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Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

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NYC
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Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

If you were visiting the area for a weekend, what areas would you visit to help determine if this is a place you want to live? Should I get a realtor to show us around?

Like everyone else, we'd like to buy a home in a safe area with good schools - but under $500K. Walkability is not a requirement. We'd rather a neighborhood where the homes are spread out a bit, not very close to each other.

Brandywine Valley...
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1. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

OK, first of all, hope you mean WEST CHESTER and not CHESTER. You do not want to live in or near Chester. Chester is in Delaware County, an older suburb of Philadelphia. West Chester is the county seat of Chester County [I know, go figure -- makes no sense], farther west and south of Philly; it's a *world* away in terms of ambience, amenities, and demographics from the city of Chester.

Wilmington (not the city, but the suburb of North Wilmington) has a lot to offer, and in 80% of the neighborhoods there your budget is higher than most properties. Figure more in the $300k- $450k range for a very nice house . . . but on a small lot. A quarter acre is pretty standard.

Over the state line, in Chester County, PA, houses tend to be pricier because they're on MUCH bigger lots -- many of the townships have 1- or 2-acre minimums. Real estate taxes are also 4-5x higher. A case of getting what you pay for: schools in nearby PA are much better than in northern Delaware, where there are a lot of private schools. Just across the state line in PA, not so much because some of the public schools are very good.

Trip Advisor wants forums to be devoted to travel, not relocation. Perhaps a better place to ask about this is on http://www.city-data.com/forum/. So in case this thread disappears, I'm sending a copy of this via Private Message. You can feel free to PM me with additional questions.

Lancaster...
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2. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

Just an FYI. West Chester is in Chester County PA and that county has the highest rate of real estate taxes in the state of PA.

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3. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

Thanks so much wythany and schnzr4me!!!

As a follow up - any suggestions on fun things to do in the area based on people's experience visiting? I know I could look at the activities tab on here, but I want to hear what other people enjoyed - even though DE might not be the typical tourist destination ;-) lol

We visited this past week and looked through all these areas and some (Kennett Square, Hockessin, Elkton, MD, Middletown, Bear, Trolley Square, and Newark).

We ate at a nice seafood restaurant near the water in downtown Wilmington near the Amtrak station. We saw the theater and it's nice they have some broadway shows.

But, frankly, I was not moved. We saw a couple areas we could live in but to be honest I haven't seen anything to draw me to the area. ;-(

Seems like its a place where it's cheaper to buy than rent - and we're 3-5 yrs away from that.

Coming from Westchester, NY seems like we'd actually have to pay higher rent to have the same quality of neighborhood and apt without the amenity of NYC action 45 mins away.

Brandywine Valley...
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4. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

Weebunnie,

Completely confused by this last post. You're 3-5 years away from buying? I thought you were looking to buy now in the $500k range. Don't know a thing about renting in either Wilmington or Chester County, PA, but you may well be right that the rent/buy equation here favors buying. I suspect it's because there's not much rental stock, so the demand is high. You looked at suburban houses as well as apartments? (Again, I know NoTHInG about the rental market here.)

schnzr4me is absolutely right -- Chester County's real estate taxes are the highest in Pennsylvania. So are the school ratings and test scores. I reiterate: You get what you pay for.

Where, exactly, will you be commuting to? That makes a HUGE difference in where you should consider living. Since you mentioned Chester, PA in your first post (much farther north than anyplace you've just mentioned) . . . I wonder if you looked too far south. Bear and especially Middletown are not really close to Wilmington. We had friends who worked in Wilmington but lived in Center City Philadelphia -- probably not much worse a commute. They liked being closer to all the cultural and entertainment options.

Do you have a choice about all this? Honestly, although we like living in this area very much, I suspect we are a lot older than you and so it might not be appealing to you at all, coming from Westchester (which I'm a little familiar with).

Yes, DuPont Theater has a Broadway road show season. There's a more contemporary theater company (down by the riverfront, not far from where you ate -- probably at Harry's Seafood or Big Fish Grill), the Delaware Theater Company. http://www.delawaretheatre.org/ There's also a critically acclaimed resident rep company at the University of Delaware. …udel.edu/about-rep-pttp/Pages/rep-acting-co… If you're into music and smaller live shows, check out The Grand http://www.thegrandwilmington.org/ and also World Cafe Live at the Queen http://queen.worldcafelive.com/, both in downtown Wilmington.

There are several amazing cultural attractions outside town and across the state line. But truth is, once you've been there and ooohed and aaaahed, you probably won't revisit most of them until you have company. One exception is Longwood Gardens, which changes all year long and is a worthwhile visit several times a year. You buy a Neighbor Pass and get in free plus discounts in the shop and restaurant.

BTW, in case you haven't heard the nomenclature, this area, which straddles the two states and roughly follows US Route 52, is called the Brandywine Valley. Use that as a search term to explore the area, from Wilmington/Greenville/Centerville, DE north to Chadds Ford/Concordville/Glen Mills PA.

The people in the Brandywine Valley who really care about urban culture, like orchestra, ballet, more theater -- they go to New York (some to Paris and London as well) at least a few times a year. Amtrak has a good schedule and there's a deep discount bus that leaves from a site on the UofD campus if Amtrak is too pricey.

If that's not feasible, it's off to Philadelphia. Acclaimed orchestra, three or four locations for professional theater, some really great museums, plus all the amazing historical sites. A pretty quick drive from North Wilmington. And cheap by SEPTA regional rail if the schedule works. Not that it BEGINS to compare to The City, but it's the best we can do down here in the hinterland.

If big city amenities, nightlife, cultural activities are the most important thing to you, you should look for a place to live that's near the Amtrak station in Wilmington or very close to I-95 so you can hop on that highway and get to Washington, DC, or a NJ Central station just outside NYC.

TripAdvisor discourages discussions about relocations as opposed to TRIPS, so this thread might get closed or deleted at any time. For that reason, I'm sending a copy of this to you via Personal Message. If you're not familiar, go to Your Profile and there will be a link called Messages to click on.

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5. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

Thanks again. Did you grow up in DE? You know so much about the area.

My situation is that my company wants me to move to their office in Wilmington. A key deciding factor in the place we settle is how affordable it is to buy a home --- when we are ready.

And, surprisingly, it's not really lower than the area we're in already. Which is the main reason we want to move from here.

I'm not sure if I have a choice yet, but I do have 2 yrs to decide.

Hope that clears it up!

Brandywine Valley...
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6. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

Aaah, got it now.

I grew up in Newark. And where we live now is very close to the state line. A lot of our friends live in Delaware so we do spend a lot of time there.

I wish you luck with your decision. Do you know about city data? http://www.city-data.com/forum/delaware/ It's more focused on relocation.

7. Re: Considering a Move to Wilmington/Chester PA Area

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