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Old 05-02-2016, 12:52 AM
 
16 posts, read 18,628 times
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Hi, the kids, hubby and I are a diverse, progressive, and fun-loving family of 4, with 2 dogs and a young cat looking to rent in a suburban area that is welcoming and where the schools are above-average.

(FYI, have lived in several cities, such as Madison, Milwaulkee, Philly suburbs, Atlanta, Charlotte/Winston-Salem/Greensboro NC, Baltimore/DC area, and several Michigan cities)

Both kids are H.S. age, so this is our dilemma:

We are tired of schools with unchallenged drug (and sometimes gang)/bullying/disrespectful kids' issues. We have indeed found schools over the years with genuinely nice faculty, kids that are mostly friendly, and kids that are college-bound and/or have ambition, so we KNOW they exist

Just got back from visiting the area last month (thinking we would find something for our upcoming move in June, but we didn't)

Having a tough time with the recommended places of Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Edina. Looking to spend no more than $2400/mo on a 3-4 bedroom, 2+ bath place, preferrably with a fenced in yard and at least 1800 sq ft. This has been the hard part! Apartments, condos, townhomes, duplexes seem to be out, as we haven't found but a rare few that have sufficient indoor/outdoor space for 2 adults/2 teens and our well-behaved pets.

We are really trying to think outside of the box and are open to suggestions on communities/towns to look at that might fit the bill. We also need help 'ruling out' areas that are too snobby, too unsafe, or generally heading downhill.

Sorry for the long post, I am going into panic mode, as housing is usually not something I wait this long to secure! We are hoping this is the last (or nearly) the last move, as moving is getting old (and so are we) and we do not have to move anymore b/c of jobs.

Thanks for any advice, we value your time!
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:10 AM
 
23 posts, read 22,664 times
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I cannot speak about the schools, but in terms of the type of community you are seeking I would take a look at Maple Grove, Woodbury, Shoreview/Arden Hills, Lakeville and Apple Valley. A quick Zillow search of homes for rent returns a number of options that meet your criteria in each of these communities.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL- For NOW
736 posts, read 820,351 times
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I agree with the Apple Valley option. Personally my favorite city. Depending on where you want to be anyway. Rosemount is nice. Lakeville and farming seem to trending lately but I don't like it that far out, it gets a little too rural. But Maple Grove, Plymouth and Shakopee are all decent options. Woodbury is nice too. But my personal recommendation would be the Eagan/AppleValley/Burnsville triangle of you want affordable living, good schools, easy commutes.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:24 AM
 
16 posts, read 18,628 times
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Thumbs up Suggestions...

Thanks, I will look again at these areas

I did look at Apple Valley a few weeks ago, there just isn't a lot to rent there because it is so popular. Did find negative reviews about the kids being snobby/elitist. We do still have it on the list, especially since it is closer to skiing.

Anyone know more about Eagan or New Brighton?

Also, looked at Lakeville, but was suggested to avoid Maple Grove? Is Maple Grove moving in a positive direction?

Just to clarify, we are leaving the south because of allergies/heat, but especially because of racism and racial intolerance. It has not changed in the 25 years we have lived on/off in this state.

We don't have to live smack-dab in the middle of a melting pot, but also do not want my home-region of the mid-west to disappoint in this area. We don't see color when meeting friends and want to be among like-minded folks.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL- For NOW
736 posts, read 820,351 times
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I don't think you'll find too much racism anywhere in the twin cities. Remember, MN is a refugee state which brings in many cultures from around the world and it seems that people are socially accepting of this. It's not to say there are small things that will come up, but other than the whole "Black Lives Matter" protests that go on more often lately, I have never seen much there. We too are considering a move back to Mn and also lived in Charlotte for 6 years before trying Denver. I found Charlotte to be very odd. I liked it a lot but I noticed there was a lot of racism there. Especially if you get to the outlying areas of the metro. I grew up in Minnesota and never experienced racism. Everyone I knew and myself included had many friends of all backgrounds and it didn't seem indifferent at all.

Now as far as bullying and kids being snobbish and elitist, you'll find that in every town. Every town will have that one school that's better than the others -

Maple grove or Plymouth would be about the only NW burbs I'd look at if I wanted to live north and didn't want to afford the nice burbs directly north, but I don't think maple grove or Plymouth are as nice as apple valley, Eagan, Edina, Eden prarie etc. St.Louis park is nice too but probably not going to find anime big enough there in your budget, I think Edina, Eden prarie,chanhassen, Minnetonka etc are all a bit pricey. Especially if you're just renting. Id go cheaper first to save some money while you get comfortable.

