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Move to Princeton

Move to Princeton

Old Nov 25th 2020, 9:40 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

No property tax here in NJ on cars. On top of my rent I paid utilities but garbage was included. I was also responsible for landscaping and snow removal. Landlord may have a contract with a company and it’s not cheap in Princeton if it snows and you have a lot of sidewalk to clear. It’s a legal requirement in NJ. It’s a good way to meet the neighbours if not.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 4:03 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 .
Hi Chins, that would be great- we've seen Princeton Charter school listed as an excellent elementary school, but looks like you enter a lottery to get in! Also Littlebrook and Riverside mentioned... The private school that seems to come up is Princeton day school but has mixed reviews...

problem with relying on a public school (it seems), despite the fact they are good and free, is that you have to live within a tight boundary nearby- but given the lack of available rentals, it seems like finding a needle in a haystack to select a good school and then also find a rental house in that area all at the same time..!

Other nearby areas that we have been recommended are Montgomery, Skillman, Hopewell, Pennington and West Windsor and Plainsborough.....
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Old Nov 27th 2020, 12:57 am
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Checked with my boss, he sends his kids to Princeton Day School, but at $32k per year its not cheap ! He also mentions that Chapin is a good private school. I think you have hit the nail on the head with the public schools and catchment issues. Bit like grammar schools in England.

A lot of the places you mention are very spread out, yes this is the USA. Montgomery and Skillman to me are pretty much the same place. Used to drive through both on the way home everyday to Hopewell. Never feels like there is a centre to them. Hopewell is closer to what you would consider a large village with a nice centre and a few places to eat. You can also see a couple of Union Jacks around the place so i think a few expats have made it home. There is also Rocky Hill, but that to me also merges into Montgomery. Pennington is that bit bigger but again there doesnt seem to be a defined centre, but i may just of missed it. Plainboro does have a centre but its just good for fast food and an Indian. Unless you live off Asian food (three Asian supermarkets here) then you have to leave Plainsboro to go to the likes of Wegman's, Whole Foods or Trader Joes which are all on the 1. They all make Waitrose look cheap. Plainsboro and West Windsor are very good for access to Princeton and all the grocery stores, cinema and restaurants just off the 1. If you have to travel in to NYC then you also have Princeton Junction close by.
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Old Nov 27th 2020, 11:18 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Thanks Chins and all - yes I think we may have to accept whatever we can get accommodation wise and then work backwards from there in term of local school or the private one - heard lots about Princeton Day School, not cheap but may not have a huge amount of choice...
Also acclimatising to the fact that most of these places don't seem to have a central hub, like we would have here...e.g. local town/village high street in walking distance....2 cars will be essential, idle meandering buggy walks for a coffee with mums doesn't sound like the done thing...!

Add to this some tax advice we were given today saying that if we rent out our current residential house when we relocate, US will tax any currency effects on the capital part of the mortgage repayment as if you have made a gain, when in reality there is none, and it makes the whole relocation offer seem more daunting and less exciting that it first was when I got the job offer!! But I am sure it will feel a bit more positive again once we have a better idea on where we will end up and get a deeper understanding of the school options!
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 4:18 am
  #20  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

I was there for part of a former life. Definitely not for me anymore, but Princeton itself is lovely.
If you don't want to/can't afford to be in Princeton itself, you also have places like East Windsor, West Windsor, Hightstown, and Princeton Junction which are very close by but cheaper.
You are correct on the central hub thing. Unless you count strip malls I guess.
Also worth noting for travel stuff, that Princeton itself isn't on the NE NJ transit/Amtrak line... it's a little dinky train from princeton itself to princeton junction, which is where the mainline station is. From there you can go direct to Newark airport airtrain, NYC & Boston in one direction, and to Philadephia, Baltimore, and DC in the other.
You are also near the turnpike which is handy.
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 1:39 pm
  #21  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Thanks Chins and all - yes I think we may have to accept whatever we can get accommodation wise and then work backwards from there in term of local school or the private one - heard lots about Princeton Day School, not cheap but may not have a huge amount of choice...
Also acclimatising to the fact that most of these places don't seem to have a central hub, like we would have here...e.g. local town/village high street in walking distance....2 cars will be essential, idle meandering buggy walks for a coffee with mums doesn't sound like the done thing...!

