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Homeowners - how'd you decide where to live?

For those of you who own your home, I'm wondering how you decided on the town you'd live in/how you found where you wanted to live?

Did you buy a home in an area you were already familiar with (maybe one of you grew up there, or someone you know lives there and raves about it)?

Did the real estate agent suggest that area to you?

Did you find it through an Internet listing? Were you driving through the area and liked it, so you decided to look into homes for sale in that area?

Just curious. MH and I have been looking on real estate websites and taking drives to areas we think we'd like, and I was interested in knowing how you all narrowed it down for yourselves.
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Re: Homeowners - how'd you decide where to live?

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    edited December 2011

    People prioritize things differently when they purchase a home.  We purchased a condo and basically we kept in mind if the town has a direct train to NYC (it does, its a 7 minute walk - important if we work in the city), how is the school system (great school system, #1 actually - future kids!), it was "move in" ready so not much money to spend renovating, it has parking (!!), Shop Rite is next door (literally). 

    We also considered how much condo fees were compared to other condos, we speculated how easy it would be to sell it if we were to move.

    We sacrificed our own washer/dryer but the building's basement has one. 

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    edited December 2011
    We wanted to stay in the general area in which we both grew up. When looking, we looked within a little bubble- there were a few towns, but we didn't look much out of those towns. We thought we could only afford to go to one area, but with our realtor she was able to find a great house for us within our price range, in the "better" area of town. It took months of looking, but it was well worth it not to "settle" on one specific town or even on one house just b/c we could afford it.
    *~allie~*

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    edited December 2011
    We live in West Milford.  We originally wanted to live in Ringwood/ Wanque.  We had friends who lived there and liked that it was a little out of the way and had lakes that we could kayak on.  One of our requirements was lake access.  So we went looking there and found out that we could only afford the super scary looks like people died there houses.  Slowly we kept creeping further out until we got to West Milford (closer to NY state).  Our realtor would find a house just a little further and we would check it out and decided okay we could move to that town.  We found that we could get a house that fulfilled all of our requirements and was still in our budget.  I think it was a balance of our realtor suggesting stuff and us just deciding to drive around and look ourselves. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
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    goaliegirlgoaliegirl member
    First Comment Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    We actually wanted to move somewhere close to where my MIL/FIL, because she will be our child care once we have kids.  We looked in the town where my husband grew up and a few neighboring towns. 

    Our real estate agent was a good friend of ours, and I gave him a list of houses that I found online that I thought may be a good start.  He also founds some others that we may like based I what I showed him.    We went out a few times and looked, and within a few weeks found our house.    Our major stipulation was that it had to be move in ready, we didn't want to have to do any work!  
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    VanessaB24VanessaB24 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
     We looked at good school districts, low crime area, close to our jobs... ( my case it takes longer to get to work by oh well) also its closer to get FI's daughter. It now takes 45 mins to get there instead of 1hr... woohoo!Undecided  We would ride around without our realtor (FI's cousin) to check out areas. Sometimes it sucks because we'd see a nice house online and we went to look at the area and you can tell it was a trashy area. Oh well. We're happy with our house...sometimes. lol
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    edited December 2011
    We made a list of our criteria, no more than 30 minutes from my mom, no more than 45 minutes from his job etc. We looked at google maps and mapped everything out from a few towns, then we researched the towns by looking at school report cards etc. and on a few Sundays we went to open houses, checked out the restaurants and the general public. It took a few months to narrow it all down to one area though.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
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    dmoney79dmoney79 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    we were looking in areas near both our jobs, and not too far away from our families...and not too expensive
    he works in oakland, i work in wayne....and bergen county was too pricey....so we were looking in passaic county, and found that some of the homes were out of our price range, and then one of mh's co-workers suggested west milford, and where we are is not too far from work/family and in our price range.....
    we were working with a realtor who happened to be my sister's sil's bf (now fiance) and we told him we are looking for houses in this range in these areas and he would email me a good amount and we'd look at them, and i would also look up houses on realtor.com and ask him to get me listings...

    good luck house hunting
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    edited December 2011
    I was closing on my townhouse right around the time I met my fiance. At that time (last year) I wanted to get back out of my parents house, the market was good, and so I chose a place close to my business and went w/ a townhouse since as a single person I didnt want to have to deal w/ a lawn, etc. I also got a place w/ a least 2 bedrooms for resale purposes and chose a place that was well maintained with reasonable HOA fees and taxes.

