additions/subtractions.

I'd skip the ones I mentioned that had questions about the schools (trust me, you don't want to buy thinking it'll be a breeze to sell before kindergarten and then get stuck). 

I'd add in Montvale, which is suburban with a capital S (white picket fence, matching Volvos in the driveway, very Stepford) so you might go into withdrawal coming from the city. But it's annually is rated as one of the best towns to raise kids. Great schools, safe, welcoming, lots of parks and activities for kids. A little girl from my daughter's kindergarten lived there. Now, her dad was a judge and mother a lawyer, so it's not cheap. But solid.

If you're willing to go a little further south, I second the Westfield suggestion. Like a Union county version of Montclair, but smaller and on the far end of your commute.

If you're willing to go west, Madison has great schools, a nice downtown, a train & a little culture (along w/ Morristown). But again, it's far.

And yes, Paramus is definitely the hook-up as far as taxes.

This might come in handy to check tax rates. Which reminds me it's about time for me to go in to fight my tax hike again. I've beaten it three times already I think.

 

http://www.joeshimku...gen-County.aspx



#21
JayDelight729

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If train is imperative, here's a link to the NJ Transit Train routes. Good way to see how far you will be outside NY.


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#22
juberish

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OK, so forgive me for asking, but why in particular New Jersey?  No Westchester or Fairfield County? 

We've been looking at Yonkers properties lately.. crappy schools but awesome prices and looks like a good place to invest - I bet the schools get better in 20 years and values soar to match all the surrounding communities. 

 

Now what I really want to know from you Jersey guys - what's a good beach town near Atlantic City that I could convince my lady would be a good investment for a summer place but that's still within cab distance from the casinos? 



#23
hoofit

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Thanks, fellas!

 

ianuaditis,  a couple of reasons for NJ.  First and foremost, I was born to run. Second, NJ was recently voted most hated state in the Union, and I'd rather be loathed than loved. 

Seriously, my office is by Penn, and I'm not nuts about commuting so that puts me in LI or NJ unless I want more train time.  I dig LI, but I prefer NJ to LI.

I really like Westchester and Fairfield Counties and have spent time that way over the years, but right now kind of ruled them out.  Taxes are cheaper in CT as are utility rates which is a plus, however.  Ya never know, though.

 

Brian - thanks again, and I appreciate the further advice very much! :)    I will indeed check them out.

 

Cheers!



#24
ldandria

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We've been looking at Yonkers properties lately.. crappy schools but awesome prices and looks like a good place to invest - I bet the schools get better in 20 years and values soar to match all the surrounding communities. 
 
Now what I really want to know from you Jersey guys - what's a good beach town near Atlantic City that I could convince my lady would be a good investment for a summer place but that's still within cab distance from the casinos? 

I'm not a Jersey guy, but I think Brigantine NJ is great. It is still kinda uncorrupted compared to other Jersey shore towns.

Also, DMX is from Yonkers. Maybe you could buy his childhood home. CHA-CHING!

#25
sabremike

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Whenever I think of Yonkers I think of the single greatest person to ever come out of the city... Tommy Dreamer!!! ECW! ECW! ECW!
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#26
11Redknapp15

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Pompton Lakes, Riverdale & Wayne.... great schools, 40 mins to NYC both buses and trains near by. Loved my childhood growing up in Pompton Lakes, great little town just outside the hustle & bustle of NYC.


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#27
JBigjake54

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Tried to buy in Pompton Lakes 30 years ago.  Could only afford in the flood plain, and after a friend got soaked, literally, that was it.


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#28
rzrhtr

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OK, so forgive me for asking, but why in particular New Jersey?  No Westchester or Fairfield County?  There are plenty of places up there that fit the bill of house with yard and less than 50 mins commute.

 

Schools in Rye town, rye brook, Westport and Greenwich are highly ranked nationally (same with New Canaan but stay out of there if you're ethnic...)

 

I have no idea how the taxes compare though...

I have a funny feeling that if he could afford Rye, Westport, Greenwich or New Canaan, he'd would have found a place in North Jersey that meets all his criteria in short order (though, Greenwich isn't as wealthy as most people think).

 

That said, Norwalk might not be a bad place to look. It's less than an hour into the city on Metro-North and the schools are pretty good. Some parts of Fairfield might work, too, but commute time might be a deal breaker there.

 

There are a few affordable places in Westchester, but pretty much all of them would make his commute too long.

 

We've been looking at Yonkers properties lately.. crappy schools but awesome prices and looks like a good place to invest - I bet the schools get better in 20 years and values soar to match all the surrounding communities. 

I wouldn't hold your breath. The Yonkers schools have been mismanaged for a long, long time and at this point it's endemic.



#29
MetroFever

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I'd add in Montvale, which is suburban with a capital S (white picket fence, matching Volvos in the driveway, very Stepford) so you might go into withdrawal coming from the city. But it's annually is rated as one of the best towns to raise kids. Great schools, safe, welcoming, lots of parks and activities for kids. A little girl from my daughter's kindergarten lived there. Now, her dad was a judge and mother a lawyer, so it's not cheap. But solid.

 

 

9th to 12th graders attend Pascack Hills HS, recognized as one of the best in the state. A zillion youth soccer clubs in that area for parents to pick from. Despite the affluence, there are homes currently on sale for as "little" as $550K. 

 

Commute might be more than 50 minutes on some days into the city, but WELL worth the trade-off in my opinion.



#30
BLewis1968

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Brigantine would be my call as well. An ex girlfriend got a casino job and I helped her find a nice spot in Brigantine. I can't say anything about the taxes, but it's safe, a real short cab ride from AC, still close to anything you need and you can even live with your back yard running right up to the water. 

 

And no disrespect to Yonkers, but the public schools are shady and have been for some time. If you plan to go private all the way, that's one thing. But if you plan to go public, I'd think long and hard before moving there. The market takes another downturn and you're going to be stuck there. I speak from personal experience. 

 

I'll second the train map in terms of usefulness. And trains run constantly from the switching station in Secaucus in the morning if you have normal commuting hours. It's like every 7 or 8 minutes, and you're in Penn Station in about 12, 13 minutes. Next best thing to a PATH train. So I suppose you could even consider Secaucus or the surrounding areas. They have OK schools but nothing spectacular. 






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