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Any input on NC? Other possible re-location suggestions? Have a few requirements
Old 11-16-2009, 06:57 PM   #1
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Any input on NC? Other possible re-location suggestions? Have a few requirements

If you read the other recent post in this section, we are seriously contemplating a relocation for a variety of reasons, foremost being weather...we are in Northern Ohio and hate it.

NC has been at the top of our list, and we have visited 9and liked) the raleigh durham area. The MAIN concern for us is living within 50 miles or so of a LOT of perople, as we will be relocating 2 existing service based businesses. We are very successful in both right now, and are drawing from about 2.5 million people in a 50 mi radius.

Does somewhere between Raleigh and Greensboro seem to fit that description? Like....Burlington or thereabouts? Anyone live in that area?

We are looking for a modest home, preferably a 1500 sf ranch with basement, and over 1/2 acre of land. That is all. Schools are important too. Like to get in for under 120k. If this comes to fruition, I would not hesitate to buy a full on rehab and re-do the house before the family comes down to get a better deal.

Ideas? Input?

We'd like to be a bit closer to the coast than Raleigh, but can deal with a 3-4 hr drive...we'd prefer 2 hrs or so, but dont want to be ON the coast for fear of flooding and more severe hurricane issues.

We arent totally set on NC, but definately need to move south of where we are, and want to be within a 10-12 mile or so drive of AKRON OH.

EDIT: Oh yea, within 15 or 20 miles of a walmart would be super! i'm serious.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:21 PM   #2
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I lived in Raleigh for 8 years. I loved it a lot.

The Raleigh/Durham/Cary area had an estimated population of 1.7M in 2008. Add a few outlying towns (Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Smithfield, etc...) and you are getting close to 2M.

Personally I prefer living in an urban area and Burlington would be too isolated for my taste. You also need to worry about the quality of the schools. Wake County (Raleigh) has good schools, though they have had problems keeping up with the huge inflows of newcomers in the past. Our very nice house in Raleigh (built in 1991) was about 2,000 sq. ft. and we sold it for $200K in 2005. It was located in one of the city's top school districts. Basements might be hard to find in that area.

Raleigh is about 2 hours from the beaches.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
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I had a longer answer typed, but my flaky DSL dropped and I lost it.

I'd pick one of the Raleigh or Greensboro areas. Both are good sized, and there's not that much in between Durham and Greensboro, so it makes more sense to me to focus on one rather than inconveniently cover both.

Check out schools carefully. 120K is going to eliminate a lot of areas, especially where the better schools are, and I don't know how well NC compares to Ohio.

In the Raleigh area, check out Garner (east of Raleigh, towards the beach) or maybe Fuquay-Varina or Holly Springs (might be priced out now, since I've been away for 9 years). I don't know Greensboro.

If you want to try for something in between, check out Chatham county.

I don't think Charlotte is much further from the beach, instead of going across NC, the shortest way is through SC.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:12 PM   #4
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Raleigh is much better than Greensboro, IMO. Greensboro is kinda grimmy. sorry, just my oh so humble opinion!! Don't mean to offend anyone!

If you like NC I would suggest either Charlotte or Raleigh. However, housing prices are are going to be a bit of a shock to you. Not nearly as cheap as Ohio. Unless you are willing to live in the country a bit. I live 20 miles south of Raleigh, in Johnston county. Am just 1 mile off of I-40, and a 30 minute commute into town. Houses here about 1500sf on a half an acre or so are about $150,000 and up unless you want either a really basic starter home or an older farm home and all that that entails.

The closer you get to Raleigh the more the price goes up unless you are willing to live in the bad sections of town.

I can be at the beach in 90 minutes, but not much of a beach lover so hardly ever go. Wal-marts are everywhere here, mostly the super variety.

Oh, and basements may be hard to find in this area.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:02 PM   #5
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And if you find one with a basement, check for leak problems. Between the soil and the lack of builder experience with them, a lot of the basements are damp.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:03 AM   #6
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Finding a house like that for 150K will be difficult in Raleigh area in good neighborhood. Although, as you stated you might find a fixer upper.

