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Old 11-30-2009, 01:46 PM
 
Location: GA
34 posts, read 162,576 times
Reputation: 27

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Hey all - our family (mom/dad & 2 kids) is at a major crossroads in our life. Our home north of Atlanta is selling. We have the luxury of moving anywhere in the US - but that luxury is turning into a burden. (We actually hope to stay East Coast - anywhere from Florida up to NY). We have friends speckled up and down the coast - yet we envy none of them. They are all settled in - yet NONE of them say "yeah, move here, it's great for our family!"

We've always wanted to move away from Atlanta to be closer to the beach (with maybe even warmer weather than Atlanta). Yet we have family outside Philadelphia. Now that we're seriously looking - I feel like we're already dating the best-looking girl in the class and about to dump her. North Atlanta is cheap, new, huge houses, huge subdivisions, beautiful landscaping, parks, 1000s of new dining/shopping choices, great weather and top-rated for families. I'm not finding anything even comparable anywhere.

Florida actually now has larger and cheaper houses (thanks to the ecomony). But the state of Florida seems less-than-wholesome. They have their wacky governmental problems, and it's an eclectic mix of people. There aren't any huge towns full of similar types of people like Atlanta. It's not likely my wife could start a 40-person Mommy group within a subdivision in Florida (maybe a granny group!). It's a melting pot.

Then the Northeast (MD/PA/VA/NJ/NY) is old and colder. We could by a brand new 5 bedroom 3 car garage home with basement and all amenities in Atlanta for about $315K. In the northeast, we'd get a 1984 3-bedroom with a carport. And we're not going to be shopping in sparking-new malls and Publix grocery stores. We'd be shopping at the local IGA - open since 1948.

But it's not the "new-ness" that we're overly concerned with (although it's hard to ignore). We have two young children. We want a "wholesome" town and a wholesome subdivision. We want neighbors nearby that we have spontanious BBQs with. The kids play at the community pool. Then on weekends, we can take a quick trip to the beach (or ski mountains).

SO - where do you live? I want to envy you!
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:35 PM
 
17 posts, read 53,234 times
Reputation: 22
Better stay where you are. My hometown has great diversity in people and the people like it that way. We like our "old" stuff too. If you move anywhere else, we will be hearing you ***** on our local forums about, you know, all of "those kind of people", too many unique, local business with some character, too many lower middle class or poor people impeding on your fragile sensibilities. Is it me or does this post just scream what's wrong with so many folks in our country?
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:18 PM
hsw
 
2,144 posts, read 6,349,316 times
Reputation: 1518
Not sure that $300K buys much of anything new or old in any desirable suburban area of Dallas or Houston or Atl or NYC...or any other major city in US I can think of, even much maligned Detroit or Cleveland suburbs like Bloomfield Hills or GatesMills

Land costs are high in any decent part of any suburban area in US (i.e., scenic land w/upscale newer houses <20min drive to major offices w/high-income jobs, good pvt schools, edible dining, good grocery stores (lots of new, mass-mkt grocery store buildings have crappy produce); public schools generally suck anywhere, so need to budget private schools if have kids....real variable is one's career earnings opportunities in any region....and state/local income taxes (esp NYC/CA's 10+% rates vs TX's 0%)
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:36 AM
 
3,368 posts, read 10,502,933 times
Reputation: 1678
Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante View Post
Hey all - our family (mom/dad & 2 kids) is at a major crossroads in our life. Our home north of Atlanta is selling. We have the luxury of moving anywhere in the US - but that luxury is turning into a burden. (We actually hope to stay East Coast - anywhere from Florida up to NY). We have friends speckled up and down the coast - yet we envy none of them. They are all settled in - yet NONE of them say "yeah, move here, it's great for our family!"

We've always wanted to move away from Atlanta to be closer to the beach (with maybe even warmer weather than Atlanta). Yet we have family outside Philadelphia. Now that we're seriously looking - I feel like we're already dating the best-looking girl in the class and about to dump her. North Atlanta is cheap, new, huge houses, huge subdivisions, beautiful landscaping, parks, 1000s of new dining/shopping choices, great weather and top-rated for families. I'm not finding anything even comparable anywhere.

Florida actually now has larger and cheaper houses (thanks to the ecomony). But the state of Florida seems less-than-wholesome. They have their wacky governmental problems, and it's an eclectic mix of people. There aren't any huge towns full of similar types of people like Atlanta. It's not likely my wife could start a 40-person Mommy group within a subdivision in Florida (maybe a granny group!). It's a melting pot.

