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Old 06-17-2019, 10:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solidhadriel View Post
I'm flying out for a week, in a couple of weeks and want to spend both weekends there. Definitely a good plan!



Excellent advice as well. I've thought about the limitations with having the Ferry as my main mode of transportation. Want to go bar hopping after 10PM? Forget about it...or get a hotel room.
You could always drive up to Newark or take the train to New York Penn or Newark from the Highlands area (North Jersey Coast Line, blue on the NJT map below) and take the PATH into Manhattan if you stop at Newark. PATH runs all night (as long as they aren't doing construction which they are now for the WTC line, that changes the schedule until late 2020). The PATH either goes Newark to WTC or Newark to Jersey City which has transfers to the 33rd Street line. It also has transfers to Hoboken. This would be a lot more of a PIA than a simple ferry ride and also might mean you can't drink too much because you'd have to drive home, but shooting down the parkway at late hours isn't bad so the drive home from Newark if you did drive there to take the train would be a breeze.

NJT, though, doesn't run all night unfortunately. You'd have to catch a train home by I think 1 am-ish is the latest. So you'd need to be back at New York Penn by then. Driving to Newark then to take the PATH would be your best bet. You could also look into towns on the North Jersey Coast Line, which has direct trains to New York Penn, if you like the Highlands area.

https://www.panynj.gov/path/maps.html

https://www.njtransit.com/sf/sf_serv...SchedulesMapTo

Is there a reason you aren't looking into towns west or slightly southwest of the city instead of south of it, down to the bay and ocean? Is it cost, space?
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:49 AM
 
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This is all really good information. I definitely appreciate all the input all of you are providing. It is really helping to guide me in the right direction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
Is there a reason you aren't looking into towns west or slightly southwest of the city instead of south of it, down to the bay and ocean? Is it cost, space?
What attracted me to the highlands area was the following:
  • House with a yard for my huskies
  • Convenient Commute
  • Not "crowded"
  • Didn't need to drive ($12-$15 in parking fees a day is insane IMO)
  • Garage (I need a place to build stuff, and store all my tools!)
  • Friendly neighborhood

I don't want to move into a town house, condo, or apartment, for one of the reasons listed above (mainly because of my furr babies).

If there are other areas in Jersey that meet those criteria, I am more than open to looking into them. My max budget for a 20% down payment is around $90-100k. Ideally, 75k-80k if possible.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:56 PM
 
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Fellow big-dog lover here. Since you are a single guy with big dogs and no kids, would you consider a fixer-upper or a house in a semi-sketchy area? There are some bargains to be had, with a much better commute, if you don't need HGTV move-in readiness and top-10 schools.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kthnry View Post
Fellow big-dog lover here. Since you are a single guy with big dogs and no kids, would you consider a fixer-upper or a house in a semi-sketchy area? There are some bargains to be had, with a much better commute, if you don't need HGTV move-in readiness and top-10 schools.
Fixer-Uppers are my thing. Sketchy neighborhoods - not so much!

Pretty much the only things I'll be trucking across the country with me, are my dogs and my tools. I plan to leave, sell, or junk just about everything else I have. I don't mind pulling carpet, laying tile, redoing drywall, running new electrical, replacing fixtures, fix siding, etc. I have just about all the tools I need - including a pretty sweet air compressor, and air tools to go with it. Which is another reason why I can't see myself living in an apartment or condo. I need my ability to still tinker on "stuff"!

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:41 PM
 
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You can't work in downtown Manhattan and want to come home to the leafy suburbs with a sprawling backyard without paying a hefty price.

You could afford something in Parsippany for that price.

It fits what you're looking for but your commute would be more 75 to 90 minutes.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solidhadriel View Post
Any suggestions?
Hmmm. I've never commuted into NYC, so I don't know what train lines might be best for you, but here are a few quick finds in the desirable commuter towns in my area (South Orange/Maplewood). The thing about these high-end, close-in towns is that most buyers have plenty of money and want big houses already fixed up. The smaller un-updated houses often languish on the market. But even the bargains aren't cheap. You will always pay for easy access to the city.

