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Old 04-20-2011, 11:34 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,385 times
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Hi ya'all!

I've been browsing this forum for some time and it's been helping me to narrow down my job selections. I "may" have a potential offer coming from a company about 30 minutes north of Charlotte. I hope to be down there next week to visit the area. Not knowing anybody from Charlotte, I need some suggestions on possible places to live so that I can look around while on-site. I'll likely have temp housing for a few months while I try to sell my house in Wisconsin (praying), then will be looking for something a little more permanent. I'll likely stick to condos/apartments for now; I don't generally like to purchase a home until I know the area better and I'm assured that the job market is stable (not like in WI right now).

1) single engineer (32 year old guy) and an 88lb greyhound. He usually blows away apartment complexes weight allowances so how lenient are they? He's definitely non-aggressive, but looks imposing due to height and musculature. I'd be looking for a 2 bed / 1-2 bath place for under $900 per month. Doable? (the 2nd bedroom would house the gym currently in my garage) Due to the pooch I'm not looking to share space.

2) prevalence of garages at apartment complexes? I'd like a single car garage at least for all of my tools and motorcycles. Or is it sounding more like I need to look at a house rental? Or rent storage space? I'm coming from a 4-bed / 2 bath house with a 2.5 car garage / workshop. I like to tinker if you can't tell.

3) I want to keep the commute under 30 minutes, but also want to be downtown under 30 minutes. The closer I am to Troutman the better as I'd like to let the pooch out at lunch. Any places north of the city I might want to look at? Or do I locate closer to work and take a longer drive in to Charlotte? I'm from Pittsburgh originally, so a 30 minute drive to the gym and downtown to the bar district were common for me. I'm not a big drinker anyways so the late night drives don't bother me. And to be honest, I prefer suburbia to being an urban dweller.

4) Dog parks with fenced in run spaces. What's available? My pooch needs to stretch out at least once a week. He's an odd greyhound in that he'll also run and play with other breeds (greyhounds can be a little racist). He loves my parents' welsh corgi.

5) Any pitfalls to watch out for in the area? I know all about the north/south bias having done my undergrad in VA. I've lived in PA, VA, & WI, so I'm used to making friends in new areas. For instance, how 'bout personal property taxes? I have two vehicles and a few motorcycles that I may need to register. How expensive is that in the market? Best to limit registration or downplay value on said items?

6) Random question. Anybody who trains in the MMA or martial arts circuit, can you recommend a good BJJ and/or muay thai gym in the area north of Charlotte? I'd like to get back into rolling on a regular basis. Aggressive judo or russian sambo schools would also be fine.

7) Sprint, Verizon, etc.? I'm running to the end of my plan (w/ Sprint) and am curious if any providers are particularly problematic in the area. For instance, US Cellular is excellent in the Madison, WI area but stinks the further out you go. When I was in DC, Sprint was spotty in some areas and Verizon was king. Anybody I should definitely consider or definitely shy away from?

Thanks to all for any help you can offer! And sorry for the long post!
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,428 posts, read 9,249,598 times
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I'm just a regular guy and a renter in the area, so I can only say what I know or perceive.

A 2BR/2BA apartment with an attached garage should be doable for that 900-1000 a month range. You will, of course, pay for all of your utilities and services, although some complexes offer free cable TV. Almost all complexes offer garages. I have a 1BR/1BA apartment in Huntersville (I-77 Exit 23) that I pay $858 a month for rent, and an additional $100 a month for a detached garage. I've seen nothing in the lease concerning the size of a dog, only restrictions on certain aggressive breeds.

There are, of course, tons of storage garages you can lease of all sorts of different sizes, both inside and outside. If you're interested, there are also garages in this area you can buy (similar to buying a condo) if you want to consider that option.

I have Verizon because it's always worked better around the lake area than other carriers, especially AT&T. I believe Sprint is OK as well.

There are enclosed dog parks in the area. The one I'm familiar with is at Ramsey Park in Cornelius, but I'm sure there must be others if you just check with the Parks and Rec web page for the town you end up living in.

Personal property taxes are based on blue book values.

You can use the distance between highway exits to estimate mileage between points. Troutman is off of I-77 exits 45 and 42. Mooresville is exits 36, 33, and 32. Davidson is exit 30. Cornelius is exit 28. Huntersville is exits 25 and 23. Charlotte starts around exit 18 and goes all the way down to exit 1 at the SC border. You usually go to uptown (downtown) Charlotte from exit 11. So, for example, for me at exit 23, it's about 12 miles to uptown (23-11). From Troutman it would be about 34 (45-11) miles.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
2,149 posts, read 2,623,052 times
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So what town in your job located in? You mentioned wanting to only be 30 minutes from downtown (they call it uptown in Charlotte) so depending on when you are doing your commute 30 minutes could be doable or impossible. From Troutman to uptown is not doable in 30 minutes during normal commuting hours (7-8am & 5-6pm) and would be a rush at other times likely.

Let us know where your job is located and we can probably help out a little more.

