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Old 09-09-2017, 09:51 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,895 times
Reputation: 25

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Just a heads up for those thinking of moving to the area. We moved here from Virginia in 2015 and we have mixed feelings about living here. We did a lot of homework but sometimes you don't have the whole picture until you make the plunge. I thought this would be helpful for those considering making the transition here:

PROS

Mild winters

Proximity to the beach
(I like to surf so and I work remotely so this is the biggest draw for me. If I didn't surf I could not justify living here.)

Kiwanis Park

CONS

Pender property taxes went up 34% within a year of moving here. I read the local paper and the county is constantly crying poor in many of the articles. I believe they are prepping people for another large increase since the schools are still not adequate and so many kids are moving here.

NC is becoming a high-tax state. They tax just about everything. A recent report cited N.C. as being a top-10 most-taxes state. I always had the impression that N.C. had more fair taxes but I was wrong. Tire replacement, hemming a dress, you name it. And just wait until you register your nice new car here. Look up the Highway Use tax. It's known as the "Welcome to N.C Tax" And several DMV fees doubled since we moved here.

Summers are brutally humid. Summer lasts from mid-May to Mid-Oct. It's oppressive enough that you lose your energy when doing outdoor activities.

Utilities:
Water quality issues. Look up Gen-X. Though they are doing something to lower the levels we still have issues where we live with grayish water, very hard water, foul tasting water, etc. And the company that supplies water for much of the county is raising rates 20% this year which residents are fighting.

Electric rates are going up 17% this year as well.

Internet phone was the only thing that was cheaper than it was in Va. That has gone up too.

Traffic:
It's worse in the summer but pretty bad year-round now. Traffic heading north on 17 is fine. If you head south towards Ogden, Wilmington expect major delays most times. Constant accidents (I am hearing sirens down the street now) and construction delays make travel here frustrating. New Hanover Co. is the most dangerous county in the entire state to drive in. I think that's based on traffic deaths per 1,000 people. My insurance premiums went up about 30% just from moving here. The drivers are worse than in Northern Virginia too.

Hurricanes:
Wind and hail is absurd. We have a 1,700 s.f. house with a high deductible policy and wind and hail was $2500. We elected to drop that coverage and it's $350 now. I'll take a risk. We're not in a flood zone but that's another thing to consider when looking around.

People:
The locals are nice. They have more patience than I do. Good luck finding any though. It's like living in N.Y. or N.J. here. Don't move here for the southern hospitality. Everyone's amazingly (really shockingly) rude here. Wilmington for instance is over 70% transplants. I know, I'm one of them so I cant complain but there's no sense of community. It's very transient. And the military presence does not help that. People are always coming and going.

Crime:
There are frequent home break-ins even in nice areas of Hampstead. Teens have ransacked several vehicles in the area on more than one occasion since we've moved here, including ours (twice that we know of). Crime goes unreported in the media here. Maybe due to the fact that they are busy covering more violent crimes in Wilmington.

Lack of things to do:
Unless you love the beach like me (or golf) there's not much to do here. Downtown Wilmington is pretty but it has a lot of crime. There are a lack of parks. We have Kiwanis which has a very nice playground for our kids but as for taking walks, hiking you only have Poplar Grove. Holly Shelter is good for hunting but very dull for hiking.

Just my opinion of the area. People that come from the north are often happy here. I'd hate to think what it must be like where they are coming from. Maybe it's still a standard of living improvement for many.

I hope this honest angle helps some people see the good as well as the downsides to living here. Now I gotta go surf. Later!

Last edited by hampstead family; 09-09-2017 at 10:39 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 09-10-2017, 05:13 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
Reputation: 5077
Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
... We moved here from Virginia in 2015 and we have mixed feelings about living here. We did a lot of homework but sometimes you don't have the whole picture until you make the plunge.
This is a good summary, although I have not found the people as rude as this writer did.

Here are a few onther cons to think about.

1. There are fewer medical specialists here than in a place like Washington DC. More Family Practice doctors and fewer Internal Medicine docs.

