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Old 10-21-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: At the local Wawa
538 posts, read 2,180,322 times
Reputation: 441

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OP, look no further than living in Hunterdon County, NJ. Particularly, areas around Clinton, Annandale, Lebanon and Whitehouse Station. Best place to live in NYC metro, IMO. I'm kicking myself for leaving there myself, but alas, I am no where near a six figure salary and you need a six figure salary to live there. There are apartments in Annandale and Lebanon that are brand new, 2 or 3 bedroom, and have every amenity.

The people there are way, way friendlier than Long Islanders and people from points further east. The general pace of life is more peaceful and less frantic. Picture a slice of Vermont in NJ, but with NJ prices for sure. People here are less concerned with looks and image, and more concerned with the natural environment and preserving open space. Worry not though, its not an area filled with hicks and hillbillies. Most people there are very educated, but they don't flash it around. Also, has the best schools in NJ, the kids are less pretentious, and snobby.

If this area is too far west, check out western Somerset county towns like Branchburg, Bridgewater, and Bedminster. Still somewhat expensive, but slightly more urban. As you go east on Route 22 in NJ, it gets more and more urban, but some towns still stand out as good places to live. Martinsville and Watchung are still pretty nice, if quite busy. Still, if you can do it, I highly recommend living in Hunterdon County- anywhere in the county is fine too.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Hamburg, NY
1,172 posts, read 2,295,541 times
Reputation: 1079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henna View Post
Actually, I think you should change that to "Middle American FAMILIES have no place here." Because single people and couples can live just fine. It's the ones with children who are screwed.
Single people/Childless couples between the ages of 30-60 with six figure salaries have no problems living here. Everyone else struggles. If you are old, young, have children, etc. you get killed financially. It'd probably the most Socially Darwinistic place in North America.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: At the local Wawa
538 posts, read 2,180,322 times
Reputation: 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Port North View Post
The point here is that if you grew up in the NYC Metro you have no idea how much space and ease of living people are used to in other places. My mother who lives in a middle class suburb of Buffalo has a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, totally remodeled with a jacuzzi in their bedroom, 2 car garage on a 1/4 acre lot. All for 160K and taxes of $3200! Schools rate the same as the district I live in Long Island.

My mother and stepfather may earn less than I do, but they sure as heck live better than I do! They also do not have college degrees and my wife and I do.

So to the avearge American, paying 500K for an 2 bedroom apartment in the outer boros or a 1100 square foot shoebox in the first ring suburbs of Long Island or Westchester seems insane, and way below what they are used to.

I have a "free" house in a pretty decent area and even with that it's really tight living on 80K here when you have a family. Let alone all the health problems I've developed having to deal with the stress of living here.

I don't know why anyone who is not wealthy would consider moving here. New York is not for "normal people". It is for the wealthy and the "low wage slaves" that serve them. Middle America has no place here.
I do somewhat agree with this- its very hard, if not impossible to be a middle class person ANYWHERE in the NYC metro. The stress of living in areas like Bergen County, Nassau County, Fairfield County, etc is overwhelming for most people of average means. I do think some of the far out areas are possible to live in (Sussex County, Warren County, maybe Dutchess), but it depends on how often you have to go into that festering stew of expense and traffic in NYC. Tolls are so high ($14 on GW bridge I think), and taxes so extreme that I believe that the entire area has become, like you said, for the rich and those that slave over them and are willing to live 5 families in a two family rented house.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Staten Island, New York
3,674 posts, read 5,850,725 times
Reputation: 3553
Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
Hello all... hoping some of you can weigh in on our situation while I comb through these forums. We may need to make our decision very soon, so I'm hoping I can save some time by posting. Here's our situation:

- Married, 1 toddler, hoping to have one more
- I don't work, husband does (I could work, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to do that until the children are older)
- Husband is about to get an offer to relocate us from the MidWest to work in the NYC area
- Husband's job would require being fairly close to Manhattan (no more than 30-45 min by train, if possible). We love Manhattan (have done a couple of longish stays there), so we are excited by the possibility. Don't want to live there, but close by would be wonderful.
- Ideally, we'd want to live in a single family home. Our last home was a loft in an area almost as expensive as NYC. Loved it pre-children, we're more into our privacy, a back yard, quiet streets, greenery, etc. now.
- We hate big mortgages. We had one, and were lucky enough to get out of it relatively bruise-free.
- We'll rent initially, but after the 2nd or 3rd year (and hopefully a 2nd child) we'd want to find a home to settle into.
- We need a 3bed/2bath minimum, a 4/2 or 4/3 would be better. A finished basement, or one that could be finished is a must-have.
- We'd be okay to live in another state, as long as the commute to NYC wasn't more than 45min-1 hour.
- Good schools are very important.
- We prefer older houses, built 1940 or earlier. Good architecture and charm and all that stuff.

My questions are this:
- Renting: where would be the best neighborhood to rent in initially? We were thinking Hoboken because of the distance, 3/2s are pretty pricey there though. Jersey City seems to be about the same, as do Queens, Bronx. Any suggestions on where to find a single-family home to rent initially? We'd be okay with an apartment if the SFH thing doesn't really exist in the NYC area for rentals. If apartments or duplexes will be our best option, what neighborhoods/cities would you recommend?

- Long-term/buying a house: how far away from Manhattan does one need to go before you can find nice, older homes with yards, good neighborhoods, good schools, etc. that are in a more reasonable price range, say $200-300K? Are there any commutes from the Hudson River Valley area (lower, of course) that fit our criteria above? In the area where we are now, there are a lot of brick homes which my husband and I both really like. Not seeing many brick homes on the RE sites I've searched on... are there less of these in the NY area?

