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Old 10-21-2011, 08:48 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoltrane View Post
Thank you for your very honest and real comment.

Your post s/b turned into a stickey and be the standard response for inquiries for families seeking to relocate, and live a fairly average American middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are many in this forum and city, who just do not have first hand experience with the life of the average American middle class.

In addition, here in NYC, more than most anywhere in the USA, there exist an underlying class envy/resentment.

Resentment manifests most markedly in regard to schools. Most natives and long time residents are products of NYC public schools. Consequently, many are either unaware of just how poor a public school education they received; or, they simply refuse to acknowledged the reality. One reason for this is the fact that escaping the public school system, for their children, is financially impossible.

So, anyone seeking information and advise, also needs to comprehend the realities above when talking to people. The "I live there, and I went to that school; or, my kids go to that school, its not so bad....", attitude is strong among some.
I think you make a really good point about native NYers vs. imports and standard of living expectations. I have to admit, I shudder at the prices I see on NY RE sites. You can get so, so, so much more where we are now for so much less. And no rat race. But... no Manhattan. And that's a big 'but' in my book.

In my husband's case, it's becoming very apparent that to make the career moves he needs to make, we're going to have to be near a hub for his industry. Which means one of the coasts, for us. So we may not really have a lot of choice, at least for a while. Till then, I may have to dream about my big backyard and the rolling acres just minutes from my house... sigh.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:49 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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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.
Thank you so much, will definitely check these out!
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:58 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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Originally Posted by Coney View Post
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.
Oh goodness, this yahoo stands corrected, I guess... LOL

But the point of my question was... is it the 'amazing commute from Manhattan' that we've been hearing? Your thoughts on that?
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:03 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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Originally Posted by Coney View Post
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.
Thanks for your input, much appreciated! I disagree with you that there are no homes in that price range. Look in any foreclosure listing... there is a plethora in that range, many very close to NYC area, too. And there are soon to be more, from what I can tell.

To answer your question, we've had the 1/2 mill mortgage and really don't want to go there. RE is so inflated (still), and we're just not going to buy into that whole scene again. And the thing is, you don't have to. I should add that I've done a short sale. It really wasn't that bad. So I know what I'm talking about and I'd be up for more paper shuffling if it could keep us out of a $500K+ mortgage.

Your post is reminding me of a lot of questions I have about moving back to urban life. I am out of time for tonight, but I will get back to you on this tomorrow. Hopefully you'll still be around to answer... And if you're not, thanks anyway and thanks for what you did take the time to write.

Aren't we MidWesterners just the nicest folks? Aw shucks!

:P
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:09 PM
 
7,582 posts, read 8,005,409 times
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Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
Oh goodness, this yahoo stands corrected, I guess... LOL

But the point of my question was... is it the 'amazing commute from Manhattan' that we've been hearing? Your thoughts on that?
Yes, it's true. It's about a 15 minute ride from the station in Hoboken to the PATH train stop at Penn Station in Manhattan. Then, of course, you have to get to where you want to go in Manhattan, which could be a lot more than 15 minutes.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:33 PM
 
7,582 posts, read 8,005,409 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
Thanks for your input, much appreciated! I disagree with you that there are no homes in that price range. Look in any foreclosure listing... there is a plethora in that range, many very close to NYC area, too. And there are soon to be more, from what I can tell.

To answer your question, we've had the 1/2 mill mortgage and really don't want to go there. RE is so inflated (still), and we're just not going to buy into that whole scene again. And the thing is, you don't have to. I should add that I've done a short sale. It really wasn't that bad. So I know what I'm talking about and I'd be up for more paper shuffling if it could keep us out of a $500K+ mortgage.

Your post is reminding me of a lot of questions I have about moving back to urban life. I am out of time for tonight, but I will get back to you on this tomorrow. Hopefully you'll still be around to answer... And if you're not, thanks anyway and thanks for what you did take the time to write.

Aren't we MidWesterners just the nicest folks? Aw shucks!

:P
Yes, there are foreclosures, not necessarily in the nicest areas. But the house will most likely have to be totally rennovated. If there are tenants there, good luck trying to get them out. The same with short sales. If there is a second mortgage, good luck. Short sales can take a year to finally close. Buying real estate here is also not the same as any other part of the US where everything is done between the real estate salespeople. Here, you need a real estate lawyer, another expense. It is also a much, much slower process. Real estate taxes are 8K at the very lowest and go up virtually every single year. Real estate property taxes are based on a different formula than most other parts of the country as well and it is the school taxes that are the killer.

You don't need to spend a million for a nice house here. You can get a very nice place for much less. Just be prepared to possibly do some updating and then there are trade-offs on neighborhood status, proxmity to Manhattan, school reputation, property size, house size. But 300K is out of the question for anything other than a co-op apartment. The further you get away from Manhattan, the more you will get for your money.

Also, remember, we are an area of many different cultures and there are neighborhood enclaves with a dominating culture, where you may or may not feel comfortable, e.g. commercial strips catering to the Russian, Hispanic, Indian, Korean, or whatever, residents of the area, even in the suburbs.

