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Old 01-18-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Hello,

My husband is possibly going to be offered a teaching job in Madison. We currently live in Bellingham, WA. We love cities, so being close to NYC would be great. But we also have been on the west coast for quite a while (I've been out here for almost 17 years), and the idea of moving to the east coast is sort of unappealing. Our main question is how much would our lifestyle change if we moved. We are pretty easygoing, mellow, and friendly people, with a toddler (and another one planned in the next couple of years). We like hiking and being outdoors, although we're not crazy outdoorsy like some people in the Pacific NW. We love to garden and grow our own food. We eat locally, organic, grass-fed...you get the idea. Not sure how that would play out in NJ. Also, we are concerned about costs. We know that NJ has extremely high property taxes, and high median home costs (at least high for us). We currently have a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house that's about 1200 square feet. What would we be looking at in terms of cost for a comparable house near Madison (if not in Madison itself, then a town near to it)?

Any thoughts anyone has would be appreciated. Is this a move we should consider making, or are we better off staying put?

Thank you!
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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Madison is a great town. I wish I could afford to live there.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Randolph, NJ
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Madison is a nice town. Can proabably do a little gardening and organic foods are more and more readily available. You could look a bit west (like Long Valley) to get a little more rural feel. As to prices and taxes, sticker shock is real. Browse: GSMLS
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:38 AM
 
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Hi Latobell,

Madison is a terrific town with a lot of friendliness and many, many young families. There is a Farmer's Market in the Summer and a Whole Foods for all the other times and needs. Madison has 3 colleges in or near it and as such is young and vibrant. Although there's not much hiking as there is in the great NW, there are many parks for walking and exploring with young children. Check out "The Great Swamp" and "Loantaka Park" and Morris County Parks System.
It is expensive to live in NJ, there is no question. A fairly small house of about 1200 sq ft will be in the neighborhood of $400k, give or take depending on location, condition. Taxes on that should be abotu $7k. With that, you get one of the best school districts in the state though.
Of course being so close to NYC is one of the reasons it's expensive and having access to NYC is a special treat.
At the end of the day, only you can decide if it's for you and your family. Feel free to go to my website to look at homes for sale, get demographic data, and other information about Madison and surrounding communities. [url=http://www.WhereToLiveInNJ.com]Stats about all US cities - real estate, relocation info, house prices, home value estimator, recent sales, cost of living, crime, race, income, photos, education, maps, weather, houses, schools, neighborhoods, and more[/url]. All my contact info is there if you want to talk or email.
Good luck! Trish
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:56 AM
 
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I think you would like it. The areas of NJ are very different. The stereotypical NJ (fast-paced, super crowded) is really just a small part of the state in the northeast part.

But of course, there are people living all kinds of lifestyles all over the state. There is probably someone living in Jersey City who cares about the same things you do, and someone in Madison who only cares about their status symbols, kwim? That's kind of what's cool about NJ, you can really carve out whatever life you want because there is just so much to choose from.

If you stayed around Madison, or even west, northwest of Madison, I think you would find it to be quite nice. There is a group called Holistic Moms that you might enjoy, they could give you advice on all of the organic stuff etc. I think they have an online forum too that might help with questions. Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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Here is the link to the Holistic Moms Network

Local Chapters – Holistic Moms Network
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Historic Downtown Jersey City
2,705 posts, read 7,740,297 times
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Do you have any idea what your budget will be? Madison, and really most of the towns surrounding it, is pretty pricey.

There are a ton of things to do outdoors in NJ, as well as in neighboring NY state and Pennsylvania.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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Default Our budget

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your thoughts and input! Super helpful...

I'm thinking we will have, at least initially, an annual income of about $100K. Not sure if that is good news or bad news.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:23 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latobell View Post
Hi everyone,

Thanks for your thoughts and input! Super helpful...

I'm thinking we will have, at least initially, an annual income of about $100K. Not sure if that is good news or bad news.
Plenty of people do it on that income, so I think you'll be fine. You may want to rent somewhere at first, and spend some time exploring the characters of different towns. Every area has it's own positives and negatives.

I think you'll find plenty of good locally grown produce in the "Garden State". Lots of farmers markets and co-ops to get that through. We're hip too, we have Trader Joe's in many places now. haha.

As for hiking, there's a lot of great hiking in NJ and certainly in PA and in NY State (bear mountain near West Point on the Hudson is amazing!).

I think you can find yourself quite happy here. But, some people hate it. I'm a pretty mellow person who loves the outdoors too. some people say you have to have a keeping up with the joneses mentality here...but i don't find that to be true at all. you don't have to want to make $500k to enjoy life here.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Northern NJ
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I've lived in the next town over, Florham Park, most of my life, but also spent some years in Madison renting and owning.

On the whole it's a great, upscale NJ suburb with lots to offer. We only moved back to Florham Park because a housing development was going up and we needed more space, but we would have been happy to stay there.

One note of caution is that the town does have two "sides." South of the railroad tracks, sometimes referred to informally as the Hill section, the housing is generally more expensive, and the neighborhoods perhaps a bit less diverse. North of the tracks there is more of a mix of different price ranges, more two-family houses, etc.

Great restaurants, bars, and even a Blue Ridge Mountain sports store that you might like. Excellent schools.

Rhys
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