Moving from Phoenix to Minneapolis (St. Paul, Minnetonka: for sale, condos, townhouses)
Minneapolis - St. PaulTwin Cities
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I think we should all get together. I'm having fun and learning a lot here. You guys have really gotten me excited about checking out the Minneapolis area for our retirement. Ahhhhh..........4 seasons. Green. Real lakes. Character. Away from dust, concrete, and a gazillion cookie cutter houses that are all painted the same color with a tile roof. Yes, they're ok, but really after seeing the first few thousand, it doesn't seem very creative or individualistic. Kinda like The Stepford Wives. I would like a simple rambler with wood floors and a fireplace. I'm particularly interested in Minnetonka and maybe the low rung of Edina for safety reasons. They both have low crime indexes (indices......not sure on spelling), and personal and property safety are at the top of our priority list since we're both in the law enforcement field. Just want to be able to keep my window open to get some fresh air. Can't do that here in Phoenix. Seriously, it is not advisable because you make yourself vulnerable. And I'm tired of always trying not to be a victim. I'm sure some horrific crimes occur in MN, but it has simply infiltrated the community here. I guess you can either live with it or leave. I want to leave and live in a "real" neighborhood with more than a 15 year history. It would no effect on me whatsoever if I never saw a Spanish-tiled roof again. Thank you all. I appreciate that Minnihahapolitan looked up some property for me. And someone turned me on to Northfield which I am now investigating. You guys are really something. Again, thank you. Of course, if you have any other burb suggestions, please let me know. Crime is top priority, of course along with affordability. Price range is between 275-325K. Don't want to go over the budget by one penny. Won't strangle over a mortgage and don't need to have the "right" address. No kids, so schools are not really an issue. Any recommendations are accepted with pleasure.
Quite honestly, unless you live in some of the really bad neighborhoods in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you don't have to worry about leaving your windows open. Many people don't even lock their doors at night in many areas of the twin cities. I have to say that if you are not concerned about the 'right' address, you will probably find Minnetonka not to your liking. It is a very wealthy suburb, Edina probably even more so.
If crime is a big concern, check out Marshall, MN in SW MN. This is a town were people still leave their keys in their cars when they go shopping. It is a GREAT town with very vibrant employers, good schools, etc and an inexpensive place to live. You could EASILY find a VERY nice house in the $250,000 or less with low taxes, low utility costs, etc.
My suggestions: Eagan is a great suburb, I have lived here for 3 years, it has great parks, great schools, it is middle-upper class, but definitely not "nouveau riche", Eagan schools are great! We are 15 minutes from St Paul and about the same distance from Minneapolis, only 10 minutes from the Mall of America and airport, great location! it is nicely tucked between St Paul and Minneapolis to the south. A decent house can be found, between 240-260 K. I have noticed an influx of "lower income" people into the apartment complexes, so I would buy a house in a more residential area not neighboring any apartment complexes. Apple Valley and Lakeville are similar to Eagan, nice schools, same demographics, more cookie cutter though. Keep in mind that Eagan, Lakeville and Apple Valley are suburbs, they are not really "real Minnesota towns". If you are looking for a real town, I would definitely recommend Northfield. Northfield is a real "small town Minnesota", it is older, trees everywhere, it is a college town, so you will get the college crowd as well as a more "country feel". I would say..50 minutes drive to Minneapolis. New Prague is another great "small country town", it is neat and homes can be found for about 200K. The drawback here is the longer drive..about 1 hour drive to Minneapolis. Minnesota has too many dying, dumpy country towns, so I feel like New Prague and Northfield are some of the best ones..country yet somehow progressive..definitely not too "rednecky"..Some of the older, rural towns are almost like Alabama, very isolated, ignorant and old fashioned, I did not know Minnesota had places like those, but you would be surprised how backwards some of these small Minnesota country towns are! Good luck to you!
One negative about New Prague, no shopping. They have grocery stores but for anything else you need to drive to Lakeville, Shakopee, etc. It is a 20 minute drive to buy anything other then groceries. My SIL lives there and that is her biggest complaint. Other then that it is a nice town although $200K would be pushing it for a 'nice' house. It is fairly expensive there and the taxes are pretty high.
I guess I don't agree with the dumpy, dying outlying towns, yes there are a few but for the most part the outstate area is great.
Minnetonka and Edina have very low crime rates, and that is a huge factor in where we chose to live. We're both probation officers and have been smothered in crime for our entire careers. Just want to be able to keep that window open. Even if we found a community where people still leave their keys in their cars at night, we're unfortunately just too conditioned to locking and checking and rechecking. This reminds me when I used to go to Chippewa Falls, WI to visit my former husband's mother. She never locked the doors at night. He comes from a very large family(9 kids), and there was constant traffic in and out of the house at all times of the day with grandkids, nieces, nephews, in-laws, etc, coming over. My former mother-in- law is a very popular lady, and her house always has been the hub of the family. So, she never locked the doors to anything. I was always so anxious every time we went to visit her. I'd wait until everyone went to bed and then I'd check all the doors and lock the entire house up. I'm not overly paranoid, but I couldn't adjust to the complacency. They thought it was quite funny every morning when they found the house on lockdown. I'm sure they told my ex that I needed to chill out. So, I could live in the most crime-free area, and I would still take all measures to maintain my safety. It's just conditioning.
