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Old 08-14-2013, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Novato
21 posts, read 45,715 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi! My family and I are looking into relocating from Novato, Marin County (Northern CA - 30 min north of San Francisco) to the Main Line area. My husband would be working in Plymouth Meeting and I'm a stay-at-home mom of twin toddlers. We would like to move to a safe, nice area with good public schools, family-oriented, and we'd be happy if we could get some nice sq ft for the kids to play and have fun. A Whole Foods nearby or a similar type of market would be nice. We have looked into a few towns but we need help figuring out what would fit our personalities best. We're very laid-back, we love spending time at home and exploring with the kids. We love nice restaurants and movies but we don't necessarily need to live right by downtown. My husband currently commutes to SF for work which is about 30 minutes from where we live in Novato but he takes the bus or car/ferry. We don't mind driving but a longer commute than 40-45 minutes would be a bit of a hassle. What areas do you recommend for us? We have looked into Gladwyne, Villanova, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Radnor and Malvern. Can you please help me figure out the difference between them? Also, I heard property tax is a little bit on the high side there. Here we pay 1.5% of purchase price. Can you please explain to me about that as well? Thx!
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:48 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
Reputation: 4755
Quote:
Originally Posted by mominmarin View Post
Hi! My family and I are looking into relocating from Novato, Marin County (Northern CA - 30 min north of San Francisco) to the Main Line area. My husband would be working in Plymouth Meeting and I'm a stay-at-home mom of twin toddlers. We would like to move to a safe, nice area with good public schools, family-oriented, and we'd be happy if we could get some nice sq ft for the kids to play and have fun. A Whole Foods nearby or a similar type of market would be nice. We have looked into a few towns but we need help figuring out what would fit our personalities best. We're very laid-back, we love spending time at home and exploring with the kids. We love nice restaurants and movies but we don't necessarily need to live right by downtown. My husband currently commutes to SF for work which is about 30 minutes from where we live in Novato but he takes the bus or car/ferry. We don't mind driving but a longer commute than 40-45 minutes would be a bit of a hassle. What areas do you recommend for us? We have looked into Gladwyne, Villanova, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Radnor and Malvern. Can you please help me figure out the difference between them? Also, I heard property tax is a little bit on the high side there. Here we pay 1.5% of purchase price. Can you please explain to me about that as well? Thx!
All nice areas. Gladwyne, Villanova, and most of Bryn Mawr (the Rosemont section of the 19010 zip code) are a car-dependent patchwork of upper middle class to astronomically wealthy custom estates. Most of what is considered "Radnor" (which shares a zip code with Wayne, a different area I'll discuss in a bit) fits this description as well. "True" (Route 30-adjacent) Bryn Mawr is more dense/modest/historically blue collar, but has the advantage of a charming, walkable little business district along Lancaster Avenue. Wayne is a dense, but more middle to upper middle class historic section of Radnor Township with a nice little row of shops, bars, restaurants, and a movie theater. The Malvern zip code consists of a small, historic (but very quiet) Borough surrounded by newer, upscale housing--both tract and custom.

Gladwyne is located in the Lower Merion School District, Villanova and Bryn Mawr/Rosemont are split between LM and Radnor, with a tiny bit of Bryn Mawr jutting over into the somewhat lesser-regarded (but still solid) Haverford SD. Wayne/Radnor are primarily divided between Tredyffrin-Easttown/Radnor, with a little bit crossing over into Upper Merion. Malvern is divided between TE and Great Valley. LM/Radnor/TE/Great Valley are equally superb districts; the aforementioned Haverford isn't quite as prestigious, but still well-regarded; and Upper Merion is generally considered "above average."

For ease of commute to Plymouth Meeting, Villanova/Gladwyne/Bryn Mawr/the portions of Radnor close to 476/equivalent backroads over Malvern. You also may want to consider Whitemarsh/Whitpain/Upper Dublin, which will be somewhat more convenient to work (as well as less costly); if you're after great schools with upscale housing stock in family-oriented areas, these are equally worth considering, though there's less in the way of history, as well as charming, walkable areas. There's also a lot more newer housing stock (though more tract-heavy than the Main Line), which, depending on your perspective, will either be a plus or a minus).

And property taxes are higher in PA; it's simply a fact of life. On the bright side, property values are much lower, so you'll be able to find an equivalent home for a much, much lower price.

IMO, it's going to come down to whether you like "old" (most of the Main Line) or "new" (the other areas I mentioned), although our "new" is somewhat dated by California standards. Once you see everything in person and drive/walk around/get a general feel for these different communities, things should become much clearer.

Best of luck!
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
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Heaven Wood gave a nice synopsis.

