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Old 12-20-2011, 11:28 PM
 
59 posts, read 42,273 times
Reputation: 68

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Hello. I'm new to this site, hope I'm using it properly. My husband accepted a new job a few months ago and we've just received news that we'll be required to relocate to NJ. We know absolutely nothing about the area and are overwhelmed. We have an infant daughter and hope to have 1 or 2 more children, so schools are an absolute priority. We'd like a healthy, active area with educated professionals and families. We are in our early/mid 30s. I saw this list of questions here, so I'll use this:

Where are you coming from? Arizona (I'm from IL, husband is from TX)
Why are you moving? job
Where will you be working ? If NYC, what part of NYC? In South Plainfield, NJ...we're told we do not want to live there...but really don't know why or where we should live. I'm a stay-at-home-mom currently with a biology degree.

Will you buy or rent? We want to buy, but wonder if we should rent first to get to know the area.
What is your budget ? No idea as we are first time home buyers. Current salary is 125k. We're told we'll receive a cost-of-living increase to move, though no idea what that'd amount to. No less than 150k, probably no more than 200k. We were house hunting and looking between 250-350k for houses. I'm guessing we'll be at 500 or 600k in NJ? Don't know the market at all.
What kind of place are you looking for ? We'd want a 4BR 2BA home w/ a yard...anyone know what we're looking at price wise? We'd prefer 2000 sq ft or more but don't require a McMansion.

Will anyone (spouse, children, pets) be moving with you ? Hubby, myself, infant daughter, 2 medium sized dogs.
Do you need/want good public schools? YES!!!!!!

Briefly describe the kind of neighborhood you'd like to live in
(examples: families with young children, young, mature, artsy, diverse, safe, close-knit, block parties, etc) Educated, families with young children, safe, good schools, close-knit, active, clean, SAFE

List three things that are important to you in order of importance.(examples: nightlife, outdoor activities, rural/urban, safety, downtown area, charming, new construction, proximity to XYZ, family oriented, easy parking, short commute, etc) safety, not a long commute to South Plainfield, family-oriented

Any input/assistance would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:30 AM
 
739 posts, read 867,043 times
Reputation: 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by sws9 View Post
Hello. I'm new to this site, hope I'm using it properly. My husband accepted a new job a few months ago and we've just received news that we'll be required to relocate to NJ. We know absolutely nothing about the area and are overwhelmed. We have an infant daughter and hope to have 1 or 2 more children, so schools are an absolute priority. We'd like a healthy, active area with educated professionals and families. We are in our early/mid 30s. I saw this list of questions here, so I'll use this:

Where are you coming from? Arizona (I'm from IL, husband is from TX)
Why are you moving? job
Where will you be working ? If NYC, what part of NYC? In South Plainfield, NJ...we're told we do not want to live there...but really don't know why or where we should live. I'm a stay-at-home-mom currently with a biology degree.

Will you buy or rent? We want to buy, but wonder if we should rent first to get to know the area.
What is your budget ? No idea as we are first time home buyers. Current salary is 125k. We're told we'll receive a cost-of-living increase to move, though no idea what that'd amount to. No less than 150k, probably no more than 200k. We were house hunting and looking between 250-350k for houses. I'm guessing we'll be at 500 or 600k in NJ? Don't know the market at all.
What kind of place are you looking for ? We'd want a 4BR 2BA home w/ a yard...anyone know what we're looking at price wise? We'd prefer 2000 sq ft or more but don't require a McMansion.

Will anyone (spouse, children, pets) be moving with you ? Hubby, myself, infant daughter, 2 medium sized dogs.
Do you need/want good public schools? YES!!!!!!

Briefly describe the kind of neighborhood you'd like to live in
(examples: families with young children, young, mature, artsy, diverse, safe, close-knit, block parties, etc) Educated, families with young children, safe, good schools, close-knit, active, clean, SAFE

List three things that are important to you in order of importance.(examples: nightlife, outdoor activities, rural/urban, safety, downtown area, charming, new construction, proximity to XYZ, family oriented, easy parking, short commute, etc) safety, not a long commute to South Plainfield, family-oriented

Any input/assistance would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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You will have to bump your budget up to 500-600K minimum to get what you want in a great school district but their are some great choices within 10 or so miles and here they are;
-Berkeley Heights
-New Providence
-Mountainside
-Warren
-Stirling/Gillette/Lyons (Morris County) may be cheaper taxes

These are the best places to live around South Plainfield, If you find them too expensive I'll give you some budget alternatives where the schools are still good to very good;

-Edison/Metuchen
-East Brunswick
-Green Brook
-Bridgewater

You can do lots of searching on realtor.com. Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:43 AM
 
9,125 posts, read 23,748,232 times
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You can also look in Scotch Plains, Fanwood, and Cranford. Much of the housing stock there is older, and you may even be able to get below $500k, though 4br may push you over that.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:23 PM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
5,942 posts, read 6,221,649 times
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Try to RENT something in South Plainfield for a year or two. Get to know the surrounding towns before you make a mistake and buy that "perfect" house in a neighborhood you know nothing about. Taking strangers advise as to where to BUY makes no sense. Only you can determine which neighborhood best suits you and your family.

