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Old 08-24-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 607,839 times
Reputation: 1411

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Ok, I was kind of on the fence about Hopkins because the last two comments are similar to what I've seen elsewhere. Walkable downtown or not, Hopkins is out.

The place in Wayzata is definitely in the mix. Its a little more than I want to spend, but not completely ridiculous. The apartment would be walkable to Wayzata village, which is a huge plus.

I'm quite intrigued by the Shepard Road area in St. Paul. I don't know that we would want to live here for years, but for a six or maybe 12 month stay, it could be perfect.

How safe is this general are? Would you feel safe moving your daughter there from out of the area and having them walking around the area? If you are a woman, would you feel safe walking to parks, shops etc? I really want them to have nearby things to do while I am working.

Oh yeah, I am also a little interested in the Anderson Lake Parkway area in Eden Prairie. It looks like there are walking trails all over the place and that you can get to the stuff around Eden Prairie Center on foot. However, when I started reading apartment reviews, I saw a few things about cars getting broken into at the apartments, bed bugs and other things I don't want to deal with.

Last edited by MidwestRedux; 08-24-2014 at 09:22 AM.. Reason: Content
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:09 PM
 
878 posts, read 901,672 times
Reputation: 1131
Personally, as someone who just moved here sight unseen myself (and rented a home sight unseen, too!)-- I'd HIGHLY recommend a short stay in an extended stay hotel and making the decision AFTER you're here to ensure that you're happy with your decision (we opted to rent sight unseen because, at the time, we had two very large dogs that made it very challenging to find a place to rent-- plus three kids which made a hotel room less than desirable, even for a few weeks), we also knew that we needed to be within 10 minutes of the rink where my husband would be coaching, so our location was fairly set-- you have fewer (none?) of those limitations, so 'tying yourself down' prematurely doesn't make a ton of sense, in my opinion.

I totally get wanting to get settled right away but as you are trying to decide between vastly different locations-- and a few weeks delay might save you a year of living in the WRONG locale for you and your family. Best of luck!
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:50 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,817,566 times
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While clearly personal preferences -- and definitions of what makes an area "walkable" -- clearly vary widely, when it comes to Eden Prairie I'll just say that we've been out in that general area multiple times this summer, and while it's not horrible (i.e. there are walking trails and you can technically walk places) I would never recommend it to someone looking for walkability. It's better than some areas, I'll give it that, but it's still very auto-centric and stuff is simply so spread out and surrounded by large parking lots.

When we made a long-distance move a few years ago we stayed in an airbnb rental for a month while looking for housing, which worked great. I agree with ellysbelly that if you have the option, a month or a couple of weeks in a very temporary place is better than getting geographically stuck. Especially since the places you are considering are so drastically different in terms of amenities, location, and overall feeling.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 607,839 times
Reputation: 1411
Thanks for the feedback.

I totally understand the risks of taking a place sight unseen and realize the limitations of internet reviews, google street views and really good advice in this forum

The only reason I am willing to roll the dice is for the continuity of my business. Because of a combination of factors, I really need to limit my downtime. I need to make the trip from here to there as quickly as possible and have a phone line and internet access waiting when I get there. If my house had sold a little quicker, I would be moving right now. NOTHING happens the last week in August work-wise. Oh well.

My wife and I took a very close look (from afar) at some complexes in St Paul along Shepard. Those appeared too risky to take sight unseen because of noise and other factors that could lead to a year of misery.

Right now, I am waiting to hear if a place in Maple Grove in/near Arbor Lakes has a unit opening around October 1st. They will find out for sure whether they have a tenant moving out this week. If they do, I'm ready to lock it up. They will do a six month lease. If that doesn't pan out, I'm thinking we will take an apartment in Wayzata.

I think/hope that both of those are safe enough bets that our chances of not being too miserable are pretty good. Once we get a feel for the area, we can look for something a little longer term in Minneapolis, St Paul, an inner ring suburb, Stillwater and so on. Who knows, maybe I will love suburbia and want to stay.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
51 posts, read 77,748 times
Reputation: 77
I know it was mentioned at least a couple of pages back but another plug for 48th and Chicago in Minneapolis. A really nice neighborhood that's turning over from older retired couples to younger families. Some deals to be had but most need work (I bought one such property 4 years ago). It may be at the upper end of your price range but definitely worth a look. Elementary and Middle schools are good and the high school is improving.

Most of the crime in that immediate area has been garage burglaries from people that left their garages unsecured. Other crimes are few and far between. I honestly feel safer there than when we lived in a townhome in Eagan which was near some less than stellar apartment buildings and attracted a lot of crime.

Another thing to look out for in that area is airplane noise. It can be loud depending on where you are. (if you're under one of the inbound approaches, it can be loud)

Anyway, good luck on the search, you've gotten some great advice in this thread.
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 607,839 times
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Unfortunately for us, we have two moves in our future. The first one is in about 30 days and we will end up in an apartment or townhouse in the suburbs or maybe St. Paul. I hope to have that squared away in a couple days, hopefully on a six month lease.

