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Old 12-14-2007, 11:43 AM
 
8,337 posts, read 26,828,890 times
Reputation: 4495

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Howdy all,

I have been living in San Diego CA for 12 years, and own a home here. I grew up on Long Island NY and still have all my family there. I have a love affair with the Northeast, and visited Philly several times as a youngster, I had a family friend in South Philly.

I have been homesick for years and am starting to consider a move back to the East Coast in 5 years or so. Although I do love San Diego and CA, I have a baby on the way and live in a very small house in an 'urban' neighborhood with poor schools. The cost of housing is so very high and salaries are not on par here - and I probably make more money than 90% of the people in my neighborhoods. Also, the quality of schools here (even in the best areas) is not on par with my upbringing on Long Island. Education is a generally a low-priority item here in Southern California.

The tax situation and high home costs of the NYC area are dealbreakers for me. I am also in the tech business and other low-cost areas have terrible salaries. Philly seems to have the combination of high salaries, plenty of IT jobs, and reasonable home prices, along with rail commute options which Southern California does not have. I especially like what I have seen in some of the suburbs. Also it would be easy to visit my aging parents in NYC for weekends, something we can't do right now.

So if I was to make a wish list, it would be something like this:
- historic or older home on a good-sized lot on a quiet street... a stone farmhouse would be a dream... 500k would probably be my limit
- decent commutability to both the City and the tech job clusters (they appear to be in the western suburbs?)
- great schools, safety, family friendliness
- some level of diversity if at all possible - I am in an interracial marriage (my wife is Mexican-American and would most likely want to teach in an inner-city school)

So am I nuts to even consider this? Thanks in advance from any advice!
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,065 posts, read 4,290,092 times
Reputation: 1478
Well, I don't think your nuts (though you will be kissing goodbye some really good weather). You are right that many of the IT jobs are in the western 'burbs. They generally are around the US Route 202 corridor, though I'm sure there's others out there who can give you more info on this. It's interesting that you would like a historic or older home (perhaps a stone farmhouse), because Chester County (which makes up part of the Western 'burbs) seems to be the stone farmhouse capital of the world. Many of the homes are on quiet streets with decent lots. You should be able to find one under your price limit. Chester County is fairly white, but there are certain sections that are full of Mexicans (Kennett Square, for example, calls itself the mushroom capital of the world and has lots of Mexican workers). There are other areas that have Mexican populations as well. I think if you could find a job, which I think shouldn't be too difficult, your other wish list items won't be too hard to meet.

For schools, go to schoolsmatter.com or another similar website and check out Downingtown, Tredyffrin-Eastown, and Owen J Roberts. The schools in the area are generally very good to excellent. For towns/suburbs, check out West Chester, West Goshen (#12 on CNN's best places to live in 2007), Downingtown, Exton, just to name a few.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:06 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
538 posts, read 1,694,646 times
Reputation: 354
I'm happy to see someone else who is "nuts" as well. I have had a love affair with the east coast since I first visited almost 30 years ago. I have no family here Orange County, CA) and my husband's family is in NJ and CT. We would love to move back to PA (better taxes, great schools). Most people think we are crazy to give up the So. Cal weather for life in the east. I don't despise So Cal but I am ready for a change. I feel if we don't like it we can always move back. We sold our home here last year so we have nothing to lose right now. We are looking at the West Chester, Exton, KOP area. From what I have learned on this board those are a little newer areas with good schools and good shopping. My advice is to ask questions on here. Most people are very nice about offering information that will help you make an informed decision. Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:00 PM
 
13 posts, read 33,594 times
Reputation: 11
Why would you be nuts? It would be nuts to stay in a place you're not happy in. It's great out here! It's probably one of the most underrated area I've been to!
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:20 PM
 
10 posts, read 7,837 times
Reputation: 11
You're not nuts at all. I don't care how nice the weather is in San Diego, you won't need to deal with overpriced homes, wild fires burning down homes or Earthquakes in the Philly Burbs.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:47 AM
 
65 posts, read 256,169 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PARelo View Post
You're not nuts at all. I don't care how nice the weather is in San Diego, you won't need to deal with overpriced homes, wild fires burning down homes or Earthquakes in the Philly Burbs.
I did something similar, and I agree with this post. The weather isn't as great, unless you like all four seasons, but there are plenty of advantages that the Philly burbs have over SD - cost of living, less crowded, no natural disaster hazards.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:42 AM
 
Location: South Philly
1,943 posts, read 6,301,861 times
Reputation: 648
If you want a diverse but family-friendly small town I would look closer to the city. Narberth, PA comes to mind as does Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia proper. I would also check Plymouth/Whitemarsh and around Ft. Washington. Ambler is a cool town up there. I feel like once you cross 476 (the Blue Route) diversity takes a nose-dive.

I would also look into Collingswood, NJ. It's very close to Center City. Closer than a lot of places that are actually in the city. It's further from KOP/Valley Forge but maybe you'd work in Center City/University City?
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:25 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,965,113 times
Reputation: 449
Stay out of the city unless you're willing to private school. You will also pay a significant city wage tax for working there and even more if you also live there.

For diversity I would check out ultra liberal Wallingford/Swarthmore and very tolerant Media next door.

They both have older homes and great schools. You will pay really high taxes if you live in Wallingford/Swarthmore but it is a great inclusive community and great old homes, not farmhouses but victorians and tudors as well as colonials. Media has a great walkable downtown with a Trader Joe's, restaurants, bars, shops...its like right out of "Its a Wonderful Life".

Further out Tredyffrin (Wayne, Berwyn, Devon, Paoli) has the best schools in this area, Great Valley (Malvern) also has great schools as does Exton/Downingtown/Chester Springs though these areas are a pretty far commute to the city. Same with West Chester which is also walkable but is becoming quite chichi - it is really popular with families and pretty much everyone else.

If you end up working in DE you could also check out Garnet Valley/Bethel/Glen Mills but this area is a tad "keep up with the Joneses". Also Chadds Ford is a really great place to live but I think with all of these areas you will have to drive to Media to catch a train to the city...

I don't know how familiar you are with Pharmaceutical companies but I would HIGHLY recommend an IT job with one of them - the pay, perks, equipment and time off are all top notch and it is the only recession proof industry that I know of...'cept maybe oil...AstraZeneca, Centocor, MacNeil, Glaxo Smith Kline, Sanofi, Wyeth, Merck....they're all in the area...
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:53 PM
 
45 posts, read 191,761 times
Reputation: 19
Just a question. Why is everyone always focusing on West Chester? There are some really great areas else where that are closer to the city as well.

It's as if all the other communities get lost in the suffle over come with "West Chester."
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:17 PM
 
Location: South Philly
1,943 posts, read 6,301,861 times
Reputation: 648
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirancs8 View Post
Just a question. Why is everyone always focusing on West Chester? There are some really great areas else where that are closer to the city as well.

It's as if all the other communities get lost in the suffle over come with "West Chester."
There are a lot of other great towns out there. Which of those do you think meet all of his criteria?
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