I talk to folks all the time who are considering moving from New York City to live in a commuter town like Westfield, Cranford or neighboring towns. And more often than not, they want to know, “Am I really going to be able to handle this massive change to my lifestyle?”
After a decade in real estate, I can usually tell when someone is truly ready to leave the city life behind… and when they aren’t. But if you’re on the fence, here are the ten advantages I’ve found about living in a “commuter town” like Cranford and Westfield.
10 benefits of living in a commuter town
1. Price and space
It won’t come as a surprise to you that you’ll pay less, for more space, when you finally move outside the city. But often times, potential buyers fail to see just how much more they will receive for the same price.
After all, if you have a decent deal on rent, thanks to a kind landlord (do those still exist?) or rent control, the cost of a mortgage on a house in Cranford may not be that much different than your monthly rent payment.
That’s why, when I talk about the cost of living in a commuter town, I find it super important to talk about the price per square foot. Sure, you may have a charming 400 square foot studio apartment for $1,700 a month in Brooklyn… and it may be the envy of all your friends who just moved to Williamsburg last year. But what if you could have a 1,300 square foot starter home for the same payment each month? When you move outside the city, it’s easy to double or even triple your square footage for the same price.
2. A life centered around a convenient commute
Commuter towns like Westfield and Cranford were built around the knowledge that locals need to get in and out of the city. So while your commute will be longer each day, it may be more convenient overall.
For example, recent buyer Dan mention his morning routine of picking up coffee at Track 5 Coffee before hopping on the bus each weekday. Another set of buyers — Lauren and Mike — selected Cranford in part due to its proximity to the train line and his easy commute into the city.
And while I won’t guarantee you’ll get a seat every morning, you’ll have a much better chance of sitting down and relaxing than you ever did while living in the middle of the city.
3. Stay close enough to enjoy your favorite city activities
When you live in a commuter town, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite city activities. So whether it’s the opening of the next Hamilton-esque sensation, an Adele concert at MSG, or melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi at your favorite place in Little Italy, you can rest in the knowledge that you don’t have to leave the city behind forever.
4. Stop paying a landlord
Most of my Westfield and Cranford Area-bound clients who come from the city are lifelong renters. The idea that they could be building equity on their own property, rather than padding their landlord’s retirement fund, is downright exhilarating for them.
5. What’s that (lack of) noise?
I say this without judgment: There’s a time in your life when you’re the person hollering on the street at 2 a.m., and there’s a time when you despise that person. If you’re looking for a quieter area, it may be time to leave the city that never sleeps.
6. Don’t worry, it’s not too quiet
There’s always good buzz in downtown Cranford and Westfield and in the neighboring commuter towns, as well. Whether you’re looking for a new go-to cafe, art gallery, date spots, yoga studio, gift and clothing shops or to catch a movie, you’ll find that our charming main streets have you covered.
7. Take advantage of gorgeous local parks
Whether you’re training for a marathon, taking the dog for her daily walk or just like to enjoy the peace of nature, you’ll love all the local parks in our area. Recent transplants Jill and Kyle rave about Nomahegan Park, which has bike and walking trails, places to grill or host a small party, plus plenty of community events throughout the year. I know how much they miss our town!
8. Meet your neighbors (on good terms)
If you’re craving a true sense of community, you’ll find it here in Cranford and Westfield. Your neighbors will greet you upon move-in and make sure you feel welcome as you settle in.
In fact, you may even become friends with the previous owner of your new home! Both Nicole and Dan and Lauren and Mike report that they received “welcome home” gifts from the seller upon move-in.
9. Settle into a great school district
Schools in our area are top-ranked, with countless opportunities for advanced classes, extracurriculars — and low student-to-teacher ratios. If you hope to give your children a truly top-notch educational experience that sets them up for success later in life, you can’t do better than Cranford and Westfield.
10. Buy what you want (no really)
Look, there comes a time in everyone’s life when you don’t want to be on the bus with your overloaded bags of groceries anymore. Or maybe you don’t want to stare at two candles and buy the one that weighs less.
While there are plenty of mom and pop shops around here, there also the big-box stores you don’t get to shop at when you live in the city. Whether it’s a no-limits trip to Target or a full-on shopping spree at Ikea or Pottery Barn, you can live your shopping dreams and then pile it all up in your car for a quick, stress-free drive home.
P.S. Want to learn more about what living in a commuter town is really like? Contact me any time!
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