Sorry for going off on a tangent here. I'm getting the impression that Minnetonka and Edina are part of the country club set. Their crimes rates are incredibly low, and that is very appealing, but we are solidly middle class people. We gross 120K per year between the 2 of us, but we have been with our agency for 25 and 30 years. That's a lot of years between us, and we don't see raises like they do in the private sector. We don't get bonuses and rarely see cost of living raises. They haven't caught on to that concept yet. We pay a large portion into retirement which is our saving grace. We'll be grossing about 84K per year when we retire in 2 years. Remember, we'll still be paying taxes, so it's not as good as it seems. I think those 2 communities may not fit in our price range or our lifestyle. I'm not consumed with the right address, car, clothes, and organizations. My husband is so not into that. In fact, he avoids circles like that. To be fair, I'm sure they are great communities, but there's probably a great deal of competition. I don't want to keep up with my neighbors. They just sounded so ideal because of such low crime rates.
So, how about Mendota? Looking for houses built before 1965. No developments or subdivisions. We're swimming with them here. What would be a comfortable place to live based on our income? Can spend about 275-325K on a house. Sorry to belabor my stuff, but this is a great forum from which to learn, and all the participants have been so informative with their responses. I can't get this kind of info in a book.
I can't agree with what one poster said about Eagan, it is very suburban. The only difference between Phoenix is the siding material and weather. I don't think that most of Mtka. is country clubish, closer to the lake it is. Edina is horrible about that, but it is horrible by Mpls. standards. (Remember, humble and Puritanical Scandinavians, its ture). If you want a more blue collar area, look into parts of Bloomington or north into Roseville, Falcon Heights or Saint Anthony Village. I would also reiterate that 95% of the metro is safe. People won't leave their cars running in the cities, but I know Edinians who leave their doors unlocked all day and I would be comfortable leaving windows unlocked in even some parts of Minneapolis.
Mendota Heights is also a very wealthy community and finding a house in your price range will probably mean a 1970's rambler. I know of the PERFECT house for you in Marshall . 1954, great woodwork, all newly remodeled well under your price range.
I don't know where you are looking for your crime rate information but for the most part you will see comparable "crime" in almost all of the suburbs. The type of crime you will see most often is a stolen bike, not that other things don't happen but is VERY uncommon.
I still think you should look into Stillwater, Hastings or Northfield. They would ALL fit what you are looking for very well.
Northfield is like Goodyear in distance from the city. On a good day 35 minutes is reasonable. But during rush hour can be a lot longer. Since they are retiring, the commute probably wouldn' be an issue. But you can't dismiss the winter weather with one simple statement. I highly suggest they try out a winter here before they buy. Did I strike a nerve with the Fargo remark? Sorry I don't understand the "Cohen complexity". Yes it's a parady but based on reality. And you are absolutely right about this being Puritan culture. I couldn't agree with you more! And thank you for understanding my point about rich phonies everywhere - the Scottsdale sterotype is too easy. Kandj seems to want to give Minnesota a try but if she is a native Arizonan the weather will a major concern. I recommend a visit in January.
I'm not a native Phoenician, and I have never felt like I belonged here. I was raised in the NYC area and have experienced cold weather when growing up. I left NY 30 years ago to attend ASU, and I just kept living here. Every NY'er I meet feels just like I do about not having a feeling of community here. I am sorry I stayed so long.......over 1/2 my life. You attend school, graduate, get your first job, establish a career, get married, get divorced, get married, and before you know it, it's 30 years later. My parents just re-located from NY to Oregon 2 years ago, so I always maintained my connection, but never spent an entire winter there since I was 19 or 20 years old. I'm 50 now, so that's a really long time not experiencing cold conditions. We definitely plan to visit in Jan or Feb when I hope the weather will be at it's most uncooperative. I just can't continue living in AZ anymore. I just can't stand it. My husband says he wants an adventure for the last part of his life, and I intend to make sure that happens. He's moved to PHX when he was a baby, and has never lived anywhere else, but he's very flexible and adaptable. I'm glad he wants to leave as well or we'd have a problem to sort out.
And thank you for understanding my point about rich phonies everywhere - the Scottsdale sterotype is too easy.
I understood your point full well, I just don't think that you did. You try to say how horrible Mpls. is because of all the pretty boys in daddy's boat at Fletcher's, and then admit that those people are everywhere after I make the same point about Scottsdale.
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Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
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Originally Posted by Minnehahapolitan
As for my information on Northfield, I was taking the lead of GolfGal. First off, some people have no problem with that drive and could probably figure out that it would be rather long from a map. Secondly, there are jobs in Northfield that one can find.
I drove from Eden Prairie to Owatonna every day for eight months when I was doing contract programming in the Twin Cities, and the commute (mostly on I-35) really wasn't that bad. Yeah, the drive was an hour long, sometimes a little more, but once I got south of Lakeville I could put the cruise control on and relax in my thoughts for a while.
Don't get me wrong -- I vastly prefer my current 8-mile commute. :-) But it certainly was a doable thing. Owatonna was a nice little town, and I'd rather be on the road for an hour at 70MPH than on stop-and-go traffic for a half-hour.
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