Then the Northeast (MD/PA/VA/NJ/NY) is old and colder. We could by a brand new 5 bedroom 3 car garage home with basement and all amenities in Atlanta for about $315K. In the northeast, we'd get a 1984 3-bedroom with a carport. And we're not going to be shopping in sparking-new malls and Publix grocery stores. We'd be shopping at the local IGA - open since 1948.

But it's not the "new-ness" that we're overly concerned with (although it's hard to ignore). We have two young children. We want a "wholesome" town and a wholesome subdivision. We want neighbors nearby that we have spontanious BBQs with. The kids play at the community pool. Then on weekends, we can take a quick trip to the beach (or ski mountains).

SO - where do you live? I want to envy you!
Why do you need a "new, huge" house? My sister and I were raised by our two parents in a 1070 square foot space in a middle class, safe neighborhood.

It would cost $750,000-$1,000,000+ for what you want in areas that I would consider desirable like Westfield/ScotchPlains/Millburn/Chatham, NJ; Pinecrest/CoralGables/SouthMiami/CoconutGrove/KeyBiscayne, FL; or Brookline/Newton/Cambridge, MA. Furthermore, these areas tend to have very few gated communities and attract a wider range of people than just families. In those areas you find plenty of empty-nesters, younger couples without children, and gays mixed in as well, so I'm not sure if you'd think they were "wholesome" places for your family to move. However, your children could benefit from interacting with a diverse population, being very close to the cultural attractions of large, established cities, and they wouldn't have to rely on their parents to drive them everywhere when they're young teenagers - more public transit available there than in most areas of the country.

If the $300,000's is your price range, and you want to live in a truly desirable area, you will need to be more realistic about how much space you need in a home/townhome/condo, be more open to living among people who are different from you, and be more open to the fact that sometimes "older" areas are just as attractive, if not more so, than brand-spanking new ones.

If you don't like my suggestions, I honestly suggest just staying put in Alpharetta or Roswell or wherever you live now. That, or move to a very similar suburb outside of Raleigh or Charlotte.

That aside, my number one suggestion for you if you want people to envy where you live is to move somewhere interesting and full of character with a strong sense of place. Big houses and new cars won't impress if all of your friends have them. There's a reason people write home about Key West, FL; Rockport, MA; and Santa Barbara, CA but not about shiny new subdivisions 20 miles away from Phoenix or Atlanta.

Last edited by Marlin331; 12-01-2009 at 12:48 AM..
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:51 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
32,345 posts, read 55,148,798 times
Reputation: 15415
From reading the OP, I think maybe you'd be better off staying in Atlanta.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:15 AM
 
Location: GA
34 posts, read 162,576 times
Reputation: 27
Default Thanks all

Thanks for the responses. BTW - I didn't mean to offend the first person to reply. Rather, I was simply framing out what we've come to know, enjoy, and afford - and how we're looking for something similar to that outside of Atlanta. I'm not opposed to any diversity of place or types of people. But if we position ourselves where there are other folks of similar interests, we'll have more to do and more friends. More people in my wife's mommy group. More men my age to start a baseball team. More people to dine with who share our taste in food. More friends. If we moved to Miami, I could go door-to-door in entire subdivisions, and I might find just 1 guy to join my baseball team or go camping with, or 2 moms to join that mommy group. In Atlanta, every third house has that - you could fill a bus. I don't care whether the people are black, white, gay, straight, muslim or christian. Doesn't matter, as long as they like coming over to talk NFL football during weekly BBQs and play whiffle ball in the street (and they bring their kids).

As for needing a big new house - we don't. But in ATL, it's there for the taking at $300K, 20 miles north of the city in the middle of everything new. Because that sort of home is available, we've got to throw it in the mix as one of our options to weigh against.

But the main reason I'd like to move from Atlanta is for lack of proximity to unique things to do. In Atlanta, you can go shopping or go out to dinner. There is no beach within an easy drive. There is no skiiing. Of course, the NE has both. But then we're forced to move into a smaller, older house.

It's sort of like would you rather have a brand new Cadillac Escalade for $10K that gets 2 miles to the gallon, or a old 1986 Ford Explorer for $10K that gets 100 miles to the gallon.

