Home Buying in New Jersey>Question Details

Rich, Both Buyer and Seller in Ashburn, VA

Where to live in NJ - easy commute to NYC price range up to $1M?

Asked by Rich, Ashburn, VA Thu Oct 17, 2013

We are struggling to figure out where to live in NJ. Basically, we have 3 young children and want:

1. A family friendly area - with kids outside playing (lively)
2. A home that has some updates (if not new)
3. At least 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
4. A reasonable commute to NYC

Our price range is up to $1M....we come from a planned community in Ashburn VA where there were tons of kids out in the street riding bikes, etc...and our house was brand new 2,900 SF plus a finished basement.

Now I realize things will change a little up in NJ but am looking for something similar. We currently are renting a home in Berkeley Heights but find the neighborhood overly quiet (i.e. really very few kids outside).

Lastly....we need a school system that is "special needs" friendly.

Is it that housing inventories are really that bad or is my price point just too low?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Rich, Tthere are several local communities that offer the family/kid friendly enviroment and also the ease of commute to NYC. If you are needing transportation to Mid town then Iwould suggest staying along the Dover line of NJT, the frequency of trains is far greater then the Gladstone line you are currently on.

Many of the towns in the area are known for the older homes, many of which have been updated. Finding an area where the kids are playing outdoors is tough in the surrounding area but they do exist. My office is in Summit and I service many of the surrounding towns. Summit is known to have one of the best special needs programs and I am aware of several families who have been extrremely pleased with the success their children have had.

If you would like further information I would be happy to provide you with it.

Rochelle Dempsey
Lois Schneider Realtor
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
Rich, did you have a chance to look at the schedules for the Sea Streak ferry and the North Jersey Coast Line train? I really think you'd like it here in Monmouth County!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
I think Monmouth is a no go for us
Flag Fri Nov 8, 2013
Hello Rich, I would like to suggest towns in Morris County and Bergen County. When will you be in New Jersey? We would like to tour different towns with you and show you what each town has to offer for your family. Also, we could send you listings for you to preview before you visit.

Thank you,

Jane DeVincentis and Karen Hoffman
Terrie O'Connor Realtors
973-820-5053 or 973-670-1053
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
Hi Rich,
Hands down, THE BEST NYC train commute is Maplewood/South Orange. Rush hour trains are roughly 26 minutes direct to Penn Station. Our school district has a reputation for being special needs friendly as well. I hope you will check out my website and dozens of recommendations. Good luck with your home search!
Amy Paternite
Coldwell Banker Maplewood
cell: 917-442-5130
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 6, 2013
Your price point is not too low.

A massive "special needs" town is West Orange. Click on this page http://www.sellingwestorangenjhomes.com/atj/user/AdditionalG…
and see the info on West Orange Parents Advocating for Special Services in Education to see the plethora of information and services available in town.

Here's a sample of what you can get here, http://emailrpt.gsmls.com/public/show_public_report_rpt.do?r…

The town council member is very involved in special needs programs and can be a great guide, too.

You also may want to connect in with the Friendship Circle in Livingston NJ http://www.fcnj.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/97305/jewis…

I hope you find this helpful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 21, 2013
Hi Rich,
I am a Realtor who was born and raised in Westfield. I have resided in the Scotch Plains/Fanwood area for 14 years now. I would be happy to talk to you in your search. I am very familiar with the Scotch Plains -Fanwood School Districts Special Education Department. Here is a link to give you some more info:


I would be very happy to answer any questions you might have! Cell (908) 377-2989.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 21, 2013
Rich; I live and work in Summit. I think it is the greatest place in the world. Every agent can show you every listing in the MLS. Whatever community you choose find an agent who will go above and beyond for you. Your price range demands nothing less. An agent with community insight is your best bet. Call me to discuss your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 18, 2013
I have the home you just describe available in Cedar Grove.
cul De Sac and close to NYC bound trains. God Schools Close to Montclair
Everytime I go there all the families are outside playing, riding bikes, etc.

