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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:13 PM
 
10 posts, read 12,242 times
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Hey guys,

I have a possible transfer to the harrisburg area, and wanted to get the general feel of it. My wife and I currently live with our 2 sons, age 1 & 3, in the Annapolis area of Maryland.

We are looking for a safe, family friendly area, with great schools, and somewhat affordable housing.

we will be renting at first, and our budget will be between 1200 - 1400 a month. we would like to find a 3 br, detached single family home with a garage, and a nice back yard.

Once we get settled, we will be looking to buy a home.... most likely a 4 br, with a large garage, and a large yard, with a budget max of 300k.

I have seen that camp hill is a very good area, and also have heard mixed things about mechanicsburg. any advice?

I am open to hearing about ANYTHING and everything on the area.

Thanks
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:19 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,411,554 times
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Very much unlike MD, PA local government is organized on a municipal (sub-county) basis. The municipality (township, borough) almost always defines what school district you are in. In this part of PA, postal addresses do not necessarily track municipal boundaries. Therefore, some understanding of local geographical organization is critical to comprehending real estate dynamics.

The two maps on this page (scroll down, probably to right 1/2 way and 3/4 of the way down the page) indicate municipalities and school districts in this area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumber...,_Pennsylvania

The Mechanicsburg mailing address is divided among several school districts, as is Camp Hill's.

The Cumberland Valley school district is the standard real estate recommended. It includes Hampden, Silver Spring, Middlesex, and Monroe Townships. Much of this area will have a Mechanicsburg postal address, though some will be Camp Hill, Carlisle, New Kingstown, Boiling Springs (this, in the Churchtown area of Monroe Twp), perhaps others.

Camp Hill Borough has its own small school district. It distinctively does not have school buses for daily morning and afternoon student transport. Locally it has a sort of old-money reputation, although coming from Annapolis you might laugh at this (don't do it publicly).

Mechanicsburg Area school district includes Mechanicsburg Borough, Shiremanstown Borough, and Upper Allen Township. But some of this area will have a Camp Hill mailing address too. It is more middle sized and seems to rank in the top quartile for PA generally.

West Shore school district is larger, has two high schools and also multiple elementaries. It would include Wormleysburg, Lemoyne, and New Cumberland boroughs, Lower Allen township, and also extends into York County (for more about that area, see Where is Etters? Red Land gives sports fans a look at central Pa.'s eccentric geography | PennLive.com ) Some of Wormleysburg has a Camp Hill mailing address.

Finally, north of Camp Hill is the East Pennsboro Area school, covering East Pennsboro Township (which recently absorbed West Fairview Borough), and some of this has a Camp Hill postal address as well.

All of these rank above average (yes, Cumberland County is like Lake Wobegon in that respect).

With all of that prefatory information, you might find rental single houses in the West Shore Area schools, perhaps in the Shiremanstown section under Mechanicsburg Area, and maybe in the older eastern portions of Hampden Township in Cumberland Valley that would be more likely to have a Camp Hill than a Mechanicsburg address. Finding a rental single in Camp Hill Borough will probably be difficult.

Lot sizes in this area tend inherently to be smaller than what many relocatees are used to.

Going to the step-up house would be more likely in Cumberland Valley (a resale in another portion of Hampden Twp, or new-build which has moved more out to Silver Spring Twp), or West Shore, or Mechanicsburg Area, or East Pennsboro. You may have trouble especially in Cumberland Valley holding to $300k for a 4 BR with a big yard. That type of step-up, unless your idea of a big yard is conditioned by in-town Annapolis (like, "wow! 3 blades of grass instead of 2!"), is likely impossible (especially with a $300k limit) in Camp Hill Boro.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:35 PM
 
92 posts, read 94,401 times
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ki0eh gave some great advice, as always. I really do enjoy reading your posts!

I found this rental that may be something you'd be interested in (it's in Hampden Twp/CV schools with Camp Hill address, as ki0eh predicted):
205 Holly Dr, Camp Hill, PA 17011 | Zillow

You may also want to not completely rule out townhouses for rent, where you would be "attached" to others. There are quite a few in the area that would provide a yard area, along with play ground/pool (I think, some at least) as well as a garage area. Depending on the area & complex, they may be cheaper than a standalone home.
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Old 03-20-2016, 07:31 PM
 
23 posts, read 29,709 times
Reputation: 31
Wow, the poster above gave lots of good info! I can't speak to rental, but if you buy....

I moved from MD to PA and the biggest surprise was the property taxes and that we pay so much for water and sewer (so inexpensive - I used to have Baltimore city water which was so cheap!). Also, trash collection is private and that is expensive too. So add those costs into your budget.

I work in Mechanicsburg and don't have kids but have friends with kids in the CV district (Cumberland Valley). Lots of nice areas to live on the West Shore (M'Burg, Carlisle, Boiling Springs, Upper Allen). There's a lot of new housing going up near Rossmoyne.

Mechanicsburg even has a Wegmans! I do like it up here quite a bit. Good luck!
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Old 03-20-2016, 08:25 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,411,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CozyCorner View Post

I moved from MD to PA and the biggest surprise was the property taxes and that we pay so much for water and sewer (so inexpensive - I used to have Baltimore city water which was so cheap!). Also, trash collection is private and that is expensive too. So add those costs into your budget.
Water, sewer, trash costs are highly variable even on a sub-municipal basis sometimes. While there may be site-specific factors, such services are typically arranged by municipalities, which in PA do not have sufficient economies of scale, and unfortunate tendencies to make especially wastewater flow along municipal boundaries because one little fiefdom couldn't get along with the next.
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