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Old 08-02-2010, 04:51 PM
 
Location: WFNJ
951 posts, read 1,121,314 times
Reputation: 849

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After reading all the great things about Westfield, we went out to look at the area yesterday and fell in love with the town. Looked at a few houses and really like some of them, of course, the ones we do like are more expensive (and really at the limit of our budget). Some of the realtors told us to look into Cranford/Scotch Plains/Fanwood as well because you can get similar houses for less and the school systems (our #1 priority) are comparable to Westfield.

Did some reseach and it does seem like the school rankings (at least raw data wise), Scotch Plains/Fanwood seem to be comparable with Westfield while Cranford is a notch or two below. Is that the case qualitatively speaking?

I know Cranford has flood zones so I am really not crazy about the idea, but have not heard about SP/F. Any thoughts as to which town/area we should focus our search on?

These are our priorities:

Great schools
Property tax preferably under 10k
Walkable to train/bus (not a requirement, but would be very attractive)
Budget is 450 - 550k (can stretch to 600k if the PERFECT house presents itself, but really would like to stay within our range)

TIA!!
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:15 PM
 
519 posts, read 1,254,751 times
Reputation: 151
No way are Scotch Plains/ Fanwood schools as good as Westfield or Cranford.

All things being equal, I'd rank the towns like this:

1. Westfield
2. Cranford
3. Scotch Plains
4. Fanwood
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:30 PM
 
83 posts, read 116,044 times
Reputation: 26
I would agree with E-TOWN and also add that Scotch Plains has very high property taxes.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Northern Tampa Area
49 posts, read 73,252 times
Reputation: 33
My children went through the Westfield schools and I bought on the "southside" because that is what I could afford. The things that could be important (besides the schools -which are outstanding and ETOWN is right SP/F is no comparison school wise to Westfield) is the atmosphere. My kids spent so much time downtown and walked everywhere. They took dance, one played basketball and lacrosse and after the games the kids walk/bike to the pizzaria and it was great. They all go to the Rialto Movie theatre on the weekends and it has a real old town feeling. You can not do that in Scotch Plains/Fanwood too close to Plainfield. Cranford would be my 2nd choice but the houses are a lot older and there is a flooding problem. The taxes are a problem but they are high in every good district in NJ (look at Livingston and Short Hills). You will not regret going with Westfield. Lots of Luck!!!!
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:00 PM
 
Location: WFNJ
951 posts, read 1,121,314 times
Reputation: 849
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacks29 View Post
I would agree with E-TOWN and also add that Scotch Plains has very high property taxes.
I noticed this too, that comparable house cost less in SP but with higher tax. I guess that kinda even things out.

Can any of you elaborate on how SP's schools aren't as good as Westfield? I am not doubting you, just that some of the statistics I have looked indicated that they are comparable. My wife likes the lower price houses in SP/Cranford but I will only consider if I am not sacrificing quality of education.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
461 posts, read 670,564 times
Reputation: 344
The schools are not as good. This is tough to quantify, but its true. Cranford has recently tried to game their High School rankings by forcing a bunch of kids into AP classes, which is clever, but doesn't really change the quality of education.

Westfield is sort of the high water mark - you get a great downtown, very safe, and wonderful schools. However, your price range is not going to work, unless you want a VERY modest house or a fixer-upper.

Check out Cranford. The downtown area is getting nicer, its close to Westfield, a better commute to NYC, and the schools are still quite good, if not up to Westfield. You will get so much more house for your money - and, its an up and coming area.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:00 AM
 
Location: WFNJ
951 posts, read 1,121,314 times
Reputation: 849
Quote:
Originally Posted by looktowindward View Post
Westfield is sort of the high water mark - you get a great downtown, very safe, and wonderful schools. However, your price range is not going to work, unless you want a VERY modest house or a fixer-upper.

Check out Cranford. The downtown area is getting nicer, its close to Westfield, a better commute to NYC, and the schools are still quite good, if not up to Westfield. You will get so much more house for your money - and, its an up and coming area.
Thanks, we will definitely check out Cranford this weekend. I think the consensus is Westfield so we will concentrate our search there. As far as modest home, that's exactly what we want. We have 1 child and might go for another after we moved. We don't need anything fancy or huge (actually, I prefer a small backyard). We learn to not accumulate "stuff" living in Brooklyn/Queens for 10 years. Even a small home would be a HUGE step up (in space) for us.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:25 PM
 
161 posts, read 351,967 times
Reputation: 37
Cranford, Scotch Plains and Fanwood all are great towns with great schools. If you decide NOT to live in Westfield; it won't be the end of the world. Good luck with your search!
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:22 AM
 
35 posts, read 46,638 times
Reputation: 18
Thumbs up Cranford

I have lived in Cranford since 1978 and feel the schools are great. Both kids went through all public schools and went on to a top notch University. They then went on to get their masters as did most of their friends. I did my student teaching in Cranford many years ago and that put me on to the school system. Have many friends in Westfield and SP and there kids did the same as far as college goes. Many people in all three towns put their kids in private HS cause they "fear" the public. There is nothing to fear. I do think Cranford and Westfield schools are ahead of SP.
I do think the people in Cranford and SP have more grounded attitudes and are not as full of themselves as many in Westfield.

I know of two people in Westfield that have flooded houses in the past (one North one South). Cranford has issues as well. Make sure you check that out. If you require flood ins for the mortgage that is a red flag!

Good Luck wherever you move! I don't think you can go wrong in Cranford!
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:53 AM
 
Location: WFNJ
951 posts, read 1,121,314 times
Reputation: 849
Thanks Plume12/Stitchie. We are definitely checking Cranford out this weekend. Both WF and CF sounds like perfect towns for us in terms of school, so it is a matter of getting the right house at the right price. A lot of realtors told me that CF is "up and coming" (compared to WF). I guess there is a "prestige" factor to living in WF. Me and wife are modest folks so that's not something that means a whole lot to us.
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