Add to this some tax advice we were given today saying that if we rent out our current residential house when we relocate, US will tax any currency effects on the capital part of the mortgage repayment as if you have made a gain, when in reality there is none, and it makes the whole relocation offer seem more daunting and less exciting that it first was when I got the job offer!! But I am sure it will feel a bit more positive again once we have a better idea on where we will end up and get a deeper understanding of the school options!
I moved as a single in my early 30’s and had the same issues in NYC, no local credit so I had issues getting the apt I wanted. Even with a letter from my employer guaranteeing the lease they wanted a personal guarantor or a years rent, plus security upfront. I ended up taking a short term rental (paid 3 months, plus a month security) and kept extending for another 18 months till I brought an apartment. If you plan to stay for at least a few years I would recommend researching some of the threads here to understand how to optimize your credit in the quickest time possible... I hand HSBC Premier and was able to to get a bank account, unsecured credit card and checkbook day 1 before I had my SSN. Other banks offer similar for expats, but worth seeing if your current bank can do it for you.

If there is a chance you may stay for more than 2-3 year and become a PR and remain long term definitely understand the tax implications of things like owning a house, ISA’s pensions etc as you can optimize your situation before you become a “US person” from an IRS perspective, which is totally separate to immigration in almost all situations.

Last edited by tht; Nov 28th 2020 at 2:33 pm.
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 2:32 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by tht View Post
I moved as a single in my early 30’s and had the same issues in NYC, no local credit so I had issues getting the apt I wanted. Even with a letter from my employer guaranteeing the lease they wanted a personal guarantor or a years rent, plus security upfront. I ended up taking a short term rental (paid 3 months, plus a month security) and kept extending for another 18 months till I brought an apartment. If you plan to stay for at least a few years I would recommend researching some of the threads here to understand how to optimize your credit in the quickest time possible... I hand HSBC Premier and was able to to get a bank account, unsecured credit card and checkbook day 1 before I had my SSN. Other banks offer similar for expats, but worth seeing if your current bank can do it for you.
We moved to NJ in 1996. A letter from my husband’s company and we were accepted for a 12 month lease on an apartment, opened a bank account, cheque book etc. I suppose things may have changed since then.
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 2:40 pm
  #23  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
We moved to NJ in 1996. A letter from my husband’s company and we were accepted for a 12 month lease on an apartment, opened a bank account, cheque book etc. I suppose things may have changed since then.
Agree neither of our advice is likely accurate. The OP needs someone who has done this recently (6-12 months) and in the area they are looking in as all markets are different. With CV-19 I assume it’s much easier to rent an apt in the city and much harder in the burbs as landlords will have multiple tenants for every available property if it’s anything like the sales maker out here in CT.

