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Move to Princeton

Move to Princeton

Old Nov 24th 2020, 4:18 am
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Default Move to Princeton

Hi All, would welcome some advice.
My company have offered me a role in Princeton, but starting in UK with a view to relocating Q2 next year, Covid and immigration pending. I have a wife and 2 young kids, 5 year old and 12 month old.
5 year old has recently started Reception at a private school here and so our area to live is going to be driven by schools - my wife is very keen on private, international schools but I dont think there are any near princeton. I hear the public schools are great because of the high property tax. Then the question is who is sending their kids to the private schools in princeton or beyond? My wife has distracted herself by trying to find out quality of schools from websites such as niche, however we were surprised at schools being ranked A and A+ despite then stating 'proportion of students meeting state proficiency for maths and English' around 70%?? Don't really know how to evaluate these schools but would be great to hear of recommendations of top schools and the related neighbourhoods....also having looked at some online property portals , looking at 4+bed houses in and around princeton, there seems to be very little choice for rental...is that covid specific, time of year or like this all the time??

Thanks for any advice..
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

There are many towns in the US called Princeton. My guess is you mean Princeton, NJ, because of the reference to high property taxes, but maybe several of those Princetons have high property taxes!
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
There are many towns in the US called Princeton. My guess is you mean Princeton, NJ, because of the reference to high property taxes, but maybe several of those Princetons have high property taxes!
Sorry yes, Princeton NJ!
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Hi All, would welcome some advice.
My company have offered me a role in Princeton, but starting in UK with a view to relocating Q2 next year, Covid and immigration pending. I have a wife and 2 young kids, 5 year old and 12 month old.
5 year old has recently started Reception at a private school here and so our area to live is going to be driven by schools - my wife is very keen on private, international schools but I dont think there are any near princeton. I hear the public schools are great because of the high property tax. Then the question is who is sending their kids to the private schools in princeton or beyond? My wife has distracted herself by trying to find out quality of schools from websites such as niche, however we were surprised at schools being ranked A and A+ despite then stating 'proportion of students meeting state proficiency for maths and English' around 70%?? Don't really know how to evaluate these schools but would be great to hear of recommendations of top schools and the related neighbourhoods....also having looked at some online property portals , looking at 4+bed houses in and around princeton, there seems to be very little choice for rental...is that covid specific, time of year or like this all the time??

Thanks for any advice..

We lived in NW NJ for almost 20 years. NJ is one of the most expensive states to live. I can’t help you with state schools, my daughter went to private schools...she was 11 when we moved to NJ. We found the school fees much higher than the school fees in the UK...schools also expect a hefty donation each year. Fees generally start around $40K.


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Old Nov 24th 2020, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Hi All, would welcome some advice.
My company have offered me a role in Princeton, but starting in UK with a view to relocating Q2 next year, Covid and immigration pending. I have a wife and 2 young kids, 5 year old and 12 month old.
5 year old has recently started Reception at a private school here and so our area to live is going to be driven by schools - my wife is very keen on private, international schools but I dont think there are any near princeton. I hear the public schools are great because of the high property tax. Then the question is who is sending their kids to the private schools in princeton or beyond? My wife has distracted herself by trying to find out quality of schools from websites such as niche, however we were surprised at schools being ranked A and A+ despite then stating 'proportion of students meeting state proficiency for maths and English' around 70%?? Don't really know how to evaluate these schools but would be great to hear of recommendations of top schools and the related neighbourhoods....also having looked at some online property portals , looking at 4+bed houses in and around princeton, there seems to be very little choice for rental...is that covid specific, time of year or like this all the time??

Thanks for any advice..
Don't discount the public schools (US meaning), some are extremely good, especially in a college town, but in a bigger urban area you would have to balance property prices and taxes against school quality. Also in the US the catchment areas are very tightly defined. We were very happy with the quality of public education here in State College (home of Penn State University) for our boys at the high school level, and it is not uncommon for families to move into this school district as their children are ready to start school. As for evaluation of school? I would recommend talking to your future colleagues in the Princeton office. House rentals in academic areas tend to run 12 months (maybe 10) from start of academic year to end of academic year, rentals around Princeton may well follow this pattern.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
There are many towns in the US called Princeton. My guess is you mean Princeton, NJ, because of the reference to high property taxes, but maybe several of those Princetons have high property taxes!

