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Street Cred: The Secret To Spotting Prime Real Estate In The Suburbs

Photo credit: Getty Images/georgeclerk

Photo credit: Getty Images/georgeclerk

When it comes time to finding your forever home, nesting in the suburbs seems like the obvious choice for a quiet escape where you have space to build a family. But life in Philly’s suburbs isn’t exclusively a family affair. With more and more millennials migrating to the ‘burbs, there’s a new breed of hybrid towns on the horizon offering suburban solitude with just enough city allure.

The towns in transformation? Media, Wayne, and Conshohocken to name a few. With plenty of shops, theaters, bars and restaurants, these three charming-yet-trendy towns are the perfect escape for homebuyers from every walk of life. To get the details on moving to these buzzy ‘burbs we consulted three Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates. Read on to learn their home-buying strategies for settling in the suburbs.

What key things draw city renters to buy in the ‘burbs?

Paul Mazzochetti: They can save at least 3 percent on their income tax for one thing! Most suburbs have 1 percent or no income tax. The biggest comment by people who move from the city to suburbs is how much money they save.

What style of homes are available in the suburbs that make the transition from city life smoother?

Mazzochetti: The suburbs are just like the city—there is a huge mix of condo, townhomes, twins, and singles—the main difference is the city was built in sections at different times so you may have nothing but townhouses for miles before you find a neighborhood with a single. In the burbs, home styles are mixed within blocks of each other. Plus, most condos are built next to public transportation to accommodate single or couples who generally work in the city.

What is one important question house hunters should ask themselves before making an offer?

Frank May: One of the most common questions I ask is where do you work and how would you like to commute to your job? Wayne is a fantastic location for commuters—you can take the train to the city or jump on the turnpike in minutes.

Chris McGarry: Space! How much home are you looking for? Usually, in my experience, a renter is coming from a small one-bedroom loft or a row on a jammed packed street. Also, parking tends to be an issue as well for city life. I think it’s important renters ask themselves how much home do they want and what are the most important things they can’t live without.

Why are these particular neighborhoods ideal for millennials and young families?  

May: Schools are one the key reasons. Whether you’re a young family with school-age children, or an investment-savvy millennial looking for good resale value. Neighborhoods like Wayne deliver highly rated public and private schools in Radnor, Tredyffrin/Easttown, and Upper Merion. Buyers who can be flexible on location and school district will find affordable entry points to the area often in the same neighborhood as fine homes.

McGarry: All three neighborhoods hold their value in price even in a down market. Also, all three offer a great nightlife with good restaurants and local shopping.

What should homebuyers keep in mind when looking at homes in the suburbs?

May: If you want to make a wise real estate investment that looks great on paper and comes with an incredible community in a fun place to live, then these suburbs are just for you!

Mazzochetti: When moving to the suburbs, be prepared for less traffic, less people, less congestion, less taxes, and more diverse housing with better living conditions and better school districts. It is a totally different lifestyle.

Ready to make the move? For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/philadelphia

*These interviews have been condensed and edited for length.