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Thread summary:

Moving to North Carolina: Wilmington, buy a house, safe area, great schools, job market.

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Old 12-04-2006, 05:19 PM
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My wife and I are planning on moving to Wilmington this summer. We are going to visit over Christmas and look for a house to buy. I have never been and my wife only knows it somewhat.

What areas or communities should we avoid or consider? We obviously want someplace with a lower crime rate. We also plan on upgrading our house in a few years and renting out the other. Furthermore, my wife is an elementary school teacher so we would like to be near (within a reasonable commute) good schools that she can teach at. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:10 AM
Location: Snow Hill, NC
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Check out Castle Hayne and Rocky Point. My BIL lives in Rocky Point and he likes it. If I were going to move that is the direction I would be heading in.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:25 PM
Location: in a house
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Originally Posted by biodtla View Post
My wife and I are planning on moving to Wilmington this summer. We are going to visit over Christmas and look for a house to buy. I have never been and my wife only knows it somewhat.
Just curious, but why? You might want to research the area first for employment opportunities and to get a feel for it. Schools are out for the holidays ~12/22 through 1/2. Good luck.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:27 PM
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I would also caution careful consideration before such a move. There are a lot of probs in the area (I have lived here a long time) such as terrible jobs and pay, high cost of living (according to one report it is comparable to NJ) dangerously bad traffic and high crime. 20 years ago...a very nice place. Not any more.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:41 PM
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I disagree with Bubba. We moved here in May. My husband grew up in St Paul, I grew up in/around Annapolis, MD. I lived in Alexandria, VA after college. We both lived in Pensacola, FL; TX; northern CA; San Diego, CA (for 5 yrs & owned homes); and Phoenix, AZ (for 3 yrs & owned a home) prior to moving here. So we've been around in a short period of time (he's 36, I'm 34), and we really like it.

Can't speak for the jobs (husband is in the military, I stay at home), though a couple of wives I spoken with (one is a teacher) that work outside the home seem happy. The traffic is not bad at all compared to most areas in the country...can't stress that enough...I've seen much worse. Though it most seem horrible to those who have lived here for more than a decade, as I remember visiting in the early 1990s and there was hardly anything here then compared to now. I think the crime could be bad in the city center (or in wrong areas), but that is anywhere these days, and we haven't had any problems...nor have I heard any complaints from those we have met and know.

We live in Hampstead at the Islands at Cottage Palms (a good school district I hear...where the teacher we know works too). It is right on the southmost edge of Hampstead, next to the "Welcome to Hampstead" sign. It is about 15-20 minutes to town (Wilmington). 10 minutes tops to Porters Neck (another nice area). I think the housing is reasonable (depends where you come from I guess). We have a 1/2 acre, 1900-2000 sq ft, 3 bedroom + FROG (Finished room over the garage...big & could be 4th bedroom), 2 car garage...wood floors throughout downstairs, granite, trimmed out windows...something you never see in the west. There is a boat ramp a 1/2 mile away, and you can hear the ocean (but not see it) late at night. We've been through a small hurricane now with no problem...far enough inland that probably wouldn't see much damage, close enough to enjoy benefits if you are a boater. We did notice in heavy rains some lots look like little islands....the drainage lots in the community. We haven't had a problem since ours is higher up on a "hill", but something to watch for when evaluating homes (that goes with most areas of the country...almost all communities have drainage lots). Ours was $263000 when we bought it in May and we probably put enough in (landscaping, blinds, closets, refrigerator, etc) that it is now around $270,000. We plan to sell this spring...we only got it since rentals didn't have as much space without getting pricey...and we could pay cash for this. We would love to stay, but dh is a F-18 pilot...this was only a 1 to 1 1/2 yr long ground tour for us (rotating as the Air O of a MEU), then back to the F-18 community.

The neighborhood is what I'd call entry level (we've lived in a $650,000, 3000 sq ft home prior to this), but really nice. Neighbors are real great. Half are move-ups from Wilmington center (looking for slightly larger home and yard), other half transplants...mainly from NJ, Conn, & FL so far. Good mix of young couples, families with kids, and retirees. There is a coffeshop, Port City Java, with wireless internet access & drive through 2 miles away. When my husband came out to look in the area, he parked himself there with his laptop and surfed a lot...we now know the owners...Nene & Mike, and their kids...great people.

There are a decent amount of restaurants and shops in Wilmington (I'm used to shopping in Scottsdale, AZ & downtown San Diego...and am picky). MayFaire Town Center has some nicer, upscale shops (Williams Sonoma, Barnes & Noble, Ann Taylor, Chicos, to name a few), and there is a mid-grade mall nearby. Plenty of cool boutiques sprinkle the city too. We occasionally do the 2 hour drive to Raleigh/Durham to go to Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids & Nordstrom. MayFaire has some beautiful homes if you like TND (Traditional Neighborhood Design), though I think they start in the 500/600 range.

Do you have kids, or plan to? We have a 3 & 5 yr old...so I know about the kid activities, drop-in childcare, etc in the area if you want/need the info....