2. The religious population is different. There are more Baptist and fewer Roman Catholics. That means fewer options for parochial schools. There are fewer Jewish people, and the congregations are in Wilmington. Very few Moslems or Hindus, and IDK about congregations. People are a bit more outspoken about their religion, but they don't try to convert you.

3. It is harder to find ethnic or specialty foods. I miss the good live lobsters you get in New England. I miss Russian black bread and fresh pierogies.

I suggest doing thorough research before moving here, and accepting the area as it is.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:46 AM
 
6,800 posts, read 4,426,379 times
Reputation: 5345
Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Just a heads up for those thinking of moving to the area. We moved here from Virginia in 2015 and we have mixed feelings about living here. We did a lot of homework but sometimes you don't have the whole picture until you make the plunge. I thought this would be helpful for those considering making the transition here:
Apparently you didn't.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
CONS

Pender property taxes went up 34% within a year of moving here. I read the local paper and the county is constantly crying poor in many of the articles. I believe they are prepping people for another large increase since the schools are still not adequate and so many kids are moving here.

Pender has had one tax increase in approximately 12 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
NC is becoming a high-tax state. They tax just about everything. A recent report cited N.C. as being a top-10 most-taxes state. I always had the impression that N.C. had more fair taxes but I was wrong. Tire replacement, hemming a dress, you name it.
Demonstrably untrue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
And just wait until you register your nice new car here. Look up the Highway Use tax. It's known as the "Welcome to N.C Tax" And several DMV fees doubled since we moved here.
NC doesn't charge a sales tax on new car purchases like Virginia does. It does charge a 3% Highway Use Tax whenever a car is titled in NC. If you bring a car in from out of state, however, the HUT is capped at $250.

DMV fees are not taxes. The reason those fees have been raised in order to cut actual taxes. The personal income tax has been reduced to a flat 5.75% (and standard deductions have doubled) from a graduated system ranging from 6% to 7.75%.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Summers are brutally humid. Summer lasts from mid-May to Mid-Oct. It's oppressive enough that you lose your energy when doing outdoor activities.
No, it doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Utilities:
Water quality issues. Look up Gen-X. Though they are doing something to lower the levels we still have issues where we live with grayish water, very hard water, foul tasting water, etc. And the company that supplies water for much of the county is raising rates 20% this year which residents are fighting.

Electric rates are going up 17% this year as well.
I assume you are referring to Duke Power's request for a 17% rate increase? It will never happen. The state utilities commission will reject it, as happens every year. Duke's rates are well below the national average.

Internet phone was the only thing that was cheaper than it was in Va. That has gone up too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Traffic:
It's worse in the summer but pretty bad year-round now. Traffic heading north on 17 is fine. If you head south towards Ogden, Wilmington expect major delays most times. Constant accidents (I am hearing sirens down the street now) and construction delays make travel here frustrating. New Hanover Co. is the most dangerous county in the entire state to drive in. I think that's based on traffic deaths per 1,000 people. My insurance premiums went up about 30% just from moving here. The drivers are worse than in Northern Virginia too.
Completely wrong. New Hanover ranked 92 in 2015 (most recent year which data is available)for crash fatalities per 1,000 population, meaning only 7 counties had a lower rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Hurricanes:
Wind and hail is absurd. We have a 1,700 s.f. house with a high deductible policy and wind and hail was $2500.
We elected to drop that coverage and it's $350 now. I'll take a risk. We're not in a flood zone but that's another thing to consider when looking around.
I think you need to shop around. My cost is much lower than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
People:
The locals are nice. They have more patience than I do. Good luck finding any though. It's like living in N.Y. or N.J. here. Don't move here for the southern hospitality. Everyone's amazingly (really shockingly) rude here. Wilmington for instance is over 70% transplants. I know, I'm one of them so I cant complain but there's no sense of community. It's very transient. And the military presence does not help that. People are always coming and going.
Yet you are complaining. Unbeleiveable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Lack of things to do:
Unless you love the beach like me (or golf) there's not much to do here. Downtown Wilmington is pretty but it has a lot of crime. There are a lack of parks. We have Kiwanis which has a very nice playground for our kids but as for taking walks, hiking you only have Poplar Grove. Holly Shelter is good for hunting but very dull for hiking.
Huh? There are so many things to do in the Wilmington area!
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:19 AM
 
