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Old 11-05-2012, 02:28 PM
 
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I will be working a busy law firm job in NYC but I have two elementary school aged children, so the city is out. I was wondering about schools in and commuting from something in Bergen County or Morris County. Ideally my commute would be around an hour, but I understand it may be more. Hoping to pay 2500-3200 for rent. I would also like to live in a place where we could buy a home in a couple years without uprooting my kids again. (Salary of 160,000)

If you have any other places to suggest feel free to do so as well. Note, however, that great schools are our first consideration. My commute is a distant second at this point. We are pretty ignorant about the area in general.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:39 PM
 
Location: East Rutherford, NJ
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Morris Co will provide you with a significantly longer commute than anywhere in Bergen Co. What kinda of rental property are you looking for? House (single fam or multi fam?), apartment building, garden complex, luxury development, high rise?
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by brokenaperture View Post
Morris Co will provide you with a significantly longer commute than anywhere in Bergen Co. What kinda of rental property are you looking for? House (single fam or multi fam?), apartment building, garden complex, luxury development, high rise?
The wife would prefer single family, but the more important point is good schools plus opportunity to purchase single family or townhouse in a couple years without completely uprooting the kids again.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by brokenaperture View Post
Morris Co will provide you with a significantly longer commute than anywhere in Bergen Co. What kinda of rental property are you looking for? House (single fam or multi fam?), apartment building, garden complex, luxury development, high rise?

Actually this is incorrect. A friend commutes from Franklin Lakes to Midtown which takes approx 1.5 hours, longer than the commute from Morristown/Chatham/Madison to Midtown which is approx 65/70 min. Certainly there are several wonderful communities with shorter commutes in Bergen County, but they come with much higher property tax rates (esp. the town with good schools) than you will find in Morris County.

I'd recommend checking out the eastern part of Morris County, especially the towns with train stations on the midtown direct line. Take a look at Madison and the Chathams...great towns with top notch schools, homes within your price range and commute parameters, plus your property taxes will be a lot lower than much of Bergen Co. An added bonus is not having to deal with the Blue laws.

HTH
KoalaNJ
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KoalaNJ View Post
I'd recommend checking out the eastern part of Morris County, especially the towns with train stations on the midtown direct line. Take a look at Madison and the Chathams...great towns with top notch schools, homes within your price range and commute parameters, plus your property taxes will be a lot lower than much of Bergen Co. An added bonus is not having to deal with the Blue laws.

HTH
KoalaNJ
Thanks. All else being equal, which of the two areas do you think will give me the most bang for my buck. I would like to start honing in on specific towns in those regions, but I don't have the energy to thoroughly vet too many.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: East Rutherford, NJ
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Originally Posted by KoalaNJ View Post
Actually this is incorrect. A friend commutes from Franklin Lakes to Midtown which takes approx 1.5 hours, longer than the commute from Morristown/Chatham/Madison to Midtown which is approx 65/70 min. Certainly there are several wonderful communities with shorter commutes in Bergen County, but they come with much higher property tax rates (esp. the town with good schools) than you will find in Morris County.

I'd recommend checking out the eastern part of Morris County, especially the towns with train stations on the midtown direct line. Take a look at Madison and the Chathams...great towns with top notch schools, homes within your price range and commute parameters, plus your property taxes will be a lot lower than much of Bergen Co. An added bonus is not having to deal with the Blue laws.

HTH
KoalaNJ
Ah true, forgot about the far northern reaches of Bergen.

In that case yes, you'd be looking at longer commute than many points in Morris County.

I'm not sure about single family rental prices or availability, but perhaps OP you'd like to take a look at Morris Plains? Probably one of my favorite towns in NJ and has a train station that goes direct to midtown Manhattan.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fanlinxun View Post
Thanks. All else being equal, which of the two areas do you think will give me the most bang for my buck. I would like to start honing in on specific towns in those regions, but I don't have the energy to thoroughly vet too many.

Since you have stressed that the most important criteria you have is a town with great schools where you can afford a nice home and which also has a reasonable commute to NYC, for me hands down it is a no brainer. Check out the eastern part of Morris County, specifically Madison and the Chathams. Lets look at the facts. Firstly on schools, Madison and Chatham consistently rank near the very top of the state rankings of high schools, and are both nationally recognized for their excellence. (https://www.box.com/s/7c300516930c32f71a8e) Morris County wins by a landslide on property taxes. Taxes on an approx 600k home in Madison or the Chathams is approx 8 to 8.5 K a year. If you are looking in Bergen County, the towns with the best school districts would be Glen Rock (taxes 15K) Ridgewood (taxes 12.5K) or Tenefly(taxes 12.5K) (there may be a few more towns with great schools, I am just going off the top of my head) As far as disparity in commute there really isn't any. The commute to NYC Penn Station is about 60/70 min from the eastern part of Morris County on the midtown direct line. The commute from Ridgewood to Penn Station (NYC) is about 80 minutes, as there is no midtown direct train, so you have to transfer to PATH to get into the city. There is a bus line from Tenafly (no train avail.) into the Port Authority which takes about 50 minutes, barring weather or traffic tie ups, and then you would have to take a subway or bus to your office so add another 15/20 min. for a total of approx. 70 min. Glen Rock has train access, but again you will have to switch trains in Secaucus, and you are looking at an 60/65 min commute. So since all of the towns I mention have great schools, and the commute time is nominally the same, the one huge difference is property taxes, which Morris County wins in a landslide.

Two things I'd add for your consideration is that both Madison and the Chathams are wonderful small towns, with a quaint small town feel, a real sense of a cohesive close knit community - something you will not find in most Bergen County towns. Both are so picturesque they have been used as the setting for major motion pictures as well as commercials a number of times. You will also be able to shop on Sundays in Morris County, where as in Bergen County, that is not really an option with the Blue Laws - you will have to drive to a neighboring County to shop on Sundays, which is a real PITA.

HTH
KoalaNJ

Last edited by KoalaNJ; 11-06-2012 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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I'd also consider Essex County (Millburn, Maplewood, South Orange) and Summit in Union County. Property taxes are higher in Essex, but if you're renting that's not a direct consideration. Millburn and Summit have high-rated high schools, Maplewood/South Orange (it's one district) is not too far behind. Elementary schools vary quite a bit within all these towns, maybe someone else can fill in the details.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:15 PM
 
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I should also add that the firm I will be working for is at Times Square. I don't know what that does to commute times, but I am pretty sure I can just walk there from Penn Station.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fanlinxun View Post
I should also add that the firm I will be working for is at Times Square. I don't know what that does to commute times, but I am pretty sure I can just walk there from Penn Station.
Um, you might want to check out a map of the area. The Midtown direct trains take you to Penn Station NYC, which is located between 31st and 32nd street at 8th ave. Times Square is 42nd St at 7th so you are looking at an about 12 block walk, and blocks are rather large in midtown, so you are looking at nearly a mile which with the traffic lights will take a while. Much better idea to take a five minute subway ride to the time square station from Penn.

KoalaNJ
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