Also, to be rather frank, if your income is 200K and you are living in a lower middle class area where the average house is worth $400K, you are just not going to feel comfortable living there and your neighbors and are not going to feel comfortable with you. Not talking about race, just economic class and your child may not have a comfortable fit either in the local school or having friends.
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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First a correction: the PATH does not go to Penn Station. It goes either to the World Trade Center site in the Financial district, or to Christopher Street near Hudson Street, or 9th, 14th, 23rd, and 33rd street on 6th avenue.

Next, on to the OP: You want "a single family home [...] our privacy, a back yard, quiet streets, greenery, etc. now". You also want prefer older homes. And you want the fabled 1 hour commute.

Good news: You can get all this, most likely. At least close, on the commute. Bad news: not for the price you want, or very close. You don't want a big mortgage? Understandable... but from what you've posted, you CAN afford it, so it's just a matter of making the tradeoff.

Hoboken is a great commute to either downtown or midtown. But privacy, back yard, quiet streets, greenery? No. It's a town mostly populated by young professionals who move out when they have kids. Might be a good place to rent for a while, but I don't think it's what you're looking for.

The train towns in NJ could be your best bet, especially if your husband's employer is on the west side of the city. You should probably ask in the New Jersey forum about that (be sure to read the sticky post about what informaiton to provide), but some towns to consider would be South Orange, Maplewood, Glen Ridge, Rutherford, East Rutherford, Cranford, Westfield. Westchester County is another possibility; when I was looking I found it to be far more expensive for a given commute distance, but if your husband's employer was close to Grand Central, that would make a difference.
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
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?
If they paid me $400k, I wouldn't stay in NYC. You simply cannot live the same way you do now in the suburbs for any amount of money. You will always have a commute, and it will always be at least 10 hours per week. For $100k/yr we can have a 10 min commute and a 2000sqft house in West Hartford. There is NO amount of money that can provide that in NYC.

If you really like the Manhattan culture, then you can visit the place. But if you have children, you will not have enough time and money to enjoy the attractions.
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Old 10-22-2011, 04:43 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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Originally Posted by gbook2 View Post
If they paid me $400k, I wouldn't stay in NYC. You simply cannot live the same way you do now in the suburbs for any amount of money. You will always have a commute, and it will always be at least 10 hours per week. For $100k/yr we can have a 10 min commute and a 2000sqft house in West Hartford. There is NO amount of money that can provide that in NYC.

If you really like the Manhattan culture, then you can visit the place. But if you have children, you will not have enough time and money to enjoy the attractions.
Yeah, you definitely sound like it's not the right place for you. I wish you the best of luck in getting back to West Hartford, or wherever feels more like home for you.

When you say 'NYC' do you mean Manhattan proper... or are you including the surrounding burroughs that you wouldn't want to live in, even if you were making $400K? And if it's the whole NYC area, is it because it's too much of a rat race compared to CT? It sounds like the commute time is one of the major issues, along with housing.

Either way, as I posted earlier, we simply might not have the choice. My husband has to make a career move and that might mean more urban living conditions for a while, like it or not. I guess I'm hoping that with Manhattan nearby, and all the other neat things about the NCY area, it would be tolerable for a while. Possibly quite a bit more than tolerable as we certainly enjoyed our visits there. My husband's job won't require commuting every day to the same place. We actually don't know exactly what his commute would be, since his would not be a desk job. Depending on that, and how much they're willing to pay him, we'll make our decision.
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Old 10-22-2011, 04:44 PM
 
258 posts, read 547,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
First a correction: the PATH does not go to Penn Station. It goes either to the World Trade Center site in the Financial district, or to Christopher Street near Hudson Street, or 9th, 14th, 23rd, and 33rd street on 6th avenue.

Next, on to the OP: You want "a single family home [...] our privacy, a back yard, quiet streets, greenery, etc. now". You also want prefer older homes. And you want the fabled 1 hour commute.

Good news: You can get all this, most likely. At least close, on the commute. Bad news: not for the price you want, or very close. You don't want a big mortgage? Understandable... but from what you've posted, you CAN afford it, so it's just a matter of making the tradeoff.

Hoboken is a great commute to either downtown or midtown. But privacy, back yard, quiet streets, greenery? No. It's a town mostly populated by young professionals who move out when they have kids. Might be a good place to rent for a while, but I don't think it's what you're looking for.

The train towns in NJ could be your best bet, especially if your husband's employer is on the west side of the city. You should probably ask in the New Jersey forum about that (be sure to read the sticky post about what informaiton to provide), but some towns to consider would be South Orange, Maplewood, Glen Ridge, Rutherford, East Rutherford, Cranford, Westfield. Westchester County is another possibility; when I was looking I found it to be far more expensive for a given commute distance, but if your husband's employer was close to Grand Central, that would make a difference.
Thanks for the input, will check out those areas.
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