This house is probably more than you're willing or able to take on (fire damage). Also, I wouldn't consider buying a house with an in-ground oil storage tank. If you don't know anything about oil tanks, you need to search for past threads and get up to speed. I'm guessing this house will get bought by a flipper, torn down, and replaced by a million-dollar house. But even if you just restored it to its pre-fire condition, it would sell for twice the asking price.

I have no idea why this house is so inexpensive and the taxes are so low. Seems really out of line for the area.

Here's a sad little house for a good price. Can't tell how big the back yard is, though.

This is a strange but sweet little house with an attached garage (not that common in these older towns). In fact, as a single person, I would love to own a 2/1 house.

Dang, here's a beautiful Gothic Revival 2/1 five minutes from the South Orange train station for $309,000. I should buy this house!

This is interesting. Just a few blocks from Mountain station and seem to have a big yard. Looks like someone started fixing it up and ran out of money. But it has an in-ground oil tank. Doesn't matter if they have permits. Make the seller pull it or walk away.

If you're really adventurous, you could buy a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming neighborhood. There's a lot of speculation and flipping near the Brick Church train station. In fact, I'm moving to a co-op in a highrise near Brick Church later this year. There are some grand old houses, but realistically it would be hard for you to learn your way around and make something happen in a weekend visit.

https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...-08481?view=qv

https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...-59587?view=qv

Enough vicarious house-hunting! Hope I haven't made your decision more difficult. Good luck in your home search.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:20 PM
 
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If you've never done the commute, I agree with others. Don't buy. Rent. Know where you want to live before you buy. You may end up absolutely hating the commute by boat. Then what? Remember this is NYC with winters and you'll be on a boat in a giant bay approaching open ocean.

I think you should look somewhere that has a train commute. It'll be much simpler, more reliable, and likely run later. You're young and will want to meet other young single people I'm assuming. You also don't want to have to give up your social life so much in NYC. I'm from LA. I know LA is not a "let's meet after work for drinks" kinda place. NYC is. It's a good way to meet friends of friends or develop bonds with coworkers or even network. Limiting your time in Manhattan when you're new here without a friend group is not a good plan. The social scene is here is different from LA and you don't want to sacrifice those after work and weekend hours.

There are numerous places in NJ with trains that have SFH with backyards. Just one suggestion would be Lyndhurst. Here are some properties in your price range that you can move into or fix up. It's a good neighborhood with NJ Transit train stations. While it's suburban, it leans a little younger and has easy access to other nightlife/entertainment places to make friends like Hoboken, Jersey City, and even Newark for games/shows. If you're stuck late at night after the last train, you can always take PATH 24/7 from NYC into NJ and then Lyft/Uber home Hoboken or Jersey City PATH stations.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3...72541328_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...37949982_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...37952484_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...37950132_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5...37950736_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...37950319_zpid/

North Arlington is one town south. No train stop, but it's a short drive to the Lyndhurst stations and it has buses that go into Manhattan.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...37975534_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6...37974892_zpid/

Kearny is one town south of North Arlington.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...38924857_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...38924853_zpid/

Bloomfield is on a NJ Transit train line also. It has a developing downtown and is close to Montclair which is a nice city with a young population and cool restaurants/bars downtown.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...38628454_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...38628095_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...38633206_zpid/

In Montclair itself.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8...38689009_zpid/

Secaucus is a major train station hub in NJ with tons of trains going into Manhattan, but the actual city itself is pretty quite and suburban.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...38937496_zpid/

For that matter, it's not unheard of to find SFH with yards and garages in Hudson County and lower Bergen County where a lot of young people live and commute by bus into Manhattan. There are small jitney buses with their own routes, some running 24/7, but again you could always take PATH into NJ late at night and Lyft/Uber home. Or even Lyft/Uber from Manahttan home since these cities are literally right across the river from Manhattan. It would help your social and professional a lot being close to the city and your office.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...38935123_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9...38934793_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...38004162_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8...38004203_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4...37989270_zpid/

A little further out are places like Cranford. Right on a train line for public transit access to Manhattan.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...39985888_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...39987081_zpid/
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...39985455_zpid/

Overall, you honestly just don't know enough about the area. You need to come spend more time here. Try out different commutes. Learn the neighborhoods better. Rent for a while. It may be hard to find a rental, but it's your best bet at this point for finding what will make you happy.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:07 PM
 
