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Old 04-06-2009, 09:52 AM
7 posts, read 11,674 times
Reputation: 10


Hi all,

I've been reading these forums for a while, and they have been very helpful. I've decided to post for the first time. I'm moving to Philadelphia within the next year, and my wife and I are looking to buy a house relatively soon upon moving. We are looking in the 400-600k range. Here's what we are looking for:

- 30-40 minute computer (either car or public transporation) to cira centre.
- What most people would considerable "traditional suburbia."
- We visited Media, Wayne, and Swarthmore. While they were nice, we thought that they were a little too expensive for the amount of land/house we could get. It seemed like people were paying for the "unique, town feel" for it.
- We would really like a 2500 +; 1/4 acre+ newer house in a cul-de-sac/neighborhood where kids are riding their bikes down the street, and basketball hoops in the driveway.

In other words, are looking for a nice, newer, traditional suburbia type place with a reasonable commute to Philadelphia. A few places that look like possibilites are Plymouth meeting, Lafayette hill, PA; Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Nj. Any recommendations for us.

- Night life is not that important.
- School system is moderately important.

Sorry for the disjointed post. Thanks for all the help.

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Old 04-06-2009, 09:59 AM
2,189 posts, read 6,852,431 times
Reputation: 840
Check the communities on SEPTA's R5 line. You would get off at 30th Street.


Services and Schedules
Regional Rail
R5 – Paoli/Thorndale to Center City

(sorry I can't post links at work)
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:01 AM
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,910 posts, read 12,771,485 times
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Wayne Media Swarthmore is kind of the unofficial transition zone of old school/ new school.A couple miles to the WNW of those towns are the beginning of the newer more typically modern suburbs.

Sounds like you are looking for places like Garnet Valley,Chadds Ford,Westtown,Chester Springs,East + West Norriton,Lafayette Hill,Collegeville,Oaks, Royersford etc.. The only problem is those areas are closer to 45 minutes to an hour commute into Center City.

One town to the east of Media Swarthmore that seems to have a mixture of old/new is Springfield Delaware County.

But if you can expand your commute a bit I would look into Garnet Valley/Chadds Ford/Middletown Township/Westtown .

Good luck
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:34 PM
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Aye, there's the rub.

There's a saying: "Better, Cheaper, Faster: pick two."

Similar rules apply here. I wouldn't really lump Media in with the other areas you mentioned - unless you want a newer home with a bigger lot.

In most cases you will pay more for proximity and generally either pay more for the house or more annually in taxes.

I just read somewhere that Plymouth Meeting is the "new Main Line" for people not able to spend Main Line money for a nice decent place to live; however, I'm a bit of a school snob and am shooting for something in the top 25 in the state and I don't think anything in that area cuts it.

So it's either bite the bullet on the commute or pay more for the house or in taxes and get an older, smaller home on a smaller piece of land.

Places further out that may work for you include West Chester, Downingtown, Exton/Lionville, Chester Springs and Phoenixville and Collegeville, but again you will be getting a much longer commute in some cases and schools that are good but not great in others. I would not recommend Garnet Valley as I've heard it is very "keep up with the Joneses"; Chadds Ford schools, on the other hand are some of the best in the state. The other option, of course, is New Jersey, Cherry Hill, Haddon Heights, Haddonfield, Collingswood and Swededsboro especially come to mind...it all comes down to priorities, as most decisions in life do...
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:39 PM
Location: stuck
1,322 posts, read 3,769,100 times
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What is so unique about Wayne/Media/ Swarthmore?
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:33 PM
7 posts, read 11,674 times
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Originally Posted by Just1Lion View Post
What is so unique about Wayne/Media/ Swarthmore?
Thanks for all of the replies. It's very helpful so far. My point about Wayne/Media/Swarthmore was just about it being a "cute town center." At least, when the realtor was showing us around those areas, she emphasized it being on the main loan, not your "traditional suburbs" and having more character and flavor. My impression (maybe I'm mistaken) was that there seemed to be some sort of premium to live in these types of cities.

I think the first posted hit the nail on the head, when he said we are generally looking for newer (what some posters might derogatorily call "McMansion" neighborhoods) as opposed to the more traditional cities. Maybe my listing of those three cities didn't quite encapsulate that distinction. When going through Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Media, the town had an "older/historic" feel than when we went through Plymouth Meeting.

I was just looking for areas within 40 minutes of Cira Centre that tended to have newer neighborhood feels to them. Thanks for all the help already!
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:32 PM
Location: PA
4 posts, read 12,962 times
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If you want newer neighborhoods, Collegeville and Phonixeville are just expanding like crazy right now. Lots of new developments and close access to everything you'd need. It would be a 45 - 55 min drive to center city in rush hour though but that's kind of hard to avoid if you want to live in a nice city suburb.
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:53 PM
1,623 posts, read 5,965,113 times
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New construction isn't necessarily McMansions (usu well over 3000 sq ft) but there are a lot of tan vinyl box communities out there - that is really what I struggle with. We want an old fashioned neighborhood where there are sidewalks that lead to somewhere besides the major road leading into the development.

The other issue I find is that newer homes are generally made with subpar materials and workmanship during the building boom. I met a builder who is selling either his own home or a spec home and the workmanship, attention to detail and materials he used were incredible - we are actually considering building with him if we can find a lot in a neighborhood or development, which agains ties into my dislike of looking at tan boxes!

I would stick to homes built by builders other than Pulte, Orleans, Toll, David Cutler, even Hovnanian for that matter; most homes built from 200-2008 are iffy at best.

Media and Wayne are popular because you can walk to a down town business district, although Media doesn't have a near highway running through it and you can actually grocery shop and walk to the trolley to get down town - you don't need a car to live in Media.

Wayne, not so much and it is the Main Line so you will pay much more, and the Tredyffrin school district is one of the best in the state so the area is much in demand.

Wallingford/Swarthmore is this really cool, liberal, brainy enclave with walkable areas but litte down town to speak of and very good schools that are on par with districts who spend much more money per student; this is indicative of the types of people who live there. But the taxes are outrageous due to the lack of a business district. The homes are early 1900s really cool, some to many in bad condition but the whole place just has a homey old school feel that appeals to classicists like myself.

But that area of SE Delco by Media and Wallingford/Swarthmore is becoming more citified and the service sector is quite rude - we used to live there and considered moving back but after a few trips to McDs and BJs, no thank you, we will take Chester County or the Main Line any day of the week.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:48 PM
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,782 posts, read 2,752,720 times
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Heck if you're able to afford 500K plus why not look at Radnor? they have an excellent school district.

I still love the Media/Middletown area for well-run, eye-pleasing towns. but anyway, here's a page from everyhome.com for your review regarding Radnor. ADMIN: DO NOT REMOVE LINK; I AM NOT A REALTOR.

Radnor Township (http://everyhome.com/pade/padert2401.htm - broken link)
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:04 PM
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,485 posts, read 8,318,272 times
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FWIW, places like Paoli, Exton, and Downingtown are also served by the Amtrak Keystone trains in addition to the SEPTA R5 trains. I think all of those stations, or at least Paoli and Exton, are within 40 minutes of 30th Street Station (which is as you probably know is across the street from the Cira Centre) via the Amtrak Keystones. The Keystones are only slightly more expensive than the SEPTA Regional Rail trains too. You may be able to find something similar to what you are looking for, especially near Exton or (I'm guessing) a few miles outside of Paoli.
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