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Old 01-14-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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As we navigate our relocation to N. NJ, I realize there are a lot of different factors from where we have lived in the past. Should we stay away from oil heat? Septic systems? My husband is working in Mahwah, so we have many choices. I am also used to "neighborhoods" with sidewalks and where kids gather in the yards to play and can safely ride bikes. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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I wouldn't "stay away" from oil heat or septics, but neither would necessarily be my first choice, either. Regarding oil, you definitely don't want a house with a buried tank or any remnants of one, but if you've got a newer, efficient boiler, it's not something I'd avoid.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Northern NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njbound2010 View Post
As we navigate our relocation to N. NJ, I realize there are a lot of different factors from where we have lived in the past. Should we stay away from oil heat? Septic systems? My husband is working in Mahwah, so we have many choices. I am also used to "neighborhoods" with sidewalks and where kids gather in the yards to play and can safely ride bikes. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
If possible I would avoid oil heat altogether. It's smelly, oil has all kinds of issues with gelling and freezing in the winter (I have to put heat lamps on my oil tank when it gets really cold), it's expensive compared to gas right now, oil burners break down a lot. Since you have a choice, choose a neighborhood with public water, public sewer, and gas heat. Homes with these three items resell easier than oil-well-septic homes.

If you are working in Mahwah and you have lots of choices, there is no earthly reason to get involved with oil heat, septic tanks, or well water. There are just too many neighborhoods that have natural gas-public water-public sewer. Also if you are transferring in, you may one day have to transfer out, and reselling is much easier with what I'm suggesting. Of all the homes I sell, home inspection issues are most frequent with septic tanks, wells, and oil burners and tanks.

Good luck!
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Cranford NJ
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With water and sewer charges these days, A septic system that's working properly can actually save you a LOT of money, also there's no good reason to avoid well water. Just make sure you have it inspected thoroughly. I would not make it my deciding factor.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Edison, NJ
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There are some towns where you can find decent acreage, but public sewer and water are not offered so your stuck with septic/well. So, while you can get a ranch on 2 acres for a decent price with the idea of blowing it out in the future, the number of "bedrooms" you add must be proportional to the size of your septic system. I've got a bigger problem with window AC than I do with oil or steam heat...
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Northern NJ
3,282 posts, read 3,057,528 times
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Originally Posted by Sergio M View Post
With water and sewer charges these days, A septic system that's working properly can actually save you a LOT of money, also there's no good reason to avoid well water. Just make sure you have it inspected thoroughly. I would not make it my deciding factor.
I already covered the numerous negatives of oil heat, but I forgot that above ground tanks can also rupture around the release valve at the bottom, leaking the contents into the soil, and requiring heavy handed and expensive DEP involvement for the cleanup.

If you amortize the cost of a septic system and compare it with the cost of sewer charges, public sewers win out by far due the economies of scale associated with installation/operation of public sewers. A new septic system can easily run $30,000. In addition, septic systems need ongoing maintenance, they need to be pumped every so often, you have to put the bacteria in, you have to be ultra-careful what you throw down the drain. Then they take up large amounts of your yard and restrict improvements such as pools.

As for well water, the pressure is usually terrible unless you have a kick ass pump, and during a prolonged drought, the well can run dry. Also, wells break and have to be fixed, holding tanks have to be replaced, and the amortized cost of a new well easily exceeds the payments made for municipal water. Furthermore, unless you test every 6 months, which costs hundreds of dollars, you never know if contamination from some unknown distant source has found its way through an aquifer into your well. Public water is constantly tested, and chlorinated, and fluoridated. So it's safer as well as cheaper.

No, my recommendations stand. The buyer said she has plenty of choices near Mahwah. I would choose public water, public sewer, and natural gas. The public places a high premium on that combination, and it resells best. It's often one of the first things I hear from new buyers: I don't want septic, I don't want oil heat. Don't choose things that others don't want unless you have to.
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Vermont
4,725 posts, read 9,131,890 times
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OIL heat is normal almost everywhere around here, and septic is as well, completely normal in towns like Oakland and probably much Mahwah, Wyckoff, etc.

These are issues that can be easily changed, too, so it could be an influence but perhaps not deciding factor. More importantly I think is I think, if you like a walkable neighborhood you can start there. Many of these towns will have sidewalks but not Mahwah so much.

Starting point is usually budget and bedroom requirements...
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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The idea of having a septic tank and drinking well water from the same property grosses me out. Add in the possibility of a leaking oil tank contaminating the water table is extra gross. Maybe there is negligible risk but just the idea bothers me. Given a choice I'd opt for public water/sewer and gas.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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Thanks for the responses. As this is our 7 relocation, I tend to lean toward buying in locations that have better chances for increasing in value and fewer obstacles for resale. Our first choices are Allendale, Ramsey, Ridgewood, thinking that schools and location may hold housing values better, but quite honestly, it has been a shock seeing the home prices for what you get, and the very high property taxes. We have lived in CA, the midwest, and the south, and the northeast is new to us. We have lived in many master planned neighborhoods with sidewalks, pools, community centers, etc...so we need to adjust our expectations.
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