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Thread summary:

Charlotte: housing, apartments, safety, fixer uppers, realtor, relocation company, house hunting.

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Old 06-14-2008, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Tega Cay
56 posts, read 154,223 times
Reputation: 34

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Hello!

My family is relocating to Charlotte from Minneapolis / St. Paul in July (wow, it's hard to believe I'm even typing this), and I'm researching areas that might be good targets. We would like to stay under 300k - we could afford more if necessary, but it seems like there's just a ton of nice stuff to choose from in that price range in Charlotte (things that are comparable to 350-400+ in the Twin Cities).

Really, I'm most concerned with two things.

First, my wife will be home with the baby during the day while I'm at work. And there's a possibility that I may have to make an occasional out of town trip, leaving her home alone. So a safe area is a big concern for us. And I've discovered that's a really hard thing for me to determine from 1200 miles away, over the net So I'm relying on the opinions of people who really know the area.

Second, the commute. I'd like to cap my commute at 30-40 minutes if possible. (less would be great!).

The River Hills community looks interesting - in that it's gated (and presumably pretty safe?), and about 20 miles from downtown. I don't know how that translates commute-wise, though. Being from Minnesota, we like the idea of being near a lake - though it's not a must. The houses are older, but I'm pretty handy, and would enjoy something I could put some sweat into to build some equity. But one thing we were wondering is there was any sort of stigma attached to living there. We were given an area tour by a company realtor, and he seemed to want to steer me away from River Hills, and into South Charlotte. I'm wondering why.

South Charlotte looks really nice. Not much in the way of fixer-uppers, as everything seems pretty much brand new. Ballantyne looked great, but looking at the crime map, it looks like it might have some issues? Seems there's a number of home invasions in the area, etc. Again, this is just from things I've found on the net. But with my wife staying home alone with the baby in an area we're not at all familiar with, I'm being extra (ok, perhaps even too) cautious.

I'd also be open to other directions (north or east Charlotte), if they fit the criteria. I don't have my heart set on anywhere in particular. Just want to find something quiet with a decent commute. I really think the best way for me to find the right place is to trust the opinion of people who live there and know the area. I'd appreciate any input you guys would have to offer.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Lake Wylie, SC
622 posts, read 1,587,377 times
Reputation: 475
Default River Hills

"The River Hills community looks interesting - in that it's gated (and presumably pretty safe?), and about 20 miles from downtown. I don't know how that translates commute-wise, though. Being from Minnesota, we like the idea of being near a lake - though it's not a must. The houses are older, but I'm pretty handy, and would enjoy something I could put some sweat into to build some equity. But one thing we were wondering is there was any sort of stigma attached to living there. We were given an area tour by a company realtor, and he seemed to want to steer me away from River Hills, and into South Charlotte. I'm wondering why."

River Hills is a very unique community and is not readily understood by realtors from out of the area. Those of us that know the area (myself, and over 25 other realtors that live in River Hills) fully understand the benefits of the community. It is one of the few communities that offer a marina, country club, lake access, and many activities for all ages.

Some of the houses need updating, but many have been substantially renovated with granite, hardwood, etc. The community was developed by the same group who developed The Plantation in Hilton Head and their goal was to keep it as natural as possible.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,534,779 times
Reputation: 39860
Quote:
Originally Posted by init View Post
Hello!

My family is relocating to Charlotte from Minneapolis / St. Paul in July (wow, it's hard to believe I'm even typing this), and I'm researching areas that might be good targets. We would like to stay under 300k - we could afford more if necessary, but it seems like there's just a ton of nice stuff to choose from in that price range in Charlotte (things that are comparable to 350-400+ in the Twin Cities).

Really, I'm most concerned with two things.

First, my wife will be home with the baby during the day while I'm at work. And there's a possibility that I may have to make an occasional out of town trip, leaving her home alone. So a safe area is a big concern for us. And I've discovered that's a really hard thing for me to determine from 1200 miles away, over the net So I'm relying on the opinions of people who really know the area.

Second, the commute. I'd like to cap my commute at 30-40 minutes if possible. (less would be great!).

