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Old 05-18-2008, 01:35 PM
 
Location: NJ
980 posts, read 2,478,288 times
Reputation: 1860

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Hubby and I are looking to move out of NJ and are considering either PA (Philly suburbs) or DE (Wilmington suburbs). Right now we're in the research stage...trying to identify potential areas that will suit our needs and then we plan to take trips to check out the areas so we can narrow our choices down.

We are trying to locate older neighborhoods with pre-1945 architecture (1920s and 1930s architecture is our favorite), mature trees, middle-upper middle class areas where people take nice care of their homes and where we will not be close to blighted areas and crime. We'd like to stay within a reasonable commute to Center City, Philly and it would be great to find an area with easy access to public transportation into Center City. We are looking for a single family home (not interested in townhouses or condos), 3+ bedrooms in the range of $300-$350K with property taxes (including school taxes, etc.) no higher than $5000/year, preferably lower. A nice main street/downtown is a big plus. We do not have (and do not want) kids, so schools are not a concern.

So far, I've identified these towns as possibilities. Any comments on these areas (positive or negative)? Do you have any other areas you would suggest that might fit the bill?


Media
Ridley Park
Springfield
Morton
Havertown
Paoli
Jenkintown
Wynnewood
Narberth

Thanks in advance for any tips!
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:01 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,967,012 times
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Throw Lansdowne and Drexel Hill on that list if proximity to the city and price/sq ft become a factor...schools are bad in Lansdowne and Drexel Hill but the architecture is right up your alley...Media and Havertown, Jenkintown and Wynnewood too are all well liked, as is Narberth which would be my #1 choice but don't know about your price range. I would skip Ridley, Morton, Paoli as they are further out or don't offer much of what you're looking for IMO.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:39 AM
 
Location: NJ
980 posts, read 2,478,288 times
Reputation: 1860
Thank you, orrmobl. I did a quick check of the real estate listings in Drexel Hill and Lansdowne and the architecture is right up our alley. The taxes are way high in Drexel Hill, though. It looks like most of the houses in our price range have taxes in the area of $7K - $9K. That's what we pay now in Cherry Hill and are looking to escape.

There were some houses in Lansdowne that fit the bill with more moderate taxes. I thought I had read some bad things about Lansdowne. I don't care about schools, but is this an "iffy" area crime-wise or something?
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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Newtown is one as well, although the taxes maybe higher than you want.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:35 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,967,012 times
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There are some iffy sections of Lansdowne bordering iffy East Lansdowne/Upper Darby's Long Lane section/West Philly but if you stay near Lansdowne Ave and Garett Rd and the Drexel Hill border down to Burmont Rd and up Baltimore Pike to Lansdowne Ave you should be fine...crossing over Lansdowne Ave on Baltimore Pike by a few miles gets more and more iffy...as does Lansdowne Ave towards Darby Borough...not really dangerous, just rundown...

As far as taxes, I paid $4k for a rowhome in Drexel Hill, but its typically a price/tax tradeoff in this area...the question is do you want to tack $50+k on to the mortgage in a different neighborhood or pay higher taxes on a similar house with a lower mortgage?

Last edited by orrmobl; 05-19-2008 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:02 PM
 
Location: NJ
980 posts, read 2,478,288 times
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We are looking to get a nice old house in a nice area for no more than $340K and pay $5K in taxes or less. That's the goal anyway.
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:05 PM
 
Location: West Mount Airy
160 posts, read 740,708 times
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I know you are looking to have less than 5000K in taxes, but if you check out the Jenkintown, Elkins Park areas, you will have higher taxes(at least in Elkins Park) but the older homes you're looking for. In this current market, you are highly likely to get a nice home under 300K but with higher taxes. I would just check it out, just in case you see something you like. Elkins Park has beautiful older homes but with higher taxes, and Jenkintown has lovely older homes as well but usually a higher home price, at least right now it seems like it. Newtown is another option, but I doubt you'll find the home you're looking for in that price range. Yardley is nice as well and Doyelstown has a cute downtown and lots of older homes.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:21 PM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,967,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassygirl18 View Post
We are looking to get a nice old house in a nice area for no more than $340K and pay $5K in taxes or less. That's the goal anyway.
You have a few choices:
1. Buy a cheaper house. Cheaper house = lower taxes
2. Move further out from the city or give up your dream of a huge old home
3. Deal with it as the rest of us have...would you really let an extra $1K a year keep you from owning your dream house?
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:13 AM
 
Location: western philly suburbs
2 posts, read 17,894 times
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You should probably avoid Lansdowne because of the high cancer rate. Parts of it are permanently contaminated, due to a radon factory having been there in the early 20th century! I used to work in Lansdowne, and knew many folks with cancer; a very good friend died there a few years ago, and it was then I decided to stop working there. IMHO, that's why real estate is so cheap there -that and the crummy schools. Drexel Hill is very nice. I worked there after leaving Lansdowne. The people are friendly and the school system is better.

You might want to check out West Chester boro. The taxes are very low there, and there are lots of houses in your price range. Also, maybe Ardmore would be okay. Swarthmore is lovely, but has high taxes.

Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:33 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 5,967,012 times
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I knew about the Penn Professor doing radiation work in his basement; he contaminated his house and a few garages/surrounding property/sewer line. It was all cleaned up by the Feds. Apparently he sold his process to a local manufacturer who made the stuff more large scale, dumped the waste water in the cesspool and <gasp> sold the by product sandy material to local contractors who used it to stucco houses, make cement etc. So the Feds drove around and found 40 contaminated properties scattered around Lansdowne/Aldan/Upper Darby/Darby etc. 19 have been remediated so that leaves about 20 to go, but they are not all in Lansdowne.

The parcels are noted with their area numbers, in parenthesis, as follows: Lansdowne Borough---216 Wayne Avenue (1); 218 Wayne Avenue (2); 219 Wayne Avenue (3); 237 Wayne Avenue (4); 6 East Plumstead Avenue (5); 10 East Plumstead Avenue (6); 16 East Plumstead Avenue (7); 42 South Union Avenue (8); 133 Austin Avenue (9); site of the former radium refining facility at S. Union Ave and Austin Ave. (10); Upper Darby Township---500 Harper Avenue (11); 346 Owen Avenue (12); 310 Shadeland Avenue (13); 3723 Huey Avenue (14); Aldan Borough---64 South Clifton Avenue (15); East Landowne Borough---34 Lewis Avenue (16); 211 Penn Boulevard (17); 151 Lexington Avenue (18); Darby Borough---617 Pine Street (19); 619 Pine Street (20); 621 Pine Street (21); 623 Pine Street (22).

I have not heard much about this so I'm thinking its more a worry thing than a real threat. I've never heard of elevated cancer levels in Lansdowne and would not hesitate to live there myself. Just not on the 100 block of Stratford Ave or around South Union Ave and Austin Ave - I'm pretty sure that's not the nice side of town anyway.

Last edited by orrmobl; 05-20-2008 at 07:51 AM..
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