Location: Girard, OH
50 posts, read 92,731 times
Reputation: 29
Husband and I have not settled where we will land in Eastern North Carolina, but I know, I will gladly give up Ohio to move east. During our 20+ years of vacationing we have talked to many transplants and have heard nothing but good things. No regrets. We have experienced first hand southern hospitality and relish the warm and sunshine of this beautiful state. We can't even keep up with all the things to do when we are there! Home and community is what you make out of it, accept it or move.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Southeastern North Carolina
1,810 posts, read 3,280,203 times
Reputation: 3194
Hampstead is really lacking in public lands for outdoor recreation (other than hunting), parks, greenspaces, trails, etc. It would be great if Hampstead had a waterfront park, for instance, like Southport, Beaufort, and Surf City. But Hampstead isn't a real town, it's just a poorly planned (or totally unplanned) area of exurban sprawl. The residents voted against incorporation 8 or 10 years ago, because they didn't want the higher taxes. But, as you mentioned, we got a 34% tax increase anyway, with no services to show for it.

Doesn't the fact that the population is growing mean a bigger tax base to pay for all these schools, without the need for increases? We're certainly seeing the downside of a growing population and more development, with increased traffic along the Hwy. 17 corridor, with more serious accidents and traffic jams.

But real estate developers own the politicians around here, so the situation is unlikely to improve.

There is a Hampstead Bypass planned by the DOT, but it will be years before that's completed.

I enjoy the mild winters, coming from New England it's a 3 season climate as far as I'm concerned: spring, summer and fall. The winters here aren't "real" winters to me. Summer seems like the "bad" season to me now.

It's good that there are enough northern transplants in the area that I don't feel outnumbered by the hostile redneck locals. They're polite enough when they're taking your money, but don't imagine that they don't resent your presence here.

I moved here 12 years ago, in the days before social media. For anyone interested in moving to the area now, I'd suggest following local groups and the Wilmington news outlets (WECT, WWAY, and the Star News) on Facebook. Read the comments on the local and national news stories. It's an eye opener into the attitudes of the locals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
Just a heads up for those thinking of moving to the area. We moved here from Virginia in 2015 and we have mixed feelings about living here. We did a lot of homework but sometimes you don't have the whole picture until you make the plunge. I thought this would be helpful for those considering making the transition here:

PROS

Mild winters

Proximity to the beach
(I like to surf so and I work remotely so this is the biggest draw for me. If I didn't surf I could not justify living here.)

Kiwanis Park

CONS

Pender property taxes went up 34% within a year of moving here. I read the local paper and the county is constantly crying poor in many of the articles. I believe they are prepping people for another large increase since the schools are still not adequate and so many kids are moving here.

NC is becoming a high-tax state. They tax just about everything. A recent report cited N.C. as being a top-10 most-taxes state. I always had the impression that N.C. had more fair taxes but I was wrong. Tire replacement, hemming a dress, you name it. And just wait until you register your nice new car here. Look up the Highway Use tax. It's known as the "Welcome to N.C Tax" And several DMV fees doubled since we moved here.

Summers are brutally humid. Summer lasts from mid-May to Mid-Oct. It's oppressive enough that you lose your energy when doing outdoor activities.

Utilities:
Water quality issues. Look up Gen-X. Though they are doing something to lower the levels we still have issues where we live with grayish water, very hard water, foul tasting water, etc. And the company that supplies water for much of the county is raising rates 20% this year which residents are fighting.

Electric rates are going up 17% this year as well.

Internet phone was the only thing that was cheaper than it was in Va. That has gone up too.

Traffic:
It's worse in the summer but pretty bad year-round now. Traffic heading north on 17 is fine. If you head south towards Ogden, Wilmington expect major delays most times. Constant accidents (I am hearing sirens down the street now) and construction delays make travel here frustrating. New Hanover Co. is the most dangerous county in the entire state to drive in. I think that's based on traffic deaths per 1,000 people. My insurance premiums went up about 30% just from moving here. The drivers are worse than in Northern Virginia too.

