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Old 05-07-2014, 12:49 PM
 
36 posts, read 63,865 times
Reputation: 26

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I am considering moving to Philadelphia (contingent on a job offer that hasn't even been made yet) and am looking for suggestions of places to live. My wife and I are in our late 30s with four children ages 7 and under and want to live in a suburb, not the city. I would be working in Center City. We would prefer to live in a house, but would accept a townhouse as long as we don't have neighbors above or below us. Here is our list of priorities, in order:

1. Safe area
2. Rent not more than $2,000 (would prefer to not buy for now but if we do we don't want to spend more than $300K)
3. Within about 30 minutes of Center City using public transportation
4. At least 3 bedrooms and 1,500 square feet (preferably close to 2,000 square feet or slightly more)
5. Public elementary schools that are at least decent (don't have to be great, but not horrible)
6. Grass for kids to play - preferably our own yard, but a townhouse with a common grassy area would also work

What areas do you suggest looking in? I've read a lot of good about main line cities, but they mostly seem out of our price range. We are completely unfamiliar with the area and don't have any preference at all about which direction from the city we live in or about whether it's in PA or NJ, as long as it's safe and not too far from Center City.

Thank you so much for taking time to respond. I really appreciate any information I can get.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:18 PM
 
Location: NYC & Media PA
363 posts, read 224,946 times
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We have an apartment in Media which is in Delaware County (south of Philly), We are about 45 minutes to center city via the regional rail, which by the way is outstanding.

We really like Delaware Co but most of it will be beyond your desire to be 30 mins from city center by train. Maybe go to the SEPTA (train) website and get an idea where the trains run into the suburbs, then do google type research for "best family suburbs near philly" and such (this is how we found Media). I did hear that Wayne is quite nice and it is 30 mins by train. Its along the "main line" train routes, heres a link: Wayne, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't know much about NJ so I really don't want to pipe up too much about it.

We love Philly so far, never seems like theres a weekend that somethings not going on.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:04 AM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,476,341 times
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As the last poster suggested, a strict 30 minute commute would limit your suburban options at least in terms of satisfying all of your other preferences. I'm also going to assume that you mean 30 minutes on the train rather than door-to-door as that would shrink your choices even more on the PA side. (Others more knowledgeable can offer advice about NJ suburbs.)

30 minutes (north)west on the Paoli-Thorndale line would put you in the heart of the string of traditionally affluent suburbs known as the Main Line. That would include Wayne as offered before. While it offers most everything you are looking, your budget may not afford a TH in that area.

30 minutes north on either of the Doylestown or Warminster/Airport lines would put you in the Abington/Cheltenham/Jenkintown area, While Cheltenham and Jenkintown may be a bit pricey for your preferences, a fair amount of Abington - especially west of Old York Road/Route 611 should fall within your range and would offer the amenities and comfort you are looking for. Now that I think about it, though, some spots may still be a stretch for a 30-minute commute. That would put Media back into play as housing options there tend to be a bit newer in comparison and the Rose Tree-Media school district is regarded as "great" compared to the "pretty good" Abington, Cheltenham and Jenkintown school districts.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:38 PM
 
36 posts, read 63,865 times
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Thank you so much for the responses. Yes, I'm hoping for a 30 minute train ride, but hopefully not much more than that for total commute time. I currently have a 10-15 minute drive to work where I live, so having a longer commute will be an adjustment. I'd really like to not travel an hour or more to and from work each day.

What about driving into Center City each day? Would that be a nightmare? If I could have a 30 minute drive rather than a 30 minute train ride it might expand my options quite a bit (unless traffic is so bad that it would take me half of that time to just drive the last little bit).
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:03 PM
 
8,048 posts, read 18,476,341 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamBri View Post
Thank you so much for the responses. Yes, I'm hoping for a 30 minute train ride, but hopefully not much more than that for total commute time. I currently have a 10-15 minute drive to work where I live, so having a longer commute will be an adjustment. I'd really like to not travel an hour or more to and from work each day.
If you can expand that door-to-door commute to an hour as you are considering, that would open up the aforementioned suggestions as well as a bit more north of Abington (e.g. Hatboro, Horsham).

Quote:
What about driving into Center City each day? Would that be a nightmare? If I could have a 30 minute drive rather than a 30 minute train ride it might expand my options quite a bit (unless traffic is so bad that it would take me half of that time to just drive the last little bit).
Depending on where you'd be coming from, driving may not save you time. Unless your employer will offer you free/subsidized parking, your expense won't be any less (and could be possibly more) than if you had taken the train.

If you haven't already checked out the New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia sub-forum, I'd encourage you to do so as there may be more commuting options within your preferred range that offer many of your other priorities as well.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,483,472 times
Reputation: 2774
how is lansdowne?
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:42 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,632 posts, read 12,795,075 times
Reputation: 15763
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamBri View Post

1. Safe area
2. Rent not more than $2,000 (would prefer to not buy for now but if we do we don't want to spend more than $300K)
3. Within about 30 minutes of Center City using public transportation
4. At least 3 bedrooms and 1,500 square feet (preferably close to 2,000 square feet or slightly more)
5. Public elementary schools that are at least decent (don't have to be great, but not horrible)
6. Grass for kids to play - preferably our own yard, but a townhouse with a common grassy area would also work
University City's Spruce Hill neighborhood. Make sure you get them in Penn-Sadie Alexander School*, which has a great reputation. Grassy area not easy as most homes have tiny backyards, but we do have Clark Park.

Also University City's Powelton Village neighborhood, I understand the Samuel Powel School is good.

Both places are within 10 minutes by bus or trolley to Center City.

*You must live in the Penn-Alexander catchment area.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,041 posts, read 1,281,744 times
Reputation: 471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
University City's Spruce Hill neighborhood. Make sure you get them in Penn-Sadie Alexander School*, which has a great reputation. Grassy area not easy as most homes have tiny backyards, but we do have Clark Park.

Also University City's Powelton Village neighborhood, I understand the Samuel Powel School is good.

Both places are within 10 minutes by bus or trolley to Center City.

*You must live in the Penn-Alexander catchment area.
Settle down, the op said he wants to live in a suburb, not the city.

Plus, he said he's looking for a "safe area."

Last edited by Larry Bowa; 05-09-2014 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:06 AM
 
36 posts, read 63,865 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Bowa View Post
Settle down, the op said he wants to live in a suburb, not the city.

Plus, he said he's looking for a "safe area."
Yes, a safe area is #1 priority for us. Are those areas mentioned in University City unsafe?
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,041 posts, read 1,281,744 times
Reputation: 471
Quote:
Originally Posted by FamBri View Post
Yes, a safe area is #1 priority for us. Are those areas mentioned in University City unsafe?
Depends on who you ask ... I'll leave it at that as to not cause any trouble. It's still West Philly, and personally, I wouldn't bring four kids seven and under there.

You're up, Clark Park.
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