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Old 01-08-2018, 08:36 PM
 
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I have an opportunity to move to Columbus and will likely be able to make a day trip to the city before a final decision. I currently live in a suburb of Indianapolis to give you an idea of what I am used to. In order to get a taste of Columbus any recommendations on what to look for, places to visit? We have kids in grade school so we'd be looking for family friendly areas. The job would mostly require visits to the North side, West side and Downtown. As far as a house probably a 4 bedroom, ideally with a den/office, an attached garage (2+ cars) and not a fixer upper. I'm not 100% sure on budget yet as I am still awaiting details of the job but something around $300K is probably what we would be looking for. Also, any thoughts on how Columbus as a whole compares to Indianapolis (cultural, amenities, cost of living, etc)?
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:48 AM
 
Location: NKY's Campbell Co.
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I'm actually sitting in Avon right now, but I think you will like Columbus. Fairly similar in layout, with a major beltway, and the largest and fastest growing areas being on the northern side and up from the beltway. Just as Hamilton County is growing like crazy, Delaware County in the Columbus metro is doing the same. One thing you may find different is the city of Columbus is piecemeal via annexation, reaching out into adjacent counties. It differs in that way from Indianapolis, which absorbed much of Marion County a while back.

Columbus also doesn't have the concentration of large wealth in one (or a few) of major suburbs. We don't have Carmels or Fishers. Though I am sure not all wealth is concentrated in these two powerhouses either, they are just rather large by comparison population wise. That doesn't mean there isn't wealth here. Dublin, Powell, Upper Arlington, Grandview Heights, Belxey and New Albany are what I would consider the premier suburbs. Delaware County's Powell and Lewis Center, and its Olentangy Schools (some of the best schools in the state), would be most comparable to Carmel in school caliber and size, both land and population. But Powell and Lewis Center aren't one cohesive suburb, so it may seem more disjointed than the planned Carmel. Dublin would be, from a development and planning standpoint, most similar to Carmel, and probably has a student body size close to it as well. But its actual incorporated population is half of Carmel's. Dublin schools, however, pull from areas that are part of Columbus proper. The suburban districts that feed from Columbus proper, especially on its NW side, are the most suburban and best kept parts of the city proper.

And while I don't have comparison knowledge of inner-ring or urban neighborhoods, Columbus boasts wonderful pockets such as Short North, German Village, Italian Village, Victorian Village and others. Those are all inside Columbus city limits and spitting distance to downtown, which has seen a boom in residential (apartment) construction in the last 2-3 years. In the end, the metros are similar in size (34th for Indianapolis vs. 32nd for Columbus).

Cultural amenities probably gravitate more to Indy, where no other metros are competing for draws of shows and concerts. Cincinnati and Cleveland, both two-ish hours away, tend to pull the first runs of big shows and concerts. Columbus gets its fair share though, with OSU being a big pull and having the arena capacity, plus Nationwide Arena where the Columbus Blue Jackets play (close to) downtown. So, even though the metros are roughly the same size, Indy probably draws more of these types of amenities. Columbus though, puts you closer to appealing outdoor amenities, such as Hocking Hills State Park and West Virginia. The Atlantic Ocean is also closer.

That's all I can think of right now. I might have some things to add later.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:01 PM
 
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Rural Union County (near Dublin) here. We've been here 10 years after a job relo. Previously we spent 8 years in Chicagoland, and before that 30 years in Indiana (Bloomington and Indy). I live NW of Dublin and don't travel south of I70 very often. That's my bias.

Columbus is quite similar to Indy, only on a 2/3 scale. The demographics of the geography are generally similar as well - so kind of map your map of Indy onto Columbus and it's a fair comparison. Of course there are some flips, (eg our reservoirs are all north of town, the Short North / Grandview is our Broadripple, and the airport is on the other side) but in general it's quite the same. The economy here appears to be booming for some reason. There are multiple factors, but in general unemployment/etc north of town is very very low. Delaware and Union county are teeming with new sprawl developments of thousands of houses. They're even building an entire new town of Jerome Village (funded by Nationwise) with thousands of new houses and a new downtown about 4 miles from our rural house. The Marysville - Dublin corridor along US33 is exploding with development. How this impacts you of course depends on your expectations.

When we were relo'd to Dublin area a colleague of mine said "Enjoy Buckeyes 24/7! You'll see..." I didn't know what he meant, but goodness he was right! This town is just small enough to believe it's a college town like Bloomington, yet large enough to have that mindset dominate all three major networks here. Imagine Bloomington with a population 10x that of Monroe county. It's ALL about the Buckeyes (esp football) here. Love it or try to ignore it. But these people are INSANE about the Buckeyes. As the saying goes, "Why doesn't Columbus have an NFL or NBA team? Because the Buckeyes suck all the oxygen out of the room!"

