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Old 09-19-2007, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
572 posts, read 2,082,107 times
Reputation: 249

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Hi all -

I have been engaged for a year now (wedding is in April) and the wife and I are looking to buy a home. We do plan on having kids within the next 3 years so schools are pretty important to us. We don't want to live in a community where we would have to end up sending our little ones off to private school.

We are considering 3 towns, Ansonia, Bridgeport and Oxford. We can afford about $350k but no more (even that's a bit of a stretch for us). Land doesn't matter to us, nor does rural, suburban or urban. We'd like 3 br. We do not want to rent since our current finances allow us to buy a home. We love CT and want to stay here.

That being said, do you think we should buy an entry level home in a town like Oxford where schools are solid, or buy in Ansonia and be the average joe, but have to send our kids off to private school in the years ahead? Right now, we can get more for our money in Ansonia, but I'm not sure in the long run that this will be the better choice. Also Bridgeport has been recommended to us because the forecast for that city is enlightening, but again, schools.

So what do you guys think? I've lived in CT for a good while now and I know the state pretty well. I was just looking for others opinions.

Thanks in advance for helping us along this eventful journey.

-J
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
34,636 posts, read 56,378,147 times
Reputation: 11150
Since you are planning children and schools seem to be what is most important to you, I would go for the starter home in a more upscale community. You will be in the town you will most likely live in for the next 15 to 20 years. You will meet people there and begin to establish roots and learn the lay of the land. Why move somewhere where you will always question if you should have moved somewhere else? This of course is just my opinion.

All three of the communities you mention have advantages and disadvantages. Oxford is a great rural community with very good schools. Bridgeport is a large city with a great location and is experiencing a revival, but it will take years for the efforts being made to pay off and it may not make much of a diffenece for the average homeowner. Ansonia also seems to be on the road to revival and would be compromise between Oxford and Bridgeport. Both Ansonia and Bridgeport may require sending your children to private schools particularly as they get older. This can be a major expense that you may not be able to afford when you need it. I would look in Oxford or another similar community. JMHO Jay
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:19 AM
 
879 posts, read 1,648,894 times
Reputation: 415
I have a different take on this. My husband and I would like to have kids in 2 years or so, which means that our kids won't be in public school for minimum of about 9 years. That's plenty of time to watch the school district and potentially move if necessary.

We moved to Stratford because we liked it there and it fit our needs just fine. Our concerns about schools were more for resale value than our future kids, just given the timeline.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
34,636 posts, read 56,378,147 times
Reputation: 11150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lintu View Post
I have a different take on this. My husband and I would like to have kids in 2 years or so, which means that our kids won't be in public school for minimum of about 9 years. That's plenty of time to watch the school district and potentially move if necessary.

We moved to Stratford because we liked it there and it fit our needs just fine. Our concerns about schools were more for resale value than our future kids, just given the timeline.
Lintu - Stratford school's Connecticut Mastery Tests are around the state average (mostly just over) and class sizes are around 20 students per class (which is reasonable). Bridgeport and Ansonia scores are significantly under the state average and class sizes are significantly higher than 20 students per class. This makes a big difference. I would not worry about sending my kids to Stratford schools, but I would be concerned sending them to Bridgeport or Ansonia. That is why I recommended Oxford over Ansonia or Bridgeport. JMHO Jay
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Central Connecticut
362 posts, read 771,371 times
Reputation: 520
Congrats on your spring wedding! :-)

My husband and I made the wrong choice when buying our house... We have a wonderful, large home in a town with poor quality schools. We always planned on children, and hoped that being in a diverse community would be beneficial. We now have a 16-month son, and really want to move before he starts school. We have decided that we want a different school experience for our child than he will get in our current system. We are not looking forward to the hassles of getting the house ready, putting it on the market, and all the other things involved with selling and moving.

So~ my advice to you is go for the smaller house in the best school system you can manage.

As a P.S., typically the housing values increase more in the towns with better school systems too, so it's almost always a good investment to buy in those towns.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:51 PM
 
879 posts, read 1,648,894 times
Reputation: 415
The way I see it is that if you buy a tiny starter home to be in a better town, by the time you have a school aged child or two (in about 10 years), you're going to be ready to upgrade anyways. But, that's just my opinion, of course!
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:32 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
572 posts, read 2,082,107 times
Reputation: 249
After having a loooooong discussion today, we decided that we're going to opt for the more expensive town and better schools rather than the least expensive and lower performing districts. Now that we've made a decision as to the type of town, we're looking at a few different towns.

Does anyone know the current average home sale prices for Oxford, Prospect and Bethany?

I know a good deal about Oxford, but how does it compare to Prospect and Bethany? Any locals out there?

As i said, we are leaning toward Oxford. Being that we're so young (23 and 25), do you think we will be accepted into the community the same way we would be if we were 10 years older?

Thanks to all who replied
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Old 09-21-2007, 07:34 AM
 
879 posts, read 1,648,894 times
Reputation: 415
rsx, my husband and I (we were married a year and a half ago) haven't had any troubles being accepted into the community (albeit not in one of those towns), and we're not quite 25. People are sometimes a little surprised that *we* are the homeowners, and that we aren't renting or living with parents or something, but no one has given us any trouble. We have been a little more outwardly friendly at first than we might typically be, greeting neighbors at random and starting up conversations. Once they realize you're in the same phase of life as they are, they typically respond to you as a peer. Just my experience
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
34,636 posts, read 56,378,147 times
Reputation: 11150
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsx3001 View Post
I know a good deal about Oxford, but how does it compare to Prospect and Bethany?
The schools in all three of these communities are comparable. Bethany is probably most highly rated because it is part of the very highly regarded Amity School district with Wood bridge and Orange. I believe you will pay more for a home in Bethany that the other communities. I should note that class sizes are a bit higher in Oxford than the other towns. Not sure if this helps but you should consider this as well. Good luck, Jay
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