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Old 10-21-2011, 05:14 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henna View 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.
You're right, my posts are confusing... it's because we have two phases, if you will, of the potential move. Although we love Manhattan, we don't want to live there. So that leaves the burroughs of NYC and surrounding states. Since we don't know those at all - never even set foot in them during our stays in Manhattan - we're planning to rent in a nice area, fairly close to Manhattan. Hopefully within a 30-45min commute. But I'm beginning to wonder if even that is possible, at least as far as keeping the commute time low, based on some of these responses. Hoboken has been suggested by the employer as a good possibility.

We envision renting very near NYC for about 2-3 years. Our daughter will be ready for school by then, at which point we'd buy. That's where we'd love to find something in the $200-300 range, brick, 3/2 or 4/2 or 4/3, and still be fairly close to NYC, but with a more suburban feel. In the research I've done in the last 24 hours, it would seem the only way to achieve that would be to buy a foreclosure or short sale. Apparently, there has been yet another increase in those in the NY area.

So that's one solution I see so far to the house purchase.

In the immediate, I'm hoping some of you can comment further on a great city to find a rental with a short commute to NYC. We've given up on the idea of renting a SFH that close. So it would have to be a nice 3/2 or 4/2 duplex or some sort of apartment building, preferably with only 1-2 other neighbors.

I am going to respond to this thread in more detail later when my daughter is in bed. Sorry if I was confusing to anyone. If you have children, you know how tough it is to get a meal on the table let alone type a long post on the internet, with screaming (albeit adorable) child in tow...

Thanks for all of your input so far. More soon. Oh, and to answer the question on salary: it's not 100% certain yet, but most likely in the $200-250K range. And we'd want to be saving for the downpayment on a house, so we don't want to sink all of that into a schwanky apartment. But it needs to be better than decent, and definitely not a 'budget' type place.

Last edited by jojoboulette; 10-21-2011 at 05:25 PM..
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:09 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post
Pearl River would be a consideration in Rockland, but the prices may be a tad higher and properties smaller than the lot size you seek, but it's not terribly far from the city and has well-regarded schools. The issue is that it's Rockland County, and west of the Hudson transportation can take much longer than areas further out in Putnam or Northern Westchester.

Putnam is actually a very good suggestion, particularly Mahopac and Carmel, areas that have good schools, and in which you are likely to find the lot size that you seek with the house size as well. Chester in Orange County would be another consideration, but transportation is a bit limited, requiring a drive to the train, or a bus to the city.

Perhaps one of the better commutes would be to look in the Yorktown Heights area of Northern Westchester. Around $300k, you would have options on 1/2 acre, and you can easily drive to Croton-Harmon in 15 minutes or so from much of the area. The beauty of Croton-Harmon is that you would have a 45-minute express train commute to Grand Central Terminal on the Hudson Line, as opposed to an hour or longer from other areas in Northern Westchester like Katonah, Bedford, or Lewisboro that would use a Harlem Line Station.

Danbury and surrounding areas of Western Fairfield County in Connecticut also would likely have some houses in your preferred price and size range. Schools are a little different in Connecticut, but there are some very good districts, though New York tends to have much smaller districts, overall. The commute is not as easy, using the Danbury Branch Line to South Norwalk, and then a New Haven Line train to Grand Central, or taking the HART bus to New York's Harlem Line stations for a trip of a bit over an hour to Grand Central.

The easiest commutes would be Yorktown Heights, Mahopac, and Carmel areas, which would be a little over an hour to an hour and a half from Midtown, factoring time to drive to the train station.
Thanks very much! These sounds like good options/areas to check out when we're ready to buy.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:11 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Originally Posted by yee8p View Post
Relo packages doesn't take into account cost-of-living adjustments typically. That's negotiated separately more likely than not. More likely than not, it's not offered if you're switching employers. Because cost-of-living adjustments are essentially cash bonuses. So, I would think (and could be wrong since I'm definitely not a VP) you're negotiating for a higher sign-on bonus and a higher base salary.

Relo packages typically includes packing and shipping of your household products. Shipping of your car. Temp housing, with temp housing allowances. Cash allowances to cover the odds and ends (probably a few thousand. Not enough to sustain a cost-of-living difference). Broker fee for your new home. Car for use during temp housing, possibly. Broker fee for your old home. Breaking of your lease. Some will offer mortgage assistance (points buy down). The most sticky part is generally if you're trying to get rid of your house. Companies used to buy your house (and then they'll eventually sell it, generally at a loss). In today's housing market, this is not nearly as typical. This is likely what you'd want to negotiate because you don't want to get stuck with your old house as you're making payment to the new one (unless you're wanting to keep it as a vacation home or something).