Traffic isn't terrible here, and generally better than that of Indy, but there are bottlenecks. I worked at Polaris area (ie think "Castleton") for a while and the commute across 270 in the morning wasn't terrible before 7:30AM. But coming home and watching the perpetual gridlock eastbound in the evening made me happy to live nearby and have a reverse commute. Don't live in Worthington / New Albany / East etc and commute to Dublin if you can avoid it.

Life here is slower and a bit easier than Indy. It's smaller and generally easier to deal with. The geography is also very similar to Indy - you have to get about 30 minutes south of town for the scenery to get interesting, but east of town is prettier than east of Indy.

I generally like it here, especially on my 2 acre plot surrounded by 400 acres of soybeans and cornfields. But it's developing rapidly, especially NW of Columbus. The whole everything between Delaware and Columbus is about to be one big sprawl, and now it's spilling west towards Marysville. There are a TON of new developments in the area. If sprawl is your thing then the Dublin / Delaware / Worthington triangle is it. Union county is an option if only because it's underdeveloped so far and within a reasonable commute of the beltway via US33, but then again this is where a lot of new development is happening. They have already planned for the development with a newer huge waste treatment plant off of Beecher-Gamble road as well as planned annexations on each side of US42.

If you live or work downtown then it's 71 or 315, both of which can be congested heavily depending on the time / weather. Every morning the traffic reports focus a lot on Brice Rd (east), US33 on the south side, 315, and 71. Sometimes on I70 on the west side. Rarely on 33 on the NW side --- YET.

Hilliard is a decent option for people looking for a more affordable version of Dublin. Some parts of Hilliard are also within the Dublin school district, so ... yeah. Dublin schools are magnet for many families. Otherwise Hilliard is a lot like the old Greenwood I remember from the 90s. But it's also developing rapidly, especially north of Cemetery / Darby Road. Downtown Hilliard is getting a lot better, and it's trying to make itself a quaint destination. It's on the up and up and a nice place to visit today. South Hilliard near I70 not so much.

Taxes here are generally a bit higher than Indiana. That pays for good schools, good roads, and good parks.
You will notice the difference in I70 as soon as you pass under the arches. The Metroparks system here is an under-appreciated jewel - the hundreds of miles of trails are wonderful. Seriously, look it up. We have it good on this. You're never more than a 10 minute drive to a metropark and nature. And the bike trails system here is great for a town it's size. We love riding our town bikes from the trailhead in Plain City into Hilliard and having breakfast downtown. Heading back on a full stomach is a bit slower...

Taxes: Nobody likes paying taxes, but it generally goes for positive things outside of Franklin County. (eek!) Be aware than some of these towns have their own income taxes, whether you live there or not. For example, Marysville to the north of us has a 2% local income tax. And Dublin (where my wife works) has a 2% local income tax. We love driving through Dublin and pointing out all the beautiful landscaping we paid for... (sarc).

If you think about this place as "Indy Lite" with an IU thrown into your North Meridian then you'll understand it better. But yeah, it's about the Buckeyes. Seriously. You'll see.

That's my report from NW Columbus.

Last edited by RuralSuburbia; 01-14-2018 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Columbus
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Lots of great info from previous 2 posters. I would recommend that you look closely at your current property tax in Indy vs. property taxes on homes that you may consider here. Depending on the school district you will likely be paying more in property taxes vs. Indy. I had a young family relocate from Noblesville last year, and they were VERY underwhelmed with what their $175k budget could buy here. They ended up buying a condo, in order to get into a newer home that had the size and features they were looking for. They also ended up in the Columbus school district, which they didn't necessarily want, but will deal with.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that if you are looking for a home in a desirable school district, with your desired criteria (4br+office+not a fixer), you will likely be looking at homes that are 20-30 years in age (or older), even with a nice budget. Most newer construction in the most sought after suburbs (Dublin, Powell/Lewis Center, Westerville, Hilliard, New Albany) is north of $350k.
I usually advise folks relocating in to think of a map of the Columbus metro area as a clock, and the most desirable suburban areas tend to be on the 9 to 2:30 part of the clock/map. You could get more bang for your buck on the southeast and southwestern suburban areas, but the schools, although decent, are not as desirable.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:24 PM
 
240 posts, read 910,455 times
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Originally Posted by RuralSuburbia View Post
Hilliard is a decent option for people looking for a more affordable version of Dublin. Some parts of Hilliard are also within the Dublin school district, so ... yeah. Dublin schools are magnet for many families. Otherwise Hilliard is a lot like the old Greenwood I remember from the 90s. But it's also developing rapidly, especially north of Cemetery / Darby Road. Downtown Hilliard is getting a lot better, and it's trying to make itself a quaint destination. It's on the up and up and a nice place to visit today. South Hilliard near I70 not so much.
As a Hilliardian, Hilliardite, (whatever we are called), this is pretty decent description. One correction... It is actually some parts of Dublin that are in the Hilliard City School District. Hilliard is growing rapidly and while not an "elite" destination like Dublin, it is middle/upper middle class, with a bit of working class thrown in. The trend here is in Hilliard is definitely upward, when it comes to both single-family homes and apartment complexes -- and also when it comes to Old Hilliard. The portions near I-70 along Hilliard-Rome Road are actually in Columbus city limits, but Hilliard City Schools. They indeed are not as desirable as Hilliard proper or Brown or Norwich Townships. Hilliard City School District is very good, but doesn't have the elite reputation that Dublin City School District does.