    Now, since we cant really sell right away, my FI has to move in w/ me eventually, which will increase his commute to an hour.

    Eventually, we will buy a house in between our commutes, nearby my family, good school system, safe neighborhood, and reasonable taxes (its amazing how much these can vary from town to town and its a significant cost per month).

    I looked at a ton of places before I bought. I agree w/ everyone else- dont rush, dont settle, and there are some terrific savings right now if you arent looking to sell a place as well.

    I found a lot of places to look at my researching on gsmls.com
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    kristen8040kristen8040 member
    First Anniversary First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Did you buy a home in an area you were already familiar with (maybe one of you grew up there, or someone you know lives there and raves about it)?

    I work in Philly so we had to be a close commute.  My FI lives in south jersey so he had a general idea of some of the areas, but mostly we just looked towns up online and went by word of mouth.


    Did the real estate agent suggest that area to you?

    We went without a real estate agent the first time we were looking and and just drove around areas.  When we found a house we liked we just used the realtor that was showed us the house.  It was a short sale and our settlement date kept getting pushed back, so we decided not to renew that contract.  We took a few months off and when we decided to get back into looking last June, we found a realtor which made everything SO MUCH EASIER!!  

    She found our now house which had just been flipped and everything was new.  We like our town, but depending on if we are here or not we may send our kids to private school.

    A few tips:
    make sure it has insulation - our house was built in the early 1900s and has balloon construction.  No insulation and we had insanely large heating bills in the winter.  We knew we had that type of frame, but our realtor and inspector never said what it would cause.

    If there is a tree in your front yard, get your main sewage line checked.  Three weeks into being at our house we started getting blocked up, and $4000 later found out tree roots had gone all through the pipes.  
    Photobucket BabyFruit Ticker imageimage
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    Reilly626Reilly626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Price and Quality of House....
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    edited December 2011
    We considered the proximity to both of our jobs, but a lot of other factors as well.  We found we had to decide if we were town people or house people....was it more important to us to live in a certain type of town or have a nicer house.  We came to learn we are more town people.  We bought a house in Westwood that needs a little work.  We're moving in 2 weeks!

    Good luck! 
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    mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    5 Love Its First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Thanks for all the advice! We're not quite ready to buy yet, but we're taking rides to go look at things on the weekends and we're poking around on real estate websites. Hopefully a realtor can help us out some more when we're ready to seriously look.

    Additionally, if anyone wants to suggest a town, we're primarily looking in Middlesex County right now (the Brunswicks, specifically, and also Spotswood/Helmetta and that general area). Looking to stay under $300K.
    image
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    edited December 2011
    Can I also ask a really stupid question about this? Is there one official site to go to to check out school-system ranking? Simple googling pulled up a lot of sites that seem ... not exactly official or reliable.

    MH and I probably won't start really looking until next year, but I'd like ot get a start on just poking around and getting general pricing information ...
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    edited December 2011
    We looked at location proximity to work and family, and then decided on the town based on crime, schools, lifestlye, and quality of life.  We wanted to live in a planned development with young families whch is hard to find in NJ.  Some people like privacy, but we wanted more of a community feel.  It's great to see a ton of kids out playing and a lot of fun having our friday happy hours rotating among the neighbors houses/yards.  I love it.  You may need to make some tradeoffs, but make a list and stick to your top priorities.  Of couse cost comes into play too, so you have include that too based on the type of home that will meet your needs / expectations.

    Once you decide location then you have to pick a house, which is a whole new ball game.
    1st Groom

    View our FOR SALE items
    http://tinyurl.com/3jjv7vy
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