Hurricanes:
Wind and hail is absurd. We have a 1,700 s.f. house with a high deductible policy and wind and hail was $2500. We elected to drop that coverage and it's $350 now. I'll take a risk. We're not in a flood zone but that's another thing to consider when looking around.

People:
The locals are nice. They have more patience than I do. Good luck finding any though. It's like living in N.Y. or N.J. here. Don't move here for the southern hospitality. Everyone's amazingly (really shockingly) rude here. Wilmington for instance is over 70% transplants. I know, I'm one of them so I cant complain but there's no sense of community. It's very transient. And the military presence does not help that. People are always coming and going.

Crime:
There are frequent home break-ins even in nice areas of Hampstead. Teens have ransacked several vehicles in the area on more than one occasion since we've moved here, including ours (twice that we know of). Crime goes unreported in the media here. Maybe due to the fact that they are busy covering more violent crimes in Wilmington.

Lack of things to do:
Unless you love the beach like me (or golf) there's not much to do here. Downtown Wilmington is pretty but it has a lot of crime. There are a lack of parks. We have Kiwanis which has a very nice playground for our kids but as for taking walks, hiking you only have Poplar Grove. Holly Shelter is good for hunting but very dull for hiking.

Just my opinion of the area. People that come from the north are often happy here. I'd hate to think what it must be like where they are coming from. Maybe it's still a standard of living improvement for many.

I hope this honest angle helps some people see the good as well as the downsides to living here. Now I gotta go surf. Later!
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Virginia
171 posts, read 107,344 times
Reputation: 508
I have relatives that live in Wilmington and have been many times. One thing my husband and I always commented on was how friendly the people were. We live along the east coast of Va and Wilmington is no more humid, hot or oppressive than Va! Traffic is nothing compared to the Hampton Roads area of Va. It gets congested in Wilmington and along 17 at peak hours, but not bad at all compared to where I am from. We had considered the area for retirement. We really love the beach and boating, but that was about all we found we would enjoy in that area. Too small of a city for me and no other cities near by. But, that is just a con to us and a plus for many others. We did go to Hampstead to get a feel for it and that was way too isolated. Dominion Power is more expensive and as far as taxes go, no more of a break in NC than where we are in Va. But gosh I love the ICW and beaches there!
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:20 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,895 times
Reputation: 25
I guess your perspective on the Wilmington area depends on where you are relocating from. An article from WWAY shows that New Hanover ranks second for best chance of being in a collision and best chance of being in an injurious crash, according to 2011 data. (I may have seen a study from a different year that ranked them first)
https://www.wwaytv3.com/2012/08/09/n...ties-to-drive/
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:26 AM
 
6,800 posts, read 4,426,379 times
Reputation: 5345
Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
I guess your perspective on the Wilmington area depends on where you are relocating from.
Possibly. May also depend on your attitude about life in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead family View Post
An article from WWAY shows that New Hanover ranks second for best chance of being in a collision and best chance of being in an injurious crash, according to 2011 data. (I may have seen a study from a different year that ranked them first)
https://www.wwaytv3.com/2012/08/09/n...ties-to-drive/
6 year old data. Ok.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Southeastern North Carolina
1,810 posts, read 3,280,203 times
Reputation: 3194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BC1960 View Post
Possibly. May also depend on your attitude about life in general.



6 year old data. Ok.
I doubt that the car wreck statistics have improved much over a 6 year timeframe. They've most likely gotten worse. Wilmington and Hampstead both keep building housing developments with no infrastructure improvements. That's a recipe for traffic jams and accidents.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:05 AM
 
6,800 posts, read 4,426,379 times
Reputation: 5345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellise View Post
I doubt that the car wreck statistics have improved much over a 6 year timeframe. They've most likely gotten worse. Wilmington and Hampstead both keep building housing developments with no infrastructure improvements. That's a recipe for traffic jams and accidents.
I provided data to the contrary in my earlier post.
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