For the OP... Whatever you do, please do your homework (or have your realtor do his/her homework). Central Ohio school district boundaries are *not* based upon municipal city limits.

I'd say look into Dublin first since it puts you nicely between the West and North sides, but possibly consider Hilliard (stay north of Roberts) or Worthington, if Dublin for some reason doesn't work out. Powell/Lewis Center is an option, too, with great schools (Olentangy Local School District), but if you're commuting to Downtown often, the traffic will be annoying.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:33 PM
 
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Everyone, thanks for the great advice. @RuralSuburbia I was actually thinking I'd have to get used to OSU coverage but I am fully expecting that and I actually enjoy hockey so the NHL team is cool.

In looking at school boundaries I did discover like others mentioned that city and school districts don't overlap 100%. I'd prefer to be closer in to the metro area but I am not afraid of suburbia if that helps. From what I saw online Worthington and Hilliard had some good housing stock that might only need updates. Are those two areas kid friendly (think other kids, parks, areas to ride their bicycles, etc)? Also, are others generally updating homes in the more established communities which means I shouldn't shy away from an older home that I'd likely want to update? I read about Jerome Village and the newer Evans Farm and I like the idea of a community with a mixture of houses, recreation areas, businesses and other items but I'm not patient and wouldn't want to wait for all of that stuff to develop.

On related notes I do like to road bike (and a lesser extent mountain bike). Are there generally a decent amount of cyclists, routes, trails, etc?
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:03 PM
 
Location: NKY's Campbell Co.
2,107 posts, read 4,773,636 times
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Originally Posted by bender2007 View Post
Everyone, thanks for the great advice. @RuralSuburbia I was actually thinking I'd have to get used to OSU coverage but I am fully expecting that and I actually enjoy hockey so the NHL team is cool.

In looking at school boundaries I did discover like others mentioned that city and school districts don't overlap 100%. I'd prefer to be closer in to the metro area but I am not afraid of suburbia if that helps. From what I saw online Worthington and Hilliard had some good housing stock that might only need updates. Are those two areas kid friendly (think other kids, parks, areas to ride their bicycles, etc)? Also, are others generally updating homes in the more established communities which means I shouldn't shy away from an older home that I'd likely want to update? I read about Jerome Village and the newer Evans Farm and I like the idea of a community with a mixture of houses, recreation areas, businesses and other items but I'm not patient and wouldn't want to wait for all of that stuff to develop.

On related notes I do like to road bike (and a lesser extent mountain bike). Are there generally a decent amount of cyclists, routes, trails, etc?
The short answer to all is, yes.

The long answer for paragraph one is, "You'll see." I don't have the shock value of it as much having always remembered living in Ohio (Dayton -> Columbus). I'm sure it will be similar when moving to Northern Kentucky with UK Basketball and everything blue.

Yes, school boundaries don't follow city/township lines. It makes searching hard, but some independent school sites and local real estate sites have searches available by district and even sometimes schools inside a particular district's zone. So, while hard, you can help your realtor with these tools, but the realtor should still be the first point of confirmation. Hilliard and Worthington are both very popular. Worhtington probably more so. I personally like Hillard Schools better on paper, but both are good and provide quality educations. Worthington probably is more of an old suburb and closer to urban areas that are lower on a development or socioeconomic scale. For example, once east of the North-South rail line, it gets a tad light industrial and older commercial as you approach I-71. Much of those offices are empty, and save for Budweiser, there isn't much here beyond warehouses and shoddy hotels (hotels are at OH-161 and I-71). While those areas are NOT Worthington, they sit pretty adjacent to it. South of Worthington is better, as this is Beachwold and Clintonville at its best, especially the historic Beachwold neighborhood. While both are Columbus City services and schools, it is where all the professors, rich kid-addled hipsters and liberal granola types live.

A note here: While a broad look at Indiana politics is probably a bad gauge, I get the feeling Columbus and Franklin County run more blue than Indianapolis.

