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Old 05-13-2009, 10:04 AM
Location: Minneapolis MN
3 posts, read 4,560 times
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Hi All

We are family from Minnesota with 2 sons: 12 and 4 years old, thinking to relocate near to NY since our occupations are much more on demand there then here in Minneapolis. We don’t have offers yet and planning to move around December (rent is up in December). We are not very familiar with the area, but rather looking for quite suburb area within 1 hour of commute to Manhattan. What’s important to us is a good school for the oldest and nice childcare or kindergarten for the youngest and good elementary school afterwards. Would it be possible to rent a nice townhouse for 2000-2500 $, or this is to low? Also, how much to aim for in terms of daycare and is there any waiting times to get enrolled into one? Additionally, since we are new to the area, we haven’t decided which state is better: NY, NJ or CT? Which schools are better? Another question: is that very windy and cold in NY? Would you compare winters between NY and Minnesota? We kind of get tired of long, cold and dark winters here. We really need your opinion. Thank you very much for any information.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:15 AM
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I would suggest that you take a look at some of the real estate listings and think about your pricepoint. $2000-2500 won't get you a whole lot. The farther north of the city you go the better the value for money.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:33 AM
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For a 3 bedroom townhouse, that dollar amount probably won't get it done. At least not in the better-regarded Westchester school districts.

You will find good schools in NY, NJ, and CT, depending on the town. The real issue for choice, is really budget, taxes, and commute. CT has the lowest taxes, which can make it more affordable. But on the downside, your commute will be longer. The schools are more marginal in the southwestern part of the state (Stamford area), where commute would be more reasonable.

The commute from NJ can be difficult, depending where in NJ, and where you are going in NYC. But if you are commuting to Penn Station or downtown, parts of NJ can work.
From NY, Westchester county provides an excellent commute into Grand Central Station (42nd Street and Park Ave). Long Island can provide a very good commute into Penn Station.

Since this is the Westchester forum...
For bang for your buck, excellent schools, and reasonable commute, you will want to focus on the more northern parts of the county. From Croton on Hudson, you can get 47 minute express trains. Croton has excellent schools. Some people drive to Croton from Yorktown. Yorktown has good schools, but does not have its own train station.
Katonah is a nice ritzy town with excellent schools, but a bit more affordable than the southern Westchester towns. The Katonah train is about 60 minutes.
Within the towns of the Somers school district, there is a bit more affordability with lower taxes. The schools are good. There are parts of Somers that are fairly close to train stations (Golden's Bridge, Purdys, Croton Falls), but the train ride starts to run on the long side (70+ minutes).

In terms of winters... From my experience, and a few Minnesotans that I know... Winters here are not nearly as bad. We definitely get bitter cold days, windy horrific times... But not as often as Minnesota. Hardly balmy and tropical, but a bit more mild than Minnesota.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:34 AM
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What about Rockland County?
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:57 AM
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The problem with Rockland County is the commute. Most Rockland commuting options are well over an hour. The TZ "Express" for example, is about 90 minutes, until arrival at GCT.

Buses can be a bit quicker, but less predictable.

The train service is limited, and requires transfers.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:40 PM
Location: Minneapolis MN
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Thank you guys for your replies, very informative From the first glance, Croton-on-Hudson looks very appealing, especially on the Google map river is big, parks, train station, etc. What is the price range of the 2-3 townhouse anyway? Looks like we might make a choice since schools are good and commute is not that bad. Do you think that daycare might cost around 1500 a month? Thank you again!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:48 PM
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Yes, full day daycare, in a regular daycare center, will run around $1500 per month.

We almost recently bought a house in Croton, but ultimately chose to stay in our townhouse.

I do not know rental prices.
But in terms of purchase, it is possible to get a small but decent single family house in the low to mid 400's. Other than some semi-luxury townhouses near the river, which are more expensive, I'm not aware of other townhouse developments in Croton.

Looking it up briefly online, I saw a few rentals in Croton in your price range (under $2500). Including a nice 2-bedroom townhouse (but only 1100 sf) for $2100 per month.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:53 PM
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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While I certainly wouldn't say that there's no winter here, comparing NY City metro winters to Minnesota's is like (in reverse) comparing our winters to say North Carolina's.

That said, there is a coastal moderating influence, though much less so than on the West Coast, so that it is a bit colder and snowier in the inland-most suburbs (NJ west of I-287, NY north of I-287/Tappan Zee Bridge, CT north of the Merritt Parkway). But still nothing like Minnesota or even upstate NY/northern New England (I've never lived in or visited the former, but have visited the latter (and lived upstate for a few years).
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:03 PM
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sometwo, in case you are unfamiliar with the local geography:

What people refer to colloquially as "towns" are actually villages and hamlets, which are within actual towns; and, because villages and hamlets are referred to as "towns", then, many times, the error is compounded when actual towns are referred to as "townships".

Also, many colloquially refer to a "downtown business district" in a hamlet as a "village".

NYS Geographic Glossary may be of some help to you in understanding the geography of New York State.

When you do find a house that you like, you can find out in which community (city, village or CDP) that house is actually located, which is oftentimes different from the community named in that house's mailing address, by using the Census Bureau's online address search function. (CDP or Census Designated Place is the Census Bureau equivalent for a New York State hamlet.)

And, very importantly, among other things, the Census Bureau's online address search function also indicates in which school district an address is located.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:33 AM
Location: Minneapolis MN
3 posts, read 4,560 times
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Thank you again for all recommendations and interesting links. Very insightful. Another question would be: do local landlords require current employment to rent out or they are fine with security deposit and good credit history only? I just work through the strategy of how to handle the job search: look for employment from Minnesota and move after or vise versa
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