Even have one in BC, although it's a itty bitty town with like 2,800 people.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

The US has 29 towns named Princeton. I was curious and googled it.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 9:45 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Hi All, would welcome some advice.
My company have offered me a role in Princeton, but starting in UK with a view to relocating Q2 next year, Covid and immigration pending. I have a wife and 2 young kids, 5 year old and 12 month old.
5 year old has recently started Reception at a private school here and so our area to live is going to be driven by schools - my wife is very keen on private, international schools but I dont think there are any near princeton. I hear the public schools are great because of the high property tax. Then the question is who is sending their kids to the private schools in princeton or beyond? My wife has distracted herself by trying to find out quality of schools from websites such as niche, however we were surprised at schools being ranked A and A+ despite then stating 'proportion of students meeting state proficiency for maths and English' around 70%?? Don't really know how to evaluate these schools but would be great to hear of recommendations of top schools and the related neighbourhoods....also having looked at some online property portals , looking at 4+bed houses in and around princeton, there seems to be very little choice for rental...is that covid specific, time of year or like this all the time??

Thanks for any advice..
In our town in CT which is similar to NJ the nice areas generally have less rentals available, people that can afford to live there tend to buy. Rentals tend to be more multi family units that go to the lower ranking schools in the town. The very high end areas go to the best public schools but often people still send their kids to private school (search Academy and Prep as well). I find it quite amusing because they pay much higher property taxes and then don’t use the schools. So for a standard “mini manch” the tax’s can be 25-35k and up a year and then they pay another $20k and up on school fees per kid, even our daycare and PreK bill was around $24k for 2 kids Every now and then when someone can’t sell a house you will see them put it up to rent to cover the tax’s and some of the mortgage, but they are then $7.5-$15k a month. The trick here is to research the school districts, we get great public schools paid for by other tax payers, but have a more modest house (I will go without 5 baths, a tennis court and pool to save $20k a year in tax) and let the tax payers that don’t use them subsidize my kids school. In our town there is a road where one side is one town and the other is the town next door, a similar house on the “wrong” side of the road could be half the price but you can’t send your kids to the “good” school... but if you are going to send your kids to private school you could save a lot on tax.. There are other downsides like not being able to get a permit for the nice town beaches and parks etc.

We have 2 universities in our town, lots of the student rentals are beach houses that then get rented to students for 9-10 months and used as a beach house in the summer.

As for english proficiency that could be down to english not being the first language... think Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew etc depending on the area... lots of schools have ESL teachers / aids in classes for that reason... although you also see schools (including public) catering to communities that have english as a second language.

if you are getting temp housing on arrival also be aware of school districts... in our town your can’t stay in a public school if you move after enrolling... and you would likely want to avoid a double move for kids new to the country / school...

Last edited by tht; Nov 24th 2020 at 9:59 pm.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Thanks for all the insights

Naive question - but does the property tax vary by school district or is it that the district has expensive housing and therefore the % of the property's value means you end up paying a lot per year?
Also although we would like to buy, we've been told it will take a while to build up credit and to rent initially to get to know the area before finalising a place to settle....does the property tax directly impact the tenant in any way or only if you are buying a property (apart from possibly higher rent in those areas where the tax is high)?
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Thanks for all the insights

Naive question - but does the property tax vary by school district or is it that the district has expensive housing and therefore the % of the property's value means you end up paying a lot per year?
Also although we would like to buy, we've been told it will take a while to build up credit and to rent initially to get to know the area before finalising a place to settle....does the property tax directly impact the tenant in any way or only if you are buying a property (apart from possibly higher rent in those areas where the tax is high)?
yes the higher the property taxes...the better the schools. Property taxes are included in the rental price in NJ...so of course higher rents.

Its not just schools. Such areas tend to be low crime/high policing. The village we lived in had virtually no crime...there was a very high police presence. Our prop taxes were $20K+ per year...just to give you an idea.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Nov 24th 2020 at 10:29 pm.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Thanks for all the insights

Naive question - but does the property tax vary by school district or is it that the district has expensive housing and therefore the % of the property's value means you end up paying a lot per year?
Also although we would like to buy, we've been told it will take a while to build up credit and to rent initially to get to know the area before finalising a place to settle....does the property tax directly impact the tenant in any way or only if you are buying a property (apart from possibly higher rent in those areas where the tax is high)?
Property tax is set by the city and county you live in. Rate same for all residents but the amount you pay is based on home/property value. Local government has property accessors that set a value to your property. Rents in a high property tax area will be more to cover the owners tax liability. If you can live in county near but outside city limits you only pay county property tax. Here in my area of Tennessee I pay less than $500 per year for a new house on three lots with lake view. The same property in NJ, Conn, etc could cost 20-30k per year.

