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NJ or Philadelphia?

(24 Posts)
Skala123 Tue 20-Jun-17 17:12:39

I've posted a few times before but a job offer has finally been received. Exact details of package still to come but to get me started (as I can't possibly just sit and wait) would you recommend NJ or Philadelphia? We essentially have the choice of both as offices are in kenilworth and upper Gwynedd. We have two DC, 7 and 4. Will do public schools not international or private. We like rural locations and wouldn't consider inner city.
Any suggestions?

Skala123 Wed 21-Jun-17 11:15:12

Looking like NJ will work best for us. Can anyone recommend nice areas? Commutable to kenilworth but doesn't have to be especially close. Good elementary schools and community. I have a warped idea of a lovely quiet residential street where the kids all play together in front gardens and the neighbours are all friends!! Someone mentioned Westfield and Summit to me - any thoughts?

WinnerWinnerChickenDinner0 Wed 21-Jun-17 11:24:10

Congrats on the move, very exciting.

I had family living in Princeton which is really beautiful. I'm guessing property would be expensive and sorry I cont know about public schools but it is a really lovely area. There are so many beautiful rural parts of NJ further west depending how long a commute you are willing to do

Skala123 Wed 21-Jun-17 11:43:18

Thanks winner. At the moment DH does a 60 mile commute (each way) most of which is the M25 so he's used to a crap journey to work! He'd be willing to do up to an hour if not a bit more for us to be in the right area

newbian Wed 21-Jun-17 12:38:26

Sounds like a pharma job? I'm from NJ smile

If you're in Kenilworth you can look at Somerset County. Warren and Watchung are suburban/rural and have good public schools. Less rural more suburban would be Berkeley Heights or New Providence.

Skala123 Wed 21-Jun-17 14:28:00

You'd be right Newbian!
Thanks for the ideas will look at them. Lots of the areas look so similar when all you've got is the internet.

mathanxiety Thu 29-Jun-17 05:24:07

Try to get as short a commute as possible for your H. You will feel quite lonely if your H is away for most of your waking hours.

Skala123 Thu 29-Jun-17 07:48:04

We are honing in on Westfield which is an incredible 4.5 miles from the office. He's never had a commute like that so would be fantastic

mathanxiety Thu 29-Jun-17 08:09:14

Sounds lovely. It will make a difference in your quality of life and how you all settle in.

You will need to be able to do things as a family, get to know people, shop, socialise and spend time together and hanging out with the neighbours or it will be very easy for the working spouse to get far more acclimatised than the one holding the fort.

Skala123 Thu 29-Jun-17 08:25:41

Thanks math. We are certainly hoping that we will be able to do all that. Although I'm aware he will need to throw himself into the new job so am prepared to put myself out there! Hopefully having kids will help us to get to know people and we would love to live in the sort of street where everyone knows each other and socialises together!

newbian Mon 03-Jul-17 05:36:11

Westfield is a great town, you will enjoy it. It has a Trader Joe's aka the best supermarket in the world so a major plus for it wink

Skala123 Mon 03-Jul-17 06:36:18

Thanks Newbian. I keep looking at other towns, new providence looks nice too, however I always come back to Westfield!

Want2bSupermum Tue 04-Jul-17 02:36:34

Westfield is lovely but the property taxes are killer. Cranford, which is the next town over, is a lot cheaper and has good schools plus lots going on for DC. Just be careful not to be in the flood zone.

Want2bSupermum Tue 04-Jul-17 02:37:50

skala Has that Trader Joe's reopened? The roof fell in after a heavy snowfall. We were devastated because DH works close by and would pick up cheap wine for sangria.

newbian Tue 04-Jul-17 02:42:34


Want2bSupermum Tue 04-Jul-17 02:51:17

Hmmm DH is in trouble. Will need a case of chuck for peach sangria at the weekend!!!!

Seriously though, coming from the U.K. I would go for Westfield if budget allows. Cranford is also nice with Westfield next door for shopping if you can't find anything in Westfield.

newbian Tue 04-Jul-17 06:10:18

Honestly it's one of the top things I'm looking forward to visiting home in a few weeks - stocking up at TJ's. Also black and white cookies from the bakery and real bagels and pizza. I've roamed all over the world but NJ is always home in my heart.

Skala123 Tue 04-Jul-17 06:54:56

Thanks both. It's an expat contract but we are yet to see the details so won't know what is covered. They will cover our rent but unsure about property taxes (I don't actually know what these are!) Do you still pay them if renting? I have looked at cranford but the flooding thing worried me so I dismissed it

mathanxiety Tue 04-Jul-17 08:11:56

If you are renting, property taxes will be included in the rent. The owner of the property pays the taxes. The owner will probably also be paying for services like water, sewer and waste disposal if these services are not included in the property tax bill (where I am, water, sewer and waste are a separate bill from property tax and water is metered so based on actual consumption). This charge will also be hidden in your rent. Your rent may or may not include utilities like gas and electricity. You should ask if the LL doesn't mention utilities are included in rent.

The property taxes cover municipal and county services - municipal are schools, library, police, emergency services, local/municipal administration, meals on wheels, any social services available like a mental health or children's health service, animal control and licensing, snow ploughing, leaf removal, road repair, parks and rec. County services include any county health centre, sheriff's department, jail, county court system (judges, staff and buildings), child welfare, all county level administration and offices, plus lots more.

All of this is paid for by means of a valuation of the property you own (often directly into an escrow along with your mortgage payment) or live in (included in your monthly rent). You pay an amount based on the rateable valuation.

Skala123 Tue 04-Jul-17 08:42:26

Thanks so much for explaining all that Math. Makes it all a bit clearer and looks like we won't have to worry about property taxes as company will be covering the rent. Hopefully Westfield may be an actual possibility!

Want2bSupermum Tue 04-Jul-17 15:51:50

Do you have a realtor? Also have you joined the local FB group for Westfield. The mommies groups here are an incredible resource.

Skala123 Tue 04-Jul-17 16:18:30

Not yet. Once we have a bit more info on timings I will do that.

mathanxiety Tue 04-Jul-17 19:16:36

If the company covers rent, what happens if your H loses his job? Would you have to be out before the next rent payment comes due? Or would you be faced with reimbursing the company for a rental period that would give you enough time to pack and relocate?

I would look at your package very closely. It might be preferable to ask for more salary and to do your own renting.

Skala123 Tue 04-Jul-17 20:49:56

I think it's standard expat contract stuff. Of course we will look at it closely. He's been with the company for a long time and is on a global talent scheme in a secure industry so losing his job isn't very likely

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