Hi Brian, with the guidance of an agent you can get your arms around this area. You can accomplish a good bit online, investigating the towns (visit the township websites), the schools, and commute. You will enjoy a desirable commute from any of these communities.
NJ Monthly recently released its ranking of top high schools - you'll see that Millburn has taken the top award again. I'd be happy to send along the full listing if you have an interest. Another great resource is the Star Ledger School Report Card - allows you to compare and contrast schools districts.
All of these communities have a more urgan/suburban feel - and with good access to trains and buses to the city, they remain in demand and values tend to hold up better than communities that do have access to public transportation.
There's lots of interesting inventory across broad price points available in these communities. Do your homework, have your agend send you listings so you can see what is available and once you've identified some contenders, you can hit the pavement. As your agent to spend time familiarizing you with for each communitiy of interest.
With your research done, properties identified and under review - trust your instincts. You'll know when you find it - the community and house will feel like, well "home".
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