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Old 01-21-2022, 09:13 PM
 
5 posts, read 3,638 times
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Hi!
Like many younger seniors (officially in April), I'm looking to move from a car captive house in Lower Gwynedd to a walkable neighborhood with as many of these attributes as I can find:

-Progressive, diverse and safe PA suburb with a small town main street
- Multi-generational and friendly
- Near basic services (small supermarket, drugstore, shops, restaurants, salon, live music, the arts, community services, etc.)
- Off-street covered parking (for visitors)
- Peaceful but not dead
- Near SEPTA rail, public transportation
- Close enough to healthcare facilities, good hospital
- As close to maintenance free as possible (larger condo with access to courtyard, maybe?)

Answers to commonly asked questions:

When would I like to move? In the next year if possible

Where/what are you coming from? 3600 sq. ft. end unit town house in a development right off a major thoroughfare in Lower Gwynedd widening from two to four lanes (to be completed who knows when)

Why are you moving? Slight sight limitation making it more difficult/dangerous to drive, no longer need quite this much space

Working? Retired, PT freelance fitness instructor in my home studio (not currently due to COVID)

Will you buy or rent? Buy but might be interested in a rental to try before I buy

If buying, what type? Condo/townhouse, 400-500k

Are you married or single? Children? Single, widowed, no children or local family

Do you want or need a yard? No yard that requires maintenance. A courtyard would be nice. Private deck, patio, covered porch, balcony to the outside even better

Are you keeping a car? Unlikely

Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Peaceful but not dead

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? Like minded (progressive), educated, diverse, multi-generational

Favorite Beverage (?)- Kombucha and the occasional mojito
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:14 PM
 
1,010 posts, read 360,036 times
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3600 Sq Foot townhome? Yowzers. While not technically a "suburb", Chestnut Hill is basically everything you just described, just within the city limits. Not a ton of Condo units but such as they exist, they are all very close to the main drag, Germantown Ave. As for town homes, yes there are plenty. Chestnut Hill is known for the stately old homes but immediately to the east and west of Germantown Ave are many (old) row homes that are by and large in very good shape and probably fit your budget.
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Old 01-22-2022, 08:21 AM
 
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Jenkintown could work too although I’m not sure about the availability of townhomes. Definitely a lot of condos that are walking distance to the Jenkintown-Wyncote Regional Rail station through which several routes run. Those buildings are older, however, so be mindful of the HOA fees.

Jenkintown has been solidly Democratic for a while and is fairly diverse by metro standards. (Nearby Cheltenham is more diverse but does not offer everything you are looking for.) The 55 bus runs frequently up and down Old York Road/611, the “Main Street” of Jenkintown and Abington where a lot of your shopping and mild recreational needs can be taken care of. Abington Hospital is less than two miles up the road from the heart of Jenkintown.

You could take the Regional Rail one stop north to Glenside and enjoy the Keswick Village and other nearby local businesses. The Warminster train would take you four stops (or ten minutes) to the Willow Grove station which is a short walk to the Willow Grove Mall.

Abington, Glenside and Willow Grove may not be as liberal/progressive as Jenkintown but they aren’t patently conservative, either. So besides varying levels of voluntary masking, you shouldn’t see much difference on a daily basis.
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Old 01-22-2022, 09:40 AM
 
5 posts, read 3,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweb66 View Post
3600 Sq Foot townhome? Yowzers. While not technically a "suburb", Chestnut Hill is basically everything you just described, just within the city limits. Not a ton of Condo units but such as they exist, they are all very close to the main drag, Germantown Ave. As for town homes, yes there are plenty. Chestnut Hill is known for the stately old homes but immediately to the east and west of Germantown Ave are many (old) row homes that are by and large in very good shape and probably fit your budget.
Yes, technically a 4-unit "carriage house" on four levels, I don't want to take care of this much square footage anymore. My HOA fees are lower than you'd expect since we have no club house, golf course, etc. Hoping for something with lots of light that feels more like a home than an apartment.

Chestnut Hill is at the top of my list ... I just need to explore it a bit more. I will pay some attention to the spots you described. Thanks so much for pinpointing some specific areas for me.