Other towns that might work for you are Wayne, Paramus

All these towns have lower taxes too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 18, 2013
You should consider Fair Haven or Little Silver in Monmouth County. Both of these towns have homes in your price range and meet all of your criteria. You can take the train (North Jersey Coast Line) into NYC from Little Silver or Red Bank , or you can take the high-speed ferry (Sea Streak) from Atlantic Highlands or Highlands to Pier 11 or to East 35th St. Here are the schedules:

Both school systems are excellent, and many of the kids bike to school. If you send me your email address I'll send you a photo of the bikes at Knollwood School- there are easily more than 100 of them In what grades are your children? You might want to talk to members of the Child Study Team in both of the districts and discuss your specific special needs.

To get a feel for real estate in these towns, use Trulia to search for homes in each town, and then click on "Advice" and then "Blogs". You'll see that the median home price in Fair Haven is $660,000 and in Little Silver it's $568,450. There are some wonderful homes priced between the medians and $1 million.

Don't take my word for it: do yourself a favor and drive down here this weekend (Exit 109 GSP) and drive through the 2 towns; make sure you drive through the "River Oaks" section of Fair Haven. I know you'll like what you see! Then go to Fair Haven Fields, Sportsman's Field or any of the other parks and talk t

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739 (cell) (732) 530-6686 (office)


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
The Sea Streak ferry takes 40 minutes to get from Atlantic Highlands to Pier 11, and 60 minutes to get to East 35th Street. Where do you have to go in Manhattan?
Flag Sun Oct 20, 2013
I am worried about the length of cummute
Flag Thu Oct 17, 2013
Sorry- the last sentence should read: talk to any of the parents you find in the parks and ask them about the towns and the schools.
Flag Thu Oct 17, 2013
Central NJ area around Princeton. If just under an hour works feel free to email me. Some small towns like Pennington Hopewell Cranbury are terrific and have what you seek also with some savings vs Princeton.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
Hello Rich,

You're in Union County. I'm in the Burlington/Mercer County area. Are you looking to stay
in that area?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
Doesn't really matter to us
Flag Fri Oct 18, 2013
Hi Rich,

Have you looked into Mountain Lakes? It's really a great town and the school system is wonderful and top rated. There are two lakes with beaches for residents only and a country club with a private beach. Kids spend summers at the beaches and there are many programs for children as well. Our kids loved growing up here.

Town website: http://www.mtnlakes.org/

Listings available: http://new.gsmls.com/publicsite/propsearch.do?method=getprop…

Here is a good website that provides information on NJ school systems.
NJ School Performance Report: http://education.state.nj.us/pr/

These websites can give you some ways to research other areas.



Let me know if I can be of any help in your home search.

Jane Jennings
Sales Associate
Coldwell Banker
Mountain Lakes Office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
Hello and welcome to New Jersey! Have you thought about Morris County. I would love to share with you all that it has to offer. I really think you would like Kinnelon, schools are number 5 in the state, special needs friendly , 45 minutes to NYC, and just a GREAT place to live.

973-820-5053 or 973-670-1053
Jane DeVincentis or Karen Hoffman
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
I suggest Basking Ridge - the Hills specifically features newer (though that is relative) homes up to and right around $1M. We have a amazing special needs resources (http://www.bernardspec.com/) and a not-so-hard commute to NYC. The catch is that the inventory moves fast - so you may not see a lot of homes available when you look, but if you connect with an agent who can get you listings AS they hit the market, you will be in good shape.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
Well your price point is definitely not too low. However, from my view point, people who can afford 1M+ homes typically both work so their kids aren't outside playing unless it's with the nanny.

Unless you move into another new development with dead end streets and cul-de-sacs, many towns in NJ are very quiet when it comes to kids playing outside There's no sidewalks, streets are busier than in VA, kids are driven to and from their activities and rarely play on the streets.

However, there are some areas where you may still find that "neighborhood" feeling you desire. Remember that the further west you go , the longer the commute .

That being said, there are several places I have found that may provide you with the home you want
Here's a link to 51 properties from 850k-1M. Open the link, then scroll down to see them all. Click the photo to open a window with all photos of that property or just use the scroll arrow below the picture.

Any questions feel free to call me direct at 908-675-0167 or email me at PruMaryNJ@aol.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013

I would love to help you. I have two-three clients look for the same type of houses. I would say Morris plains, Morris twp., Livingston, Basking Ridge area.

Let me know if you need some help. I would love to help and I am actually showing one of my clients those exact type of homes today.

Please contact me with any questions.

Melissa Silva
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 17, 2013
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