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Old 03-05-2019, 11:30 AM
 
25 posts, read 35,504 times
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When are you moving? Summer 2019
Where are you coming from? Westchester County, NY
Why are you moving? Work
Where will you be working? Delaware
Have you been here yet? No

Will you buy or rent? Buy
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? House
How much can you spend? $1 mil max, minimum 4 beds

If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend?
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up?

Do you have a preference of living in a NJ or PA suburb? PA
(If you answered NJ - post your answers here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-j...-philadelphia/)

Are you married or single? Married

Do you have children? 3 elementary age

Do you prefer public or private schools? public, we are coming from a strong public school district and would like to find something similar
Do you have pets? no
Do you want or need a yard? Yes
Are you keeping a car? Yes
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Suburban village feel

What do you want to be closest to? Would like to keep commute to 30-45 min. Easy access to Philly would also be preferred to keep options open
Work
Shopping
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.)
Nightlife
Train or subway stations

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? Either

Favorite Beverage - Craft Beer, wine, water? Beer & wine
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Old 03-05-2019, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
416 posts, read 204,107 times
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I'm born-and-raised West Chester, PA and recently moved back to the area. I also work in Delaware (Newport, to be exact). Here's a summary of the area you're considering, organized by school districts:

West Chester Area School District (Where I attended) -
  • Setting - Borderline overcrowded, and only getting more crowded. West Chester Borough is a nice place for a night out.
  • Housing prices - Inflated due to the school district being such a great value, still being somewhat close to Philadelphia, and most houses have public water/sewer. I believe all the townships in the district have a local police department too.
  • Property Taxes - The best bang for your buck, as property taxes are pretty low (the district gets lots of revenue from corporations in the district such as QVC).
  • School quality - Solid, but not elite
  • Commute to DE - Route 202, which is a four-lane artery that gets congested during rush hour.
Garnet Valley School District -
  • Setting - Wedged between West Chester, Delaware, and a somewhat undesirable part of Delaware County (aka Delco). It's a similar setting to WCASD (minus WC borough) with a little bit of a Delco twist. For what it's worth, this is the only district listed in Delaware County while the others are primarily all Chester County.
  • Housing prices - Higher than WCASD, as it's more accessible to Philadelphia. Some townships (i.e. Glen Mills) lack a local police department, and I wouldn't assume everywhere here has public water/sewer.
  • Property Taxes - Slightly higher than WCASD, but still a good value.
  • School quality - Better than WCASD, slightly below Unionville
  • Commute to DE - Still Route 202, but you'll be closer.
Unionville Chadds Ford School District (Where I currently live) -
  • Setting - Quintessential Chester County, lots of big houses with lots of acreage. Not many farms to split-up for future developments. There are hardly any businesses around (i.e. a 15 minute drive to the nearest grocery store).
  • Housing prices - Hardly anything is cheap because of how big most properties are, but on an apples-to-apples basis, it's actually a good value. This is probably because it's off the beaten path, taxes are higher, most houses are well/septic, and lots of townships lack a local police department.
  • Property Taxes - Pretty pricey by PA standards. The lack of businesses puts the tax-burden solely on residents, and the district knows the residents can afford it.
  • School quality - The most highly-rated district in this part of the Philly burbs, and among the best districts in the state. I have yet to put kids through here, but a recurring theme on Niche reviews is that the schools might be too intense about academic excellence.
  • Commute to DE - Route 52, a scenic road that never gets very busy
Kennett Consolidated School District -
  • Setting - Similar to Unionville but more built-up with more traffic, businesses and farms. It's almost 50% hispanic due to all nearby farms.
  • Housing prices - Your money goes farther because it's removed from the rest of civilization, not a renowned school district, and on the edge of the Philly metro area. It's a toss-up if you have local cops or public water/sewer.
  • Property Taxes - I would say they're on par with GV.
  • School quality - Very tough to judge. Its metrics are mediocre, but parents who send their kids there love it. There's a theory that the high number of hispanic students hurts the district's standardized test performance, since English isn't their first language. It's all anecdotal, but it has a reputation for sending more kids to top-tier colleges than Unionville. At the same time, only 56% of students graduate proficient in math and 69% in reading. The district is a paradox, but I have no direct experience with what's going on exactly.
  • Commute to DE - There are a few back roads that are similar to Route 52, but I'm not familiar with them.

Your search area technically also includes Avon Grove School District and Oxford School District. I assume they're fine, but once you get west of Kennett Square, things get very rural and I have hardly any interaction with there. If you prefer a rural setting, definitely research them.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; 03-05-2019 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 03-05-2019, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,365 posts, read 826,099 times
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The above poster has the area spot on.

I would focus on the West Chester and Chadds Ford area. West Chester if you want to be closer to suburban amenities. Chadds Ford if you do not mind driving a bit (10 - 15 mins) to get to them. Unionville is a more 'elite' district than West Chester. But West Chester is not bad by any standard.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:58 PM
 
25 posts, read 35,504 times
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Thank you all. Chadds Ford is a location we have looked at online, but I am worried about it being a bit rural. What about the Wallingford-Swarthmore school district? It seems to be close to the Media downtown but slightly stronger school district.
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Old 03-06-2019, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,365 posts, read 826,099 times
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Media is a lovely area and one of the most vibrant suburban towns in the entire region. It is absolutely charming and each year, just gets more and more vibrant.

