Buying a house in New Jersey

Before Maddy was born, Rob and I started to think very seriously about finding a house in the area. Our townhouse is fine right now, but as soon as she starts crawling AND requiring more toys, we are quickly going to push ourselves out.

For awhile we had a our sites and hearts set on Pennington, but the houses in our price range either needed too much work or had no basement. We definitely can't afford Princeton and have also decided against hopping over the river to Bucks County (though if Rob and I didn't have our professional and personal roots set in Princeton, we would gladly go). So we have opted for Lawrenceville for a few years. You can get more house for a lower cost and tax bracket. The only negative is the quality of the high school is not a good as the surrounding towns. However, we have awhile before we have to worry about it.

We have seen 2 houses so far that are contenders but with different pros and cons.

House #1: Lovely neighborhood with an abundance of trees. Gorgeous exterior and lawn. Very well kept, but: the basement is about 10 x 10, the master bedroom could probably just hold our bed and the bathroom only has a shower. The dining room is small as well and we would need space in case we host a holiday. On the positive, it's really well maintained, there's a great sunroom in the kitchen and it's totally in our price range. My worry is that we'd grow out of it once we have a second child. We'd also have to do some upgrading: maybe expand the master bedroom and renovate the bathroom.

House #2: Another lovely neighborhood. Newer homes. Well kept house, 2-car garage, bigger basement, plenty of space, large master bedroom with full bathroom and vanity area. A lot of the appliances and exterior has been upgraded. We could essentially live here for double the time we would live in the other house. The only con is the price. It's a little out of our range.

Here's the question: Do we pay in our range, but expect to shell out 20k+ in renovations or do we pay a little more for minimal if any upgrades and get a house we could live in long term?

The answer seems obvious, but it's still hard to know the right thing to do.

1 comment:

Kangalope said...

Good luck on your house hunt! :) I suggest that you buy the house that will cost you minimal updates. I learned that much when I bought a car -- buy a newer one and that will save you more trouble in the future! I really like your blog overall. :) I work with -- it's a public service events listing site in New Jersey. Do you have an event to list? You can post on the site free. I was also wondering if you might want to feature on your blog. How do we get featured?

Abby C

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