North of Worthington is Crosswoods, which is also slowly (IMO) trending in the wrong direction. Most of the restaurants here have or are about to close. It is part of Columbus proper and built out in the 80's and 90's. While some of the hotels there are nice, even the Sheraton Suites is older, albeit under renovations. Most of the hotels are older and what is being built is extended stays. The Crosswoods area really needs a refresh, but with Worthington Place (small indoor/strip mall center with Kroger and good restaurants) just south of I-270 and Polaris being a stone throw away, I don't see that happening. While aging suburbia has caught up to those areas, most of Worthington proper and even Worthington Schools in Columbus City Limits are nice. Some neighborhoods and streets around Smokey Row and Hard or Worthington Galena south of Polaris are older and have smaller homes. Typically, the homes are kept nice, but I have found more neglected properties here. Not boarded up and dangerous. Just little curb appeal and landscaping. Again, since the homes are smaller, cheaper, from the 80's and 90's (meaning older) and with a sprinkling of multi-family units, it can be expected. Especially if those homes and units are rentals. But the area isn't dangerous, not by a long shot. But being in Worthington proper would negate that as the city has a higher code of zoning and upkeep. But that address comes with a higher price and higher taxes (usually).

North outside of Crosswoods and West in the older suburban tract developments, I think you will find deals here and most older homes are being snatched up for renovations or have been renovated and being bought by people NOT wanting to buy a fixer upper. So, in the end, it will likely retain its value. I have no idea on the starting price for these. The big pluses for Worthington are good schools (not elite or superior or "God's-gift-from-on-high" schools; looking at you New Albany's, Olentangy's and Upper Arlington's), a diverse populace (which is a plus in blue-shaded Franklin County) and good commuting location inside I-270, Worthington and Worthington Schools inside Columbus is a good bet. While I don't see it becoming anywhere close to the island Bexley is/was, it probably will have some rougher borders in the foreseeable future, mostly to the east towards the old Continent development and Busch Blvd.

Hilliard is nice, with its "least" desirable areas being immediately around Hilliard-Rome Road and the borders along I-70/I-270 at Roberts Road. Everywhere else, including along the Scioto River in Norwich Township area, and more rural Brown Township areas, are a diverse offer of older tract suburbia, small town central development, newer suburban homes, brand-new suburban neighborhoods and exurban to even rural homesteads. Because it is so big, I won't cover it in the detail I did with Worthington.

You can't go wrong with either. I personally like Worthington of the two, better. Which is why I am more familiar with it. But Hilliard may offer a better location for work and other soccer/football/dance/insert-activity-here families.

For trails, there are plenty. Google Maps bike maps has a good idea of where recreational rail trails are here. City biking (like Chicago and Washington DC) aren't big here. Not many dedicated bike lanes outside around the OSU area or Short North. Even then, it is limited. And I hate when the students bike out into crosswalks from sidewalks. Probably the biggest danger with driving down by campus. That and phone zombies!

More off-road and even mountain biking can be found, with my guess of terrain needs, southeast of town, down US-33 towards Athens or Hocking Hills.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:53 AM
 
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Don’t rely on realtors to define the municipality and school district for you.
Look up each parcel on the Franklin County auditor site, property search function.
You will probably need to up your 300k budget a little to get a nice home in a desirable area.

Lots of good advice here but I disagree the Columbus proper, Worthington schools area of Smokey Road/Hard Road is desirable. It is mixed use sprawl, lots of apartments, cheap condos, tract housing, strip centers. There were lots and lots of foreclosed homes in this area during the crisis. It is typical of newer Columbus areas allowed to develop without planning or zoning. I cannot picture myself living here, regardless of how nice a house might be.

Look first at homes within the municipal boundaries of a suburb. Prices and taxes will be higher but services are much better. Residents of municipal Columbus are generally up in arms this time of the year because Columbus is notoriously bad with snow removal and road salting. They do not plow neighborhood streets, period. Layers of snow and ice build up and driving is treacherous.

Welcome to central Ohio!

Last edited by Rosebush1; 01-16-2018 at 09:02 AM..
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:17 PM
 
240 posts, read 910,455 times
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Originally Posted by Rosebush1 View Post
Don’t rely on realtors to define the municipality and school district for you.
Look up each parcel on the Franklin County auditor site, property search function.
You will probably need to up your 300k budget a little to get a nice home in a desirable area.
+1 here... I actually knew someone who ended up getting a home that they were unhappy with, I think based upon advice from a realtor. That home had a Hilliard ZIP, but was inside City of Columbus and Columbus City Schools to boot.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:28 PM
 
233 posts, read 375,774 times
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Originally Posted by bgfalcons86 View Post
+1 here... I actually knew someone who ended up getting a home that they were unhappy with, I think based upon advice from a realtor. That home had a Hilliard ZIP, but was inside City of Columbus and Columbus City Schools to boot.
I met someone who thought he was buying into New Albany schools, Columbus municipality in the Preserve area. Later on he learned his House was Columbus schools. Most of the Preserve is in the NA district.
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