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Dang everyone! You all have been so helpful. I will spend a lot of time digesting all of this. I've been reading/researching daily. Looking at crime maps, studying the transit options, studying the hours, studying the distances and population. There's a lot to figure out...And that doesn't even include all the things I have to plan for here at home while I prepare to move.
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:16 PM
 
12,657 posts, read 10,501,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solidhadriel View Post
Dang everyone! You all have been so helpful. I will spend a lot of time digesting all of this. I've been reading/researching daily. Looking at crime maps, studying the transit options, studying the hours, studying the distances and population. There's a lot to figure out...And that doesn't even include all the things I have to plan for here at home while I prepare to move.
Starting with the NJ Transit map is a good idea, imo. Towns with trains with direct or even indirect (transferring in Newark or Secaucus) train access to the city are usually more expensive because of that train access, but there are towns within your price range as some have shown, and it's also good to have that starting point because you can look into towns right next to those towns also. Parking at train station lots in some towns is a challenge, because there often isn't enough parking and permits are often required, and there can be a long wait list for permits. So buying within walking distance of a train station may a good option if possible, but again the price will probably be higher because of that access.

I don't think Highlands is a bad idea, btw. It's a nice area, I personally love being down by the water. Highlands area is very pretty and is close to some nice areas with pretty popular downtowns like Red Bank, and it's not that far from Asbury Park which is a now very trendy beach town (pretty unsafe in some areas, but downtown and right by the beach/boardwalk are okay), or Sea Bright which has some bars and restaurants, Long Branch, too. In the warmer months being near the NJ Shore is definitely a plus, it's even nice in the colder months. But the commute by boat in the winter or on bad weather days may be something to consider. People do it but it may not be for everyone.

I agree with those saying you should come out here as much as possible to do dry run commutes from areas you're most interested in, and if you can't do that, maybe try renting then exploring around once here when you can to get a feel of other areas that may work better for you. You could definitely rent a house in pretty much any area. If you plan on staying out here for a while, I would definitely try to get to know any place you're interested in as much as possible just to know for sure where you want to buy.

There are a lot of options, I know. Despite the massive difference in size, NJ has more municipalities than CA - iirc it's 565. I imagine it's overwhelming looking at all these towns you could live in, but people make these moves often and they figure it out. A lot of places are quite similar to one another, it's not like you'll find towns near each other to be drastically different, for the most part. We have strong local governments, it's a very northeastern thing and is partly why we have so many municipalities, but places don't actually differ much when you're in the suburban areas. You cross town borders and wouldn't even realize it in many cases.
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
Starting with the NJ Transit map is a good idea, imo. Towns with trains with direct or even indirect (transferring in Newark or Secaucus) train access to the city are usually more expensive because of that train access, but there are towns within your price range as some have shown, and it's also good to have that starting point because you can look into towns right next to those towns also. Parking at train station lots in some towns is a challenge, because there often isn't enough parking and permits are often required, and there can be a long wait list for permits. So buying within walking distance of a train station may a good option if possible, but again the price will probably be higher because of that access.
Yeah walking distance to a train station is the most ideal commute from the suburbs IMO. Second is finding a station that you can actually park at with a monthly pass/permit and driving to it from a more affordable town next door. Third is commuter or regular buses from the more urban neighborhoods closer to the city since many don't have trains, but the bus commute isn't all that terrible since you're already close to the city (i.e. North Bergen, North Arlington, Kearny, etc.).

However, the cities with the bus commutes are generally going to be younger and more vibrant since they're more urban and closer to the city, so they'd be better for a social life.

If you have your heart set on something near the shore that you can take the ferry to work from, Atlantic Highlands is not a bad option. It's just not something I'd entirely recommend to someone coming from out of state for the first time. And do know that there is still a train line that goes near it. Red Bank and Middletown stations aren't too far. You could take the ferry most days to work, but on those bad weather days where the water might be really rough, you can still hop on a train to get to work. And for those times you want to go to dinner/happy hour with coworkers after work, I checked and the last train on the North Jersey Coast Line leaves NY Penn Station at 1am, with three others leaving between the time the last ferry runs and the last train runs. Even on weekends, there are still three others leaving after the last ferry in between that and the last train at 1am.
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