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Old 07-15-2018, 01:01 PM
 
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Hi everyone!


We currently live in the Raleigh area of NC and have lived here going on 4 years. We are originally from the northern NJ area, but decided to move south for COL, to afford to buy a home and pay the taxes and because we wanted to get out of the rat's race. Yes, it may be cheaper to live here and have a nice home, but we miss our family and friends up north. We also hate the summers here and to be honest, the rat's race is now here and its only going to get worse. The schools arent that great either.



Anyhow, we want to live closer to family, but dont want to live in north Jersey either for the same reasons we left. We are considering relocating to either the Lehigh Valley or Lancaster at this time. The LV would be about an hour closer to family than Lancaster. I'm not sure which area is better as far as job opportunities and pay. I work in Accounts Payable and my wife has worked as a nanny and at day care centers as a teacher's assistant. I'm looking to commute no more than 30-45 minutes from home. How do these two areas compare as far as homes, both in price and taxes. Crime? Our budget for a home would be in the $225-$275K range. We may go as high as $300K if we had to. I'm not sure what kind of house and town we could live in for that price range. We're open to rural, but would prefer something more suburban and a nice town with a walkable downtown if that is possible. We have a 7 year old daughter so schools are important of course. I'm really just in the research and information gathering stage right now so any info and recommendations you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. We're planning on visiting the area in August. Thanks!


Best Regards,


Gary
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:36 PM
 
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Property taxes are cheaper in Lancaster county, but in the Lehigh Valley you probably have more job opportunities with better pay because one can commute into NJ or down to the Philly suburbs. You may want to lock in a job opportunity before deciding on a precise area, if you are looking for an office job that can sustain a mortgage on a decent house. The current boom in jobs in the Lehigh Valley is in low paying blue collar fields like trucking and warehousing which is not what you are looking for.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:14 PM
 
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I dont know if I would want to commute to NJ or to the Philadelphia suburbs for work. How long a commute would that be from the Lehigh Valley? I'm not driving more than 30-45 minutes tops. If I need to drive to NJ or to Philadelphia for a job then I'd rather live in Lancaster than the LV. We dont need a big house and have a modest lifestyle that I hope would be supported by a decent paying office job in the area.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:43 AM
 
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There's no way you could live in Lancaster and commute to NJ. Most people that live in my area of the Lehigh Valley and commute to NJ or Philadelphia have an hour+ commute and only do it a few days a week or for a few years. Lancaster is a good hour further west. I don't think you will have trouble finding a job in the LV and I think you can find an affordable house, it might just take a little longer. Get a job, rent a townhouse for a year and find a realtor. I just got a Zillow ping today about a house in Hellertown coming on the market for $245,000.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:33 PM
 
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Find a job (meaning interview for and get offered a position) first and then decide where to live. Don't put the cart before the horse.
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:15 AM
 
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I wouldnt consider moving to Lancaster if I had to commute to NJ or the Philly burbs and if the job isnt within 30-45 minutes from home. It's a great area with good schools, lower property taxes, but if there's no work that way, then living there is not an option. On the other hand, I really dont want to have to drive an hour+ to work if I live in the LV either. Where do people work who live in Lancaster? Are all the office jobs in NJ and the Philly suburbs? If I only had to go to the office a couple days a week and then work the rest of the week from home, then that would be fine.



The plan would be to secure employment before we relocate to the area and rent for a year before buying. However, its always a challenge to get a job when you are living out of state. We have enough equity in our current home and savings to live off for at least several months until we found work if need be.
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:27 AM
 
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Thanks John for your advice. We really dont want to get ahead of ourselves, but are doing our due diligence to determine if PA is right for our family. I want to know if we can afford to live there and where we could buy a home in our price range after we rent for a year or so. I honestly dont see much available or desirable in our price range of $250-$300K. The job market there also has me concerned, with regards to job availability, location and pay. I think Lancaster and the LV areas are beautiful and we would love to be closer to our family, but I have some reservations and that's why I'm asking questions. Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:58 PM
 
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There are plenty of houses available in your price range in the Bethlehem area. Here is an example of one in Bethlehem Township in what I know is a good neighborhood, with a decent commute to NJ as far as those go, and within 10 to 40 minutes of essentially all employment centers in the Lehigh Valley. Mod cut - single house listing links not allowed.

Just keep in mind that annual property taxes are going to be $4,000-$6,000 per year on this price/type of house when doing your affordability calculations. If you are looking to spend no more than 300k, but MUST have a brand new or almost new house, must be over 3,000 square feet, must have a pool, etc. then you might not find what you want.

If you live in the center of Lancaster county in one of the nicer suburbs of the city of Lancaster itself, your employment center options beyond the immediate area but within 45 minutes are probably the Reading, Harrisburg, or York areas, but neither of those are known for having a lot of white collar/office jobs.

I don't know if it's your type of work, but ADP has some offices around Allentown and is supposedly consolidating them into one bigger office and possibly hiring additional workers.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 07-21-2018 at 03:16 PM..
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Old 07-21-2018, 03:24 PM
 
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I don't quite understand why you don't think there is employment here in the LV or that people that live here commute to NYC or Philadelphia. I really only know a handful of people that commute out of the area and those are pilots at Newark airport or people that work a couple of days a week in NYC/NJ/Philly and telecommute the rest of the week. Our local friends that work right here are professionals like us - engineers, doctors, accountants, professors, teachers, etc. You can easily set up alerts in Zillow for housing in your price range. I got another ping today for a house in Hellertown with four bedrooms for under $200,000. Just look at the jobs listed on Indeed.com today: https://www.indeed.com/q-$60,000-l-Lehigh-Valley,-PA-jobs.html
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I don't quite understand why you don't think there is employment here in the LV or that people that live here commute to NYC or Philadelphia. I really only know a handful of people that commute out of the area and those are pilots at Newark airport or people that work a couple of days a week in NYC/NJ/Philly and telecommute the rest of the week. Our local friends that work right here are professionals like us - engineers, doctors, accountants, professors, teachers, etc. You can easily set up alerts in Zillow for housing in your price range. I got another ping today for a house in Hellertown with four bedrooms for under $200,000. Just look at the jobs listed on Indeed.com today: https://www.indeed.com/q-$60,000-l-Lehigh-Valley,-PA-jobs.html
What were your search terms for houses in the LV, if you don't mind sharing?
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