Tony, Home Buyer in New Jersey

I just started looking at homes in Mountain Lakes. I get the sense that taxes are out of control.

Asked by Tony, New Jersey Sat Dec 22, 2007

Is the boro mismanaged or is the town council out of control and on a spending spree? I'm wondering if I should stay away? I just get a very bad vibe.

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8
To be honest, I think the taxes aren't really that bad. I owned my first house in Jefferson Twp, which is about 15 minutes West and 10 minutes North of ML, and the taxes on my 2 bedroom, 1 bathrooom home were like $5k. I am now in the final stages of purchasing a home in Mountain Lakes and while the taxes are higher, the house and assessed value of the house is also higher.

If I were to compare the assessed value of the Mountain Lakes with a comparably assessed house in Jefferson, the taxes are pretty much identical (about $8.5k). With all that said, I think you tax dollars go alot farther in ML than they did in Jefferson- the ML schools are top 5 in the state, public beaches, closer to NYC, downtown Denville and you still have tons of parks and great paths along The Boulevard. All of these thing make the taxes in ML a lot easier to swallow than in Jefferson or Rockaway where the taxes are higher and (in my opinion) you don't necessarily get more for your money
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
As an update, we never did buy in Mtn Lakes. We renewed our lease, rode the market down and bought our dream house in Chester Township. Still pretty high taxes, but we got much more house for the money and we will probably send our kids to private school, so schools don't matter that much yo us either. I no longer work in NYC so commute is not a concern. We looked in Harding as well, but the inventory was pretty slim in our price range.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 21, 2010
Hi Tony. If you are going to buy anywhere,take the time to go to townhall and get a feel for how the town works. It is true that taxes can be a bit higher in Mt. Lakes, however, the residential nature of the community, the exceptional school system and easy access to highways, trains, etc. offer the value some people are looking for. Mt. Lakes is an exceptional community with tons of community spirit, lots of things to do and does offer real value for homeowners, but that doesn't say it is right for you. Keep asking questions and getting input and you will find the right community for you. Good luck, have fun.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 6, 2010
Mountain Lakes is considered by many an upscale school town. It's the primary reason most people move there, and it is a super convenient commuting town with train, 46, 80 and 287 right there. So with the high desirability and big investment in the highly-regard school system, the taxes are going to be right up there. That said, some homeowners have seen decreases in taxes the last year or two as their tax rates were adjusted down.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 4, 2010
Hi Tony,

Mountain Lakes is typical of small wealthy boroughs - high taxes due to an all-residential nature with little or no commercial ratables. The schools are fantastic, and the money gets spent without complaint since most of the residents can afford to pay the freight.

If your kids are around or nearing high school age, an alternative for you would be to check out properties in Boonton Twp. You get the benefit of Mountain Lakes High School and somewhat lower taxes (about 15-20% lower).

If you have any other questions, contact me through my website. I'm well versed in all areas of northern New Jersey and my goals as a buyer representative are very aggressive right now due to the weak market.

Good luck home shopping Tony!

-Marc
Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 22, 2007
Unlike a recreational community such as Smoke Rise in Kinnelon, Mountain Lakes taxes include a full range facilities:lakes, ice-skating, tennis etc at no extra charge (included in the taxes. It also has a long-standing tradition of educational excellence that is nationally recognized and commutation ease: train, bus and highway system. So, the answer is quite simply, what are your priorities in searching for a home? If you are looking, for example, for new or newer, construction, it is unlikely that this is the community for you.

Francine Craven, Broker/Associate
Re/Max Lakeland Realty
973-838-0911
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 13, 2010
It was nice of you to take the time to update everyone Tony - good luck in your new home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 21, 2010
Tony
Having grown up in Mt Lakes and now raising 3 kids there, I can tell you that the lifestyle that the town has to offer is first class. Give me a call and I'll show you around; you can read about me at http://www.MrMountainLakes.com
The taxes are high because there is very little commercial development within the Borough.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 17, 2010
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