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Old 08-25-2012, 07:55 PM
 
26 posts, read 111,011 times
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My wife and I are looking for our first home in the Central NJ area between Clark and Matawan without stretching too far west (b/c of the location of our jobs/families). We like Metuchen and Colonia, but we're also open to the surrounding area (i.e. Edison, Iselin, etc.). We also drove through a development in Matawan today and thought it seemed nice. Our budget is ~$300k, which definitely puts us at the very low end for a house in Metuchen (and probably Colonia/Clark), though we really like the town.

Since we're not from the area, we're only going by what we see and read and I was hoping some of you could provide some input on those areas. Our wants/needs are:

- A detached house (and not a townhouse/condo) in good condition listed for $250-325k
- Low crime
- Preferably close to a small downtown area with nice shops/restaurants (e.g. Metuchen)
- Relatively good school system
- We'd prefer a town with at least some charm/character

Any advice on which towns you recommend we look into (or stay away from) is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:50 PM
 
26 posts, read 111,011 times
Reputation: 12
Bump
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:54 PM
 
Location: East Brunswick
208 posts, read 497,916 times
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I have seen a few (very few) houses in Metuchen for around 300k--if you are OK with doing some updating, kitchen &bath etc, in the future, I'd go with Metuchen honestly. Even though the lots are a lot smaller, Highland Park is also good in terms of having a downtown area, great schools, and easy access to transportation...
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:15 PM
 
26 posts, read 111,011 times
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Thanks for the advice. Our real estate agent is encouraging us to look in South Amboy, but I've read mixed things. The houses in our price range there seem very nice, but it seems certain parts are sketchy.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:55 PM
 
Location: East Brunswick
208 posts, read 497,916 times
Reputation: 147
Been to S Amboy recently (we're also on the market for a house), wasn't impressed much. Perth Amboy, even though much of it is visibly poorer, looked livelier, people shopping, families taking a stroll etc.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:13 PM
 
262 posts, read 736,244 times
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My wife and I are currently renting in South Amboy -- it's a decent area. The new waterfront park is really nice, and they have a new community center/YMCA that overlooks the water -- you can see the NY skyline in the distance, so that's definitely a plus. And it's pretty convenient b/c it has a brand new train station and also multiple buses to NYC, both of which only take an hour.

But, the main street here (Broadway), and the town in general, is going through a "revitalization" period, which is taking a lot longer than they expected. It's still kinda run down, with a lot of empty store fronts. That being said, while we're okay with renting here, we wouldn't want to buy here. Plots are kinda small, and I think it's still gonna take a few more years until the town is finally "back".

Metuchen is very nice, but, like you said, may be tough with your budget. Also, keep in mind that Edison & Metuchen have large Indian populations, while Highland Park has a large Jewish population. Not negative points, just points to note.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:24 PM
 
880 posts, read 2,036,614 times
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Buy in Metuchen you'll be happy you did
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:27 AM
 
26 posts, read 111,011 times
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Thanks for the replies. We've been checking out some of the surrounding areas. North Brunswick seems like it offers good value, but we'll keep looking. I know some parts of Edison are supposed to be nicer than others, so I'll look into that too. I believe the northern side is nicer?
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:54 AM
 
1,977 posts, read 7,264,731 times
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Edison/Metuchen/Highland park WAY over SouthAmboy....any day all day.

Then again im biased as I live in Edison. For your price range, in the town i mentioned, you'll either end up with a small ranch or a much older home which needs some TLC and updating. If you can go to 350-400 you can get into some of the newer colonials in South Edison.
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