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Old 10-27-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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When are you moving? Early 2014

Where are you coming from? Long Island, NY

Why are you moving? Affordable housing prices and lower taxes. I've been online and have seen entire houses available for sale for what would only purchase a small co-op apartment here in NY.

Where will you be working? Commuting to and from Queens, NY.

Have you been here yet? Yes, many times to visit and vacation.

Will you buy or rent? I'd prefer to buy, but would also consider renting. I guess that I should mention that I have a less than stellar credit rating. I'm working on improving my credit but the interesting thing that I am finding about NY right now is that it is actually easier to get a mortgage with less than perfect credit than it is to rent a legal apartment. It's also cheaper to buy than to rent, if you can.

If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? I'd prefer a house, but would also consider a condo or a townhouse. I'd like to stay under $150K


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? I'm open. If I decide to rent, I would like to keep the rent under $1,000 a month.

Are you married or single? Do you have children? single, no children

Do you prefer public or private schools? Schools are not a direct issue. However, I do realize how good schools affect the value of your home. I'd like to make a good investment.

Do you have pets? no

Do you want or need a yard? Not a necessity, but it would be nice.


Are you keeping a car? Yes. Parking is a must.

Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? I'm used to both. I'm open.

What do you want to be closest to? I want to be close enough to basic shopping needs like supermarkets, drug stores, clothing stores, malls etc. I'd also like to be reasonably close to the commuter bus lines into NYC.


Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? I'm African-American and am open to all types of neighborhoods, but I'd prefer a racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood.

Phillies or Mets? Sorry, but I bleed blue. Yankees for life.

I'm aware of how crazy some people think the commute from LV to NYC is, but I actually work with several people who are currently doing it from areas of PA even further out than what I am considering and I've been told that a lot of people are currently doing it. Some take the bus and some drive to places in NJ and take trains in. I know that it sounds bad, but to be completely honest, I currently commute from Long Island to Queens everyday for work and it is over 1 hour of solid bumper to bumper traffic every day. If there has been an accident somewhere...and there usually always is an accident somewhere...it easily becomes a 1 1/2 to two hour drive. Leaving home in wee hours of the morning to avoid as much traffic as I can is something that I am already very accustom to doing. Plus, the part of Queens that I drive to is very congested and has very little available parking. I pay $8/day for a parking garage. Between gas and parking, I currently spend about $120 a week commuting. If I were to take the LIRR train into Queens, a monthly ticket costs $180 and the NYC subway metro card is $110/month.

I think I'm wiling to deal with the commute if it means that I can actually afford to own my home as opposed to renting or if I do rent, at least get a much better apartment for what I am currently spending.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:29 PM
 
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I commute daily from the Poconos to Midtown. Your commute will be much longer than mine, and mine is no picnic. Off-peak is one thing -- I've made it in 1:15 each way, and that's great. But my schedule changed and now I'm in the thick of rush hour, and it's 1:40 on a good day, and 2:45 on at least one morning or evening a week, no matter what.

What time of day are you envisioning leaving the Valley? Unless you leave before 6 am (and really, I would recommend 4:30-5 at the latest), you are looking at two hours in optimum conditions, just to get to the Port Authority. Then you must add your commute time to Queens.

In less than optimum conditions -- weather or accidents affect the commute from the Lehigh Valley just as they do from the World's Longest Parking Lot -- you are going to be spending five hours a day round-trip, just on the trip to the Port Authority. Are you sure you're up for this?

People generally move out here to give their kids a better life, their family a bigger home -- they endure the commute so the *other* people in their family can benefit. They certainly don't.

But you are single. I gotta tell you -- you're likely to remain that way if you pursue this. You will have no time for a life.

All that said, consider College Hill in Easton. Great college community, very close to the NJ border, nice old houses and rentals, good mix of people.

ETA - cost of the monthly commuter ticket must be factored in....Martz is $560 a month; I assume it's comparable in the Valley. Cheaper than driving, yes, but certainly an expense on par with the rent bill.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gettingouttahere View Post
ETA - cost of the monthly commuter ticket must be factored in....Martz is $560 a month; I assume it's comparable in the Valley. Cheaper than driving, yes, but certainly an expense on par with the rent bill.
(40 one way rides) Bus ticket from Easton costs $513.50 /month
PATH from Newark/Harrison for 40-Trips costs $76/month
MTA metro fare 30-Day Unlimited costs $112

Personally, I can't see how to make it work. The bus fare is so high, that for a single person looking to rent for $1000 a month in Easton, it just makes much more sense to move to Newark or Harrison and have the extra $450 a month for rent.

The time would be brutal, as the bus goes to PABT. It would still take a long time to get to Queens. You are talking 5-6 hours of commuting per day (almost a second job).

Driving only makes sense if you have three people. The Outerbridge would be $4.25 and Verrazano Narrows would be $10.66 split among three people. Then you are talking about Another $6 for NJ Turnpike. Split three ways tolls would be manageable, and the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on vehicle would make commute affordable. With less than 3 people cost would be prohibitive.

