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Old 10-22-2015, 11:52 AM
 
8 posts, read 12,187 times
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We are moving from Chicago area. Looking for a town similar to where we left, we had parks, farmer markets, movies in the park, outdoor symphony, and festivals within walking distance of our neighborhood. We have two small children. Need to be within 30 min of International Drive/Budd Lake.

Looking at Stanhope, Newton, Netcong, Sparta...loved Panther Valley but the hoa fees kills me. Our priority for our new home is safety (criminals and bears lol) views and little hometown things to do/walk to. Budget is $250k-ish which is sticker shock, our house in NW IN has been gutted, granite everything, copper sink, large yard, 3 bed and is $150k with $800 taxes lol. Houses for $150k look like they need to be torn down in NJ and it scares me that I see some houses that sold for $350k a few years ago now going for $200k. How did that happen?

Is there such a place within half an hour, not too rough looking, no meth or heroin issues, houses maybe not with granite kitchens but still fairly move in ready. We thought Newton was our speed but people talked about all the drugs out there. Hackettstown had same complaint. How is Washington? Jefferson Township? Am I overlooking any gems?

Thanks for an insider view, I asked our real estate agent and she wouldn't get into crime stats or Superfund sites w me, said I had to look that up myself. And we all know that some towns have issues that don't hit the crime blotters. I need perspective and reassurance, thanks!
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:06 PM
 
Location: High Bridge, NJ
3,858 posts, read 8,894,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
Is there such a place within half an hour, not too rough looking, no meth or heroin issues, houses maybe not with granite kitchens but still fairly move in ready. We thought Newton was our speed but people talked about all the drugs out there. Hackettstown had same complaint. How is Washington? Jefferson Township? Am I overlooking any gems?
It's getting a little bit further out but check out High Bridge, Glen Gardner, Lebanon, and Califon. How much house are you looking for for $250K? The drugs issue is overblown IMO. People drone on about the "heroin epidemic" in NJ and say to avoid this town or that town because of drugs. There will always be losers somewhere doing drugs. People in High Bridge "do drugs," but I only know this because I read about it on NJ.com. We don't associate with drug users, we associate with other families at our church, the neighborhood, the rec soccer league, etc... The worst thing that's ever happened to us in eight years of living here was when a teenager rang the doorbell and ran away one summer night. He tripped going down the stairs and fell flat on his face and his friends, standing in a group down the road had a good laugh-so did I

Here are some images of the areas I mentioned:

Ken Lockwood Gorge-Lebanon


Columbia Trail-High Bridge


Rambo's on Main Street in Califon
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:35 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,187 times
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That's lovely! We lived in VT for a time so I appreciate mountains and views. The bears, though. Don't have those in Chicago (ha) so I'm afraid of being too far up the mountain. And my real estate agent doesn't get how paranoid I am about crime, she said you live by Gary there's nothing around here like that except for maybe Camden.

We are boring suburban people, lol. Give me a Target and a bookstore and we are happy. When we visited Budd Lake area I didn't see any surrounding towns w a "downtown" area to walk to, just a lot of sprawl. I like the looks of that boardwalk area in Sparta. Are there any towns w a main square or park with festivals or farmer markets? And I know my real estate agent can't touch this question w a ten foot pole but are the illegals in the area as bad as they say? I don't particularly care where someone comes from as long as they leave me alone and keep their house nice but I read all kinds of horror stories about Morristown changing overnight. We are buying bc rent out there is just too high, I don't want to end up in a town that looks nice but in 2 years it's totally changed for the worse. Well I guess nobody has a crystal ball.

Practically speaking, I know nothing about septic or oil systems everything here is sewer and gas. And these Superfund sites I keep hearing about, don't plant a garden and eat the veggies bc the soil is so bad, really? It looked so pristine out there. That's what I mean about an area looking nice on paper but locals know the real story.

Thanks for any and all info, looking for the good and the bad, especially the bad, for Warren/Morris/Sussex around Mt. Olive.
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:38 PM
 
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Oh as far as house just a basic 3 bed 2 bath is fine. I'd rather have safety and views than square feet. Our house now is a little under 1000 sq. I don't want to go much less than that.
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Randolph, NJ
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You should look at the Lake Mohawk area of Sparta.
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:58 PM
 
Location: High Bridge, NJ
3,858 posts, read 8,894,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
That's lovely! We lived in VT for a time so I appreciate mountains and views. The bears, though. Don't have those in Chicago (ha) so I'm afraid of being too far up the mountain. And my real estate agent doesn't get how paranoid I am about crime, she said you live by Gary there's nothing around here like that except for maybe Camden.
In the areas where you're looking crime is not a factor, nor are bears really. Violent crime in NJ is pretty much confined to the cities. Yes, there are drugs in the suburbs, rural areas, etc...but no one is getting shot over them. You're definitely being paranoid. As for bears, they are becoming a problem in that we have too many and need to expand our hunting season, but as an average suburban homeowner you don't have much to fear unless you're like me and you spend a lot of time in the woods hunting, fishing, hiking, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
We are boring suburban people, lol. Give me a Target and a bookstore and we are happy. When we visited Budd Lake area I didn't see any surrounding towns w a "downtown" area to walk to, just a lot of sprawl. I like the looks of that boardwalk area in Sparta. Are there any towns w a main square or park with festivals or farmer markets?
There are some, but you're talking more like Morristown/Boonton area. Much more expensive and much higher property taxes out that way because now you're getting closer to NYC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
And I know my real estate agent can't touch this question w a ten foot pole but are the illegals in the area as bad as they say? I don't particularly care where someone comes from as long as they leave me alone and keep their house nice but I read all kinds of horror stories about Morristown changing overnight.
Again, you're being paranoid. Who is "they?" I'm sure there are lots of illegal immigrants in NJ but I don't bother with them. I don't know who they are, nor do I care, I'm too busy working hard and raising a family. If you go around asking for people's immigration papers you're likely to have a problem though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
Practically speaking, I know nothing about septic or oil systems everything here is sewer and gas.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank

