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Old 03-15-2011, 10:08 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,632 times
Reputation: 10
Default Need advice on Philly suburbs for upcoming relocation!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this forum but need advice for a situation that I haven't seen addressed yet. I'll be accompanying my husband to Philly this weekend for his job interview so that we can tour potential residences and we've never been there before. We are leaning towards PA vs. NJ and prefer to lease a HOUSE with a yard for our dog to run around in.



When are you moving? Probably sometime in April-early May
Where are you coming from? Cleveland, but have lived in FL, TX, CO, and IN
Why are you moving? Husband's potential new job. I will need to find a job once we've relocated. Total household income approx. $100K so nothing pretentious.
Where will you be working? Center City
Have you been here yet? No

Will you buy or rent? Rent; we'll probably only be living there 2-3 years (hotel industry keeps us transient).
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? HOUSE or at least a townhouse with a fenced-in yard. Target budget is $1100/month.


Are you married or single? Do you have children? Married, no children.
Do you have pets? 80 lb. physically-active dog (would LOVE a nearby dog park).
Do you want or need a yard? Yes
Are you keeping a car? Two cars; may downgrade to 1 if a train commute would allow it.
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Calm and quiet, but with friendly atmosphere.

What do you want to be closest to?
Work - 30 minutes commute preferred.
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.) - Yes
Train or subway stations - Train commute to Center City would be ideal for husband's job.

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? I don't mind some diversity, but I prefer to be among similar neighbors. While at home, we enjoy sitting around with neighbors while enjoying a cook-out and a few beers.
[LEFT]
Thank you in advance for any suggestions of where to start looking! I'll be happy to provide further clarification if needed!
[/LEFT]
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Elkins Park, PA
295 posts, read 479,741 times
Reputation: 106
We were in the same boat as you last summer and also have dogs and 2 cars and wanted a yard. Philly is a big change from NC. Within your range you might want to look at Elkins park, Melrose park, Jenkintown, Glenside, Wyncote area and maybe Fox chase/Rockledge. Housing stock is older than you are used to, but lots of character and mature trees. You can get a good sized house, 1/4 acre yard, trees, parking and be within walking distance to the train station (25-30 min to cc). Driving to CC from the suburbs isn't very desirable, but the train is great.

Keep in mind property taxes in Montgomery/Bucks co. and suburbs in general are high, so factor that into your budget. Prices are lower vs. Philly, but your monthly outlay will kind of be a wash, so you just have to look at the bottom line. Since your husband will be working in the city he will have to pay the 3.9% wage tax. You may need to do a little fixing up in your range depending on the size you go for. Properties in very good condition sell much faster than those needing updates.

Others have recommend Media consistently, which I have not yet visited.

Narberth might be possible too on the mainline. Parts of Mt. Airy would work or West Germantown, but the nicer properties can get pricey and in parts of either area, it can get sketchy/rundown. Upper East Falls has some nice parts too and close to the city, but not sure about the prices with a yard.

I think Roxboro would be an option as well, but I haven't been through much of it.

It can be tough to narrow down an area. You might want to consider renting even, though I know it can be harder with dogs. We ended up in Elkins Park and really like it. Its quiet, people are friendly, houses are beautiful, we can walk to restaurants, library, train, stores, parks (there is a dog park on Washington lane (curtis arboretum), farmers market and gyms. We have walkability, but also the option to drive or ride the train to the city and parts outside the city. Check out Glenside/Keswick village too. I think you will like it. We almost ended up there, but the house in question had too small of a yard and really was too big (6 br).

Good luck and welcome!
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:20 PM
 
58 posts, read 78,274 times
Reputation: 14
My husband and I were also in the same boat last Fall. We visited the area a few times for job interviews. We only had 1 day to find a rental big enough for me, my husband, and our dog, two cars, and all my husband's tools (a garage full), yet with a small price tag ($1200/month). We wanted to be in Main Line because my sister attends St. Joe's and I was going to be traveling a lot for work through Delco, Montco, and Chester counties. We had a hell of a time finding a place to take a dog. We ended up in an OK apartment in Malvern. It has everything we need except it hasn't been renovated since 1960. Definitely be near a SEPTA regional rail if you are commuting to the city. Traffic is a nightmare during rush hour on the interstates. Needless to say, you may want to reconsider your rental budget, take more than a day, look at real state agencies, get some local newspapers. We saw a lot of dumpy apartments. I'm not sure about other area's rental prices, but Main Line is expensive for what you get. We originally wanted to move to Raleigh, and you will pay a lot more here for an older apartment. Taxes here are also much higher. Despite all this, we definitely like Philly more than Raleigh as we are originally from Boston.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Elkins Park, PA
295 posts, read 479,741 times
Reputation: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sullivjo View Post
My husband and I were also in the same boat last Fall. We visited the area a few times for job interviews. We only had 1 day to find a rental big enough for me, my husband, and our dog, two cars, and all my husband's tools (a garage full), yet with a small price tag ($1200/month). We wanted to be in Main Line because my sister attends St. Joe's and I was going to be traveling a lot for work through Delco, Montco, and Chester counties. We had a hell of a time finding a place to take a dog. We ended up in an OK apartment in Malvern. It has everything we need except it hasn't been renovated since 1960. Definitely be near a SEPTA regional rail if you are commuting to the city. Traffic is a nightmare during rush hour on the interstates. Needless to say, you may want to reconsider your rental budget, take more than a day, look at real state agencies, get some local newspapers. We saw a lot of dumpy apartments. I'm not sure about other area's rental prices, but Main Line is expensive for what you get. We originally wanted to move to Raleigh, and you will pay a lot more here for an older apartment. Taxes here are also much higher. Despite all this, we definitely like Philly more than Raleigh as we are originally from Boston.
Yeah this is all true. Raleigh does have nice and plentiful apartments, I will give it that.

Apartments here don't get that much cheaper moving further out from the city, they just get larger it seems.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
3,780 posts, read 5,498,176 times
Reputation: 4534
Truth is, it may be tough hitting everything on your wish list - $1100/ month suburban house rental within 30 minute commute of CC will be pretty rare. You can try realtors in some of the places Wisertime mentioned and keep your eyes peeled on Craigslist, but realistically, I think you'll have to either raise your budget or consider an apartment instead.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:08 AM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 4,519,933 times
Reputation: 1483
On your very limited budget I am going to recomend far northeast Philadelphia proper near Toresdale 19114 near the Trenton line of SEPTA regional rail (40 minutes to Center City with inexpensive parking at the station if desired). You will be getting a 1960's-70's era row house (maybe updated) with 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, a small yard and a garage, both on and off street parking in a wholesome, stable family neighborhood with a decent class of people. This is the last section inside the city limit before entering Bucks County and is adjacent to I-95. In addition to being a great neighborhood you will get the most for your money here and will find a house in your price range. Some people may recomend other nice city neighborhoods like Mount Airy or Roxboro and they are fine but will be more expensive. Also the Northeast is a shopping meca if that is important.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:59 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,632 times
Reputation: 10
I really appreciate all these suggestions! An apartment is really out of the question with the dog; he's not a take-a-leisurely-walk fella, but a ball-fetching jock who would get us evicted from an apartment with his exhuberant personality! I guess we'll have to raise our budget, which just kills me, but it is what it is! I sure hope I have better luck finding a job in Philly than I did in Cleveland! I'll update after our visit next week, and might have questions while we're there. Thanks again!
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