How much you need to make really depends on your lifestyle. Also, it'd depend on your schooling costs. Would you need to send your kids private (because you're unable to get into a good school district for one reason or another). I know in Manhattan, sometimes even if you live in a good district, that school is full, and the kids get send off to another school, which forces the parents to go private. But I have no kids, so I am not that intelligent on this matter. Without accounting for kids, in my opinion, if you make 150% of what you made in Midwest, you won't really need to change much at all in your lifestyle / budget. Less, you'd likely have to start looking at some compromises (which some of which can be easy, like eating out twice vs four times a week as an example or housing or commute, etc.).
Fortunately, we are renting now and our lease will expire very soon. So the timing is perfect. Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:24 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wawaweewa View Post
Why are you listening to these crackpots on here?

If your household income is upwards of $200k/annum then you'll do fine.

You can find plenty of houses in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx in good neighborhoods for around 500k-600k. With a 200k+ income, the mortgage shouldn't be that much of a problem at all (provided you;d qualify for one at today's low rates).

If you'd like to rent, then you can rent within Manhattan but it'll cost you twice what you'd pay monthly for a house in the outer Boroughs.

Don't listen to these crazies on here. They'd have you think you can't live in NYC unless you're making over 500k. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the people in this City survive on much less.
Well, I guess, as some have mentioned... that it's a question of surviving vs. thriving. We're not 20-somethings anymore, and want a certain standard of living. From what I can tell though, I think you are right. As I've said, we're not particularly extravagant. We like nice things, but aren't consumed by them. We eat out maybe 1-2x/month (harder with baby.)

We probably could afford to live in NYC, but we don't want to... love it there, but want something a bit more low-key for everyday life. I tried to clarify my original post earlier this evening. We're realizing that renting is going to be the way to go, the question is what type of rental and where at this point. Many seem to be saying that a 30-45min commute to NYC is not realistic...?
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:25 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henna View Post
The Times did a whole month-long series about commutes from various areas in 2008. I don't think they covered the cost of real estate, but it wouldn't be too hard to check housing prices in certain areas after you read what the commute is like.

Here is one article about commuting from the Poconos, where some people move for lower housing prices and good schools. Apparently the commute is kind of brutal - like 2 hours each way -- and some people are getting up at 3am in order to make it to work on time. Martz Trailways Bus from Mount Pocono, Pa., to the Port Authority in Manhattan - New York Times

I am not sure if you need a Times subscription to read the whole thing.
Thanks very much, I'll do a search on that series.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:33 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,897 times
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Originally Posted by gbook2 View Post
I'm not so sure you're going to like it here in NYC. I just started a job in Manhattan with the same expectations as you. We wanted a single family house with a yard, good schools, and within 30-45min of NYC. We also have two little children, a 4yr old and a 10month old. We could NOT find a house under $500k that met those criteria. and the property taxes are at a minimum $12k/yr for those houses. Do the math, that's a minimum $3000/mo mortgage! Day care... in Hartford, it was $650/mo for 4 days, in NYC it's $2500/mo for 6 days, or $1900/mo for 4 days in New Rochelle. My wife and my combined salary would $120k/yr and that was just unrealistic in NYC unless we lived in a crappy neighborhood or a 2 bedroom closet.

And the commute?? Yes, the train from New Rochelle or other places is 30min into Grand Central......... but you first need to get to the train station, then probably take a subway or bus to your final workplace. Depending on where you work, you CANNOT find a door-to-door commute shorter than 1hr no matter where you live and no matter what mode of transport you take (drive, train, bus, walk, bike, ferry). That's at least 10-15hrs a week that your husband will not be home, in addition to the 60hr work week he'll be required to do at his job.

I am thankfully planning to go back to West Hartford and return to my old job, after being in NYC for 1 week. The pay is 40% higher here, but the cost of living is at least 250%. It was simply not worth it to attempt to scrape by every step of the way. There simply won't be enough time in your day leftover to spend time with your family. There's another thread in this forum, started by me, on this same topic. A basic way of looking at it is that your current "difficulty of living" index (based on my own experience) is about a 1 in the midwest, which is the same for me in West Hartford, CT. Boston might be a 1.5, Philly a 2, DC a 4. NYC is 500 or more. I've stayed in the city too, I love it, and I have family in Manhattan, however its INSANE to try to work here with a family.

If you have no other job, then try it out, especially since your baby is only a year old. No need to rush to settle so they can start kindergarten. However, it is bloody expensive, and unless your husband is making $200k/yr, it really is impractical. I never ever thought it would be this hard before I came here. Take it from someone who just did what you are thinking of doing!
Hi gbook... I actually did see your other thread. It sounds like things have been rough for you. Having just moved to where we are now almost exactly 1 year ago, I feel for you, I really do. Especially with 2 kids. Ouch.

I'm wondering how you'd feel if you had $200K instead of $120K...? Would you still go back to CT? Or would you stay? Do you feel stressed out by city life and is that what is making you want to go back? I do have some concerns about moving back to an urban area from where we are now. I'm worried I'm going to miss being so close to rural areas, driving through beautiful fields and forests, etc.

It's such a hard decision because being so close to Manhattan is so alluring (we're fairly artistic people, my husband plays guitar, I dance, etc) and the idea of being able to take my children to MOMA, the Natural History Museum, the ballet, etc on outings is really tempting. I love the idea of them growing up near so much culture.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Since NJ is often a shorter commute than many of the NY State counties because of its proximity to Manhattan, we get a lot of these same questions on the Jersey forum, and the most naivete I think we see concerns unrealistic commuting time expectations.

