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Old 05-29-2016, 06:37 PM
 
1 posts, read 964 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone,
My husband and I are considering a move from the DC area to the Philadelphia area and would like some advice about the best neighborhoods for us to tour. We’re looking for a walkable community within a 30 minute commute by train from downtown. We have a young child, so good schools are very important to us (preferably public). We would love to be near other families with young children. We find historic neighborhoods charming, and we like supporting local mom-and-pop places instead of chains when we can.


In DC, our wish list is impossible on our budget: $450K assuming kids go to public schools, and less if we have to pay for private school too. Near DC, the neighborhoods that we can afford with good schools are far from downtown, tend to be more office park/strip mail areas, and mostly require two cars.


We have job opportunities in Philly, and we’re intrigued by the historic suburbs on the train lines just outside of Philly (Ardmore?) We know we can’t have everything: our top priority is staying within our budget and having access to good schools, followed by having a 30 min or less commute via train, walkability, and lastly historic charm. Any ideas?


Thank you everyone!!

When are you moving? TBD, possibly this winter
Where are you coming from? DC area
Why are you moving? Housing prices in DC are very high for walkable communities in good school districts near the Metro.
Where will you be working? My husband would be working in downtown Philly, and I would be working remotely from home.
Have you been here yet? Yes and we like Philly a lot.


Will you buy or rent?
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? $450,000 or so would be our max. We’ll probably rent for the first year, but we’re still interested in learning about housing prices.
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? We could spend up to $1900/month for a 3 bedroom. Would prefer a house or townhouse over an apartment, but will take what we can get.


Do you have a preference of living in a NJ or PA suburb? Nope.


Are you married or single? Do you have children? Married with a toddler.
Do you prefer public or private schools? We prefer public but are open to private (however, if we go private our housing budget would be correspondingly lower).
Do you have pets? No
Do you want or need a yard? We would love access to green space for our child—either a yard or a public park close by.
Are you keeping a car? We have one car but mostly use it for errands. My husband prefers commuting via public transit.
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Somewhere in between.

What do you want to be closest to?
Work This is very important—we’re trying to find someplace 30 min or less from downtown via train.
Shopping. Not as important.
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.). Important (ok if we have to drive though).
Nightlife. Not important—no time with a kid!
Train or subway stations. This is very important—would need to be able to walk to train or subway.


Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? Diversity please! Would like to raise our child in an open, friendly community with people of different backgrounds.


Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:57 PM
 
10,279 posts, read 5,946,889 times
Reputation: 3643
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcphillyfamily View Post
Hi everyone,
My husband and I are considering a move from the DC area to the Philadelphia area and would like some advice about the best neighborhoods for us to tour. We’re looking for a walkable community within a 30 minute commute by train from downtown. We have a young child, so good schools are very important to us (preferably public). We would love to be near other families with young children. We find historic neighborhoods charming, and we like supporting local mom-and-pop places instead of chains when we can.


In DC, our wish list is impossible on our budget: $450K assuming kids go to public schools, and less if we have to pay for private school too. Near DC, the neighborhoods that we can afford with good schools are far from downtown, tend to be more office park/strip mail areas, and mostly require two cars.


We have job opportunities in Philly, and we’re intrigued by the historic suburbs on the train lines just outside of Philly (Ardmore?) We know we can’t have everything: our top priority is staying within our budget and having access to good schools, followed by having a 30 min or less commute via train, walkability, and lastly historic charm. Any ideas?


Thank you everyone!!

When are you moving? TBD, possibly this winter
Where are you coming from? DC area
Why are you moving? Housing prices in DC are very high for walkable communities in good school districts near the Metro.
Where will you be working? My husband would be working in downtown Philly, and I would be working remotely from home.
Have you been here yet? Yes and we like Philly a lot.


Will you buy or rent?
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? $450,000 or so would be our max. We’ll probably rent for the first year, but we’re still interested in learning about housing prices.
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? We could spend up to $1900/month for a 3 bedroom. Would prefer a house or townhouse over an apartment, but will take what we can get.


Do you have a preference of living in a NJ or PA suburb? Nope.


Are you married or single? Do you have children? Married with a toddler.
Do you prefer public or private schools? We prefer public but are open to private (however, if we go private our housing budget would be correspondingly lower).
Do you have pets? No
Do you want or need a yard? We would love access to green space for our child—either a yard or a public park close by.
Are you keeping a car? We have one car but mostly use it for errands. My husband prefers commuting via public transit.
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Somewhere in between.