I use Verizon as well and find it's got great reception. Tried Sprint and wasn't personally impressed in this area.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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I agree the commute times are underestimated. I would say at least an hour on heavy traffic days to be safe. There have been several days lately that the commute was much longer.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:53 PM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,792,821 times
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There is a very nice dog park at the Ramsey Creek county park and boat access area. This is off Exit 28 on I-77 (Cornelius).

Troutman is a longer than 30 minute drive to uptown. During commuting hours it can easily take an hour to make that trip because I-77 is so overloaded. So, given your requirements, your best bet for location will be in Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. In these places there are plenty of options for apartments and this is Lake Norman so plenty of things to do on and around the lake.

If you move here then the law says you have to register your vehicles here. You can decide if that means anything to you. However in order to register here, you will have to pay the one time NC highway Use Tax of 3% on the sales price (not what it is worth now) of each vehicle. There are some conditions on getting this tax waived depending upon you having paid a similar tax where the vehicles were purchased. Once it is registered, then the local county and city will impose property taxes each year on the present value of the vehicle. This amount will vary depending upon where you live. There is also a yearly inspection required.

Don't worry about the North/South thing. People have too many other problems to be worried about that these days and for that matter nobody that lives here is from here anyway.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,428 posts, read 9,249,598 times
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Where in the original post did it say anything about commuting to uptown? Unless I missed something, I thought that the job is somewhere around Troutman.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
2,149 posts, read 2,623,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
Where in the original post did it say anything about commuting to uptown? Unless I missed something, I thought that the job is somewhere around Troutman.
Here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by triple_z View Post
Hi ya'all!

3) I want to keep the commute under 30 minutes, but also want to be downtown under 30 minutes. The closer I am to Troutman the better as I'd like to let the pooch out at lunch.
Yeah, I'm not sure if the job is in Troutman or uptown. Hopefully he can come back and clarify for us.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:06 AM
 
5 posts, read 6,385 times
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Thanks to all for your comments. Looks like I'm flying out next Thursday so I'll probably do a bit of driving around Thursday night and Friday evening before heading back on Saturday.

The job is located in Troutman. From what I can see regarding the size of the town, you can likely guess the potential employer. They advertise the plant being 25 minutes north of Charlotte, but it sounds like 45 minutes is a good estimate at a non-commuting time, moreso during peak hours. I will definitely check into the areas mentioned. My theory was that by living midway between Troutman and Charlotte, I would be traveling against the tide so to speak. Drive north during morning rush hour and south during evening rush hour. It's like driving in DC or Chicago. If you're traveling to the outskirts during the morning hours and back in during the evening hours, traffic flow is usually nicer. Maybe that's not the case in Charlotte.

As to dogs in apartments, we have many up here that not only limit aggressive breeds, but they also limit the size of the dog to 50#. You see that less in the suburbs, but it's more prevalent the closer you get to Madison or Milwaukee.

And I've never heard of being able to buy a garage by itself...definitely not something you see in WI. Although frankly, I could just as easily build a small apartment in a garage and have the open area for my stuff. Call it the Clive Cussler syndrome (I always wanted an old fire station though, not an airplane hangar).

I'll have to look at the DMV website regarding inspections as in Wisconsin we don't have to undergo inspections for emissions, etc. It's really nice actually...and quite a bit cheaper if you're not shelling out a couple hundred bucks per vehicle per year! I remember those days in PA. I will definitely look into that one-time 3% fee...excuse me if that isn't a crap deal!
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:56 PM
 
94 posts, read 217,075 times
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Troutman is just north of Mooresville, I actually think of it as part of Mooresville, but anyway..... When we first moved here we stayed at Abberly Green apt. located on the old Charlotte Hwy between exits 33 and 36. The public golf course is located behind the apts. They were nice and allowed dogs. They had dog play areas and places for your dog to do his business. We had a 65 pound basset hound and a 15 pound westie.... no issues. They have the doggie bag areas located all over the grounds. Here is the link: 786 SQ FT to 1376 SQ FT Apartments in Mooresville, NC

Also, right down the street was Pampered Pets Inn Pampered Pets Inn, Mooresville, NC.... If we needed to board or just let the dogs get out of the apt we brought them here. And they loved it... It is a playground for dogs and they have an area for just the big dogs.... They let them play for 2 hours at a time and bring them in airconditioned suites to rest then back out to play for supervised playtime. Our dogs loved going there. And it prevented the "cabin fever" apt life..
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Mooresville, NC
2,149 posts, read 2,623,052 times
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If your job is located in Troutman I'd seriously consider Mooresville versus uptown Charlotte for your home. There are PLENTY of apartments in Mooresville and the commute to Troutman is very easy and very doable to go home at lunch and let the pooch out. Although, like you said, you'd be going the opposite way of much of the traffic by going into Troutman in the mornings you would find that going south on 77 is going to suck regardless. There is just too much traffic for the 2 lanes between exits 33 and 23 to handle and traffic crawls on many days.

Living in Mooresville eliminates that and Uptown is a short drive away when you feel the need to check it out. Good luck!
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