First of all, I am a realtor AND a transplant from NJ. DH is from Cincinnati (he went to Madeira HS). We are both so happy we can't see straight. Congested? Depends on where you're comparing it to, where you work, what your hours are, etc. etc. Approx. 80,000 people per year are moving to the Charlotte area. Every major builder is represented here. Lots of growth means lots to do, lots of restaurants, etc.
I find it to be pretty wonderful. We are getting to the place where we will have to implement some lightrail type transportation, so lots of talk of that.
I find S. Charlotte to be beautiful, seems safe to me, our HS is much better than our highly touted HS in NJ. You can check out schools on www.greatschools.net
. Mecklenburg County has a magnet school system where you are "in" if you live in the district, but can apply to another school during the yearly time to do that. Not real easy to do, though, so look in the area for your school. Although, of course, if you're in a growth area, another school will open up and your district may change (mostly in Union County). We are one of the few areas in the country not experiencing a real estate slump, because we've maintained steady, conservative growth, and continue to do so.
I am not hearing much complaining about Charlotte from people who have moved; Most people I deal with or have met are originally from somewhere else, but it could have been last year or 20 years ago that they moved. I also know quite a few native Charlotteans. I visited Cincinnati last year and there's growth there. My brother-in-law lives there and loves it. But I've also heard a lot about gangs there. Does that mean you live in an area with lots of gangs? I'm sure you don't even see them where you are. I'm just saying take it with a grain of salt when you hear bad things about Charlotte. My life is pretty bucolic, with good schools, pretty surroundings, nice people, lots to see and do, and pretty easy to get around.
I have a friend from NJ moving to Raleigh area because she has family there, and she loves it. Greensboro, W-S area is beautiful: I lived in W-S for awhile. Just a bit small for me, personally. It is all beautiful and there are nice people everywhere. Probably some mean, whiney complainers, also.
Weather. I smile every day. Lots of sunshine, extremely mild winter. We had a touch of ice and a dusting of snow, melted within a day. All the seasons are represented. Last July was hot, but that's why we have central air!!
I lived in Louisville, KY for awhile, so I know what your winters are like!! Summers here just feel like summers anywhere to me. Just nicer year round weather.
I think if you are happy and don't want to move, you will not be really happy anywhere - it's a mind thing, ya know? I hated Louisville, because it was the first place I made a big move to. Looking back, it was a really a pretty nice place and I would try it again. Except, I'm never leaving Charlotte!!
If you are seriously thinking about moving, embrace it, get excited, come visit
, and your move will be successful.