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Old 04-20-2013, 07:17 AM
35 posts, read 62,020 times
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There's a possibility of my husband relocating to Reading for his job. We know it's a high crime area and want to avoid that. We have six children, 4 of them are still in school from elementary to high school. We currently live about an hour from Boston and while we miss the convenience factor of being closer to the city, we appreciate the safety of friendliness of our small town. We would be looking for an area that is not too far a commute for my husband, but in a safe, very family friendly area with good schools or even homeschooling families as I currently home-school one of our children. Good health care is very important to us as well.
Wyomissing is an area that has been suggested to us, but how close is it to Reading? What other towns would you recommend?

You're input is helpful as it will aid us making the best decision for our family. Thank you.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:26 AM
Location: Midwest transplant
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Wyommissing is very close (it's a nice suburb of Reading). If your husband doesn't mind a bit of commute, you can always look further down Route 222 towards/into Northern Lancaster area. The Manheim Township School district hugs the area to the east of 222 before you get to Route 30. Great school district, lots of nice communities/neighborhoods/subdivisions and housing options. Tons of recreation programs and the proximity to several hospitals, lots of cultural/educational/parks/restaurants and all of the shopping you could ever need or want.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:02 PM
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Thumbs up Welcome to Berks County

OK, first off, let's clear up some misconceptions. Reading the city - the County Seat - the Urban Heart - of Berks County is poor. At Christmas there was a nationally broadcast show about how the city was the poorest city in the country, but was plucky and striving to be better.

On the other hand, there is the county - filled with towns, townships and boroughs - that are lovely and safe.

I work in downtown Reading. I go out to eat in downtown Reading. I go to hockey games and concerts in downtown Reading. There are two fine universities in the city: Alvernia and Albright. The city is on a getting-better trend. The county is already there.

OK, your husband is going to work in Reading. Where? In the city? I'm a big proponent of living close to where you work. If you have a 40 minute drive home, you'll miss the first 3 innings of T-ball (let alone being able to coach). With the exception of the Reading City schools, all the Berks County schools are good. Some are great. You mentioned Wyomissing: great area, award-winning school, property taxes are offset by the Berkshire Mall a good bit. Location of a very fine hospital and and outstanding museum & art gallery. Zip code 19610. Look at houses through realtor.com or another site and see what your money will buy. From the VF Factory Outlet in Wyomissing I'd say you could drive to Reading in 5 minutes if the traffic lights are right, 10 minutes if they aren't.

Some townships have "Reading" addresses, but they are not in the city of Reading. Lower Alsace Township, Mount Penn Borough, St. Lawrence Borough and Exeter Township are all "Reading, 19606" to the post office but they are not in the city. Basically, city zips to avoid are 19601, 19602, 19604. Some of 19611 is City of Reading, but most is West Reading Borough (another place entirely). Any other 196-- is fine.

Let us know a little bit about your lifestyle - lotsa kids, got that, but are you of the big new house, small yard persuasion; or the older smaller house, bigger yard persuasion. Will you be bringing many pets? Kids do sports, ballet, choral singing, horseback riding? Berks County has pretty much everything, plus shorter winters than Boston.

Let us know what you're looking for and we'll be happy to help you out.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:54 PM
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Thank you both very much for your input! I did make a mistake in location a bit, his employer is in Wyomissing, but up here they refer to it as Reading since that is the nearest city. That being said, I also see what you mean about not all of Reading being a bad area (like Boston). We saw listings for some really lovely homes in Reading. We don't have pets, but would like to have a cat and a dog in the future. Our kids still living at home are between 6 -16yrs old. We'd be looking for a 5br ideally (we have two sons that would do much better if they didn't have to share a room LOL A house with at least 1700 s.f. would be nice, not too particular about old vs new as long as we like the layout though older homes certainly tend to have more character where we live. We would be looking for a large yard (the larger the better), child friendly neighborhood (my kids have no playmates within a mile of us because our neighborhood is filled with older folks and young couples). Warmer temps are a good thing after years of Boston winters! :-) Our younger kids haven't really gotten into sports too much yet, but have mentioned wanting to play soccer, football and hockey; we also have a daughter who takes ballet. We have one son on the spectrum who we've been told would do well with horseback riding so that is worth considering as well.
We found one home listing; I don't recall the address, but it's was a historic home and considered a mansion and we were stunned to find it priced at only $244k!! I can't help wondering what real estate prices are like there in general. We can't even find a home with enough bedrooms in our area for that price.
Restaurants are nice to have nearby, but with so many of us we don't often dine out. I would like to have options for things to do with the kids though such as nature parks, museums, theater groups, things like that.

