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Old 08-23-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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Hello! My husband and I are considering a move to the Wilmington, DE area. I have grown up in the south my whole life so I'm very nervous and unsure what to expect! I don't know where to begin looking for a house. We need something relatively convenient to a Wilmington job but schools are a big priority. I don't usually like new construction but would be looking for a "brady bunch" home. Something more "homey" quaint, charming, private, etc. Any ideas of where we should begin our search? What are the best schools (my kids are elementary school age) Thank you!!
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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anyone?
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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For an older or contemporary style home you'd probably want to check out the north Wilmington area (19803, 19810). That is in the Brandywine school district, one of the best in the state. Their are neighborhoods in all price ranges.

The other good school district is Red Clay, on the west side of Wilmington. You'll find nice neighborhoods that aren't too new in the 19808 zip code. Hockessin 19707 has mostly newer, larger neighborhoods, and although it is very nice, it tends to have a morning odor from the mushroom farms from Avondale, PA.

In my experience, traffic in & out of Wilmington during traditional rush hours is worse from the west side of Wilmington than from the north. But, the west side has more parks & is convenient to everything!

Patterson-Schwartz has a good web site for active listings.... I'm not a realtor! But I don't think I can post a link, but you could search it. If you narrow down some neighborhoods, I may be able to give a little more input...
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:40 AM
 
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Thank you so much! That gives me a good start, I'll try to figure out the best elementary school first then look for neighborhoods. Is there a website or way to find out which neighborhoods are zoned for certain schools?
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
957 posts, read 3,326,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xmommy View Post
Hello! My husband and I are considering a move to the Wilmington, DE area. I have grown up in the south my whole life so I'm very nervous and unsure what to expect!
Unless you're talking about the deeeeeeeeeep south, you won't find DE much different. I've lived in the New England, NC, DE and now TN. I find that DE reminds me much more of the southern lifestyle.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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Here is the list of schools in Red Clay Consolidated School District (west side of Wilm):
Home (http://www.redclay.k12.de.us/Schools/schoolindex.htm - broken link)

and here is Brandywine (north of Wilm):
Brandywine School District - OUR SCHOOLS (http://www.bsd.k12.de.us/schools.htm - broken link)

Looking over them, I think Red Clay is probably better these days (I've lived in both areas). Red Clay is has "choice"... you can apply to choose your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice and so on. The most sought after elementary schools are Brandywine Springs, Linden Hill, and North Star. If you own a home in that feeder pattern, I think you get preference to that school... but I'm not sure. For secondary schools, H.B.DuPont Middle & A.I. DuPont Middle & H.S. are the most sought after. At the high school level, they offer the Charter School, which is known for being more desirable than many of the local private schools! They also have a few other magnet schools, such as the Military Academy, the Conrad Science School (I think will eventually be thru 12th grade) and Cab Calloway's School of the Arts (my daughter attended here for middle school... it was a cool, urban arts school with tremendous school spirit).

Brandywine has mostly excellent elementary schools, but for grades 4-6 they ship all the kids either to within the city limits (although it is a nice area of the city... Old Ninth Ward) or to Claymont (which I'll add... is the town where the V.P. nominee Joe Biden grew up). P.S. DuPont, in the city, is probably the best choice there. For high school, Brandywine & Concord are in better areas.

Because our property taxes are low, many people choose private school, there are plenty of them to choose from in the area, also. Also 4 Vo-Tech high schools, with Delcastle & St. George's being the better ones. My son chose Delcastle and studied electrical trades... he just was accepted into the electricians union as an apprentice at just 20 years old! Now my daughter left the arts school to attend Delcastle as well.

Sorry I talked your ear off! I think Delaware schools give you a lot of bang for your buck... of course, some will complain about them, but there are 'tough' kids at every school. It all depends on how kids & parents apply themselves. There are a few schools/areas to avoid... I'd avoid the Colonial District entirely, and parts of Christina.

Up the road in Chester County, PA there is a great school district, Avon Grove, but property taxes in Pennsylvania are thru the roof! I'd choose to live in Delaware and look at private schools rather than move to PA.

Good luck!
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:45 PM
 
Location: rural North Carolina
272 posts, read 683,874 times
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I'm not a big fan of Delaware public schools. Spending ranks 8th in the nation yet our students rank in the middle-tier. The school districts are top-heavy with non-teaching personnel (e.g. my son received a commendation letter signed by not one but two positive behavior support team coordinators) and nepotism is rife. If it weren't for the fact that we plan to leave the area, I would have put our kid into private school - or moved across the border into PA where the schools are significantly better.

Keep in mind that Wilmington Delaware is really a suburb of Philadelphia, so if schools are a priority I'd recommend areas in PA that are nearby including Concordville, Kennett Square, and West Chester. While Delaware does not have a sales tax and property taxes are lower than nearby states, its income tax is higher - so if you are middle class your cost of living will be about the same whether you live in Delaware or PA.
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:12 PM
 
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Jskirwin, state income taxes for 2008 are 3.07 in PA, and 2.2 to 5.9 in Delaware.

Homes are rarely reassessed in DE, they haven't been since the early 1980s, and when they are it is for a very small amount because it's political suicide to even suggest a tax increase.

So no, 'middle-class' people don't come out anywhere near the same. Delaware is much cheaper... the drawback from this is that the area is becoming so congested with transplants from nearby states. I have seen my auto insurance increase.

I'm sorry you feel we are nothing more than a suburb of Philly. I hope you find happiness wherever you move.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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Thanks for all the thorough responses! It really does help to know there is "southern hospitality" in Delaware!
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:39 PM
 
Location: rural North Carolina
272 posts, read 683,874 times
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Mikandmari
Delaware is cheaper for those who make the median income in the state of $48k or less. However for anyone who does better than that you will end up paying more in state tax in DE than in PA. You'll end up paying a couple of grand more in income tax, and saving it on the property tax - making it a wash. Where you will save is in sales taxes - but consumption taxes matter most to those that make the least.

As for reassessment, I'm not sure what you are talking about. My taxes have doubled on my house in Brandywine Hundred in the 10 years I have lived here. Still the $1,800 I pay is much less than across the border, but in exchange I get mediocre public schools.

As for the state being a suburb of Philly, Philadelphia is a great city and jobs are plentiful - so this is a problem... why?

Delaware is not heaven for most people, but it is close for some. You're not helping people by sugar-coating life here; present them the reality - the advantages and disadvantages - and let them decide for themselves.

In fact I learn from the "negative" posts on city-data just I do the positive ones. With the negatives you can see what is important to people and how their city/town/state doesn't measure up. But if their needs aren't yours then you're fine.

Since I have a school-age child, public schools are extremely important to me - and Delaware fails that criteria. Since the OP was asking about them it would be dishonest to say everything is fine; it's not. Even the politicians like Jack Markell admit that in their campaign commercials.

Private schools here, on the other hand, are top notch. Salesianum, Archmere, St. Edmunds, Tower Hill... All of these are great schools - just extremely expensive.

It's not about happiness, it's about honesty.
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