Taxes are broken up into 3 segments. 1. County 2.Municipality 3. Schools. Its the school taxes that are the overwhelming burden. School taxes have risen nearly 40% this past decade in the Philadelphia suburban counties. But for the most parts the suburban school districts are top notch especially the ones you are interested in.

All tax information can be found online. The area you are looking into is Montgomery County but you are close or right on the border of Chester County and Delaware County Pa. Id recommend researching all 3 counties.


All 3 counties have different tax millage rates . All Municipalities and all School Districts have different tax millage rates. Simply google those 3 counties+ tax millage rates and you should get a site with all the towns so that u can calculate what your tax will be.


I did a quick search

This info should be fairly accurate.

$400,000 house in Radnor(Delaware County)(Radnor School District)= $12,268 yearly taxes

$400,000 house in Villanova (Montgomery County)(Lower Merion School District)=$12,688

$400,000 house in Malvern (Chester County) ( Great Valley School District)=$11,111

$400,000 house in Plymouth Meeting(Montgomery County)Plymouth Whitemarsh School District)=$9,740


Beautiful countryside especially west of Plymouth Meeting if you want some space and fresh air. Valley Forge, Pickering Valley down to Malvern, Willistown Township, West Chester. Nothing is more than 15minutes from a Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Wegmans.

Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:53 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
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^Also keep in mind those are values assessed, which, due to relatively infrequent property assessments in these parts, don't always equally reflect current fair market value, due to the fact that properties in different parts of different municipalities have appreciated at different rates. There are both property tax "bargains" and "rip-offs" to be found.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Philly
156 posts, read 393,550 times
Reputation: 134
As you probably know, California's property tax rates are very low thanks to Prop 13. I'm going to assume you're a high income household due to the fact that you live in Marin and will say, although you may be paying more in property tax rates, your overall tax burden in PA will likely be much lower. Personal income tax is a flat 3.07% -- much lower than what you're probably assessed on CA's progressive tax scale. Not to mention lower sales tax (which is not assessed on medicine, food or clothing) and lower gas tax.

The Main Line has an "uppity" reputation. I lived in the East and South Bay and find that Californians are generally more friendly, more laid back but similarly uppity, although it manifests in a different way. It's also my impression that there's quite a bit of similarities among the Main Line communities. I'd think your decision would be more based on individual properties versus the towns. I always thought Lamorinda was pretty similar to the Main Line.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Novato
21 posts, read 45,715 times
Reputation: 12
Default Thank you!

Thanks a lot for the info. One more question, do you know how long it takes during rush hour to commute from Malvern to Plymouth Meeting compared to Gladwyne area to PM? Also, can you take the train to Plymouth Meeting?
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Novato
21 posts, read 45,715 times
Reputation: 12
Wow, I just noticed the other replies! You guys are awesome! Thanks for all the info and research you did for us! We're looking forward to visiting PA and I can see already that people are very nice there. Thank you!
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Philly
156 posts, read 393,550 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by mominmarin View Post
Wow, I just noticed the other replies! You guys are awesome! Thanks for all the info and research you did for us! We're looking forward to visiting PA and I can see already that people are very nice there. Thank you!
I used to drive from a Delaware County suburb to Philadelphia during rush hour. That was nothing like good old Bay Area traffic. Since you're going suburb to suburb, the traffic shouldn't be that bad. The real killers are the 76, the 476 and the 95 into the city in the AM and out of the city at PM.

I probably shouldn't have answered because I've never done it, but I can say with 90% certainty it's nothing like the 101 at 8 AM.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Novato
21 posts, read 45,715 times
Reputation: 12
It's all about perspective, SJCPHL. We used to have such bad traffic in SoCal that our current traffic on the 101 going into the city in the AM is not that bad ;-)
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:56 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
Reputation: 4755
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJCPHL View Post
As you probably know, California's property tax rates are very low thanks to Prop 13. I'm going to assume you're a high income household due to the fact that you live in Marin and will say, although you may be paying more in property tax rates, your overall tax burden in PA will likely be much lower. Personal income tax is a flat 3.07% -- much lower than what you're probably assessed on CA's progressive tax scale. Not to mention lower sales tax (which is not assessed on medicine, food or clothing) and lower gas tax.

The Main Line has an "uppity" reputation. I lived in the East and South Bay and find that Californians are generally more friendly, more laid back but similarly uppity, although it manifests in a different way. It's also my impression that there's quite a bit of similarities among the Main Line communities. I'd think your decision would be more based on individual properties versus the towns. I always thought Lamorinda was pretty similar to the Main Line.
The Main Line towns are definitely not all the same. Bala-Cynwyd is very different from Ardmore, which is very different from Penn Valley, which is very different from Devon, and so on and so forth.

Also, you're going to find uppity people in any upscale Greater Philadelphia community, though I've found they're generally not hard to avoid.
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