The River Hills community looks interesting - in that it's gated (and presumably pretty safe?), and about 20 miles from downtown. I don't know how that translates commute-wise, though. Being from Minnesota, we like the idea of being near a lake - though it's not a must. The houses are older, but I'm pretty handy, and would enjoy something I could put some sweat into to build some equity. But one thing we were wondering is there was any sort of stigma attached to living there. We were given an area tour by a company realtor, and he seemed to want to steer me away from River Hills, and into South Charlotte. I'm wondering why.

South Charlotte looks really nice. Not much in the way of fixer-uppers, as everything seems pretty much brand new. Ballantyne looked great, but looking at the crime map, it looks like it might have some issues? Seems there's a number of home invasions in the area, etc. Again, this is just from things I've found on the net. But with my wife staying home alone with the baby in an area we're not at all familiar with, I'm being extra (ok, perhaps even too) cautious.

I'd also be open to other directions (north or east Charlotte), if they fit the criteria. I don't have my heart set on anywhere in particular. Just want to find something quiet with a decent commute. I really think the best way for me to find the right place is to trust the opinion of people who live there and know the area. I'd appreciate any input you guys would have to offer.

Welcome to Charlotte!

I am stunned that any realtor would have steered you away from River Hills! This is a really nice older neighborhood on the lake with a fantastic natural setting. Sure, the homes are older (70's style) but the "bones" on them are great and you really can't beat the peaceful atmosphere there. Now that hwy 49 is all four-laned the commute back into Charlotte is better than ever - though I haven't come from that direction in the morning in a while, so I can't say exactly how long of a commute you'd face. My best guesstimate is no more than 45 minutes. In any case, I am not aware of any stigma attached to the neighborhood that would be any cause for concern.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:42 AM
 
Location: lake wylie
36 posts, read 93,408 times
Reputation: 41
When we were looking, the realtor that our relocation company hooked us up with tried steering us toward south charlotte as well. I think when they hear you are coming from the north, they try to match you with where many other northeners are tending to settle in order to make you feel comfortable. We ended up in the Lake Wylie area and although we don't live in River Hills, my daughter takes piano lessons there and it is beautiful. I can't imagine why your realtor would steer you away - unless he/she gets a higher commission in NC!
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Tega Cay
56 posts, read 154,223 times
Reputation: 34
Thanks for the input! Very interesting reading. River Hills does sound really nice. I gave them a call, and they're sending us out a packet. It's now definitely on my short list of places to visit when house hunting.

We were also considering Tega Cay. Any opinions of that area? My wife will be taking some classes in Rock Hill, so that may make things a little easier for her. And as far as my commute, from Tega Cay (or River Hills, for that matter) I was thinking I could drive to the southern-most lynx stop and ride the rails the rest of the way in. That's my theory, but is it reasonable in practice?
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Fort Mill, SC
2,532 posts, read 2,945,828 times
Reputation: 1357
Tega Cay area is similar to River Hills in the sense that it has walking trails, golf course, country club, marina, etc. The commute isn't that bad as you can take Gold Hill onto 77 North. Commute is about 25-35. I don't know necessarily if I would take the Light Rail (it will run you a little out of the way). The drive isn't that bad; one bottleneck in the morning (at Arrowood) compared to other areas of Charlotte. You would be pretty good in both areas.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:05 AM
 
100 posts, read 325,817 times
Reputation: 27
My sister lives up in Minneapolis. Where do you live there? She is in Edina. Maybe I can tell you some comprable areas here. PM me if you want
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:24 AM
 
2,536 posts, read 8,353,724 times
Reputation: 1061
Quote:
Originally Posted by init View Post
Hello!

My family is relocating to Charlotte from Minneapolis / St. Paul in July (wow, it's hard to believe I'm even typing this), and I'm researching areas that might be good targets. We would like to stay under 300k - we could afford more if necessary, but it seems like there's just a ton of nice stuff to choose from in that price range in Charlotte (things that are comparable to 350-400+ in the Twin Cities).

Really, I'm most concerned with two things.

