Trying to find cheap housing in central NJ

How to avoid signing your life over to a mortgage
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BetaTheta
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 5:21 am

Post by BetaTheta »

I work in Princeton, NJ. It's a really expensive area. I've been fortunate enough to 'only' pay $650/month for rent (all utilities included). My friends pay several hundred more. Nevertheless, I want to go down to at least $400.
I don't own a car and I think the only viable places are those nearby a train station. I tried craigslist for New Brunswick, but it's been hard to find anything below $500.
Does anyone have any advice? I don't mind taking public transportation at all as a good chunk of it will be subsidized by my work place. I tried looking for Metuchen and Edison, but no luck.
It would be nice if I could live in a place with a decent social life (I'm still in my mid twenties). I'm not sure if it's worth looking north of Edison, as I think my commute might start becoming too long, but I'm open to any suggestions.
Thanks


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jennypenny
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Post by jennypenny »

Have you looked the other direction? Trenton/Hamilton/Yardley? (all 1 or 2 trains away) For your age group, I'd be looking toward Frenchtown, Lambertville, New Hope, Yardley, etc. Does NJTransit run a bus from there to Princeton?


secretwealth
Posts: 1948
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:31 am

Post by secretwealth »

This is heresy, but I really believe it: for the tristate area, you can save a lot of money with a car. You can rent a house in an area not covered by public transport, and still have a commute of less than 1 hour. Since houses in areas far from public transport can go for significantly less than the cost of bus fare plus the higher rents in an area near a train line or bus. At least starting in NYC, if you go an hour away by car rents get a lot cheaper than going an hour away by train.


BeyondtheWrap
Posts: 587
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:38 pm
Location: NYC

Post by BeyondtheWrap »

@OP: Have you tried living with roommates?


BetaTheta
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 5:21 am

Post by BetaTheta »

Thank you guys for your suggestions. Jennypenny, I'll definitely look into those areas more (I did a quick Craisglist search for Yardley...nothing too promising yet).
I might just look into getting a car. I'll do some searching in the broad NJ region to see if I can find places below $400.
The place I have currently is with roommates. I'm actually looking actively for places with roommates as singles easily go $1000+ in my area.


borisborisboris
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:12 pm

Post by borisborisboris »

Honestly $650 is pretty good in that area, and I think you're only going to find cheaper if you have even more roommates, have a long commute, or move to a questionable part of Trenton. Salaries are high there, so hopefully you are able to take advantage of that.
I used to work in Princeton [township], and got myself into an overpriced apartment that I rented by myself, which was a mistake. I had looked in Lambertville also - the best I could find on short notice was a $700 studio that did not justify the long commute. However, I had some friends that did better:
-Go 4 or 5 ways on a little house in Princeton boro. It's not terribly happening, but the best you'll do in the area, walkable to a lot of things. Bike commute to the office parks on Rte. 1 via the canal tow path. Excellent public library.

-Another friend lived in Levittown, PA, which he said was boring, but cheap. Car required, but you could carpool if you convinced other friends / coworkers to move out there and room with you. I think income and property taxes are lower in PA.

-Find a job in nearby Philly, which has some affordable / safe neighborhoods, is ridiculously bikeable, cheap public transit.


secretwealth
Posts: 1948
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:31 am

Post by secretwealth »

I visited Philadelphia for the first time a year ago and though, "wow--this would be a great place to live for someone in their early 20s." Those kids in Brooklyn have no idea what they're missing.


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