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Old 01-23-2019, 02:19 PM
 
1 posts, read 982 times
Reputation: 10

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Partner works in downtown Wilmington, and I just got a job in Philadelphia (near Independence Hall). We're looking for the best place to buy a home where we'll both have reasonable commutes (under an hour, less than 45 minutes each would be ideal).

Insight about our priorities:

- I *really* prefer the train. Partner is interested in train, but would be fine with driving
- Family-friendly with schools that aren't terrible
- Community vibe (ie, not something that feels like no-name suburbia, maybe a small downtown would be nice)
- Not super expensive housing market

Does anyone have a similar situation? We'd love suggestions and to hear personal stories!



Saw this sticky also, so here are our answers to pertinent Qs on the future resident questionnaire:

When are you moving? Summer/fall
Where are you coming from? DC/Wilmington
Why are you moving? Jobs
Where will you be working? Center City near Independence Hall/Downtown Wilmington
Have you been here yet? Yes; lived in Philly before and partner currently lives in Wilmington

Will you buy or rent? Buying
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? House; we'd like to be around $300K for 3 bed/2 bath

Are you married or single? Do you have children? Married; no children yet but planning to have kids in the next few years
Do you prefer public or private schools? Public
Do you have pets? a dog
Do you want or need a yard? yes
Are you keeping a car? yes
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Some activity?

What do you want to be closest to?
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.)
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? Diversity is nice, but not required

Favorite Beverage - a nice latte
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:04 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
4,613 posts, read 6,269,835 times
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Media. It's got the cute downtown and the train station. But I'm not sure it will fit within your budget. However, there are other nice little towns even closer to Wilmington that may fit your budget, though they won't have the downtown vibe of Media.

You're definitely going to want to take the train to work. (I used to work near Independence Hall as well.) My train came into Reading Terminal and then I'd transfer to the subway for the seven blocks to work. Not sure where the Media train ends up.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
390 posts, read 170,599 times
Reputation: 396
Check out Ridley Park:
  • It has houses in your price range.
  • The neighborhood is charming, especially considering that it's pretty high-density.
  • It's along Septa's Wilmington/Newark Line, which provides access to both Philly and Wilmington.
  • Convenient access to I-95 as well, if you feel like driving to either city instead.
  • The property taxes are high, but not as high as some other spots in Delaware County.
  • The schools are pretty good, especially compared to nearby areas.

The biggest drawback is that there are some sketchy areas nearby. Chester is the 2019 Murder Capital of Pennsylvania (These Are The 10 Murder Capitals Of Pennsylvania For 2019), but the highways in between serve as a modern-day moat. And I'm not going to lie, there is a bit of racial tension because of this.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; 01-24-2019 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Center City
7,084 posts, read 8,213,104 times
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Several decades ago when I was young, I found myself transferred to Wilmington for two short stints. Wilmington in the 80s was even worse for young people than it is now. I explored ways I might be closer to Philadelphia with easy access to work in Wilmington but couldn't find a solution. About the only answer was to consider places like Media which were basically as equally difficult to commute work in Wilmington as to play in Philadelphia.

My second time in Wilmington, I finally concluded I would live in Philly and endure the commute to Wilmington. While I was working with a realtor in Philly, however, I was suddenly invited back to my previous employer in Houston, which suited me perfectly as I enjoyed that company and my life in Houston back then.

Since you don't mind the train, perhaps you could live on the Wilmington riverfront. There was no riverfront in Wilmington when I lived there. It's within walking distance of the train station, so you could commute to work and you guys could make your way it into Philly without driving whenever you want. Your partner could even hop on the train and join you for happy hour on occasion.

