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Young family needing advice for commuter towns in New York City

Hi everyone,

I've just taken a job with a firm located near Times Square and am looking to find a good place to live in the NY suburbs with my wife and 7-year-old son.

We don't fancy living in apartments and would prefer to find a house (or what is known as a townhouse or terrace house in Australia / Britain). My wife is adamant we find a decent public school for my son -- we can't afford private school fees -- and I am pretty adamant that I want my commute to be less than 45 mins if possible.

We are happy to rent somewhere while we get settled and look for a place to buy. We're far from million-dollar home buyers and could maybe afford up to $600,000.

We're not really bothered whether we're in New York or New Jersey, so long as it's a safe neighbourhood, good for families, in a good school zone and the commute isn't too painful.

I might be dreaming, but we'd be really grateful for tips on where to look and how much rent per month we might expect to pay on a three-bedroom-plus house.

Also, we understand there are also annual property taxes in U.S. states which can be up to 2.5 percent of the value of the house. Would that mean, for example, paying $18,000 per annum in property tax just for the privilege of living in a house that we own?

If that's the case, does that almost defeat the purpose of home ownership or does property tax offset other taxes that you may be levied for, like income tax?

Many thanks for your help and advice.
Ian

Property tax is levied on state, municipality, county, school district level. 2.5% is not the max. 600k and your two adamant requirements may not happen. Have you looked into renting to start with until yiu are familiar with the area and its dynamics?

Thanks for the note. Yes, we'd be looking to rent first in a neighbourhood with a good school zone. Any idea where we should be looking?

I live in Maplewood NJ with my family - which is a 35 min direct train to Penn station. As you go west along this Midtown direct trainline there are other towns to consider - Millburn, Summit, Chatham, Madison etc.
You can check out schools at www.niche.com
and commute times on www.NJTransit.com
Lots of useful info on this area here www.NJExpatguru.com
Zillow.com can show property prices and rentals - you're probably looking upwards from $3300/month for a 3 bed home.
Cheers!

Hey, thanks a bunch BritishExpatInNJ! Great tips

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