A septic tank is an onsite waste disposal system, a modern version of a cesspool. Not exactly rocket surgery. Oil heat is very common in the Northeast and people have been using it since it replaced coal in large scale after WWII. Again, not a big deal-some people have propane too. The biggest disadvantage is that it's not as cheap as gas, otherwise it's pretty comparable. A lot of people out here supplement their heat with wood. I burn about four cords of wood and maybe 50 gallons of oil a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunchbunch View Post
And these Superfund sites I keep hearing about, don't plant a garden and eat the veggies bc the soil is so bad, really? It looked so pristine out there. That's what I mean about an area looking nice on paper but locals know the real story.
Now you're off the deep end... There are Superfund sites in all 50 states. "Superfund site" simply means that the company went under and left a mess to clean up, thankfully there exists a fund called the (wait for it...) "Superfund" which funds the cleanup of old industrial sites when the companies are no longer around to do it themselves. These range from old gas stations to leaky tanks to shuttered industrial complexes. That said, millions of people get their water from wells, reservoirs, and rivers in NJ. We have millions of acres of farmland in active production, and last I checked, that wasn't a problem. Stop Googling and start getting out more.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Woods
2,735 posts, read 2,997,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
In the areas where you're looking crime is not a factor, nor are bears really. Violent crime in NJ is pretty much confined to the cities. Yes, there are drugs in the suburbs, rural areas, etc...but no one is getting shot over them. You're definitely being paranoid. As for bears, they are becoming a problem in that we have too many and need to expand our hunting season, but as an average suburban homeowner you don't have much to fear unless you're like me and you spend a lot of time in the woods hunting, fishing, hiking, etc...



There are some, but you're talking more like Morristown/Boonton area. Much more expensive and much higher property taxes out that way because now you're getting closer to NYC.



Again, you're being paranoid. Who is "they?" I'm sure there are lots of illegal immigrants in NJ but I don't bother with them. I don't know who they are, nor do I care, I'm too busy working hard and raising a family. If you go around asking for people's immigration papers you're likely to have a problem though.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_tank

A septic tank is an onsite waste disposal system, a modern version of a cesspool. Not exactly rocket surgery. Oil heat is very common in the Northeast and people have been using it since it replaced coal in large scale after WWII. Again, not a big deal-some people have propane too. The biggest disadvantage is that it's not as cheap as gas, otherwise it's pretty comparable. A lot of people out here supplement their heat with wood. I burn about four cords of wood and maybe 50 gallons of oil a year.



Now you're off the deep end... There are Superfund sites in all 50 states. "Superfund site" simply means that the company went under and left a mess to clean up, thankfully there exists a fund called the (wait for it...) "Superfund" which funds the cleanup of old industrial sites when the companies are no longer around to do it themselves. These range from old gas stations to leaky tanks to shuttered industrial complexes. That said, millions of people get their water from wells, reservoirs, and rivers in NJ. We have millions of acres of farmland in active production, and last I checked, that wasn't a problem. Stop Googling and start getting out more.
Why so mean? She / he is asking legitimate questions. A Superfund site CAN and does impact people's groundwater / wells.

EPA to begin removing tainted soil from Byram site | NJ.com

Someone who has never heard of a septic tank will want to know about it and have it inspected before they buy a house.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:30 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,187 times
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Thanks for the tip on High Bridge I'm finding a lot of nice houses out there. Califon is lovely but not a lot of inventory right now at my price. I wasn't aware of illegals as an issue until I came here and read forums about 5 families sharing one house, using their backyard as a garbage dump and setting houses on fire bc of hot plates left on, catching their neighbors homes on fire in the process. Like I said I couldn't care less where someone is from as long as they are a good neighbor. But I can understand locals being upset and the noise/chaos 5 families in one house causes.

Being 1000 miles away all I have to go on is what I read and it's always conflicting info, one site says "move here it's great" and then literally another site is promoting Trenton as the next place to live (some people may like excitement, I don't) I see a town listed in the 10 places to live in Jersey then I hop over to crime sites and see the numbers. The superfund thing thank homefacts for their map. My question is, was it genuinely a bad dump site or just a truck spill it doesnt say. The crime hang up, my area for example looks solidly middle class but there's places you just don't go at night and apartments you don't rent bc there's been murders. Outside looking in you'd never know it although our numbers look good on paper and I have local pd friends who tell me what doesn't hit the papers. That's where the locals come in as invaluable. If it were just hubby and I, I wouldn't be as concerned or paranoid but moving across country to a totally unknown area and no contacts, w kids in tow, makes it more harrowing.

I have to admit when we visited I had my mind made up I wouldn't like NJ but I was charmed. I know it isn't all Badda Bing like on TV but I was genuinely surprised how nice it is. It's a hidden gem. Maybe people want the Jersey Shore stereotypes to stay to keep their state to themselves! :-) and why hasn't Taylor ham been in my life before now?
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Woods
2,735 posts, read 2,997,823 times
Reputation: 3349
I don't recommend High Bridge. Lots of abandoned properties and empty downtown. Taxes are high compared to surrounding towns. Most of the homes you are seeing are probably in Lake Solitude, which is a trailer park.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:39 PM
 
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Of COURSE Byram was a town I found a lot of nice houses I liked..ugh that just chills me to my core. I think a well is a dealbreaker for me now. Thanks for the info!
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