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Old 06-17-2010, 01:19 PM
 
22 posts, read 124,182 times
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I am trying to get an area to start looking in to purchase a home. I have 2 small kids and work in Brooklyn NY. Im not against the commute and I just need to see what has a good school district and nice area for young couple with a 2 and 3 yr old. Live middle class with yrly income $120,000.
Thanks please for any information you can give.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: NJ & NV
5,498 posts, read 13,575,613 times
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Just a suggestion, instead of going further South as you say, you could also check out areas near or in Union County which are closer via SI by just going over the Goethals Bridge. the usual suburban suspects, Cranford, Westfield and so on.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:30 PM
 
Location: North Brunswick
877 posts, read 2,480,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyBeans View Post
I am trying to get an area to start looking in to purchase a home. I have 2 small kids and work in Brooklyn NY. Im not against the commute and I just need to see what has a good school district and nice area for young couple with a 2 and 3 yr old. Live middle class with yrly income $120,000.
Thanks please for any information you can give.
Middlesex has more reputable school districts, less crime, easier access to major highways, better public transportation and more business/industry thus lower property taxes overall than Monmouth. It is very diverse and as far as cost of living you have everything from affordable to WOW. The north side of the county is very crowded while the south side is much more spread out. It is much more of a central location so it has more people from all over.

Monmouth on the other hand is more hardcore NY-influence and its biggest attraction of course is the shore. It is closer to the shore, has a better community college from what I have heard (although Middlesex has a pool - Brookdale doesn't ). Traffic generally is more congested here due to lack of road maintenance or upgrading as it was once less-developed and continuing to be developed. Some more remote areas but much harder to get around. A lot of people with few roads. Middlesex is more established. Monmouth has larger lots for houses on the average, much higher property taxes and housing prices and cost of living overall. It is predominantly upscale and high-class (new money).

Having said all that, I have lived in both and my one biased opinion is that I would not return to Monmouth County.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:33 PM
 
22 posts, read 124,182 times
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Thanks for the insight.. BUT can I pick ur brain a lil more.
How are these areas in General. Spotwood, Helmetta and Jamesburg?
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:16 PM
 
Location: North Brunswick
877 posts, read 2,480,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyBeans View Post
Thanks for the insight.. BUT can I pick ur brain a lil more.
How are these areas in General. Spotwood, Helmetta and Jamesburg?
Have friends in all three. Very laid back small town feel. I used to think they were boroughs of Monroe (but found out here boros are completely independent in NJ). Monroe is a growing area but taxes are the lowest in the area since half of it is skewed toward senior citizens so they fight to keep them low. Houses are getting more expensive though. Someone on this forum said Monroe is the only gang-free town in the whole area. I think Spotswood is getting more expensive too and its taxes are higher. Nice little town. Jamesburg is located right in the middle of Monroe but seems a little shadier. Helmetta is tiny and is known for its old snuff mill, other than that it seems fine. It sends its students to Spotswood's schools.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Historic Downtown Jersey City
2,705 posts, read 7,393,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoelsebutcharles View Post
Middlesex has more reputable school districts, less crime, easier access to major highways, better public transportation and more business/industry thus lower property taxes overall than Monmouth. It is very diverse and as far as cost of living you have everything from affordable to WOW. The north side of the county is very crowded while the south side is much more spread out. It is much more of a central location so it has more people from all over.

Monmouth on the other hand is more hardcore NY-influence and its biggest attraction of course is the shore. It is closer to the shore, has a better community college from what I have heard (although Middlesex has a pool - Brookdale doesn't ). Traffic generally is more congested here due to lack of road maintenance or upgrading as it was once less-developed and continuing to be developed. Some more remote areas but much harder to get around. A lot of people with few roads. Middlesex is more established. Monmouth has larger lots for houses on the average, much higher property taxes and housing prices and cost of living overall. It is predominantly upscale and high-class (new money).

Having said all that, I have lived in both and my one biased opinion is that I would not return to Monmouth County.
I actually don't agree with this post at all. My observation is that Monmouth County on the whole is MUCH nicer and more affluent than Middlesex County. Plus you're near the ocean at least. In Middlesex County, you're not that close to NYC, not that close to the beach...you're just, there...
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Ocean County, NJ
912 posts, read 2,175,331 times
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I have always found Middlesex County to be MUCH more congested than anywhere in Monmouth County, save for the 4th of July, perhaps. Middlesex has some nice towns, but not much space to breathe. Too cramped and a little too "gritty" and old.

Monmouth has much larger lots, more spread-out communities, and overall I think a better lifestyle, especially with its proximity to the ocean. Given a choice between the two I would choose Monmouth every time.