Harrison has a lower crime rate than Newark and it has new developments. Not knowing where you are in Queens, I can't calculate a commute.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:40 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it and I am thinking really hard about it. I have to be at work early and I actually already leave home at 6 am to arrive early and allow ample cushion time for any possible traffic delays. All of the Long Islanders that I work with who say that I'm crazy for considering this leave between 5 and 6 am, too. The ones from further out in Suffolk County have to leave before 5am to guarantee that they get to work on time. It seems to me that the PA people have a longer commute while the LI people just leave early so that they avoid traffic and a long commute. The actual hours awake and away from home seem about the same.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that plenty of folks from LI don't realize that they are already doing all of the bad stuff that people are warning against and are paying a hefty premium in housing costs, utility bills and taxes to do it.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PacoMartin View Post
(40 one way rides) Bus ticket from Easton costs $513.50 /month
PATH from Newark/Harrison for 40-Trips costs $76/month
MTA metro fare 30-Day Unlimited costs $112

Personally, I can't see how to make it work. The bus fare is so high, that for a single person looking to rent for $1000 a month in Easton, it just makes much more sense to move to Newark or Harrison and have the extra $450 a month for rent.

The time would be brutal, as the bus goes to PABT. It would still take a long time to get to Queens. You are talking 5-6 hours of commuting per day (almost a second job).

Driving only makes sense if you have three people. The Outerbridge would be $4.25 and Verrazano Narrows would be $10.66 split among three people. Then you are talking about Another $6 for NJ Turnpike. Split three ways tolls would be manageable, and the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on vehicle would make commute affordable. With less than 3 people cost would be prohibitive.

Harrison has a lower crime rate than Newark and it has new developments. Not knowing where you are in Queens, I can't calculate a commute.
Would the apartment in Newark or Harrison be comparable to the one in Easton, though? Plus, my real goal is to actually own my own home as opposed to rent. I don't see how that's ever going to happen if I keep paying $1500+ renting.

I guess what I am asking is, if it really is so so terrible......why are so many people willing to do it? There has to be some benefit that the naysayers can't see.

Last edited by valron30; 10-27-2013 at 09:12 PM..
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by valron30 View Post
I guess what I am asking is, if it really is so so terrible......why are so many people willing to do it? There has to be some benefit that the naysayers can't see.
I don't think that many people do it. But you could see that it might sense for a married man with children with a good paying job on Wall Street. He has better schools, and con afford a large home where people are living there during the day.

A 30 year mortage @ 4.00% is $47.74 per $10,000.

So $400 per month in reduced commuting expenses will buy you over $80,000 in house (say $70,000 in house if you count taxes).

There are plenty of homes in Harrison for $150K. They are cheaper in Easton, but you've lost at least $70,000 in buying power because of increased commuting cost.

Plus the four hours on the bus to Wall Street round trip is tough , but some people make friends, they sleep on the bus with headphones, and they usually have a short walk to work once they are in Manhattan.
You, on the other hand, are talking about switching from a bus to one or two subways, and probably a long walk. The hours will start to add up. You could easily go above 6 hours of commuting per day including a lot of jostling.

Plus these are very small towns. They are difficult to negotiate without a car, and they are button down at night.

================
There are about 50-60 buses per day going from Lehigh Valley to NYC. Probably fewer than 3000 seats. Many of those seats are empty, filled with day trippers or seniors going to a Broadway play. Some people do not have to commute every day. Figure 1500-2000 people at most going in to work. Many others are going by cars or vanpools.

PATH trains carry 263 thousand people per day from New Jersey back and forth into New York. Many more go via buses and cars. It is much more common type of commute than the ultra commutes from Pennsylvania.

Last edited by PacoMartin; 10-27-2013 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:54 AM
 
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As I said, I appreciate the feedback. I know the commute will be awful. I just have to decide if my desire to own a home of my own is strong enough to be willing to endure it. I'm inclined to think it probably is. Right now, I just feel like I'm trapped and gaining nothing financially every single time I write the rent checks and pay the utility bills.

I just want to make sure I understand the commute correctly. If I am in Bethlehem or Whitehall, PA....is it just the one bus to the Port Authority for $513 a month and then a monthly metro card for $112? From the Port Authority, I would take the 7 train to Flushing, about 40 min., and it's a short walk from the subway stop to my job. (If I factor in that I am currently paying $480 in gas and parking to commute from Long Island, the increased cost of commuting is only $145. As you can see by the time of this post, I'm usually up before 6am anyway.)
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by valron30 View Post
As I said, I appreciate the feedback. I know the commute will be awful. I just have to decide if my desire to own a home of my own is strong enough to be willing to endure it. I'm inclined to think it probably is. Right now, I just feel like I'm trapped and gaining nothing financially every single time I write the rent checks and pay the utility bills.