After we arrive, 48th and Chicago, Armatage, Stillwater and a couple other places that have been discussed here will get a very close look. The markets for renting a place and buying a place are very different. There is nothing that would meet our needs and budget in any of the areas in Minneapolis or in town Stillwater for rent. When we are looking to buy, we should have some decent options. I am ok getting a place that needs some very minor rehab or cosmetic work. I hope that will allow us to get a little more house in a little better area for a little less money.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:47 AM
 
21 posts, read 27,042 times
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We just bought a house near 48th and Chicago after living right by Lake Nokomis (in a rental) for about eight months and absolutely love it. Yes, there is some airport noise (that's a given in south AND southwest MPLS) but it's minor to us, especially in comparison to what we put with over by the east side Lake Nokomis. When you decide to start looking at potential houses in south MPLS you'll notice that some say they have "MAC Updates". These are houses that are in the noisiest part of the flight path that the MAC installed new noise reducing windows and AC units in starting in the '90s. Our rental had MAC updates and, to be honest, they didn't seem to help that much. YMMV but if you see "MAC Updates" you can expect serious airport noise if you open your windows in the spring and fall or like to spend time outdoors.

Our neighborhood (Northrop) is really quiet (even with the airplane noise), there are quite a few kids here (we don't have any yet), Minnehaha Creek and Lake Nokomis are a five minute bike ride away, and the neighborhood is getting younger as the original residents retire or, in some unfortunate cases, pass away. Our neighbors on both sides have lived in our neighborhood for over 20 years and the worst thing they've had happen is someone try to enter their garage during the summer. If you head above 38th Street towards Lake Street east of 35W things can get quite a bit dicier but I doubt you'll want to consider those neighborhoods. If you decide to look in south MPLS (which I highly recommend) you'll want to use the following streets as boundaries:

Northern boundary: 42nd Street (though you could go up to 38th)
Eastern boundary: Hiawatha (though you could go over to the river)
Southern boundary: 52nd Street (any lower and the airport noise is quite bad)
Western boundary: 35W

If you use those streets as boundaries you've got the following neighborhoods to explore - Regina, Northrop, Field, Hale, Ericsson, Page, Minnehaha, Weenonah (parts), and Keewaydin (parts). There are tons of great restaurants (Modern Cafe, al Vento, 5-8 Club, Matt's, Town Hall Lanes), shops, two great movie theatres (Trylon and Riverview), and grocery stores (Baker's Wife, Everette's Meats, Oxendales) in these neighborhoods and some great housing stock. The neighborhoods around Lake Nokomis are quite popular (especially those in the Hale-Field school district) but you can find plenty of houses there for less than $300K. We looked at neighborhoods west of 35W (Linden Hills, Kingfield, Fulton) and, while we could certainly afford a house there, didn't care for the neighborhoods (way too "white" for us). In St Paul we really liked Mac-Groveland (an excellent neighborhood) but the taxes were too high for us and two of the houses we looked at needed serious work.

If do decide to buy in either MPLS or St Paul and look at older houses make sure you have a good inspector (find someone that can make a $50 fix into a $5,000 job) and that you call in a plumber during the inspection to have them take the camera down the drain pipes. The last thing that you want to have happen is have your pipes collapse in February due to tree growth and have to shell out for emergency plumbing work. You'll also want to make sure the wiring has been modernized, lots of older houses in the Twin Cities still have functioning knob-and-tube wiring in them that's quite costly to replace and modernize.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:52 AM
 
21 posts, read 27,042 times
Reputation: 48
By "$50 fix into a $5,000 job" I mean someone that will tell you "yes, you can fix this for $50 but it won't last and it will cost you $5,000 to do it right." Given the climate here there are only about six months where some work can get done without it costing you a ridiculous premium. Concrete work, for example, is very expensive here and gets more expensive the closer fall closes in.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 607,839 times
Reputation: 1411
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.

In two weeks we will be in transit on our way to our new (temporary) home in Maple Grove. We found a condo/townhouse that was actually under our budget and is within walking distance of Main Street/Arbor Lakes.

We explored countless other urban/suburban options and this was definitely the best fit for now. We'll see if we end up settling in Maple Grove or elsewhere. We signed an eight month lease, so I will probably be back with more questions in a few months when we are looking for our next place.

Special thanks to Rhody2MN, who was the first to suggest Maple Grove and their Main Street development.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
330 posts, read 399,399 times
Reputation: 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.

In two weeks we will be in transit on our way to our new (temporary) home in Maple Grove. We found a condo/townhouse that was actually under our budget and is within walking distance of Main Street/Arbor Lakes.

We explored countless other urban/suburban options and this was definitely the best fit for now. We'll see if we end up settling in Maple Grove or elsewhere. We signed an eight month lease, so I will probably be back with more questions in a few months when we are looking for our next place.

Special thanks to Rhody2MN, who was the first to suggest Maple Grove and their Main Street development.
Thanks for the update and I'm glad you found a suburban location that will work for you. You'll find that when you want a trip to the city, Minneapolis is only a twenty minute drive during off peak hours.

Once you get settled, if you like cupcakes or bakeries, you'll have to reward yourself by going to Nadia Cakes (next to Arbor Lakes).
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