We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Moving? Info please...

New Jersey
Level Contributor
1,256 posts
50 reviews
Save Topic
Moving? Info please...

I am a NJ teacher. My husband and I have a 2 yr old. Looking to relocate in a year or two. I would like to continue working in NJ and possibly find a home in Delaware. What border towns would we look at for homes that would provide a nice middle class community with a good school system for our daughter, reasonably priced homes and within driving distance to NJ schools. Thoughts to help us with preliminary research?

scw
Bear, Delaware
Level Contributor
479 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Moving? Info please...

How close to NJ would you like to be? Housing costs are much lower in southern New Castle or Kent Counties. What is your definition of reasonably priced homes? School districts in DE are not funded as well as ones in PA. (Too many districts with too many highly-paid paper pushers) Lots of my co-workers live in PA so they can send their kids to better(?) schools. There are some great private schools in the area and we also have publically-funded Charter schools that seem to draw the best high school students. Be a little more specific and I can make a few suggestions.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
1,256 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Moving? Info please...

Let's see. We'd need to be near enough to drive to NJ towns for work; would be willing to apply to school districts that would give me no more than a 45 min. drive so let's say towns in Delaware no more than 20-25 min. from NJ border. We would like a 3 bedroom home for 350,000 or less if possible. Not against private schooling, I myself attended Catholic schools for my entire education. Looking to also be within a 30 min drive to a marina for our sailboat. Does a nice town like this exist?

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Baltimore
Level Contributor
4,963 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Moving? Info please...

"towns in Delaware no more than 20-25 min. from NJ border."

I honestly don't know Delaware well enough to tell you where you should be looking, but I know geography well enough to tell you that your request strictly limits you to areas north of the C&D canal (i.e. the upper half of New Castle County). That's the top half of the shaded section of this map.

…hometownlocator.com/Maps/…20Castle.cfm

Once you're outside this zone, it will definitely take you longer than 20-25 minutes for the Delaware portion of your commute to/from either the Delaware Memorial or Commodore Barry (in Pa.) bridges. And while I'm not familiar with weekday rush hour traffic in the area, this will further limit your choices within northern New Castle Co. to be within 20-25 minutes of the bridges.

So toss any suggestions of areas in Kent or southern New Castle counties, unless you want to up your 20-25 minute time limit SUBSTANTIALLY.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
1,256 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Moving? Info please...

Thanks for your help...still looking for ideas and am in VERY early planning stages.

Brandywine Valley...
Level Contributor
1,757 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Moving? Info please...

KAMS,

Posting this here but also sending it via Private Message because TA tends to discourage non-tourism posts when they find them . . . as in "moving to . . ." queries. You never know when a thread like this will be closed.

You need to do *SERIOUS* research into the Delaware public school system if you care about your child's education.

Delaware property taxes are fairly low, and no sales tax is wonderful. BUT, there are very good reasons why there are so many private schools in northern Delaware, your only practical choice in the state . . . so factor in the cost of a private school if education is one of your top priorities. Also the income tax is not particularly low, but it may be better than NJ; don't know.

Two bridges over the Delaware River link northern New Castle County, DE, to south Jersey.

* The Commodore Barry Bridge connects Bridgeport, in Gloucester County, NJ, to Chester, PA, which is, oddly enough, in Delaware County, not in nearby Chester County, PA. That bridge is perhaps 20-25 minutes via I-95 from the northern Wilmington suburbs, with also some of the best school districts in the state.

* The Delaware Memorial Bridge connects New Castle, DE, to Pennsville, NJ. That bridge is about equi-distant from downtown Wilmington (where you do NOT want to send your child to public school) and the northeastern part of Newark or the Christiana area (decent, not great, schools). The Town of New Castle itself, the downtown historic area, is a lovely area. The rest of that zip code, not so much. Would not want a chid/grandchild of mine in those schools.

One of the fastest growing areas with lots of new housing is Bear, DE. That is way too far for the kind of commute you want. Ditto for Middletown, as someone has already pointed out. It's south of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal and you need to be way north to commute to NJ.