I agree with JustMeUC, I'd focus on Raleigh area before Greensboro, better school system, closer to coast (it's only 2 hours from Raleigh to Wrightsville Beach). To find a house in your price range may require you to get further away from Raleigh area which puts you in less populated areas.

Burlington (it has a WalMart Super Center) is about an hour from Raleigh and half hour from Greensboro. It was a mill town until the 70's and then an outlet center. Most people I know that live there work in Greensboro or Research Triangle Park (near Durham). School system is okay but not as good as Raleigh. I can find out more if you want, just PM me.

What was your time frame?
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:14 AM   #7
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Finding a house like that for 150K will be difficult in Raleigh area in good neighborhood. Although, as you stated you might find a fixer upper.

I agree with JustMeUC, I'd focus on Raleigh area before Greensboro, better school system, closer to coast (it's only 2 hours from Raleigh to Wrightsville Beach). To find a house in your price range may require you to get further away from Raleigh area which puts you in less populated areas.

Burlington (it has a WalMart Super Center) is about an hour from Raleigh and half hour from Greensboro. It was a mill town until the 70's and then an outlet center. Most people I know that live there work in Greensboro or Research Triangle Park (near Durham). School system is okay but not as good as Raleigh. I can find out more if you want, just PM me.

What was your time frame?
we've got a while, actually...5-7 years. At this point, I will have paid off our primary residence as well as 4 rental properties. At that point I hope to liquidate them all and start buying some rentals down there.



For the record, we prefer to be a bit isolated...but it's not a must. We live in a neighborhood now, but are lucky to have 400 acres behind us and we are only 4 or 5 miles from downtown. Very unique.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:25 AM   #8
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Out of curiosity, do most of the homes in Raleigh have central HVAC systems? I am a duct cleaner, so I need to know!
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:29 AM   #9
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Most of the homes in the Raleigh area are fairly new, so I would think that the vast majority of homes has central HVAC.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:47 AM   #10
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what 'kind' of area is durham compared to raleigh?
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:55 AM   #11
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I grew up in Raleigh (Cary actually) so I know quite a bit about the area. Yes, virtually all homes built in the last few decades have central HVAC w/ ducts. And most homes in Raleigh were built in the last few decades due to it's high growth rate.

I agree with the sentiments re: pick a city/metro area. Burlington isn't bad and house prices may be a little cheaper, but if you want to be more centrally located to large population centers (and run your biz's out of your house), you are a good drive to most of Greensboro or Raleigh from Burlington. Mebane is another little city along the I-40 corridor that is between Raleigh and G'boro yet still fairly affordable. We have some friends in Mebane that commute to UNC Chapel Hill and RTP for work/school and it is as convenient as living in Raleigh or parts of Durham.

You like basketball, so if you move here, you must select either UNC or Duke as your team and then hate the other one. Seriously, excellent college hoops (tobacco road they call it).

Beach is very convenient. Day trips are easy since I-40 takes you under 2 hrs to get to Wilmington, and then you have a large variety of beaches within another 15-45 minutes from Wilmington.

$120k will probably get you a modest 1500 sf house on a little less than 1/2 acre either in a marginal neighborhood in the city, or 1/2 ac or more out in the country. Probably won't be the nicest and may be a bit of a fixer upper but that suits you well. There are plenty of 2-3 br townhomes very close in to town near me that sell for just over $100,000, but some might describe the area as marginal (I call the area "home"). I know our neighborhood has some 1400-1500 sf ranch houses built in the 1960's on 0.25-0.33 acres, and I have seen them go for roughly $120-130k, but they may have dated kitchens, bathrooms etc. Schools are tricky. Up to this year we had a fairly easy way to get out of bad school districts without moving: magnet schools. A brand new school board was just elected that may destroy our magnet school program and socioeconomic based districting in the name of establishing "neighborhood schools". Which means you may not want to live in a neighborhood w/ $120k houses depending on what happens. All of this could change in the next 5-7 years though.

Re rentals - cashflowing properties is doable, particularly if you are your own maintenance man. I'd avoid the slumlord hood properties that sell for $30-50k and rent for $500/mo because you will get the tenants from hell (personal experience helping FIL w/ 10 or so slumlord units). I'd be looking at the $100,000 single family houses or a decent set of multifamily duplexes, quads, or 8-12 unit buildings.