I agree, Jenkintown is more targeted to my needs than the surrounding towns. I like the ample public transportation options. I've never been one for the closed in feel of a row home (why a chose an end not an inner unit where I am) but maybe there are options I've never explored. And compromises need to be made. Your rail/bus suggestions will help me zero in on places to research. Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:08 AM
 
1,031 posts, read 613,949 times
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Have you considered somewhere like Yardley? I think you'll find the housing that you're looking for, and there is a Septa regional rail station there. Yardley has a nice Main Street with lots of restaurant, and the canal path for access to longer multi-use trails. Yardley is not super progressive politically, but it's definitely not conservative and probably one of the more liberal of the central Bucks towns (more liberal than Newtown) and highly educated. Yardley Friends Meeting is very progressive.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
12,134 posts, read 6,719,651 times
Reputation: 8749
Quote:
Originally Posted by belladonna1894 View Post
Yes, technically a 4-unit "carriage house" on four levels, I don't want to take care of this much square footage anymore. My HOA fees are lower than you'd expect since we have no club house, golf course, etc. Hoping for something with lots of light that feels more like a home than an apartment.

Chestnut Hill is at the top of my list ... I just need to explore it a bit more. I will pay some attention to the spots you described. Thanks so much for pinpointing some specific areas for me.

I agree, Jenkintown is more targeted to my needs than the surrounding towns. I like the ample public transportation options. I've never been one for the closed in feel of a row home (why a chose an end not an inner unit where I am) but maybe there are options I've never explored. And compromises need to be made. Your rail/bus suggestions will help me zero in on places to research. Thanks.
I would also add Ardmore to your list, as it checks off several of your boxes.

You don't quite get the multiculti vibe on Lancaster Avenue that you do on Germantown Avenue on the Hill, but the oldest and largest Black community on the Main Line lives just to the south of downtown Ardmore.

Transit service in Ardmore is very robust for the Philly suburbs. Two (three?) bus routes ply Lancaster Avenue, and another runs along an exclusive busway from it to Havertown, then along Darby Road and West Chester Pike to 69th Street Terminal. There's also a Regional Rail and Amtrak station right in the heart of the downtown.

The residential streets off Lancaster Avenue are tranquil enough, and the downtown itself is lively but not noisy. Lower Merion Township, in which most of Ardmore lies (the portion that doesn't is in Haverford Township, Delaware County), is quite liberal these days.

The question I have is: What's your price range? The Main Line is fairly pricey, though I think you can find reasonably priced housing in parts of Ardmore.
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Old 01-25-2022, 03:58 PM
 
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Belladonna said condo/townhouse 400-500k in the initial post.
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Old 01-25-2022, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
12,134 posts, read 6,719,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie Beanie View Post
Belladonna said condo/townhouse 400-500k in the initial post.
Thanks. I think I got this thread confused with a similar one where the house-hunter was looking for a suburban neighborhood with similar characteristics but had a budget of up to $1.5m.

The OP will probably have better pickings in that category among the rowhouses and twins on Chestnut Hill's east side; the rowhouses in East Mt. Airy are a little more downmarket, though the closer you get to either Gorgas Lane or Stenton Avenue, the better they get. There's an invisible line mid-block between Meehan Avenue and Gorgas Lane; south of it, it's rowhouses and modest twins; north of it, the rowhouses are replaced by SFRs and the twins are more substantial.
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Old 01-25-2022, 06:25 PM
 
44 posts, read 31,237 times
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Ardmore isn’t that walkable if you stay on the nicer side of Lancaster. Ditto for Haverford.

The other side of Lancaster is more convenient but dumpier.

The only mainline town that I find walkable and peaceful everywhere is Narberth. It’s too quiet for me. But for retired people, I think it’s perfect.
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Old 01-25-2022, 06:28 PM
 
44 posts, read 31,237 times
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Since you are or will be retired, income taxes are generally not a big problem. I would recommend a NYC borough like Queens. The property taxes in NYC are lower than in PA. Some sections of Queens are quite nice and close to everything.
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