The Wallingford/Swarthmore School District is small and very good. I would also HIGHLY recommend the Rose Tree/Media School District which in many regards outranks both Wallingford and Unionville.

The pros and cons vs. Media/Swarthmore and Chadds Ford/West Chester

Media/Swarthmore

Pros:
Closer to Philadelphia for access to its many great amenities and activities
Close to Media a vibrant suburban town
Public Transit Acess via Regional Rail or Trolley and Rapid Transit Line to Philadelphia
Great Schools

Cons:
Potentially longer commute time with 476 and 95 traffic. Approx 45+ mins.
Higher Property Taxes.
Wallingford/Swarthmore: Mostly older housing stock. Its a small district so their are slim pickings of inventory at your price point.
Rose Tree Media: Covers a larger area, and more inventory and does have more variety in housing stock age.

Notate: Media and Swarthmore definitely have a slightly crunchy/yuppie Granola vibe. Maybe this stems from the liberal ivy Swarthmore College nearby.


ChaddsFord and West Chester:

Pros:
West Chester is definitely an excellent school district. One of the top in the state and by no means bad and covers a large area with a lot of housing stock and inventory at your price point.

Unionville is a notch above West Chester Schools but has less immediate access to amenities although not far by any means. Whole Foods is a 15 minute drive away.

You are close to West Chester a vibrant historic college town, with beautiful colonial housing and a solid dining and entertainment scene.

Depending on where you live within the West Chester School District. Main Line amenities are also highly accessible.

Property Taxes are lower in Chester County

Cons:
You are definitely further from Philadelphia, and must drive to commuter rail into the city.

Philadelphia is about a 45 minute drive give or take.


It all boils down to the type of housing stock you are seeking, the amount of property taxes you are cool with paying, and how far you want to be from Philadelphia.

All the school districts are good.

Notate: Chadds Ford/West Chester definitely have a bit of an old money vibe. Slightly subdued compared to the Main Line. But its there.

To give you an example: West Chester has a McLaren Dealership.

I would recommend Rose Tree Media as your #1.
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:24 PM
 
3,340 posts, read 2,603,172 times
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To summarize further (and pretty much agreeing with them) you really can't go wrong in any of the ones you mention. They are all great areas and it will come down to what appeals more to you and the commute.
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
416 posts, read 204,107 times
Reputation: 428
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowhomecity View Post
Notate: Chadds Ford/West Chester definitely have a bit of an old money vibe. Slightly subdued compared to the Main Line. But its there.

To give you an example: West Chester has a McLaren Dealership.
While there are rich people in West Chester, I would not call it an old-money area... that would be the Main Line. And while the McLaren dealership is ever-so-slightly within the WCASD, it is strategically placed between West Chester, the Main Line, and the glitzier parts of Delaware County.

Just to give you a sense of how built-up the West Chester area has gotten, I grew up in West Goshen Township. In the 2000 census, the township's population was 8,472. In the 2010 census, the township's population was 21,866. That's a 158% increase in a 10 year span.

My point is that the typical family in the WCASD is upper-middle class and living in a recently built Toll Brothers-esque development. Upscale? Sure. Old money folk buying McLarens? No.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; 03-07-2019 at 06:23 AM..
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Old 03-07-2019, 05:15 PM
 
25 posts, read 35,504 times
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This is really helpful information, thank you all
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:25 AM
 
Location: New York City
6,835 posts, read 5,992,199 times
Reputation: 3851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post

Garnet Valley School District -[list][*]Setting - Wedged between West Chester, Delaware, and a somewhat undesirable part of Delaware County (aka Delco). It's a similar setting to WCASD (minus WC borough) with a little bit of a Delco twist. For what it's worth, this is the only district listed in Delaware County while the others are primarily all

Your search area technically also includes Avon Grove School District and Oxford School District. I assume they're fine, but once you get west of Kennett Square, things get very rural and I have hardly any interaction with there. If you prefer a rural setting, definitely research them.
You had a great list and not to nitpick, but I don't think Garnet Valley borders undesirable areas.
It borders West Chester and Chadds Ford to the North and West, a portion of Rose Tree Media and Penn Delco to the North and East and Chichester to the Southeast.

Chichester School District is not really good, but Boothwyn Township itself is perfectly fine and well kept.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,365 posts, read 826,099 times
Reputation: 1401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
While there are rich people in West Chester, I would not call it an old-money area... that would be the Main Line. And while the McLaren dealership is ever-so-slightly within the WCASD, it is strategically placed between West Chester, the Main Line, and the glitzier parts of Delaware County.

Just to give you a sense of how built-up the West Chester area has gotten, I grew up in West Goshen Township. In the 2000 census, the township's population was 8,472. In the 2010 census, the township's population was 21,866. That's a 158% increase in a 10 year span.

My point is that the typical family in the WCASD is upper-middle class and living in a recently built Toll Brothers-esque development. Upscale? Sure. Old money folk buying McLarens? No.
I just was relaying the vibe. There are many estates in Chester County that while not as dominating in West Chester, as on the Main Line, do exist. A simple zillow search will reveal. I am painting a bit of a broad picture of vibes.

Media/Swarthmore is definitely a bit granola/liberal.

West Chester is definitely a bit of the preppy/old money vibe. .

I agree with you, I am just speaking in terms of micro cultural vibes.
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