Looking for a home in Montclair, New Jersey, can be a lot of fun or it can be quite challenging – a lot of it has to do on your budget and your expectations. Town Hopper Tours recently spoke with Gary Martin, Sales Associate at Halstead Property NJ’s Rhodes Van Note Group. Gary says the real trick for people who want to see the greatest gain or lowest price tag, is to know where to look.
“A lot of people don’t know about the South End of Montclair,” says Gary. “They have friends who’ve said ‘stick with Upper Montclair Village, the estate section, Watchung Plaza, Walnut Street’ but the truth is if you want to stretch what you can get for your dollar, you should check out the South End.”
South of Bloomfield Avenue, the South End is nestled by Glen Ridge and West Orange. The area offers the lowest taxes within Montclair and still allows parents their choice of elementary school (In Montclair parents and students choose the schools they are most interested in and then enter into a lottery system to assign each child a school track. Where you live in Montclair does not determine where you will go to school).
Colonials, Victorians, craftsmen, split-level, and late 19th century farmhouses make up the South End. Homes here can start in the high $300Ks/early $400Ks, compared to the upper $700Ks elsewhere in town.
“We’re not anywhere near walkable hotspots of Montclair. If you can deal with getting in your car and driving about 5-to-10 minutes then this is definitely the value section,” says Gary, whose lived in the South End with his wife and children for at least a dozen years. “We’ve got larger lots and lower taxes. The difference is a few of these homes are not turnkey. A few need to be brought into 2016 but if you’re willing to put your stamp on it, it’s the most budget-friendly area available and a great place for first-time home buyers.”
The South End is the type of neighborhood where the kids run down the street to play at each others houses, and you see lots of joggers, dog-walkers, and cyclists. A 4-bedroom, 2-bath home with a big back yard could run you $475K-$499K in the South End, says Gary, whereas the same home in Upper Montclair would start at $675K, have a smaller plot, and would likely go into a bidding war.
So, what streets should you look for in listings? Take a peek at: High Street, Pleasant Avenue, Linden Avenue, Madison Avenue, Franklin Place, and Grenada Place, he says. “It’s definitely worth checking out.”
Alphabetical list of resources in this blog post: