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Old 03-25-2008, 03:06 PM
 
28 posts, read 144,141 times
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Hi & thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.
It looks as though my husband will be working at Browns Ferry nuclear plant in the VERY near future.
We will be relocating from upstate (1 1/2 hours north of the city) New York. I have talked to a few real estate agents about commute times from the plant in relations to huntville, and have been told between 20 minutes-55 minutes.
To me that is a big difference as I would like him commute to be as short as possible as he know commutes an hour and it takes its toll.
Also, I would love to hear about Decatur & Athens area schools, home values and such.
We have a daughter who will be in 11th grade in the fall.
Again, thank you for your help.
(If you can't tell, I am starting to panic about the realty of this move)!
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:08 PM
 
28 posts, read 144,141 times
Reputation: 15
Default Sorry for above typo's

Sorry, was not paying enough attention as I should have.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Madison, AL
410 posts, read 1,496,965 times
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Athens would be a good choice -- convenient to Huntsville but more convenient to Brown's Ferry. Decatur is a little more urban than Athens (but still a pretty small city) and Decatur has more shopping and amenities.

Do you want urban, rural, suburban, country...? What kind of budget? And what sorts of activities and amenities are important to you?
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:33 PM
 
28 posts, read 144,141 times
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Default Thanks Nicole

In Ny we are on 1 acre-on a street with 10 houses. I would like to have a LITTLE more land or space between houses. I do not think we would like a subdivision as our children are getting older. I do need a large home as my parents and our college age son will be moving down with us.
I do love brick homes & for once I would like a "newer home." (maybe under 5 years old) Our budget is 300k-325k-would love to be on the lower end of this range.
Can you reccommend a school district in decatur that I may want to look into? (or ones to avoid)
Thank You.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:36 PM
 
28 posts, read 144,141 times
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Default To Nicole

Sorry, I meant Athens----not decatur---as we do like shopping and I'm sure would like the conveniences that you mentioned.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Madison, AL
410 posts, read 1,496,965 times
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I don't really know school districts, so I can't comment on those. I can say that my school district is good -- I am a few miles south of Decatur -- but I think it would be farther than your husband would want to commute. (It would be about an hour)

If you want that kind of elbow room you are looking at a more rural location. That's not going to be very far out of either Decatur or Athens, but you may want to focus closer to Decatur for now to get to the most amenities. Both Athens and Decatur are about the same distance from Huntsville but Decatur is more of a straight shot. Athens is more convenient to Madison, which also has a lot of shopping, etc.

If you go to Google Maps and look up Athens, AL, you will see a gray unlabeled section to the southwest of Athens on the river/Wheeler Lake. That's where Brown's Ferry is. You probably don't want to go much if any west of there if you want to be close to Huntsville. Much of the area east of Brown's Ferry on toward Madison is open and flat farmland, but subdivisions are starting to fill up the area. There are mostly older but nice homes on large lots along Hwy 31 between Decatur and Athens. There may be some good homes in there.

Don't go too far across the river on the Decatur side or commute times will go up quickly.

I don't think you will have an issue with your price range and acreage but you may need to come down on the age requirement a little. Not old, necessarily, but new homes are selling at a premium right now. I don't know if it is still for sale, but there was a large log cabin about 10 years old on 7 acres near Brown's Ferry Road and Mooresville Road ("Peets Corner") a while back selling for $279k. I don't think it had mother-in-law quarters, though. But there are options in your price range, and that would be about 30 minutes to Brown's Ferry.

Alternately, you may consider a newer, cheaper and smaller home on acreage and then place a manufactured home on the lot for the parents. You'll need to be in unincorporated county and not in a subdivision to do that. You'd be surprised how many homes out here already have a second spot for a home, sometimes with utilities and address already, because there used to be a mobile home and they saved up to build a house. Or you could build a guest house. The additional privacy for your parents while still being close to help may be appreciated.

Come visit and look around so you get a feel for the area. I think it will help you a lot in making a good decision. Moving long distance is hard enough!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,845 posts, read 15,913,921 times
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Maria, you can find North Alabama homes for sale on ValleyMLS.com. Athens has a good variety of houses for sale. If you want more than an acre, you may have to go out into the county. That means county schools, and that could be good...or bad. And many times the county schools are quite a distance away.
Decatur has nice housing, but it tends to be in subdivisions...but you never know. You might want to look at the Burningtree area of Decatur. We do have quite a few Browns Ferry employees in Decatur.
Now, let me tell you about Decatur schools. They do not rate highly compared to Athens, Hartselle and much of Madison and Huntsville. It doesn't mean your daughter can't get a good education here.
The problem is, we have a growing Hispanic population and many of the kids speak limited or no English. Frankly, that tends to pull overall scores down.
But both our high schools, Austin and Decatur, offer AP courses and an International Baccalaureate program. We do have graduates who earn scholarships to MIT, Vanderbilt, and other top schools as well as the in-state schools.
My kids attended Decatur High School, and overall got a pretty good education, but math was a weak point. There are a couple of teachers they've needed to fire or reassign for years, but won't.
Athens and Hartselle both have good schools. I won't lie - it's hard for a kid at that age coming to a new school. Of the two Decatur high schools, Decatur High is the worse for cliques.
Be sure to look at the Web sites mentioned in the "stickies" at the top of this forum.
Good luck, and welcome to Alabama!
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,776 posts, read 53,957,343 times
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New housing tends to be in developments that have little character. There are some new homes on Lucas Ferry road between highway 72 and 99 that have some space around them, but not much more than an acre. I would second the idea of looking at some of the older homes, with the added caveat that a home inspection would be a requirement. Building codes, especially in the county and outside of Athens, are non-existent, and some older homes are... uh... creative in their construction.

Athens itself is fast on the way to being a more highly regulated city. They just passed an ordinance banning anyone from keeping farm animals, pot bellied pigs, chickens, and requiring dogs to have proper pens. I understand the reasoning, but I think they have gone a little over-the-top, and will soon turn the city into a generic suburbia, with all the code enforcement and higher taxes that such "services" require.

The county itself has no zoning at all, which has its own set of positives and negatives. It is an agricultural and rural area, and you need to understand that there might be manure spread on a field next to you, or a tractor on the road, or livestock wandering around.

If you do settle for a place in the country, your kids stand a chance of getting a real education on animal husbandry and farming that will ground them in common sense compared to many of the more extreme eco-nuts who have never seen the backside of a cow, yet want to dictate how we interact with the world.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Huntsville, AL
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Maria where in upstate NY are you from? My dad's family is from the South Glen's Fall area. Small place so you might not know of it. Just curious.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Madison, AL
410 posts, read 1,496,965 times
Reputation: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
and some older homes are... uh... creative in their construction.
Very diplomatic of you.

But some newer homes, too. I'd recommend an inspection for any home, even a brand new one. For about $350, it's a lot cheaper than finding a problem later.
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