First, my wife will be home with the baby during the day while I'm at work. And there's a possibility that I may have to make an occasional out of town trip, leaving her home alone. So a safe area is a big concern for us. And I've discovered that's a really hard thing for me to determine from 1200 miles away, over the net So I'm relying on the opinions of people who really know the area.

Second, the commute. I'd like to cap my commute at 30-40 minutes if possible. (less would be great!).

The River Hills community looks interesting - in that it's gated (and presumably pretty safe?), and about 20 miles from downtown. I don't know how that translates commute-wise, though. Being from Minnesota, we like the idea of being near a lake - though it's not a must. The houses are older, but I'm pretty handy, and would enjoy something I could put some sweat into to build some equity. But one thing we were wondering is there was any sort of stigma attached to living there. We were given an area tour by a company realtor, and he seemed to want to steer me away from River Hills, and into South Charlotte. I'm wondering why.

South Charlotte looks really nice. Not much in the way of fixer-uppers, as everything seems pretty much brand new. Ballantyne looked great, but looking at the crime map, it looks like it might have some issues? Seems there's a number of home invasions in the area, etc. Again, this is just from things I've found on the net. But with my wife staying home alone with the baby in an area we're not at all familiar with, I'm being extra (ok, perhaps even too) cautious.

I'd also be open to other directions (north or east Charlotte), if they fit the criteria. I don't have my heart set on anywhere in particular. Just want to find something quiet with a decent commute. I really think the best way for me to find the right place is to trust the opinion of people who live there and know the area. I'd appreciate any input you guys would have to offer.
I am not a realtor but my first reaction when reading your post (in regard to the realtor steering you to the South Charlotte area) was that the agent might have been trying to get you back into an area that they were more familiar with. Charlotte is pretty spread out so if a buyer has an area they are particulary interested in...it is best to find a realtor that specializes in the area in question (this holds true even more so once you head into SC). But with that said South Charotte is very nice.

There are many commuters on the SC side that either drive into uptown Charlotte or take the express bus (that runs from various areas in Fort Mill and Rock Hill). The commute is within your time frame (Tega Cay would be a little quicker than River Hills)

I can tell you that Tega Cay (which is a city) and River Hills (in Lake Wylie) are both extremely safe, and the schools are excellent (River Hills - Clover School District) (Tega Cay - Fort Mill School District).

If you want to stay under $300K your selection will be somewhat limited if your looking within River Hills or Tega Cay (not to say that it can't be done...but your overall selection will not be as great as say if you were looking in Fort Mill or Clover, SC).

My family and I love where we live and could not be happier. There are many other posters on the SC side of this site (under the York/Lancaster subforum) that would be more than happy to help you, or feel free to DM if you want.

p.s. do you happen to be with 3M? (just curious as a former employee)
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Tega Cay
56 posts, read 154,223 times
Reputation: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingcharlotte1966 View Post
My sister lives up in Minneapolis. Where do you live there? She is in Edina. Maybe I can tell you some comprable areas here. PM me if you want
I'm in Oakdale- Just east of St. Paul. We've been in this city (and this townhouse) since we got married, and we're really craving a change of scenery. I appreciate the offer - but a comparable area, in our case, isn't a factor, really. In fact, if it were too comparable, we'd probably avoid it

Edina is a really nice part of the Twin Cities. I'm sure your sister likes it there. Nice houses, really family oriented, etc.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Tega Cay
56 posts, read 154,223 times
Reputation: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovethecarolinas View Post

p.s. do you happen to be with 3M? (just curious as a former employee)
Nope! I live right by the east campus though. We go for walks there sometimes. (Though it's pretty abandoned these days).

Thanks (to everyone) for the information. I can't tell you how valuable your opinions are. I'm really glad I ran into this board. There's only so much I can decide from a computer in Minnesota, but it's really nice to have options from the get-go. I'm anxious to get out there and see things on that side of town.

One other question I have - Is there civilization near either of the two communities? (Tega Cay and River Hills) I mean, groceries, department stores, coffee shops, etc.. Or do you have to drive in closer to town? Not a deal breaker by any means, but it's nice to have things handy.

Thanks again!
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