What do you want to be closest to?
Work This is very important—we’re trying to find someplace 30 min or less from downtown via train.
Shopping. Not as important.
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.). Important (ok if we have to drive though).
Nightlife. Not important—no time with a kid!
Train or subway stations. This is very important—would need to be able to walk to train or subway.


Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? Diversity please! Would like to raise our child in an open, friendly community with people of different backgrounds.


Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi.
Ardmore straddles two public school districts, Haverford and Lower Merion. The latter is the better district. Other possibilities within the Lower Merion Dist are Narberth and Wynnewood. All have adequate shopping nearby and are accessible to Center City by regional rail. There are rental possibilities in all three.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
178 posts, read 283,471 times
Reputation: 171
$1900/mo will probably limit you to an apartment in most Main Line towns. 3 bedroom homes tend to rent higher than that unless they are in poor shape or inconvenient locations. That being said, you should be able to find a 3 bedroom home for sale in your $450,000 budget, at least in Ardmore. Wynnewood and Narberth in particular tend to be a little pricier for similar size and quality. If you want a bigger house on more land, you'll probably need to be open to a house needing some work or raise your budget.

Outside of the Main Line, you can get some better deals in similar-feeling communities like Jenkintown, Media, or even parts of NJ on the Patco line. These are all within 30 minutes of Center City by train and seemed a bit more affordable than Main Line towns when we house hunted a few years ago.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:21 AM
 
1 posts, read 907 times
Reputation: 10
Default Philly Suburbs

Our children attended public schools when we lived in the western suburb near Wayne. The commuter train into center city is close and convenient. Churches and synagogues are clustered along the "Main Line Area".
If we were young (again) we would certainly look for a home (not a house) there. Neighbors male a neighborhood.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,483,472 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Ardmore straddles two public school districts, Haverford and Lower Merion. The latter is the better district. Other possibilities within the Lower Merion Dist are Narberth and Wynnewood. All have adequate shopping nearby and are accessible to Center City by regional rail. There are rental possibilities in all three.
Is Haverford bad? Lower Merion largely stays among the top districts by being exclusive (expensive) which requires restrictive zoning. I don't know that the school itself is better than the other good schools
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Old 05-31-2016, 06:45 AM
 
10,279 posts, read 5,946,889 times
Reputation: 3643
Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
Is Haverford bad? Lower Merion largely stays among the top districts by being exclusive (expensive) which requires restrictive zoning. I don't know that the school itself is better than the other good schools
No. In fact I went to Haverford Twp schools from 1st through 12th grade as did several of my families members and we all received good educations afaik. I'd say that Haverford is better than Upper Darby but below Lower Merion.

Haverford could probably use a new HS since the current one is 50+ years for instance. LM has a fairly new massive HS.
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
6,220 posts, read 3,054,930 times
Reputation: 3937
You will get a good education in any of the four school districts that the Main Line passes through: Lower Merion, Haverford Township, Radnor Township and Tredyffrin-Easttown. One national ranking put T-E at the very top of all school districts in the nation this year, and Radnor Township consistently scores high.

If you're willing to consider an in-city neighborhood and willing to take a chance on either getting your kids into Masterman (which consistently ranks as the top public high school in Pennsylvania and one of the top 50 in the country) or Central (nowhere near as exalted but still very good) or one of the better magnets (your kids would have a long commute to CAPA, but they'd learn the city as a result) or public charters (environmentally-oriented Wissahickon Charter is nearby in Mt. Airy), you might want to look at Chestnut Hill, the urban village in Philadelphia's northwest corner. You have your choice of two SEPTA rail lines to take you to Center City and a great Main Street filled with shopping and dining options. The neighborhood is either the wealthiest or second-wealthiest in the city, but it also developed with lower-cost housing for the workers and families who ran its shops and built its homes; most of this lies closer to the Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail line, where I'd suggest you look.

Also, bookmark the real estate section of Phillymag.com, which I edit. You'll find highlighted homes almost every day of the week there, including a Monday Main Line home. Most of these, I will warn you now, will be above your budget, but you can always click through to the real estate agent's website to see what else may be available in the same area.
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