I just want to make sure I understand the commute correctly. If I am in Bethlehem or Whitehall, PA....is it just the one bus to the Port Authority for $513 a month and then a monthly metro card for $112? From the Port Authority, I would take the 7 train to Flushing, about 40 min., and it's a short walk from the subway stop to my job. (If I factor in that I am currently paying $480 in gas and parking to commute from Long Island, the increased cost of commuting is only $145. As you can see by the time of this post, I'm usually up before 6am anyway.)
There are 11 places to board the bus from Kutztown PA to Clinton NJ. The $513 is from Easton PA, but there are slight variations in the price for each stop. There are two bus companies. Whitehall is not very convenient to a bus station.
Easton has more affordable housing, which is why I mention it. There is a possibility that you can walk, take a local bus, to the Easton bus station.

The bus frequency to downtown Bethlehem and Allentown are very few and downtown Allentown has a very high crime rate.

My point is not so much that you should give up on owning a home or that moving from Long Island is a bad idea. But ideally you want your commute time reasonable and you want more money for your home purchase.

PATH from Harrison to Port Authority is 20 minutes and would be a lot less than money. The likelihood of functioning in Harrison without a car is much higher than anywhere in the Lehigh Valley. I was figuring that the cost difference of a PATH ticket vs a bus ticket from Lehigh Valley is $400 which would buy you $70,000 more of a home. If you give up the car then you may have $100,000 that you can purchase.

Harrison NJ is a population of 13,620 in 1.3 square miles. It has a large Latino population which was one of the motivations for putting the Red Bull soccer stadium there.
The racial makeup of Harrison is 58.30% (7,941) White, 2.18% (297) Black or African American, 0.56% (76) Native American, 16.28% (2,217) Asian, 0.01% (2) Pacific Islander, 18.48% (2,517) from other races, and 4.19% (570) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 44.18% (6,017) of the population

Easton PA has a population of 26,800 in 4.7 square miles.
As of the 2010 census, the city was 67.2% White, 16.8% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.4% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 4.9% were two or more races. 19.9% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.

Just consider all of your options.

These are the Transbridge bus terminals from West to East
1) ALLENTOWN PA BUS TERM. 325 Hamilton St.
2) BETHLEHEM PA SOUTH BETHLEHEM TERM. Adams & Mechanic St.
3) TRANS-BRIDGE TERMINAL 2012 Industrial Drive (LVIP) (Near Airport)
4) WILLIAM PENN HIGHWAY (P) Park & Ride Rt. 33
5) EASTON PA Bus Terminal 35 South 3rd Street
6) NJ: PHILLIPSBURG NJ Phillipsburg Mall
7) NJ: UNION TOWNSHIP Hunterdon Hills Playhouse
8) NJ:CLINTON NJ Park & Ride Rt.31 (t)

There are also 3 Bieber bus terminals from Kutztown, Wescosville, and Hellertown
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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I think it's insane. Forget the money, but if you are commuting 25 hours a week, how can you have a life?

I have not looked, but if you want to buy, are single and have no kids, why not find an up-and-coming area in a poor school district (areas of Newark, Brooklyn...)? I feel like you can find some good deals there.

The LV is certainly cheaper, but $150K isn't that much money to buy a house here.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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Yeah, like I said yesterday, you might squirrel away enough to buy a house in 10 years or so, but who are you going to share it with? Everyone you meet will be in the city (there is ZERO socializing on the bus; everyone sleeps and is quiet as a mouse) and if you are fortunate enough to make a romantic connection in the city, will that person will follow you out here?

Why people do it is what I said yesterday: for the benefit of the family that *doesn't* do the commute. And that's not even a guarantee. It's very hard on a relationship to be gone 12-plus hours a day. And being a parent to your kids is extremely hard -- when they are very young you will likely be getting home after they're asleep. I switched to working second shift precisely because of this dynamic. It was brutal for me, but the advantage was being home during the day when my babies were awake, and being able to take them to and from preschool/kindergarten later on. Now that they're older, second shift makes no sense -- I barely see them for five days in a row -- and so I'm gradually moving my hours earlier and earlier, and that's working a bit better.

And let's not forget a married couple moving out here and BOTH working in the city. Why on earth have kids at all; you would never see them. One parent has to stay home for this to even be possible.

I can't think of anyone I know who is doing this and is single. (Well, there may be a few who are divorced, and that's probably because of the commute exacerbating a troubled relationship).

I agree, however, that PA is the best bet in the region, in terms of housing costs and lower taxes. In my time in the Northeast, I have lived in LI, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Hoboken, Montclair and Pompton Lakes. This area is cheaper than all of them. But the downside is that there are not that many good-paying jobs out here.

So think this through very carefully. I think it's a mistake at this point in your life. But if you really want to try it, by all means, rent for a year in Easton and see if you can hack it. I think you'll find that the cost savings are not worth the disadvantages of spending all your non-work time commuting.

Is there no way you can telecommute or find some kind of branch position/comparable job closer to here?
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