U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Old 03-06-2013, 09:41 PM
1 posts, read 976 times
Reputation: 10


I'm contemplating a move to the Philly area to attend a graduate program at Penn. The program will last 4 years, but I see myself potentially staying in the area for the longer term, so I was thinking about buying a place somewhere. I was recently there exploring the area, and fell in love with Lansdowne - at least the nicer parts of it. I like the older homes with architectural character, the trees and gardens, the walkability, and the short train commute to the University City stop. Also, the affordability of the houses was attractive, although I've read enough in these forums now to understand why they are so cheap.

So I have a few questions:

1. People here complain about the high property taxes in the borough. Is the property tax (including school taxes) really around 6% of assessed value? That seems unthinkably high (here in CA property taxes are capped around 1%, and assessed values can't go up more than 2% per year), but I have no frame of reference. What is an example of a low property tax town in the Philly area?

2. Despite the high taxes, the school system - especially the high school - seems to be appallingly bad. Is there any plan in place to fix it? I don't plan to have kids, but this obviously affects the quality of the neighborhood generally. It seems like Lansdowne has some active community groups/institutions - an LGBT organization, a group working to fix up the old theatre, the farmers market, etc. - so is there really no group pushing to fix the schools?

3. Are there any other places I should consider? Swarthmore was lovely, but it's too far of a commute for me and also has high property taxes, even though you at least get good schools for the $$$. Same with the mainline stuff - I really like the idea of being a few blocks from a train (and not a bus or subway) that goes directly to U. City.

Here's the survey:

When are you moving? May
Where are you coming from?
San Francisco suburbs
Why are you moving?
Where will you be working?
U. Penn main campus
Have you been here yet?

Will you buy or rent?
Buy, probably
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend?
Want a house w/ yard + garage, <$300K depending on property taxes
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend?
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up?

Do you have a preference of living in a NJ or PA suburb?
No preference, but must have easy transit link to Penn

Are you married or single? Do you have children?
Single, no kids
Do you prefer public or private schools?
Do you have pets?
1 dog
Do you want or need a yard?
Are you keeping a car?
Yes, 2 cars
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet?
Prefer a quiet street with easy walking access to more active areas.Don't want to live in Center City.

What do you want to be closest to?
Work -
Shopping -
don't care
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.) -
Nightlife -
don't care
Train or subway stations -

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?
I am as white as white can be and was raised in the suburbs but can appreciate racial and socioeconomic diversity, as long as everyone is respectful and as long as my personal safety isn't jeopardized too greatly.

Coke or Pepsi?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 03-07-2013, 04:31 AM
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,794 posts, read 3,035,432 times
Reputation: 2923
I'm not the best person to answer this, but I didn't want you to be left high and dry

I can't answer your tax assessment question, but if I were you I would absolutely rent in any area you choose for at least a year until you are certain where you want to be. Lansdowne is a cool little place, but the schools are not about to get any better with all the budget cuts going on in PA schools.

Why not consider renting in Media which has a good school district and a walkable town. It is a safe area as well. If you like it there you might be able to get a town or row home in the borough or a small home right outside of it (they do tend to be expensive, but at least the taxes are not as high as Lansdowne or Swarthmore). And of course they have a train station as well as a trolley. Did you chedk out that area?

I would not force myself into a highly-taxed area until you are entirely certain you'll be happy there. Best of luck to you.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top