- Relocation package: we've never negotiated one of these and are wondering what to expect. New employer is a very hot, successful startup that was purchased by a huge international company, you'd know the name. We're getting info on what they could offer, but want to know what is typical for a relo from the MidWest to NYC area, given the very significant cost of living increases. Husband's job is not at VP level (yet), but he'd be a very important asset, should he accept.

- Salary: I've read on other posts here that if you're not making at least $350-400K in the NYC area, you're going to be scraping by? Other people have said $200-250 would be sufficient and would provide a nice, comfortable lifestyle. Anyone here have any input on that? We're not extravagant people, but at this point, with children, we're not much into cramped apartments, etc.

Thank you very much for your input, if you have the time!
What is his salary?
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:43 AM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
51,198 posts, read 50,480,930 times
Reputation: 60090
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phish Head View Post
OP, look no further than living in Hunterdon County, NJ. Particularly, areas around Clinton, Annandale, Lebanon and Whitehouse Station. Best place to live in NYC metro, IMO. I'm kicking myself for leaving there myself, but alas, I am no where near a six figure salary and you need a six figure salary to live there. There are apartments in Annandale and Lebanon that are brand new, 2 or 3 bedroom, and have every amenity.

The people there are way, way friendlier than Long Islanders and people from points further east. The general pace of life is more peaceful and less frantic. Picture a slice of Vermont in NJ, but with NJ prices for sure. People here are less concerned with looks and image, and more concerned with the natural environment and preserving open space. Worry not though, its not an area filled with hicks and hillbillies. Most people there are very educated, but they don't flash it around. Also, has the best schools in NJ, the kids are less pretentious, and snobby.

If this area is too far west, check out western Somerset county towns like Branchburg, Bridgewater, and Bedminster. Still somewhat expensive, but slightly more urban. As you go east on Route 22 in NJ, it gets more and more urban, but some towns still stand out as good places to live. Martinsville and Watchung are still pretty nice, if quite busy. Still, if you can do it, I highly recommend living in Hunterdon County- anywhere in the county is fine too.
Hunterdon County is as beautiful as you say, but if you're going to try to convince anyone that it's a 45 minute to one hour commute, you are being dishonest.
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:07 PM
 
Location: At the local Wawa
538 posts, read 2,180,322 times
Reputation: 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Hunterdon County is as beautiful as you say, but if you're going to try to convince anyone that it's a 45 minute to one hour commute, you are being dishonest.
First of all, I didn't say anything about time in my post. Snarky remarks about being dishonest are really uncalled for.

Second, you can get from Exit 18 (Lebanon / Annandale) on 78 to the Holland Tunnel in one hour by car. Its a straight shot on 78 East. I did it, during rush hour, for two years. Of course if there was a major accident or snow storm, it would be longer. So, there's nothing dishonest about what I wrote. If you live there and have a different experience, why don't you share that with us?

I also recommended 5 places closer to NYC that were still good places to live in my post.
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:17 PM
 
10,604 posts, read 20,730,171 times
Reputation: 8145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phish Head View Post
First of all, I didn't say anything about time in my post. Snarky remarks about being dishonest are really uncalled for.

Second, you can get from Exit 18 (Lebanon / Annandale) on 78 to the Holland Tunnel in one hour by car. Its a straight shot on 78 East. I did it, during rush hour, for two years. Of course if there was a major accident or snow storm, it would be longer. So, there's nothing dishonest about what I wrote. If you live there and have a different experience, why don't you share that with us?

I also recommended 5 places closer to NYC that were still good places to live in my post.
The problem is that the OP wasn't clear. In the first post, she is looking for a 45 minute commute and only asking for places that fit that criteria. In a subsequent post, she amends that to say she's just wondering how far you have to go to find a 3 bedroom/2 bath for under 300K.

Two different questions. So the confusion lies in someone answering one question and another member thinking they are answering the other one.

I have to say I'm confused myself, but I don't have enough knowledge to suggest areas outside of NYC anyway, so I'm safe.
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:25 PM
bg7
 
7,698 posts, read 7,627,262 times
Reputation: 14991
"Why is it when someone asks for "close to Manhattan",it's always NJ or LI?
I can show you 500-600k houses with 5k property taxes in Brooklyn in great neighborhoods that are just as close to Manhattan."

5K in property taxes - but also 3.5% NYC resident income tax that you are not paying in NJ or LI. That has to be taken into account when comparing.
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Nassau, Long Island, NY
16,416 posts, read 27,923,260 times
Reputation: 7249
Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
"Why is it when someone asks for "close to Manhattan",it's always NJ or LI?
I can show you 500-600k houses with 5k property taxes in Brooklyn in great neighborhoods that are just as close to Manhattan."

5K in property taxes - but also 3.5% NYC resident income tax that you are not paying in NJ or LI. That has to be taken into account when comparing.
The OP only wants to pay $200-$300K for a house, not double.

Another thing is the OP has kids, so school quality is important. How are the schools in these Brooklyn neighborhoods?

That's why people are not recommending Brooklyn, but recommending the far-flung areas (even out to the exurbs).
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:18 PM
bg7
 
7,698 posts, read 7,627,262 times
Reputation: 14991
To clarify, I was quoting someone else's post re. the price of houses and taxes in NYC versus NJ or LI. I was trying to say it was a false comparison unless you included NYC resident income tax on top of the NYC property tax.
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