Where are you coming from? Just curious
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:54 AM
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Default Communities of Wilmington

Thanks for all your help so far. As for some of the questions:

We now live in Northern CA where home prices are ridiculous ($400k plus for an older 2/1). We really can't afford to buy here, especially with the recent lull in real estate appreciation.

I grew up on the east coast and want to be closer to my family. I went to college in Myrtle Beach so I know the area somewhat even though I have never been to Wilmington. My wife has family in Hampstead. However, we want to be in a larger town/city and she feels that Wilmington is a nice place.

We are in our early thirties and don't have kids yet but plan to in the next couple years. Schools are of importance to us, both for her job and when our kids get old enough, but we know we can move to a better district if needed when the time comes.

Crime is a definite concern. I lived in South Florida for a number of years and I know certain neighborhoods are not where you want to be living. As I mentioned before, we hope to rent out the first house we buy in a year or two and upgrade. I want it to be in a neighborhood where we feel safe but also is a good investment with good rental potential.

We are visiting over Christmas because that is the only time, until Spring, that my wife has time off. We are hoping to find something we like on this trip and I will most likely move out earlier than she until her school year is done.

Are the towns outside of Wilmington good investments at this time? The prices seem reasonable but being close to downtown sounds nice to us too.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:01 PM
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If you don't have kids, being close to downtown may be nice...lot of restaurants and bars to enjoy in the evenings on weekends...no real shopping though within walking distance. MayFaire would be great too. I don't know how they fair on the rental market (guessing good since the college is down around there too) or what the prices are right now.

However, IMO, if you want to buy with rent potential later, I'd go with Hampstead if you could. Why? Because not only do you have those who can't afford Wilmington, or want more yard space looking out here (or Ogden/Porters Neck), but Hampstead also has a lot of military officers in this area...mix of renters and non-renters alike. We actually were tipped off by several others in the service that most the officers were heading this way that they knew. It is a long commute (but not a bad one) to the 172/back gate, but allows the spouse a decent commute to jobs, amenities, kids activities in the Wilmington area...kinda a compromise. My husband actually moved out in Feb 06 (3 months before the kids and I did) while we were in AZ and looked initially in Jacksonville & Emerald Isle at rentals. A very candid former Marine took him aside and said something like "Sir...you want to be south of here toward Wilmington". Then guys in his shop that were already in Hampstead hooked him up with a realtor down here. He looked at Sneads Ferry too (closer to base), but just liked Wilmington being closer for weekend fun. He tried to look for rentals, but at the time it was slim pickings in this area (not sure right now)...he's picky though.

Anyway, I'd take a hard look at south Hampstead (east of the 17), Ogden, and Porters Neck.

If you think you'll be out drinking on the weekends and during the week several times a week...you may want to steer downtown or Mayfaire as the cab out to Hampstead/Ogden/Porters Neck regularly would hurt after a while. However, if you are just wanting to dine out several times a week...I don't think it is that far at all to live out a bit. I keep some of the menus in the car and order out while I'm in town and bring home too a couple times a week.

Do you know where you will be working yet?

Hopefully someone else in the downtown area can weigh in on living down there

Hope your visit goes well. Let me know if ya need anything...I know how hard finding stuff is across the country. We may be headed back to CA in the spring/summer...looks like orders could be back to San Diego or Lemoore, CA...we should know this month or next. At least we've lived in both places, so know what to expect. We just came out here for this short tour to get me as close as possible to my parents (both ill this past year...mom had colon cancer & dad, amyloidosis) and family in MD for a bit.

If you're in our price range...feel free to pm me...we plan on listing on militarybyowner in the next few months...but could show ya if you wanted
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:46 PM
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I think I answered you in another link, but I think you'd love it here in Wilmington. Like I mentioned we live right near great schools. (Ashley High, Murray Middle and a brand new elementary that just opened.) We're so close, you could walk to the schools, which are next to each other and all less than five years old. They also have great walking trails, tennis courts, etc. and are supposed to put in an olympic-size pool for public use. What's really nice is in the fall, when the high school has their football games, you can hear the band from our yard, so it gives a small town feel.

Moderator cut: read the rules, please

Last edited by Marka; 12-17-2006 at 12:52 AM..
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Old 02-23-2007, 09:06 PM
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I too am considering a move at the end of summer '07. I'm think about the Porter's Neck, Hampstead area and was interested to see the military links to selling homes in the area, which might be condusive to renting as well which is what I want to do. Do you know any areas, not too upscale--but nice where a single adult female would feel comfortable. I'm looking for apartment complex names, condo area names, neighborhoods with friendly people--trying to stay away from the college community. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:17 AM
Location: Woodlynne NJ
219 posts, read 789,162 times
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Bio and Sea,
The wife and I are REALLY planning to move in about 4 months.
We are choosing the Calabash and Shallotte areas. We have been taking vacations in that area for about 10 years and love it. Real quite. Not TOO small. No crime that I have seen and I checked (I'm an ex cop). It is not all that far from Wilmington. Real close to Myrtle Beach. Homes range from reasonable (that's us) to real expensive (don't I wish). Name the type of home........mobile, manufactured, stick built and there are plenty. Great people and from what we have seen so far..........property tax rate is good.

Last edited by njprintman; 02-24-2007 at 07:22 AM.. Reason: did not finish quote
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