There are many great towns in Union and Essex county. I grew up in that area and know most of them. You should probably look around the Raritan Valley line for an easy commute. They're actually runnig some test trains that could potentially take you directly to Manhattan. As of now, you would have to take a connecting out of Newark.
Towns like Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, and Cranford all have great school districts and their communities in general are close knit and friendly. If you want a cute downtown, I would concentrate primarily on Westfield or Cranford.
To really understand where you should focus I would need some more details on the type of house that would be ideal. Feel free to contact me at maniespkw@gmail. I would love to extend a hand of help.
You're also just a mile away from Bloomfield Ave. which has a nice downtown type of area.
Reach out to me, once I know exactly what you're looking for I'll be able to find you a home that fits your parameters whether it's on the market or not.
Keller Williams Realty
You tend to get more for you money in the surrounding communites, but of course, you can something very nice for $500,000 in Westfield.
Train service is key. Fanwood, Westfield and Cranford all have train stations. Just starting to get "one seat" rides on some routes so you don't need to change in Newark. Hopefully that will be amped up in the coming months.
Take a look at my site http://www.yournjhouse.com . it will allow you to browse the area. You can also call me, and I can offer you some advice on what is closer to the train or closer to what you have in mind for your home.
RE/MAX In Action
Check out following towns....
Essex County (higher property tax):
Millburn- disadvantages: more expensive (upper 500's); advantages: great schools, super easy commute to NYC (35 min direct train), beautiful downtown
Livingston - disadvantages: longer commute to NYC (50 min bus trip to Port Authority (Coach USA bus #77) or a new jitney service from the Livingston Mall ($2 each way) which takes you to the Mid Town Direct train (into Penn Station) from the S. Orange station; advantages: bigger house/yard for the price, great schools.
Union County (lower property tax rate):
Summit (closer to NYC, but more expensive)
New Providence, Berkeley Heights (great schools and easy commute to NYC (njtransit.com)
Need more info about any house in particular or would like an introductory tour of the area?... I am here to help in any way!
I look forward to speaking to you!
If you are considering Westfield and have small children, I'd suggest you come visit during the upcoming Halloween Parade -- usually the Sunday before Halloween -- a parade through town where the High School Marching Band leads the kids thru town -- fun for all. This will give you a feel for the Town and allows you to potentially meet others with kids.
I both live and work here in Westfield and focus on western Union County -- I'd be happy to share my expertise on schools, parks, neighborhoods with you -- please contact me at your convenience.
Prudential NJ Properties-Westfield
Having been a realtor for over 30 years I have lived in many of these towns and would be happy to take a day and give you a free area tour. Just call my cell with preferably 24 hours notice. Edith Miller Angelo RE/MAX Achievers 917.991.9225
I'm a lifetime resident in this area, and a Realtor in this area--as well as Essex County--for 10+ years and would love to help u settle here. BTW, taxes in Essex County tend to be higher than in Union County.
Feel free to contact me at ur convenience.
Teri Malone, Weichert Realtors, Westfield
I'm a tech-savvy agent with in-depth knowledge of these neighborhoods. I have a great track record of helping young couples find their home in these towns. I work tirelessly and am confident that I can help you find the right home, negotiate a good deal, and smoothly navigate the process to the closing table.
Contact me directly for more information.
Keller Williams Realty
In Union County take a look at Westfield, Cranford, Fanwood and Clark.
In Essex County take a look at Monclair or Glen Ridge.
If you need help call us....
Jane DeVincentis and Karen Hoffman
973-820-5053 or 973-670-1053
I was going to suggest Westfield I also thought of Clark. Another great on Cranford. I have sold some homes in this area to first time home buyers and know the market well.
If you would like send me your email and I can send you some options. I work with a lot of first time home buyers. I would love to help. So please feel free to contact me.