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Old 04-23-2013, 07:59 AM
 
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I recently got a job offer in the city of Somerset, NJ (I am coming from Pittsburgh, PA). I don't know much about NJ except that the cost of living is high (comparable to NY) and you want to avoid certain areas like any major metropolitan city.

That said, for a single person in his 30's what area would you recommend to rent a 1 bedroom apt? Driving more than 30 minutes is NOT something I would prefer to do ......so something in the vicinity of 5-20 miles is ideal.

On a side note, I would opt to live in a relatively safe area and not worry about carrying a piece at all times just so I can save a few $$ in rent.

Any input is enormously appreciated.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:11 AM
 
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One of the communities that you should consider is...Somerset.
Yes, there is a high crime rate in a relatively small area of Franklin Township, of which Somerset is the largest community.

However, Franklin Twp encompasses 47 square miles (of which approximately 16 square miles consists of state park land, farms, and "protected" open areas where nothing can be built), and the only dangerous part of the township is a neighborhood of about 1.5 square miles, adjacent to New Brunswick.

If you look at apartments located on JFK Boulevard, you will be in a very safe area.
If you can lease an apartment on Pierce Street or Cedar Grove Lane, you will be in an exceptionally safe area.

I would suggest that you avoid the apartment complexes located on Route 27, and on the streets close to New Brunswick, but all other areas of the township enjoy a very low crime rate and a high quality of life.

But, if you still want to buy into the myth that all of Somerset is a dangerous area, then you might want to look at Bridgewater and Hillsborough.

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Old 04-23-2013, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
300 posts, read 492,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugeyeti View Post
I recently got a job offer in the city of Somerset, NJ (I am coming from Pittsburgh, PA). I don't know much about NJ except that the cost of living is high (comparable to NY) and you want to avoid certain areas like any major metropolitan city.

That said, for a single person in his 30's what area would you recommend to rent a 1 bedroom apt? Driving more than 30 minutes is NOT something I would prefer to do ......so something in the vicinity of 5-20 miles is ideal.

On a side note, I would opt to live in a relatively safe area and not worry about carrying a piece at all times just so I can save a few $$ in rent.

Any input is enormously appreciated.
Without knowing the budget, it's hard to comment. However, I can make a comment on a few things because I work in Somerset.

1) Around here, driving 30 minutes will NOT get you too far especially during rush hour.

2) I-287 is a nightmare. I wouldn't be surprised if they tell me that this is the most congested highway in America. So if you could avoid using I-287, you would be better off.

3) I used to live in Piscataway before moving to Jersey City. Piscataway (7 miles) is so much closer than Jersey City (37 miles), but because I had to take I-287 where everyone else is traveling, it took me at least 30 minutes. Even though Jersey City is at least 5 times as far away as Piscataway, it takes me only one hour because I take I-287 in the opposite direction and I-78.

4) In New Jersey, driving an hour to commute is just a fact of life. Lots of people do that. Before moving to New Jersey, I used to think that's crazy, but I got used to it and so will you.

5) I'm not sure what you mean by "carrying a piece", but if you are referring to concealed firearm, I would first check with the town of your choice. Among these comments, this is the least reliable info, however according to my co-worker who own a gun, each town has a different rule.

6) Somerset is safe. I've worked here since 2007 and have never directly or indirectly witnessed anything violent.

7) I sometimes go to next town Bound Brook to get a haircut during my lunch hour. While this town doesn't look fabulous, I see a lot of inexpensive rentals.

Good luck.

Atsushi
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:34 AM
 
Location: NJ
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"carrying a piece"? OMG where do you think you're moving other than one of the wealthiest counties in the COUNTRY? I can't think of a place within 30 miles of Somerset where "carrying a piece" is even thought of. Even in Newark, I wouldn't think of carrying a piece. Sheesh. That being said, without budget this may be out of line, but you can look into Morristown for nightlife, walkablility, etc. That's pushing the 30 minute limit however, but personally if you can swing it, I'd recommend it.

to the above poster - you clearly haven't traveled if you think 287 is the worst road in the country. Northbound around Piscataway and Somerset in the AM sucks but really, have you been to DC? LA? Atlanta? 287 isn't even a blip on the radar. I go southbound in the AM and it's not bad.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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Thanks for your input Retriever.

What I forgot to mention is that my monthly rent max = 1k (I prefer less but the lower you go the more unsafe it becomes).

Looks like Cedar Grove Lane apts run about $2k for 2b for example or Franklin Greens Apts run about 1.1k for 1 bdr. I will search for more apts in the areas you mentioned. It's a great start. :-)
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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Awesome recommendations. Looks like I've lived in bad areas of Pittsburgh for too long....hence my initial post. This will certainly be a fresh start, I-287 traffic notwithstanding. Any other tidbits are MOST welcome. ty
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:57 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Unfortunately Morristown won't work on your budget. Somerset is a fine choice and you can leave the piece at home.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:13 AM
 
Location: East Rutherford, NJ
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30 minutes commute is considered a dream in New Jersey. I drive 11 miles to work and it takes me about 30 minutes, I consider myself lucky.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugeyeti View Post
Thanks for your input Retriever.

What I forgot to mention is that my monthly rent max = 1k (I prefer less but the lower you go the more unsafe it becomes).

Looks like Cedar Grove Lane apts run about $2k for 2b for example or Franklin Greens Apts run about 1.1k for 1 bdr. I will search for more apts in the areas you mentioned. It's a great start. :-)

The sad reality is that $1k per month doesn't get you very much in NJ's rental market nowadays.

Bound Brook is cheaper than Somerset, or Bridgewater, or Hillsborough, but unless you speak Spanish fluently, you won't be able to communicate with any of the merchants on the main street, nor will you be able to communicate with many of your neighbors.

Manville is also cheaper than Somerset, and while I wouldn't classify either Manville or Bound Brook as dangerous, they are definitely not as safe as the better areas of Somerset.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:01 AM
 
1,449 posts, read 2,522,003 times
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Originally Posted by Atsushi View Post
Without knowing the budget, it's hard to comment. However, I can make a comment on a few things because I work in Somerset.

1) Around here, driving 30 minutes will NOT get you too far especially during rush hour.


<redacted>

7) I sometimes go to next town Bound Brook to get a haircut during my lunch hour. While this town doesn't look fabulous, I see a lot of inexpensive rentals.

Good luck.

Atsushi

One thing to be careful of when searching for bargain rates on Apts, is that if the price is low, it is low for a reason. Especially now, when the vacancy rates on rentals is so low. Many areas that would be within your ~30 min commute that have lower priced rentals have flooding issues. (I am not talking about a little bit of water, I am speaking of frequent severe flooding, just search for "Bound Brook flooding" on youtube to get the idea.) Bound Brook, Raritan, Bridgewater, Manville, Green Brook, all have areas with significant flooding issues. Here are some FEMA flood zone maps to help identify areas of concern. http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/pdf/mit...i_somerset.pdf http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/pdf/mit..._middlesex.pdf

One place to look into would be Highland Park. It has a safe community with a nice downtown, and you are right next to downtown New Brunswick, (walking distance) so you'll be able enjoy the NB nightlife scene, as well as have access to the NB train station. I'd avoid the area right by the river, (it sometimes floods) but the rest of the town is fine. It is a fairly quiet community, and although there are grad students who live in the town, you do not have the trouble that comes with undergrad off campus housing. You will be able to find a nice 1 bd apt for approx $1,000 a month. (I now of several nice complexes in HP that are between $975 and $1,150 a month)

HTH

KoalaNJ
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