I was in 2010, it was also a smaller LLC, revenue was only in the $100’s of millions a year, I am sure larger listed companies may be looked at differently. Another option I found and would offer myself now (as a landlord) is this service: https://www.insurent.com
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Add to this some tax advice we were given today saying that if we rent out our current residential house when we relocate, US will tax any currency effects on the capital part of the mortgage repayment as if you have made a gain, when in reality there is none, and it makes the whole relocation offer seem more daunting and less exciting that it first was when I got the job offer!!
Is this a permanent move, or just for a year or three? If the latter, it may be worth asking if your company offers 'tax equalisation' as part of the relocation deal. It's something my husband's company offers on all assignments abroad as part of the expat/relocation deal, essentially they work out what tax you would have paid in the UK and make sure you don't pay anymore in the host country, so you won't be worse off.
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by tht View Post
. I hand HSBC Premier and was able to to get a bank account, unsecured credit card and checkbook day 1 before I had my SSN. Other banks offer similar for expats, but worth seeing if your current bank can do it for you.
.
+1 to HSBC if possible, I was introduced to them by my company and opened a UK current account with them 5 months before moving, and had a US Credit Card, Savings and Checking account 3 months before even flying to the US (before I even had a Visa). They only report to one of the credit agencies though in US, so if possible combine with AmEx as they report to the other one (I believe they also let you open a credit card based on a UK card's history if you have an existing account).
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by postbox134 View Post
+1 to HSBC if possible, I was introduced to them by my company and opened a UK current account with them 5 months before moving, and had a US Credit Card, Savings and Checking account 3 months before even flying to the US (before I even had a Visa). They only report to one of the credit agencies though in US, so if possible combine with AmEx as they report to the other one (I believe they also let you open a credit card based on a UK card's history if you have an existing account).
great advice, get credit lines with all 3 agencies ASAP, Google other forum that talk about credit to figure out what a card reports to in your specific state, some vary by state. Also one downside to HSBC is they have been closing branches again. They closed every branch in CT, and if it’s your only bank the 3 main issues are getting cashiers checks when you are buying property and vehicles, getting cash above the ATM limit (for contractors, if you want the best price), and paying in checks above the max online app limit ($10k for a single check I think).... and checks are still a thing here as your will quickly learn...
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Old Nov 28th 2020, 10:36 pm
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Thanks all for the tips on credit - the company relocation agent is advising that they will put us in touch with credit lenders familiar with working with expats with no credit rating and also refer to a company called 'jasper' to start building credit from day 1 of arrival - probably will involve opening accounts with HSBC etc as some of you have suggested....but you are dead right, just been on HSBC website and you can open an International Account in the USA before you arrive but need a UK Premier Account and that will need me to transfer from my current Nationwide account....

It is technically a permanent move on a local contract rather than a true expat temporary assignment, although at this stage we are not planning to stay longer than 2-3years but you never know once we get there we may end up staying for longer....so the tax equalisation thing is probably not their problem, I guess, because we are choosing to keep our property in the UK rented rather than selling....bit too late to negotiate it in now, because I accepted the offer and then just had the tax consult the other day - but will work out how big an impact there is, and if it is significant, will need to bring it back to the table....

Looking online, even when we expand our search to other adjacent areas like East Windsor, West Windsor and Princeton Junction, there is very limited housing stock - hopefully this will change in the new year, but I will be working in Princeton, so wondering whether there are any other nice areas in NJ or on border of Philadelphia suburbs that have top schools and within 30-40minute commute to Princeton, that we should be expanding our relocation search to? Currently we live in Gerrards Cross/Chalfonts area of Buckinghamshire, so if anyone knows this area, and knows places in NJ/Philly suburbs that are even slightly similar, it would be great to know....right now we are still completely in the dark about all these possible areas, despite looking up the internet left right and centre..!!
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Old Nov 29th 2020, 3:52 pm
  #28  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
It is technically a permanent move on a local contract rather than a true expat temporary assignment, although at this stage we are not planning to stay longer than 2-3years but you never know once we get there we may end up staying for longer....so the tax equalisation thing is probably not their problem.!!
I don't understand this sentence. What visa is your husband being sent to the US on? And why do you consider true expats temporary assignment.
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Old Nov 29th 2020, 4:01 pm
  #29  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Sounds like an EB Immigrant Visa?
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Old Nov 29th 2020, 6:57 pm
  #30  
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Default Re: Move to Princeton

Originally Posted by plastics View Post
Looking online, even when we expand our search to other adjacent areas like East Windsor, West Windsor and Princeton Junction, there is very limited housing stock - hopefully this will change in the new year, but I will be working in Princeton, so wondering whether there are any other nice areas in NJ or on border of Philadelphia suburbs that have top schools and within 30-40minute commute to Princeton, that we should be expanding our relocation search to? Currently we live in Gerrards Cross/Chalfonts area of Buckinghamshire, so if anyone knows this area, and knows places in NJ/Philly suburbs that are even slightly similar, it would be great to know....right now we are still completely in the dark about all these possible areas, despite looking up the internet left right and centre..!!
I lived just outside New Hope in the late '80s. Commuted to Princeton every day. It wasn't too bad, except when it started snowing mid-afternoon, and a 30 minute drive home became 2+ hours in some cases. New Hope is in Bucks County, a very scenic area on the Delaware River. Lots of restaurants, etc., but even back then it got very busy at weekends. If I had to move back to the East Coast, Bucks County would be high on the list.
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