BTW stay away from the boarder with Plainfield.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:33 PM
 
59 posts, read 42,273 times
Reputation: 68
Thank you so much for your replies. So should we be demanding a better salary increase for this move so that our quality of life is not suffering? What is a decent income in that area? 150k sounds like a LOT to me ... but I know it's more expensive there?
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:10 PM
 
572 posts, read 1,022,543 times
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That is a very difficult question to answer with the limited information you have provided. If you have $0 debt, no car payments only normal monthly expenses then $150k annually should be plenty...but if you have a ton of debt, 2 car payments and like to live a lavish lifestyle then it will be nowhere near enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sws9 View Post
Thank you so much for your replies. So should we be demanding a better salary increase for this move so that our quality of life is not suffering? What is a decent income in that area? 150k sounds like a LOT to me ... but I know it's more expensive there?
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Old 12-25-2011, 12:42 AM
 
59 posts, read 42,273 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCK7778 View Post
That is a very difficult question to answer with the limited information you have provided. If you have $0 debt, no car payments only normal monthly expenses then $150k annually should be plenty...but if you have a ton of debt, 2 car payments and like to live a lavish lifestyle then it will be nowhere near enough.
You're right, that's vague. Everything is happening so fast my head is spinning. We've barely gotten a grip on the new budget w/ the new salary this job has brought in an area we're familiar with and now we're talking about completely changing areas and salaries...I'm a planner and I feel like it's impossible to formulate a plan here. We do have student loans and a car payment...which from your post tells me perhaps 150k won't really cut it there w/ the higher cost of living. I guess I was wondering what an average salary is there to have a safe neighborhood in a good school district w/ 4 BRs. Out in AZ, our salary is 125k and while we're not rolling in it, by any means, we can certainly comfortably pay our bills here. Were we to buy a house here we'd have no problem getting a 4br house w/ some back yard. Then again, the housing bubble was really bad here, so that throws all my sense of direction off.

In AZ, a 125k salary can comfortably afford one a 250-300k house. I understand I won't get much house in NJ with that price range. 600k sounds astounding to me and I have no idea what kind of salary would go along w/ a house that costs that much. Since so many people out there live in homes that cost half a mil and more, it seems like the average salary must be well over 6 figures in NJ, right? Ugh..this company is so new there's no relocation dept to help us out at all. I feel so lost!! (sorry for the vent, again, I'm overwhelmed)
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:45 AM
 
Location: UK but on the way to NJ!
239 posts, read 725,494 times
Reputation: 86
South Plainfield is a really nice town--I have no idea why people would steer you away from it. A lot of people like Scotch Plains, Cranford and Westfield. Westfield is pricey, but has everything on your list. Not saying you couldn't get something for $500K there, but it wouldn't be what you were hoping for. Not 4BR, not a big yard, not 2000 square feet probably. These three towns are safe, have charming downtowns, plenty of stay-at-home moms, activities for the kids, strong sense of community and great schools. They also have train stations that will get you to Newark and onwards to NYC in a little less than an hour. Not far from South Plainfield, either. I live in Westfield and love it. Do a search on Westfield, Scotch Plains, and Cranford here, there has been a lot said about these towns (and Fanwood too).
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Old 12-26-2011, 02:24 AM
 
59 posts, read 42,273 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggywink View Post
South Plainfield is a really nice town--I have no idea why people would steer you away from it. A lot of people like Scotch Plains, Cranford and Westfield. Westfield is pricey, but has everything on your list. Not saying you couldn't get something for $500K there, but it wouldn't be what you were hoping for. Not 4BR, not a big yard, not 2000 square feet probably. These three towns are safe, have charming downtowns, plenty of stay-at-home moms, activities for the kids, strong sense of community and great schools. They also have train stations that will get you to Newark and onwards to NYC in a little less than an hour. Not far from South Plainfield, either. I live in Westfield and love it. Do a search on Westfield, Scotch Plains, and Cranford here, there has been a lot said about these towns (and Fanwood too).
Thank you, this is helpful.
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Old 12-26-2011, 07:55 AM
 
Location: UK but on the way to NJ!
239 posts, read 725,494 times
Reputation: 86
I am sure you've managed to find the posts on Westfield, but this is a pretty good one:

Is Westfield THAT much better than neighboring towns?

I was posting the same questions back in 2007 before I moved here and the people here were so helpful and responded to all of my questions and then some:

Would there be any reason *not* to live in Westfield?

My friend kept a blog for a while (not anymore, but there are quite a few posts and lots of photos that really show what it's like living here) Maybe it would be helpful. Though it's about Westfield, the towns I mentioned previously are very similar in flavor.

Westfield Clio
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