As far as schools: As I mentioned in another thread, it's not something to obsess over. Any good, upper-middle-class community in New Jersey will give your child an equally good opportunity for learning. It should be noted that Monmouth County's county-run academy school district is absolutely excellent and has several of the state's best high schools, especially High Tech and MAST.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:48 PM
 
Location: North Brunswick
877 posts, read 2,480,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyc_37 View Post
I actually don't agree with this post at all. My observation is that Monmouth County on the whole is MUCH nicer and more affluent than Middlesex County. Plus you're near the ocean at least. In Middlesex County, you're not that close to NYC, not that close to the beach...you're just, there...
In Middlesex you have access to major highways to get anywhere convenienty, and I said Monmouth is closer to the shore. Southern Middlesex has much more room to breathe than Northern Middlesex, esp in places like Cranbury, Plainsboro, Old Bridge, Sayreville, N&S Brunswick and parts of Monroe (although Monroe is getting built out). Even parts of East Brunswick are very "out there". Development here is linear, that's the difference.

The best beaches are much further south anyway. I don't like Monmouth County at all.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:58 PM
 
Location: North Brunswick
877 posts, read 2,480,169 times
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Originally Posted by TheGambler View Post
I have always found Middlesex County to be MUCH more congested than anywhere in Monmouth County, save for the 4th of July, perhaps. Middlesex has some nice towns, but not much space to breathe. Too cramped and a little too "gritty" and old.

Monmouth has much larger lots, more spread-out communities, and overall I think a better lifestyle, especially with its proximity to the ocean. Given a choice between the two I would choose Monmouth every time.

As far as schools: As I mentioned in another thread, it's not something to obsess over. Any good, upper-middle-class community in New Jersey will give your child an equally good opportunity for learning. It should be noted that Monmouth County's county-run academy school district is absolutely excellent and has several of the state's best high schools, especially High Tech and MAST.
It is much more congested on the north side, the south side is much more spread out. Southern Middlesex (where I am) is different and newer than Edison/Woodbridge area. Middlesex County overall is more comparable to the burbs near Philly IMO.

My impressions of Monmouth County are from my experiences growing up in Manalapan which I couldn't stand what that area has turned into, and Marlboro from what I have seen and heard is even worse. As you get closer to the shore, the better beaches are further south. You live in Ocean County don't you? If I want to live by the beach I find it worth it to go down there.

I second schools should not be of major concern, but just for the record, East Brunswick, Highland Pk, Edison, Metuchen, Spotswood, Monroe and the West Windsor-Plainsboro district all rank significantly higher than Manalapan, Marlboro, Freehold, Howell etc none of these made the top 100 while all of the others except Spotswood and Monroe did. The highest ranked high school in central NJ is Highland Park.

Despite Manalapan's reputation I went through those schools and had one great teacher. Aside from that I got nothing out of them. Still got stuck going to community college for two years. It is what you make of it. Overall people there are much more stuck-up and snooty, where I am now people are a lot more laid back and down to earth. Anything in people I can't stand is arrogance, sorry. You have larger lots for houses, but that means you'll spend more time WORKING ON those lots! My parents' house is on 3/4 acre of property and we'd spend the entire weekend mowing the lawn, raking up leaves, etc. I told myself I was never going to let myself get into that type of situation that I have to spend my entire weekend working on my property around my house.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:30 PM
 
Location: NC Transplant
168 posts, read 441,310 times
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For me personally, Monmouth is much better than Middlesex as far as schools, moved from Old-Bridge to Manalapan when I was 7 because the schools were unbareably bad in OB. Spotswood is no good at all, a lot of gang activity there. Not familiar with Helmetta and I'm not crazy about Jemsburg/ Monroe. There are nice areas, but there are a lot of crappy areas too. Had to drive through Monroe recently (Monroe is right near Manalapan, I know, I work with a lot of people from Monroe but I never seem to be driving through lol), and there were about 3 old women in the street with world peace signs screaming peace out, so that turned me off to the whole area. I feel as if I am getting a great education through M-pan schools, everything is what you make of it. I have had great teachers who I wish I hadn't lost touch with, I had crappy teachers, it is the same anywhere you go. You can find a large home with a small yard, my home is a 4BR+ Bonus Room (I guess instead of a basement, like a basement, just on the first floor), and we have a pretty small yard since we live on a main road. I do love Monmouth County because of the close proximity to the shore as well, going to NC for college and I am going to miss Long Branch a lot. I am also going to miss The Turning Point, I am in love with their food, there are 8 locations (one being in Manalapan ) Personally, I like Monmouth County better, and I think as a New Yorker you will fit in much better.
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