Last edited by ddsrph; Nov 24th 2020 at 10:28 pm.
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Old Nov 24th 2020, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
yes the higher the property taxes...the better the schools. Property taxes are included in the rental price in NJ...so of course higher rents.

Its not just schools. Such areas tend to be low crime/high policing. The village we lived in had virtually no crime...there was a very high police presence. Our prop taxes were $20K+ per year...just to give you an idea.
there is a bit more nuance to it than that ... we have 2 high schools, 3 middle and maybe 5 or six elementary schools in our town... so you can pay $7k in property tax and go to the same schools as some one who pays $30k... it can come down to living on a specific street, they also mix areas for diversity. Although diversity here means somthing different than other places... for the tax it’s not really a straight line... a colonial with 3000 sqft can have more than double the tax of a 1500 sqft ranch with a walk out finished basement... because it counts as “below grade” but can function the same as the bigger house...

Last edited by tht; Nov 24th 2020 at 11:39 pm.
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Old Nov 25th 2020, 1:42 am
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

We have a Mt Princeton and a Hot Springs resort of that name, recommended would seem cheaper than going to private school in NJ.
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Old Nov 25th 2020, 2:10 am
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

I might be able to help. I’m living in Plainsboro at the moment and did live in Hopewell. No kids, but my boss has a few young ones and a healthy bank balance to pay any fees. He moved to Princeton from Cranbury just for the schools. I can ask him which ones are the most sought after.

Rentals do seem a bit scarce at the moment. I’m not sure why. It maybe people selling and moving into rentals. Aa one of the other posters said a lot of rentals here are multi dwelling units with apartments and townhouses. Property tax does hike up the rental price a bit as tax is over 2% of the property value. So that $750k house is paying about $18k a year in tax.Princeton traffic can be a bit of a pain, although with COVID it’s pretty quiet at the moment. So depending on where you work it maybe good to be on that side of Princeton unless you don’t mind a commute or the schools are on the other side.

Princeton is a nice place to live, I also like Hopewell. When we first came over we rented in Hamilton Township and Robinsville is ok near there. Lots of police around and always feel safe, just watch your speed in certain places. I think the only thing Plainsboro police do is traffic enforcement.









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Old Nov 25th 2020, 4:24 am
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by Chins View Post
I might be able to help. I’m living in Plainsboro at the moment and did live in Hopewell. No kids, but my boss has a few young ones and a healthy bank balance to pay any fees. He moved to Princeton from Cranbury just for the schools. I can ask him which ones are the most sought after.

Rentals do seem a bit scarce at the moment. I’m not sure why. It maybe people selling and moving into rentals. Aa one of the other posters said a lot of rentals here are multi dwelling units with apartments and townhouses. Property tax does hike up the rental price a bit as tax is over 2% of the property value. So that $750k house is paying about $18k a year in tax.Princeton traffic can be a bit of a pain, although with COVID it’s pretty quiet at the moment. So depending on where you work it maybe good to be on that side of Princeton unless you don’t mind a commute or the schools are on the other side.

Princeton is a nice place to live, I also like Hopewell. When we first came over we rented in Hamilton Township and Robinsville is ok near there. Lots of police around and always feel safe, just watch your speed in certain places. I think the only thing Plainsboro police do is traffic enforcement.
Not sure if NJ is like CT, we also pay property tax on cars we own (lease, as a charge back from owner). And there is an annual sewer tax and we have hire a private firm to pickup garbage and recycling. As a renter the OP also has to understand if they are responsible for landscaping and snow removal or if the landlord is. As others have mentioned well funded towns also have a lot of well resourced police... and full time fire houses (other towns are volunteer) the police here have nice cars... in Westport they also have Tesla’s, and when something happens they are there in low single digit minutes, they sit all over town all the time and I used to see them giving tickets everyday in the same spot when I would drive home from the train station... that’s another one, wait lists for parking spots if you commute... may have been solved by CV19....
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