I know I can't pick up affordable Atlanta and move it closer to the beach or skiing. But surely there must be an East Coast town that's a nice mix of all of the above.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:25 PM
 
3,368 posts, read 10,502,933 times
Reputation: 1678
Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante View Post
Thanks for the responses. BTW - I didn't mean to offend the first person to reply. Rather, I was simply framing out what we've come to know, enjoy, and afford - and how we're looking for something similar to that outside of Atlanta. I'm not opposed to any diversity of place or types of people. But if we position ourselves where there are other folks of similar interests, we'll have more to do and more friends. More people in my wife's mommy group. More men my age to start a baseball team. More people to dine with who share our taste in food. More friends. If we moved to Miami, I could go door-to-door in entire subdivisions, and I might find just 1 guy to join my baseball team or go camping with, or 2 moms to join that mommy group. In Atlanta, every third house has that - you could fill a bus. I don't care whether the people are black, white, gay, straight, muslim or christian. Doesn't matter, as long as they like coming over to talk NFL football during weekly BBQs and play whiffle ball in the street (and they bring their kids).

As for needing a big new house - we don't. But in ATL, it's there for the taking at $300K, 20 miles north of the city in the middle of everything new. Because that sort of home is available, we've got to throw it in the mix as one of our options to weigh against.

But the main reason I'd like to move from Atlanta is for lack of proximity to unique things to do. In Atlanta, you can go shopping or go out to dinner. There is no beach within an easy drive. There is no skiiing. Of course, the NE has both. But then we're forced to move into a smaller, older house.

It's sort of like would you rather have a brand new Cadillac Escalade for $10K that gets 2 miles to the gallon, or a old 1986 Ford Explorer for $10K that gets 100 miles to the gallon.

I know I can't pick up affordable Atlanta and move it closer to the beach or skiing. But surely there must be an East Coast town that's a nice mix of all of the above.
I don't know why you're assuming that people in the places I have mentioned are not outgoing and friendly. People invite neighbors to barbecues and get-togethers in Miami, too, you know! Also, there are neighborhoods where 40-50% of homes have children. You might want to check out Surfside, Kendall, Miami Lakes, Palmetto Bay, and even some communities in Broward County like Cooper City, Hollywood Hills, Pembroke Pines, and Weston. Homes in the $300,000's are available in all of these areas.

I'm glad to hear that you're open to meeting a variety of people. That will open up your opportunies a lot more. Also, though you say that you're accustomed to new, shiny, and large when it comes to housing and shopping, I think you should ease up on the attitude that it's better than housing and shopping in established areas. In South Florida and the Northeast, the most desirable areas are never brand-spanking new; they're established.

You can search high and low, long and wide and not find a single place as inexpensive, new, and sterile-feeling like Alpharetta anywhere in the Northeast for anywhere near your price range. It literally doesn't exist. The kind of environment to which you're accustomed is available in far-flung, newer suburbs, but you're going to pay $750,000-$1,000,000+ for it and then $10,000-$15,000 in property taxes each year.

With that said, there are many great places to raise children in the Northeast. You can find a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in a safe, middle class area for $300,000-$350,000 in many towns outside of New York and Boston. These towns have baseball and soccer leagues for the kids, and quiet, tree-lined side streets where you often see children playing. Best of all, you often see older children and teens walking to school, piano lessons, soccer practice, and to get a slice of pizza in the town center; the towns are dense enough where kids don't need a parent to drive them absolutely everywhere. This is a huge advantage these kids have growing up there than growing up in a Sunbelt suburb in a maze of cul-de-sacs. If you can become accustomed to the idea of moving to an "older, smaller" house, you might really like the sense of community that a town like this offers.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,989 posts, read 30,671,383 times
Reputation: 7280
Houston. Northern Houston is filled with lots of beautiful subdivisions and pine trees; also being located about 1hr to an 1 and half hours from the beach (not the best beach, but still nice). Lots of nice huge homes (might not get a large lot) for affordable prices.
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:36 PM
 
908 posts, read 1,814,678 times
Reputation: 1317
Houston is also the ugliest major city in the country if you can overlook that. It's a city without zoning. There's a reason why things are affordable.
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Houston
2,026 posts, read 3,674,941 times
Reputation: 466
^^^Yeah I'm not sure your very familiar with Houston. Jluke was talking about the pinewoods in the northern suburbs around the Woodlands, Kingwood, and Lake Houston. That area is far from "ugly." Really not even my favorite neighborhoods though. I REALLY like the neighborhoods around the Manil Museum on Alabama St. The neighborhood is full of beautiful houses with a lot of character, tons of of cool little shops, a lot of vegetation and greener year around (Houston is a subtropical climate after all), very walkable, and some of the best museums in the country are right down the street.
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