Woodbury is a decent option too, but I wouldn't even be scared of Bloomington or Burnsville. I know the schools don't g et as high of rating but I also think those number are severely screwed buy many things, especially low test scores from non-American, non-English speaking students that dont test well. There's no perfect place, but I think that SW Corridor is a nice place to start.
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:06 AM
 
878 posts, read 965,125 times
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If you're not already, I'd suggest using Craigslist and Padmapper (be sure to use it from a desktop or laptop, it doesn't have a good mobile interface)-- the rental market is tight, especially when you have dogs, which is why we rented sight unseen once we realized how challenging it would be to find what we needed in our price point.

Another suggestion is that when we were looking, I messaged landlords to find out whether they'd consider my dogs-- my dogs are both well behaved (although large), neither puppies nor elderly (so no accidents nor destruction), and I offered to provide a letter of recommendation from my vet stating that they were good canine citizens and was willing to put down a 'pet deposit'-- a surprising number of landlords were willing to consider them that had originally listed their properties as 'no pets', so it's worth asking.

I've lived in a few of the places that you've lived in (went to undergrad in Chapel Hill), lived in Philly, and Atlanta-- and we love it here. My only concern is that while I find MN welcoming and think that you will, too, it's WAY, WAY less diverse than anywhere else that you've lived previously. If you're looking for diversity, I would also suggest considering living in Minneapolis proper, St Paul proper and/or maybe St Louis Park and/or Hopkins. Most of the suburbs that you're considering are almost entirely lily white (though accepting and welcoming, they're still all overwhelmingly white and barely diverse).

For additional suggestions of towns to consider, have you looked in Excelsior (Minnetonka school district-- and it reminds me a bit of Chapel Hill, great little downtown with tons of local shops and restaurants), Chanhassen or Victoria (both go to Chanhassen High School)-- we are renting in Chan (4 bedrooms, 1800ish sq ft, plus a BIG fenced in yard) for below your price point. It's not at all my dream home (4 level split, not at all upgraded since it was built in 1992), but it's clean, safe, next door to the bus stop(s) for my kids, and in a great neighborhood and we LOVE the location. Again, though, not particularly diverse, like 99% of the 'burbs here, we do love the schools and the area.

To answer one of your earlier questions, Maple Grove is the most suburb-iest suburb EVER-- but it does have great schools and great amenities (every chain known to man and then some)-- one of my closest friends lives in MG and she's in a multicultural family and they are very happy there.

Also, ironically, you're looking in some of the 'burbs that are considered to be among the most snobbish here: Edina and the Wayzata school district, which most of Plymouth feeds into-- both are considered to be some of the best high schools in the state, but also have VERY snobby reputations-- that said, as compared to other areas I've lived in, I think that what passes for snobby here wouldn't be considered to be snobby at ALL elsewhere-- but I have definitely seen some kids there driving some uber high end cars.

Last edited by ellysbelly; 05-02-2016 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:09 AM
 
16 posts, read 18,628 times
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Thumbs up Really appreciate this feedback!

Yes, we lived in Huntersville, just north of Charlotte for 6 years. Considering the # of transplants there I was shocked at the elitist and exclusive attitudes. The piedmont triad is even worse, racially.

I am going back to school at the U of M, twin cities campus, but it won't be until the kids are nearly done with HS. I work in emergency medicine and would like the option of coming in out of full-time work in the field and being a trauma nurse in the ED and/or fixed wing opportunites. So, in the back of my mind, I am considering the commute to downtown, but it does not take priority over a good neighborhood/high-school.

I am from Michigan and loved Madison because of the focus on education and did not find a color-barrier. Being bi-racial means never being accepted by either race and/or the 3rd 'hidden' race that actually people think I am! (lol) Like Prince, I am not worried about fitting into a box, but am about the journey!
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:34 AM
 
16 posts, read 18,628 times
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rtloucks/ellysbelly: I super-appreciate your responses! I had pretty much eliminated Edina, b/c sooooo many people said it was snobby, just getting a bit desparate:/
We do search Craigslist daily, never heard of Padmapper - can't wait to check into that!

Last edited by cmb203; 05-02-2016 at 09:36 AM.. Reason: learning!
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:58 AM
 
878 posts, read 965,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb203 View Post
rtloucks/ellysbelly: I super-appreciate your responses! I had pretty much eliminated Edina, b/c sooooo many people said it was snobby, just getting a bit desparate:/
We do search Craigslist daily, never heard of Padmapper - can't wait to check into that!
Have fun playing on Padmapper, it does draw from Craigslist, plus 5-6 additional sources, including the MLS. When we were moving here, the fact that all of the properties were shown graphically on a map (rather than just addresses, which meant nothing to us at the time!) helped us get a better handle on where things were in relation to one another.

Let us know if we can be of additional help-- best of luck in your searches!
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:04 PM
 
291 posts, read 215,573 times
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I would look in Roseville and Shoreview. It is neither snobby nor ghetto and easy to get to the U and downtown.
Check for housing near Central Park in Roseville. It's a great area.
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