I appreciate your feedback :-)
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:35 PM
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We just checked out some homes in those area codes (it turns out that the 244k home is in 19601) and they are nice, but we are leaning more towards something a little older afterall. Are there areas that have 2+ acre lots without being very rural? We would like lots of space for the kids, future dog, gardening etc. My husband just said that he wants an excuse to buy a ride-on mower LOL
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:02 PM
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Two acre lots and a house under $300,00? Boy, if you can find that, I'm moving to Reading!! I'm guessing that the areas with the good school districts are not going to have the incredibly low house prices, but I'd be happy to be wrong...
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:22 PM
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Ok, for a top price of $300,000 you'll be able to get quite a bit, but probably nothing more than an acre. The 5 bedrooms are a little tricky. For fun, I went to realtor.com: here's a home on over an acre in Sinking Spring, which is 10-15 minutes west of Wyomissing. The school district is Wilson.

Mod cut- single house listings are not allowed.

The prices are much more reasonable than suburbs outside Boston, or Philly or D.C., yet you're only about an hour from Philadelphia (non-rush hour, that is). And you're very much in farm country as you get away from the urban core of Reading. The cost of living is pretty good overall. Did you know there is no sales tax on food or clothing in Pennsylvania? School property taxes are a little high, but not as bad as New Jersey, and the schools are good to great (except for poor, poor Reading). Anyhow, let us know if you have any other questions. A good realtor should be able to show you some lovely homes.

I have a cousin who lives in Framingham and I think the rolling hills around here are much like that area. (Except, like I said, the winters are shorter.) Good luck.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 04-21-2013 at 06:09 AM..
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:03 PM
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Thank you for the laughs and the info :-) I honestly don't know what the average home cost is out there, apparently I really low-balled it at 300k eh? LOL

Hopefully, we'll know more tomorrow about whether this transfer is in the near future.

We live in Hopedale which is about 30mins from Framingham; I'm not familiar with Framingham though. I'm all for a shorter winter!

I'll update soon hopefully.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:41 PM
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Let's clear up some common misconceptions. First, Reading is pretty much the way its described. Its run down, poor( although it has great housing stock) and crime ridden. But so are Allentown, Pottstown, Lancaster, all to some degree or other. But crime drops drastically at the citys edge. Seriously. I live in the suburbs and our big crime is the occasional holdup of a convenience store and shoplifting or car vandalism. If you think you need to live 30 or 45 minutes away to get good schools and to be in a nice area, you won't gain anything but a long commute and higher taxes and more expensive housing prices. You won't get better schools. You won't get less crime. Unless you head into Lebanon or Lancaster you won't get more rural areas and even then areas are sometimes built up in spots, sometimes not. If you head north you'll get more rural areas if thats your desire.
I'll toss out some FBI statistics I read maybe 10 years ago when crime was actually worse than now. Reading was an 8 out of 10. Mount Penn was a 3. Exeter a 2, Oley a 1. Average for the US is 3.
The only school system I'd say to avoid is Reading. I hear Muhlenberg has some problems, thats just north of the city. Wyomissing is very highly rated but its expensive and mostly all older suburban homes to mansions. Oley is small but very nice, its a National Historic district. Amity is built up in spots and Daniel Boone has tax problems from over spending on stadiums and schools. Exeter is big with sprawling suburbs and shopping centers but still has some open space and wooded areas.
Personally, if I wanted rural and safe I'd look at Oley and areas like around Wernersville, Bernville or Brecknock. Its just a short drive to shopping and you can have a mix of housing to choose from. More suburban would be Exeter, Amity, Cumru. Still very safe.
You'd be surpised at what you can find price wise. A nice 4 bedroom with a half acre yard might go for $300,000 or you could get several acres, maybe 10 with an average modest house on it.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:26 PM
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Thank you Icy Tea! That's great information and I will definitely keep it in mind if it turns out we're heading in that direction. :-)
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