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Old 03-28-2012, 12:32 PM
 
5 posts, read 15,520 times
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My wife and I have been looking for a home for several YEARS now and haven't decided on a particular town in NJ (or NY for that matter). We have a 4 year old and both work in the city, so commuting time, access to day care and good schools are a huge concern. Homes prices are really high (as well as taxes) in any towns that have top ranked schools. I just don't see any value in such towns when some lesser ranked schools (but still well above average) have lower priced, newer and larger homes.

Which leads me to Fair Lawn. The schools are fairly well rated from elementary to high school. Commuting time is pretty good from Radburn. Looks like a really safe and nice town, although full of capes and a little congested. But the prices are really decent considering the size and age of the homes. What am I missing? Why are they so much lower than say Glen Rock which is right on the border?
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fhubert View Post
My wife and I have been looking for a home for several YEARS now and haven't decided on a particular town in NJ (or NY for that matter). We have a 4 year old and both work in the city, so commuting time, access to day care and good schools are a huge concern. Homes prices are really high (as well as taxes) in any towns that have top ranked schools. I just don't see any value in such towns when some lesser ranked schools (but still well above average) have lower priced, newer and larger homes.

Which leads me to Fair Lawn. The schools are fairly well rated from elementary to high school. Commuting time is pretty good from Radburn. Looks like a really safe and nice town, although full of capes and a little congested. But the prices are really decent considering the size and age of the homes. What am I missing? Why are they so much lower than say Glen Rock which is right on the border?
Glen Rock is a much more desirable town on the snob scale Glen Rock has a better downtown and is just more affluent in general. That's the only difference. Fair Lawn is great! You aren't missing anything. Do know that if you live in Radburn there is a monthly association fee.( I think $200 but don't quote me)
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:52 PM
 
Location: NJ
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Fair Lawn borders Paterson, separated only by the river. I wonder if that affects property values a bit?
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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just a different town.. considered "not as nice" right.. on the snob scale basically.

-has some industrial ish areas (like near shop rite)
-borders Paterson and elmwood park
-I believe parts of Fair Lawn are on route 4
-No real nice downtown
-Average maintained capes on small lots (not saying Glen rock doesn't have them but probably has more Capes and ranches converted into new looking Colonials).
-I can only imagine taxes are lower than glen rock, where you might see 8-9 for a little 3 br ranch

not sure if you are jewish, OR care one way or the other but fair lawn has a large jewish population.

Not sure about schools. I think they are good.

What is your budget and what are you looking for?
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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I have a 7 year old, a 3 year old and a 1 year old, live in Fair Lawn and work in the city. Let me address several things:

Daycare: Van Riper Ellis is an amazing preschool for 3 years old and up and very reasonably priced. In addition, there are a large number of daycares that cater to children all the way from 3 months old and up. You can find a lot of options in a range of prices, religious backgrounds and educational philosophies.

Housing/location: I live near Route 4 (2 blocks away). That being said, when I bought my husband to see the house for the first time 8 years ago, I took him the roundabout way, avoiding Route 4. It was a busy time of day but in the summer. We examined the house and I told him to stand outside and listen to the sounds. He heards birds, crickets, wind and the occassional airplane. The second time I took him, we went via Route 4 - he was so shocked that it was so close by. Coming to the present day.... we have been living here 8 years and LOVE it! I take the train from either Radburn or Broadway every day (yes there are 2 train options in Fair Lawn) and for me, the train is walking distance away (< 1/2 mile). I am actively involved in our local school and PTA, I take advantage of all the free programs for children at the library and the beach like town pool during the summer is amazing!

Plus, all major highways are very closeby and the shopping is endless since Route 17 is jsut a hop and jump away.

Ridgewood and Glen Rock are the high end towns... this is where your more wealthy/millionaires live and school systems are top notch. But Fair Lawn school system so far for our child has been great, attentive and very responsive to any concerns we might have ever had.

Paterson - not even a worry about it. If someone is really going to cross the river to rob a house or commit a crime, they'd go an extra town over to Glen Rock or Ridgewood to target the more wealthy. At least, I would if I were of that mindset. Plus Elmwood Park buffers Fair Lawn anyway.

There is a large Jewish population... but also many other diverse groups. I am Indian, my neighbor is Polish Jewish, my other neighbor is Philipino and two houses down is an Iranian/Jordanian couple. I couldn't ask for friendlier neighbors.

We had bought a basic split (3 beds, 1.5 baths) and expanded to a 6 bed, 3.5 bath house just 2 years ago. And it is NOT a McMansion... jsut an expanded split that keeps in character with the rest of the neighborhood. We intend on staying in this area for a very long time.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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6 bedroom.. damn!
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:54 PM
 
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It's not a perfect town (joe moving pointed out some of Fair Lawn's flaws well), but it probably offers the best bang for the buck in Bergen County. The schools often score better than schools in significantly more expensive towns, like Westwood or Waldwick. Why so cheap compared to other towns? I'm a bit stumped, but I can think of three possible factors:

1. There are quite a few small properties in the town, and the town is a bit densely populated for a Bergen County 'burb.
2. The town does border considerably less affluent towns on west and south sides.
3. Certain groups of people who have historically attained greater degrees of wealth in the U.S. than many other groups may be intimidated by the ethnic diversity of the town. (I'll let you make your own inferences on this one.)

Even with these factors, it puzzles me how a town like Hasbrouck Heights now seems to have slightly higher median real estate prices than Fair Lawn. Oh, it's a fine town, and it seems to have developed a litte more prestige over the past decade, but the properties are even smaller and there's no way the schools are as good as Fair Lawn's.

Fair Lawn's a great town , OP. We'll welcome you with open arms.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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I grew up in Elmwood Park (also a very nice town, super safe, just not great schools), and Fair Lawn is a great bargain if you want Bergen County living, good schools, and a safe town.

It doesn't have the charm of towns like Ridgewood, Glen Rock, or HohoKus (with the exception of Radburn), and the homes aren't as big nor is the stock as nice, but you get a lot of the pros of these other towns: good schools, safety, and a train line.

Most Bergen County towns don't have downtowns (Ridgewood does, and Glen Rock has a small one), so you really have to like the mall/highway culture to live there.

Paterson is separated by a river, a highway, and a nicer part of the city near Fair Lawn, and almost no crime bleeds over. And I have no idea when bordering Elmwood Park became a bad thing, you'll have to have someone else explain that. Crime is ultra low is both towns.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
67,476 posts, read 62,976,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
6 bedroom.. damn!
My mother's house in MP has six bedrooms, three baths, joe moving. It started out with three. My parents added on twice as they had more kids and moved my grandmother in.

Fair Lawn is A good town. I lived there (married someone from FL) for three years. I didn't raise a kid there but my sister and a lot of friends did. They have everything. Two town swimming places, parks, tons of ball fields and sports programs, and two train stations, as the other poster said.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:59 AM
 
17 posts, read 45,066 times
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Mind if I jump in? My husband and I have been home shopping for our family (just us and our 11 year old daughter). We have been looking in Teaneck because we have family there and the commute to the city is easy - we both work in NYC and my husband usually drives. We've started to wonder about Fair Lawn. When I look at homes there online it doesn't tell me about the property taxes - any one know how they compare to Teaneck? Our budget is pretty limited so much of Bergen County is off limits. I would love opinions on how Fair Lawn compares to Teaneck.

Thanks
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