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Old 03-11-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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A life long northern virginian here...may be relocating to Philadelphia. We currently live in McLean and are looking for something similar: short commute to city and nationally ranked school system. Housing budget between 800k - $1.1. A more diverse community would be nice. Is this doable?
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:18 PM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 7,947,982 times
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Originally Posted by novanova View Post
A life long northern virginian here...may be relocating to Philadelphia. We currently live in McLean and are looking for something similar: short commute to city and nationally ranked school system. Housing budget between 800k - $1.1. A more diverse community would be nice. Is this doable?
Yes. Lower Merion Township just to the west 19041,19096,19072,19035, 19010 or Rydal /Meadowbrook section of Abington Township 19001, 19046, 19006 just to the north or possibly Moorstown, NJ 08057. Those are the very close in areas that are similer to Mclean. Also many towns west of Lower Merion on the "Main Line" would be suitable except they are further from the city.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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Bryson pretty much nailed it. I wouldn't discount the Main Line towns unless you prefer to drive. Taking the R5 Regional Rail train (our Virginia Railway Express/MARC) would get you into Center City in as little as a half hour from as far out as Villanova.

Note that unlike Virginia schools, suburban schools are not governed by counties but by the local towns/jurisdictions themselves. So it would be difficult to generalize that Bucks County schools are better than, say, Montgomery County schools as there's a lot of variations within each county.

Others here have recommended GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community as a resource for research.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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You have lots of good options. You might want to look particularly at Gladwyne, Penn Valley, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, and Rosemont. Compared to the DC suburbs you get a lot more space for your dollar, although IME fusty, dated decor is common compared to DC.

The main line suburbs have much going for them but diversity is not among their strengths.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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although IME fusty, dated decor is common compared to DC.
I know, whats with that?
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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A lot of Philly burbs are like close-in DC areas like Alexandria/Arlington/Fairfax County which tend to consist of relatively older homes. Except in Philly, the closer-in 'burbs were built out a lot sooner than in VA which only boomed in the last 20-30 years. People seem to take a lot of pride in their older homes; teardowns are a relative anomaly. For a concentration of newer homes, one would have to head out a lot further in the PA burbs - or perhaps over to NJ or DE - than the OP would prefer.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Sorry about my "fusty" threadjack. You have a point about the houses being older on average, and I am into old houses myeslf. I was just struck, when househunting, by the fact that even expensive houses that were well maintained often had very out of date window treatments, kitchens, wallpaper, etc., whereas in DC I think "staging" is more the norm.

I attributed it to the less aggressive real estate market and probably that people stay in their houses longer here.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Also remember you don't HAVE to spend up to 1.1 mill if you don't want to. You're money can go a little further.

You can certainly find what you want for low end of your budget, without even going up to a mill.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by silverspringer View Post
Sorry about my "fusty" threadjack. You have a point about the houses being older on average, and I am into old houses myeslf. I was just struck, when househunting, by the fact that even expensive houses that were well maintained often had very out of date window treatments, kitchens, wallpaper, etc., whereas in DC I think "staging" is more the norm.

I attributed it to the less aggressive real estate market and probably that people stay in their houses longer here.

No offense taken. I was just explaining how I saw the difference in terms of housing in the two areas. And you are probably right about the difference in urgency of the housing markets.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:19 PM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 7,947,982 times
Reputation: 1586
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverspringer View Post
Sorry about my "fusty" threadjack. You have a point about the houses being older on average, and I am into old houses myeslf. I was just struck, when househunting, by the fact that even expensive houses that were well maintained often had very out of date window treatments, kitchens, wallpaper, etc., whereas in DC I think "staging" is more the norm.

I attributed it to the less aggressive real estate market and probably that people stay in their houses longer here.
Have you ever heard the line.....Philadelphians don't buy jewlery, Philadelphians have jewlery. The upper class here (which is old money, not new money) are much less enamored of things new and trendy then in other places. Tradition is key.
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