With tighter inventory and increased demand, some areas of New Jersey are more challenging for homebuyers to navigate than others. But one Morris County township that has always been a desirable destination for buyers is experiencing a particularly challenging market, especially when it comes to finding affordable homes.
Ryan Vanderhoef and his wife, Lauren, were lucky when they stumbled upon a three-bedroom split-level in a desirable neighborhood for less than $500,000 in the township of Whippany. The home was within a mile of her teaching job at Hanover Park High School, and a short drive from Progressive Gardens, the family’s garden center and landscaping business in nearby Cedar Knolls.
But the house came with a downside: pests. A swarm of termites invaded, and the couple had to call in experts to deal with them. In addition to the cost, the termite problem caused extensive damage to their property. The termites had even sunk into their foundation and ruined some of the walls of their house. The termites spread to the rest of the house, and the infestation required a full-scale extermination by a licensed professional.
When the termites were gone, so was the problem. But the Vanderhoefs still had another concern: a rat infestation in their basement. The critters had burrowed through the basement walls, causing a significant amount of damage, and made their way to the attic. It took a few months of extermination and repair before the rodents were finally gone.
Whippany is a small suburb of about 15,000 people and is located along the banks of the Whippany River. Its name is derived from the native word Whippanong, meaning “place of the willows,” a reference to the trees growing along the river. Its schools are highly rated, and its property taxes are among the lowest in the state.
Located about 30 miles from New York City, the community has a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s also close to the convenience culture of downtown Morristown and the New Jersey Transit train station that offers service to midtown Manhattan.
The township is divided into the villages of Whippany and Cedar Knolls, as well as the unincorporated communities of Countrywood and Trailwood. Its 10.8-square-mile area includes a portion of the Ramapo Mountains and the Morris Canal.
There are also several museums and parks in the township. The Whippany Railway Museum is a popular attraction for families with its real train rides. The 1718 Whippany Burying Yard, the oldest cemetery in Morris County, has gravestones of Revolutionary War soldiers and other historic figures. The township has a library and numerous restaurants, including il Capriccio, which serves flying meatballs and veal ossobucco.
The township has several schools, including the High School of the Arts and the Middle School of the Arts. There are also a number of churches and a Jewish community center. The township is also known for its low crime rate and high employment opportunities.