Submitted by nbny90 t3_116851j in newjersey


My family and I live in NYC and are thinking of buying our first home in Jersey. We like a few small towns in Northern NJ so far and we’ve driven around a few towns quickly to get a feel, but I’m curious to hear from others how they went about buying and getting familiar with an area they didn’t know before buying.

The biggest priorities for my wife and I are

  • a good school district
  • diversity
  • commute via public transportation into Manhattan Port Authority or Penn Station of no more than an hour.
  • Our max budget would be somewhere between $550-600k.

Did you go to specific places in the town? How’d you know where you ended up buying was the right place for you? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!




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kittyglitther t1_j95kgqe wrote

Search the sub. You'll see that almost EVERY "I'm moving to NJ" post comes with "we want good schools and a short commute."

Also: maybe rent for a year before buying.


tiebreaker- t1_j9641qi wrote

Second that - rent for a year before buying. Also spend days and weekends in the towns you are interested in.


spearchuckin t1_j97w19w wrote

Everybody wants these things and that’s why all the houses are being sold for cash only.


HotConversation4355 t1_j95igg5 wrote

Just what jersey needs. More New Yorkers.


littlelaws232 t1_j95l6v6 wrote

Exactly I’d recommend them not coming we’re done with this crap

Also I’m trying to figure why people want to move to an area they know nothing about


International-Yak119 t1_j95knpn wrote

I miss the good ol days when New Yorkers moved outta the city and into Connecticut.


kittyglitther t1_j95ll6z wrote

Or Westchester. If I were doing the whole suburbs, golden retriever, 5-4-and-a-door thing then why not Mamaroneck? Mamaroneck looks nice!


jperezny t1_j9dbhv1 wrote

When I consult in Greenwich, CT, it's a 40 min express ride from GCT to there on Metro North. Reasonable... client pays for transport.


Icy-Formal975 t1_j95ypn5 wrote

Personally I think nj is getting to expensive because of all the New Yorkers moving in. In a state like Connecticut you could get more for your value. Although if you insist on moving to nj I would recommend Montclair. They have a huge downtown with plenty of dining and shopping options that almost feels like the city. They are half an hour to city by train. It is very diverse. The houses are also close together and has friendly people. I know some friends from the city that are considering moving there to. You’ll meet a lot of people like minded to ideology’s that people have in the city. I would definitely considering looking into Montclair. If you do I can put you intouch with friends of mine that live there.


bakerfaceman t1_j969umx wrote

The property taxes are HIGH though. $600k houses have $19k property taxes. In East Rutherford, a $600k house has $9.3k property taxes and is closer to the city. Montclair rules for sure, but living there can be tough.


[deleted] t1_j961low wrote



Icy-Formal975 t1_j9628vb wrote

I just looked on Zillow and there is a 3 bedroom on a quarter acre for 600k


standrightwalkleft t1_j966us0 wrote

The list prices don't mean much, people bid hundreds of thousands over list in places like Montclair. It's ridiculous


IThinkUrAWampa t1_j96ae6q wrote

Stay in NYC please. It's hard enough for actual New Jerseyans to buy a home these days because New Yorkers are pricing them all out.


suztomo t1_j973znr wrote

Rest assured. Once OP moves in here, they become actual New Jerseyans.


headykruger t1_j95vc72 wrote

You aren’t going to get all that with that commute on that budget


Practical_Argument50 t1_j961e44 wrote

Really?? I could show you homes in my town with good schools and a 45 minute train ride to NYC that are within that price range.


headykruger t1_j9623i3 wrote

A 45 minute train ride is not an hour commute, more like an hour 15 to 30 - you have travel time on both ends

Source - did this shit before


Icy-Town-5355 t1_j97ldes wrote

Lived in Montclair (13 miles from NYC on the Montclair Boonton Line) , worked in Union Sq for 12 years. Was a 12-15 minute walk to the train. NJT train was invariably late. Would leave my house at 7:10 and walk to the station, for a 7:26 train. Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Chill, get on the train and arrive close to 8:30 on any given day. Walk or sub it to Union Sq. Arrive at my desk anywhere between 8:45 and 9:00am. Train traffic into Penn is always unpredictable and congested.


headykruger t1_j984tqd wrote

I 1.5 hour door to door at best


Icy-Town-5355 t1_j989809 wrote

Until they repair the Hackensack bridge and better manage the Amtrak - NJT logistics, it will never be a fast and reliable commute. But it will continue to be $$$$


jperezny t1_j9db8jq wrote

From Montclair? That's horrible. That's like driving in your car in traffic time...


AshySmoothie t1_j978k9s wrote

You most certainly can ... granted they are retiring, i have family that just closed in Rahway. 30-45 mins from penn... 650K can DEFINITELY get you all of that especially if they rent/look for 12 months


lil-alfalfa-sprout t1_j9b9owo wrote

That's Rahway. They said good school district.


AshySmoothie t1_j9cwvd7 wrote

I said "granted they are retiring" so sans school district. im just sayin the commute is doable. They also spent less than 400k


raguwatanabe t1_j9629q5 wrote

More new yorkers in jersey. At this point i think NY should just annex NJ, they love moving here but still wanna be close to NYC.


spearchuckin t1_j97uwp9 wrote

Nah I think NJ should annex Staten Island because NY doesn’t show it any love and we’ve got superior public transportation options.


bakerfaceman t1_j96a2yw wrote

That would actually be pretty cool. All the NYC suburbs in the tristate area as a state would be a powerhouse.


helloimwes t1_j95slpu wrote

Reddit is probably the place for “I’m thinking about [Town] because [reasons]. What can anyone tell me?”

This type of wide net casting question never gets you closer to something meaningful. Getting out to places and physically experiencing it is a good start.


PostPostMinimalist t1_j95t6kn wrote

And then everyone goes “we’re full” and “ugh why is everyone moving to muh super desirable area!” even if it’s actually losing population


housespecialdelight t1_j95lp7e wrote

I second Fair Lawn. There are two train stations, close to shopping and restaurants. Clifton is also a good option but I hear the high school isn't so great.


[deleted] t1_j963f9u wrote

Clifton is the best but it sounds like Bloomfield would be good for the thread starter


lost_in_life_34 t1_j964qfw wrote

Most towns will have homes that go from your budget or less to $2 million or more depending on the house

It’s not like every town has a specific price range


my_fake_acct_ t1_j99zk2n wrote

I literally just saw a house listed in Lodi, the armpit of Bergen county, for over $750k. Meanwhile there are nicer homes in Glen Rock or Rutherford for less because the owners aren't delusional.


lost_in_life_34 t1_j9a3t9v wrote

In the towns by me they will have small capes in the $500-$600 range and then big custom builds over $2 million

Same in Chatham and any other towns I’ve seen


murphydcat t1_j97pf3j wrote

Welcome to NJ, now keep right except to pass on our highways. Please don’t be like New Yorkers and ignore this law.


mookybelltolls t1_j97tu77 wrote

Every town in Northern New Jersey has the top school district in the State.


PracticableSolution t1_j95ix2x wrote

In NJ, most schools are pretty good and well documented.

NJ is a funny place with diversity; there are places with excellent cultural diversity and places with excellent economic diversity; there are almost none with both.

Your mode of transportation matters when considering where you work in the city. If you’re uptown, find a bus terminal since the vast majority of commuter routes take you to the PA bus terminal. If you’re downtown, look for a train line that takes you to Hoboken where you can hop a PATH train or Ferry. If you’re midtown, look for a train that gets you to Penn Station. Few actually works around Penn Station, so while popular, it’s mostly a way station to other points.

Your price range is decent, but probably won’t get you walking distance to a train station in one of the bigger towns. I recommend you look at towns along major commuter bus lines if you’re uptown. Passaic county highlands and surrounding area is a fave since it has an express bus terminal in town, the schools are good, and you can get that classic Americana style housing there. A lot of NY expats either love it or can’t handle it. Their brains tend to melt at mountain forest communities with lakes bears and bald eagles everywhere.


[deleted] t1_j95thtj wrote



Sinsid t1_j95xduc wrote

I suggested Clifton too. The elementary schools are good/decent. But every grading I’ve ever seen for the high school is that it is garbage.

If your kid is actually a good student you can always look at sending your kid to a charter/county high school instead. I recently moved out of Clifton, and had some neighbors in public high school that wasn’t Clifton High school.


Sinsid t1_j95wuhu wrote

Well, when you say home, I’m not sure if that means you are looking at condos or not. I would say take a look at Clifton, NJ. Near the delawanna train station.

There is a big condo complex there, and the single family homes match your budget. All walkable to the delawanna train station.

The commute is 1 hour to NYC.

The elementary schools are ok. The high school has a terrible reputation though. But there are county high schools. Magnet/charter or whatever. If your kids are good students they can probably get into one of those.


swingarm88 t1_j98mcj0 wrote

Jersey sucks. Stay in NYC.


rando1219 t1_j960rlg wrote

You can get a small older house in Metuchen for around that. Good schools and a 45 minute train ride to the city.


SirenaFeroz t1_j99anaw wrote

Grew up there and know folks still there. It’s gotten more bougie (Whole Foods instead of Food Town) but still seems pretty nice.


folgaluna t1_j96445j wrote

Don't they are a bunch of assholes.


iJayZen t1_j972ier wrote

Tough price point. Do you have to travel to NYC every workday?