Best of luck. Let us know if you find a solution. You are not to first poster with the same challenge.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:48 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,735 times
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You could also consider living in Center City, with your partner taking the train to Wilmington. I know that doesn't address the school issue, but it sounds like you are at least 7 years from that coming into play, and by then your living/employment situation may very well have changed anyway. The options directly in between Philly and Wilmington aren't great. Media and the Wallingford Swarthmore areas are probably the best from a school district perspective, but not so great from a commute to Wilmington perspective. Chadds Ford would give you a better commute to Wilmington, but worse to Philly.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
390 posts, read 170,599 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
You could also consider living in Center City, with your partner taking the train to Wilmington. I know that doesn't address the school issue, but it sounds like you are at least 7 years from that coming into play, and by then your living/employment situation may very well have changed anyway. The options directly in between Philly and Wilmington aren't great. Media and the Wallingford Swarthmore areas are probably the best from a school district perspective, but not so great from a commute to Wilmington perspective. Chadds Ford would give you a better commute to Wilmington, but worse to Philly.
OP's budget for a house is $300k. I didn't see that number myself the first time I read the post, but it is there.

$300k won't go far in Media or Chadds Ford.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,335 posts, read 744,209 times
Reputation: 1348
Given your budget and needs, I would stick with Ridley Park. You are both an easy train ride to Wilmington and Center City making for an easy, traffic/stress free commute.

Ridley Park is the halfway point. 15 miles to CC and 17 miles to Wilmington.

Taxes are high, but you will have the home affordability you are seeking. And you are a quick trip to Center City for weekend activities and only 10 minutes from booming Media to give you the town charm you are seeking. Media is definitely the most vibrant suburban town in the 3 state region.

I would suggest renting first and seeing what works best before committing to home ownership though.
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
239 posts, read 152,209 times
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My town, Media, appears to be almost exactly what you’re looking for except in one regard: price (as has been mentioned). In the borough, detached single family homes with three bedrooms generally sell for at least $400-500K—even modest homes with aging kitchens and baths. With a budget under $300K, you’ll almost certainly be limited to a twin (i.e. half of a duplex) or rowhouse, and likely a rough one in need of some work at that.

Putting budget aside for a moment, Media is certainly a diverse, safe, and family-friendly place with excellent schools and a strong sense of community plus lots of events and festivals. The borough is very compact with almost anything you might need—groceries, parks, a library, community playroom, doctors/dentist offices, restaurants—a short walk away. And you have two modes of transit into the city: A regional rail line offering a one-seat ride from Media to Center City and also a trolley line running down Media’s main street (State Street) that connects with the Market-Frankford line (subway) at 69th Street. But a downside for your partner: the regional rail lines radiate away from Philadelphia like spokes on a wheel, and Media’s “spoke" does not continue on to Wilmington, so driving would be necessary. The drive is reasonably short and direct via I-476 and I-95 (45 min. with traffic, 25. min without), and there are numerous backroads that can provide alternate routes to avoid traffic tie-ups.

On the other hand, the next regional rail “spoke” to the south does continue on to Wilmington—hence, it’s known as the Wilmington Line. Communities along the Wilmington Line include Folcroft, Glenolden, Prospect Park, and Ridley Park. All are more affordable than Media, but in my opinion, this is for a good reason: None of these communities is nearly as complete or as nice. I lived briefly in Glenolden, and while it struck me as being reasonably safe and tidy, I couldn’t shake the overall sense of it being an area in decline. Residents seemed to be older, white, and working class—especially Irish and Italian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though it definitely lacked the young blood and sense of vitality and vibrance I see in Media. And these communities are definitely more suburban—lacking dense, pedestrian oriented business districts and requiring use of a car to get around. But the upside is that you’ll probably be able to find a decent home in your price range and have the added benefit of an easy rail commute for both of you.

I hope this information helps!
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:21 PM
 
1,505 posts, read 1,389,936 times
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You could also add Woodlyn and Upland to the list.
Upland will not be connected to a good school district though.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Center City
7,084 posts, read 8,213,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus215 View Post
You could also consider living in Center City, with your partner taking the train to Wilmington.
^The problem is that once you get to the train station in Wilmington, public transit to get to your work location is not good in Delaware. This would most likely only work if the partner's work was within walking distance of the Wilmington train station. That's why I suggested the opposite arrangement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patmcpsu View Post
OP's budget for a house is $300k. I didn't see that number myself the first time I read the post, but it is there.

$300k won't go far in Media or Chadds Ford.
^Nor would it go far in CC. It would, however, buy a reasonably-sized condo or townhouse near the Wilmington riverfront within walking distance of the train station.
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