The only way to live in Sussex County (southern DE) and commute to NJ would be to take the ferry from Lewes to Cape May every day, an 80-minute ride each way. Plus the time to get to the ferry and then get to your NJ destination. A lovely boat ride, but not really practical.

PA income tax is actually pretty low. Flat rate 3.07%. If you can stomach the considerabley higher property taxes in PA (supposedly to be reduced thanks to casino tax revenue), you might want to consider the Garnet Valley School District. I think they're pretty good schools overall, and it's a reasonable commute to NJ 'cause it's close to the Commodore Barry Bridge. Plus, one of the best-kept secrets in the area (shhhh, don't tell anybody else), if you live in that area you grocery shop in your neighborhood in PA, where there's no sales tax on most food items, and then you drive 10 or 15 minutes to Delaware for almost everything else like books, liquor, fine dining, toilet paper and paper towels, linens, sheets and bath towels, cookware, knickknacks, dinnerware, plants, small pieces of furniture and portable stuff from Lowe's and, well, just about everything else that's portable that would be taxable in PA but isn't in DE. If it has to be delivered to PA, the DE stores are supposed to charge the sales tax, but price adjustments can be made . . . (Note there's no tax on clothes or shoes in PA, so you can stay even closer to home for those, too.)

And, BTW, PA teachers' salaries are pretty darn good, way better than DE, tho I don't know how they compare to NJ. But maybe a commute to NJ needn't be in your long-term future. Which also means, unless you care about distance to NJ for some other reason, you could consider school districts in Chester County, which pays teachers *very* well.

We live in PA right near the DE border, though farther west than a reasonable commute to anything in NJ. I call us Delavanians, 'cause we have a foot in both states. It's not a bad existence . . . we pay higher taxes on property to support outstanding public schools; but because we're a lot closer to Wilmington than to Philly, we tend to do more in the non-taxable environment just because of location. Another not-well-known fact: if you live in PA, and decide to send your kid to a private school in another state, the PA school district is obligated to provide transportation to that school. (There *must* be some mileage limit, but I know a lot of PA kids get free bussing to private schools in DE that are at least a half hour away.)

Phew! Probably TMI. But since you didn't define "reasonably priced homes" it's really tough to say, "You should live here." Bottom line, once again, if the public school system is a priority, that needs to be your FIRST if not only criterion when looking -- and you need to read up on the way Delaware schools work in the post-desegretation, post-bussing era. Taxes are just a very small part of the overall picture for people with school-age children.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Baltimore
Level Contributor
4,963 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Moving? Info please...

"then you drive 10 or 15 minutes to Delaware for almost everything else like...toilet paper"

Very informative post...but not to throw this completely off-topic, you'd be wise to brush up on your home state's sales tax code.

http://consumerist.com/consumer/lawsuits/k+mart-illegally-taxes-toilet-paper-307866.php

How 'bout that? :-)

Brandywine Valley...
Level Contributor
1,757 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Moving? Info please...

tubman,

TA strikes once again by making a long URL non-navigatable. I couldn't pull up that link.

But gosh, I'd love to know more! Or maybe I've just not noticed all these years that toilet paper is nontaxable here? I just know there's a lot of joking about what PA considers "essential groceries," and taxable toilet paper always comes up. Potato chips, soda, shampoo, cosmetics -- I'm pretty sure we pay tax on those. Always thought TP was taxable, but you may be right; I haven't checked my register slip in years!

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Baltimore
Level Contributor
4,963 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Moving? Info please...

Here's a better link:

http://tinyurl.com/yutqxb

Flush with pride!

Brandywine Valley...
Level Contributor
1,757 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Moving? Info please...

tubman,

You've made me LOL for real! And thanks for the link. Had no idea. I'm gonna watch my receipts from now on!

Rehoboth Beach...
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
Level Contributor
3,372 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Moving? Info please...

I suppose "TP" must fall into a "gray area."

I clearly recall that before the "Blue Laws" were rescinded in OCNJ, you could only buy certain items on Sundays; generally, only items deemed "neccesities." And "TP" was not on that list.

They must have assumed that the hapless Sunday bowel-movers who just could not postpone that activity until Monday morning could find suitable alternatives if they found themselves "sans TP."