KayakHank t1_j9bt2ps wrote

Look in Morris county for slightly lower taxes.

Madison, Chatman, morristown.


Top_Ad5385 t1_j95qb6i wrote

Definitely check out Springfield, Roselle Park


bakerfaceman t1_j969eh9 wrote

It really depends on where in the city you work. You have a LOT more options for a sub 1 hr commute.if you work in midtown for instance. If you work in FIDI, the ferry and path suburbs are best. If you work in Harlem or further north, bridge suburbs are great if you're gonna drive or take the jitneys.

East Rutherford has been great for my family. Homes are affordable, there's a walkable downtown, and a huge ass mall when we want it. The schools are good and improving, we have a brand new middle school that's amazing. It's very diverse and class sizes are small. There's always little town events and concerts and fairs. There's also tons of buses running to port authority all day and night. The Rutherford train station is also walking distance. Having both bus and train available is awesome. Hoboken is only two train stops away when I want that vibe too. IMO, this town is pretty perfect and I'm glad I'm raising my kids here. We also have the lowest property tax rate in Bergen county, that is important.


bakerfaceman t1_j969jj6 wrote

Note that everything I said also applies to Rutherford but it's less diverse and more expensive. Still a solid town.


EverythingZen167 t1_j96adww wrote

Our family of 5 moved from NYC to West Orange in early 2019. We really like it so far. The elementary and middle schools have been great, with a lot of support for advanced learners. The town itself is very diverse. My commute to Penn is: 7 minute drive to Orange station, 5 minute wait, ~ 25 minute train ride to Penn. We got lucky purchasing before the pandemic, and the family we bought from were in a hurry to leave. So our 4 bedroom / 2 bathroom was in the low $400k’s, is almost $150k more now (according to Zillow) - would have been out of our budget. Taxes are high - $14k - but we’re all happy with the schools.

We had a great realtor who helped us look at places. But honestly, the good schools x budget x commute to NYC, back in late 2018, had basically ~ 20 houses on the market in total. So scouting all the houses took three weekends in total.


BackInNJAgain t1_j9aja84 wrote

I'm in Morris County and there are definitely homes in your price range. They're going to be a bit older. Newer homes are all $1 million plus BUT a lot of them are built like shit. My brother bought one and in fewer than 10 years things are already breaking--drywall coming off, leaks in the roof, boards coming up on the porch, etc. Our house, by comparison, was built in the 30s and is still going strong with minimal upkeep other than painting and power washing. Morris isn't as diverse, though, with the exception of Morristown itself and Madison somewhat.


TomOmon t1_j95yey5 wrote

East rutherford / carlstadt. You can find a house with a view of the city skyline that meets your requirements. Low taxes.


Goldfish2022 t1_j96m4lq wrote

New Milford, NJ (Bergen County) and area


Slowlookleanroll t1_j98i5fp wrote

Check out Fair Lawn. Excellent schools, bus and train to NYC in about an hour and you might find a nice cape in that price range.


MotorboatingSofaB t1_j95jdb5 wrote

Check out fair lawn. 600k won’t get you a mcmansion there but should you get a decent starter home and the schools are very good with a diverse population. Best, the radburn train runs express in the morning and will put you into penn within 45-50 minutes. Worst part is the transfer in Secaucus


ArachnidImportant430 t1_j96ezr3 wrote

Went to Somerville for the first time in forever. Being developed/revitalized. Lots of dining options. Train to the city. I know nothing about the school system however .


Rude-Bison-2050 t1_j9793fs wrote

your best bet at that price point will likely be rutherford or nutley. No more than an hour is really limiting, even for places physically close to NYC. You underestimate how much that commute in will blow.


AnNJgal t1_j97t2z6 wrote

OK. So, check out Bloomfield. The schools are good (getting better) and your proximity to the city is under an hour.


IThinkUrAWampa t1_j981xnn wrote

Originally from Bloomfield and left due to over crowding because of the NYC crowd coming in droves. Rents are now 2-3k for a two bedroom. If OP loves sitting in a car for 20 minutes to drive 2 miles, Bloomfield is for them 👍


AnNJgal t1_j987683 wrote

I was walking distance to the train station. I lived there, sold my house and have since relocated to the central NJ area.


Gloomy-Hall8648 t1_j96qh7a wrote

Hi, check out Nutley, NJ. We moved here from the city a year ago and found it by asking around and talking with our realtor. 35 min commute into Penn on the train. Decent diversity for NJ. Great schools, and you should be able to get a decent bed for that price. We would make a weekend out of looking at houses, rent a car in the morning, visit houses, have lunch in a new spot, take our kid to the playground and talk to other parents. So far so good.