As some have mentioned, there are cheaper areas to live if you don't mind driving a bit. Communities such as Clayton or Johnston County, Knightdale/Wendell/Zebulon, or Garner. These have either lower land values or older housing stock that make finding the $120k house more likely.

Regarding walmarts - there are plenty. We live within roughly 2-3 miles of 2 superwalmarts, and there are probably a dozen within 20-25 minutes from here. Unless you move way out in the boonies, you'll probably meet your walmart constraint.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:58 AM   #12
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what 'kind' of area is durham compared to raleigh?
New Durham is nice but can be expensive. That is the part near Research Triangle Park (IBM, Cisco, big pharma, big tech, etc) south of I-40. Some other parts of durham are nice.

Big chunks of durham city and county are tha hood as in I would not want to walk there during the daytime. There aren't a lot of areas in Raleigh where I get that vibe (southeast raleigh excepted).

Durham schools have some serious issues vs. Raleigh/Wake county schools.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:04 AM   #13
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By the way, the big driver of the RDU economy is the Research Triangle Park. Proximity to RTP = house prices go up the closer you get generally speaking. Take my house in Raleigh and put it in Cary and you add probably 30% to the price tag (my house and my parents house are identical, other than one is in Raleigh and one in Cary - same size, same layout, same lot, same year of construction etc).
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:21 AM   #14
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By the way, the big driver of the RDU economy is the Research Triangle Park. Proximity to RTP = house prices go up the closer you get generally speaking. Take my house in Raleigh and put it in Cary and you add probably 30% to the price tag (my house and my parents house are identical, other than one is in Raleigh and one in Cary - same size, same layout, same lot, same year of construction etc).
funny you say this. I was just going to ask...wtf is an RTP? all the listings say thing slike 'close to i540 and rtp' or something to that effect

thanks!
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:29 AM   #15
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I-540 is the "new" 10 year old beltway around Raleigh. The northeastern portion comes close to Durham. The western and southwestern sections (south of I-40) will be toll roads in a few years (still under construction). I-540 leads you basically straight into RTP from N Raleigh, and it is easy to get all over N Raleigh using 540, hence the mentioning it in the listings.

Yes, RTP is full of very high paying jobs (tech and medical/biotech/pharma mostly).
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:31 AM   #16
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The other funny thing you will see is "ITB" or "Inside the Beltline" which refers to being inside the I-440 beltway around Raleigh. ITB listings usually carry a nice premium vs. outside the beltline listings just a few miles away. Unless those ITB listings are in the hood. Then they may or may not carry a premium.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:32 AM   #17
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Durham has some really nice areas... but I don't know it well enough to tell you where they are and since I don't, I don't go to Durham after dark. It can be a scary place!

My family has been farming near the Wake/Johnson line (called 40/42) for 150 years so I have a lot of roots here. It's actually a good area with slightly lower land prices. Lots of subdivisions popping up everywhere yet still some wide open fields from farmers who haven't sold out (yet). But still a short easy commute into Raleigh.

Also, the Wake Forest Area is similar. Lots of growth yet farmland around.

Cary, overpriced and full of transplants. You won't hear any southern drawls spoken there, LOL

I assume you have visited? If not, head down for a few days and just drive around and get a feel for the place.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #18
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RTP - Research Triangle Park
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:01 AM   #19
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This is only my opinion:

Durham can be rough around the edges. Cary is a suburban heaven/hell depending on your point of view. Chapel Hill is a hip college town. Raleigh is cosmopolitan and offers plenty of variety. If you like to be a bit more secluded, you should look at Carrboro, Pittsboro, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Mebane, Clayton, Hillsborough, Wake Forest or any of the outlying towns around the triangle area (the "triangle" is the area sandwiched between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. It is centered around RTP which a huge hub for research and industry).
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:11 AM   #20
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Cross Chapel Hill off your list, and probably Carrboro. You will never find a single family house for $120,000, not even a crack house. Unless things have gotten cheaper since 2001 when I was last looking up there! The crack house was $125000. We declined to purchase it. Although the convenience of having drugs and prostitutes delivered to your front door was quite tempting.
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