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Old 11-11-2011, 02:57 PM
258 posts, read 548,348 times
Reputation: 83


Well, we sort of know...:P

Hello all... we are in the process of preparing for a relocation to an area in or near NYC and are considering NJ, among other places. Would appreciate input on how to find what we're looking for (which I'll detail below).

Our Situation:
- Small family: me, husband, toddler, 2 cats. We'd like to have one more in the very near future.
- Husband works, I'm primarily SAHM. I work now and then for previous clients, I may increase this once in NYC area as I've been told there is a ton of freelance in my line of work available. A 2nd baby might but the kybosh on that for a while longer though... haha. My point is that a bit of supplemental income is definitely possible.
- Husband's salary will be in the $180-190K range.
- We are moving to this area because my husband's career is dead in the water unless we live on one of the coasts. We like the East Coast, and fortunately, we really love the NYC area (have done several long-ish visits to Manhattan)... as long as we can find the right living arrangement.

What We Want:
- Our budget is $3000K/mth max, ideally. Less would be great!
- We want to rent initially, see ourselves buying maybe 2-3 years out, once in the area.
- We need a 3-4/2 single family home with a finished basement. We need the basement because my husband and I are musicians/singers on the side, and need a place to practice that won't wake up baby(ies?) and annoy the neighbors. We are also really done with renting and living on top of other people, etc. A yard/small garden would be lovely, but it's not a deal breaker. The basement thing is. Doesn't have to be carpeted, etc., but it has to be clean enough that you can comfortable spend an hour or so down there, several times a week.
- We like older homes, generally built 1940 and earlier. Hardwood floors, original fixtures/details, etc. Brick exterior if possible. We do like brownstones, although I wonder if we'd feel like we were renting?
- We like quieter areas, but a somewhat urban area is okay. If anyone on here knows Shaker Heights in Ohio, something like that would be good. Less urban than that is fine (and welcomed, actually) as long as we can keep the commute time down. Art and culture is very important to us. We don't have to live in it, but close by is good. Access to green space also very important. Again, as long as within a 15-20min car trip, close enough. A safe neighborhood is very important, but a bit of urbanity is fine too. See comment on Shaker above. Family-oriented would be wonderful as well. Something walkable would be ideal, but we realize we are trying to find the ideal and still have a short commute which is a challenge in this area. Good restaurants are somewhat important as we generally do eat out at least 1-2x a month. We are foodies, so I'm not talking The Olive Garden when I say 'restaurant', just to be clear. No offense to any OG fans out there... :P
- I'm a dancer and teach zumba/dance classes, so dance studios or good quality gyms fairly close (within 20min) are important. Husband also likes to have gym access.
- Husband's commute is, shocker, very important. Ideally no more than 45min. The sticking point here is that his job will require working on site in various locations, and this will change a lot. This could possibly be months at a time, say, 3-6mths in an office on Wall Street... then 3-6mths somewhere in NJ, with various smaller trips to other areas in or near NYC. Generally not too far from the NYC area, but it will change.
- As we might end up renting longer than 2-3 years, and our toddler is 2 already, schools are definitely an issue. I'm not sure whether we'd do private school or not. Our preference would be to rely on public schools plus supplemental home schooling from us.

So far, NJ is looking like a very good, somewhat central, affordable option where we can find a SFH to rent. Some areas we are planning to explore (on paid relo package exploration trip) are:
Glen Ridge

We are also considering (not in NJ):
Staten Island
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

I'd love input on the above areas, based on our criteria above. Plus suggestions for any other areas to check out.

I think the thing that is so challenging when doing a relo to this area is that it is so BIG... there is so much to choose from (which is wonderful really), it really does take a lot of time to narrow things down.

I believe included in the relo package is working with a broker (of our choice), so we are hoping that will help get us more quickly to our short list.

On a side note: is 1 week enough time to get to all the neighborhoods above (and possibly more?) We'd have a car with us on that trip, if that would help.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read all of this, and your comments are greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:51 PM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 21 days ago)
Location: Coastal New Jersey
51,489 posts, read 50,749,733 times
Reputation: 60512
Most homes in NJ do have basements (I know that's not true in some parts of the country) and often they are finished. The 45-minute commute to NYC could be a little tough, but it's feasible.

I think you're on the right track with a town like Montclair--older town, lots of art/dance/culture, decent commute to the city. Might also want to look at Rutherford/East Rutherford. Good commute from there, also older homes, and a nice little downtown. Less Montclair-y, but less expensive, also.

Not sure Kearny fits what you are really looking for. Englewood might.

I think your budget is probably realistic.

Another town to consider, but with a longer commute, is Red Bank. It's technically close to NYC, but there's a lot of water in the way. Artsy town, nice downtown, river/bay/ocean nearby. The commute to lower Manhattan could be done by taking the ferry, but it's pricier than other modes of public transportation. Just a thought.

You could definitely visit all the Jersey towns you mention in a week.

Not as familiar with Westchester County towns, same with Bay Ridge, and if you are thinking about Staten Island, just keep in mind that there is no way to leave it and get back on without a stiff toll. Public transportation is also more limited.
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:25 PM
Location: Montclair
88 posts, read 302,510 times
Reputation: 50
Default Can you help us find...?

In Essex County, I would suggest Montclair, Glen Ridge, West and South Orange (many musicians reside there), Maplewood, Verona, parts of Bloomfield and possibly Nutley.

I've done a search of your criteria on the MLS and have found some possibilities in Bloomfield, Verona and West Orange, currently. Of course you would have more choices if you would be ok with 1 1/2 baths and didn't have pets.

Send me a direct message if you'd like me to email you these listings and talk more about these areas.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:12 PM
390 posts, read 1,122,127 times
Reputation: 442
I agree with Montclair and Glen Ridge being fantastic choices. Maplewood and South Orange equally so. (Lots of threads in the forum on all these towns - they hit all your points spot on). Rutherford and Ridgewood would also be places to look though they're less artsy, and more suburban, Ridgewood especially.

Sounds like Essex County is the place for you though. I live in Glen Ridge on the Montclair border, so more specific questions, feel free to ask.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:02 PM
Location: Midwest transplant
1,986 posts, read 4,800,687 times
Reputation: 1513
Montclair and Glen Ridge.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:26 PM
258 posts, read 548,348 times
Reputation: 83
These areas look like they might work -- thanks very much for the input!

Last edited by jojoboulette; 11-12-2011 at 09:21 PM..
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