Much of it is simple geography. Manhattan is on an island, and there are a huge number of people using the limited number of ways to cross the water at the same times every day (approximately 250K from Jersey alone). If, for example, you live in Jersey City--which is directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan--it is going to take you at least 30 minutes from your house to your office, and that's a place where you are either going to live in an expensive high-rise or in a ghettoish situation--no big backyards there. Another 15 minutes isn't going to put you in happy big-backyard suburbia, either, but in older, more crowded and sometimes rundown towns. So there's what the magical 45-minute commute gets you.

Most people who commute from Jersey or the nicer suburbs in LI or Westchester and Rockland Counties are spending a minimum of an hour each way to get to to work. I think if people new to the NY metro area could absorb and accept that, it would make their searches easier.
Yeah, I get what you're saying about the math. What about Hoboken? I'm hearing it's 'minutes from NYC...' BS?

My husband may have the option of working from home a lot of the time, and only commuting for client visits. He'd have a lot of those, but they may not all be in Manhattan either.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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The bottom line is that you will not be able to replicate what you have in the mid-west at any cost. Outside of NY, it takes "twenty miniutes" for most people to get to work, school, the supermarket. Here, it takes twenty minutes to get from your office on the 30th floor to street level. It takes longer to go a shorter geographical distance. And there is a lot less space and distance between between living with your neighbors.

Are you planning to bring cars with you? One? Two? If you live within the city limits, it's a pain. You may have to walk 5-10 blocks just to get to your car parked on the street or at the expensive garage where you keep your car. Then, there's the whole alernate side dance, unique to NY. Even if you have easy access to your car where you live, it's a pain to find a place to put it if your destination is in many parts of the city. You want the car because it's easier to drive your toddler to the pediatrican than take a bus or subway, but who wants to walk 5 blocks to/from the car with a toddler? Then, there's the whole food shopping experience without a car scenario that Non-New Yorkers do not experience.

Once you have ruled out living in Manhattan, forget the 45 minute commute stipulation for either phase 1 or phase 2 part of your move, whether living within NYC limits or a suburb. Shoot for an hour to hour and half door to door and you won't be so limited and it will be more realistic.

You could rent a single family home for $2000-2500 per month in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, nearby NJ, lower Westchester. It will be "decent" and in a relatively family oriented neighborhood, but not as nice, modern, spacious, or with as large of a yard, as you are used to where you are now. You could get an apartment in a building or rent part of a two family home for less, but then you give up the space for the stroller, tricycle, and all that stuff that clutters up the home when you have a little one. My recommendation is to rent in a close-in suburb for phase 1. Keep the car. You'll find more amenable places with parks, town pools, libraries with story time/children's movies, mommy and me, nursery schools, and other young mothers for a social circle.

As for phase 2, with your stated income in your post, when your child is school age, your best options are to move to a suburb outside of the NYC limits (and there are many excellent good school districts) or pay a very high tuition for one of the better private schools (register a few years early before your child is of age). There is no home that is intact north, west, east, south of NYC that has a 200-300K purchase price under a 2 hour commute in ideal weather/traffic conditions. Just does not exist. However, why are you looking for such a cheap home? With your income, you could easily afford something here in one of the close-to NYC suburbs with excellent school? Assuming your husband still has that job at that time, you will by then have narrowed down the areas that you like. There are just too many neighborhoods from 3 different states to choose from in the metro NYC area to recommend with such broad requirements such as good schools, 3 or 4 bedrooms, etc? Each neighborhood has a different atmosphere,
different culture, different environment where you may or may not feel comfortable. But you have plenty of time before you need to buy and make that decision.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Yeah, I get what you're saying about the math. What about Hoboken? I'm hearing it's 'minutes from NYC...' BS?

What you mean to say is that Hoboken is minutes from Manhattan. Remember that Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx are all part of NYC. Hoboken can easily be reached via the PATH train. It is mostly urban and popular with young single people. Not very cheap either.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by babysladkaya View Post
I am going to be brutally honest-if it weren't for me landing a job at a hedge fund (not on the trading side), we would have never been able to afford a house in a good neighborhood, and I don't even mean a tony neighborhood, or a huge house, just decent 2,200 sq feet 4bds/2baths, on 60 by 100 lot. Before that, our combined income was just enough to cover rental for a junior 4 apt, where two kids of a different gender have shared 10 by 12 room, sleeping in bunk beds, and childcare, with 1 vacation a year. Even now, we are driving an 1o year old car because I would rather use the money to bring us closer to the mortgage-free state than buy a fancy set of wheels. I am sure somewhere else we could probably have a nicer and more laid back lifestyle, however, all my family and friends are here, so I wake up every morning, literally praying and thanking God for giving me health and power to make it here.
Are you in Manhattan proper? If not, can you tell me where you're at, and what you're income is (a range is fine)? I'm hearing a lot of different opinions on what 'enough' is... :/
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