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Old 08-18-2007, 09:25 AM
 
3 posts, read 15,791 times
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My family has the opportunity to move to Iowa. My husband will be working in Cedar Rapids. I am trying to do a bit of research on the housing in neighboring areas. We have two school age children, so I am looking for family friendly areas. My preference would be to live in a small to medium size town with trees. I would like look in an area with homes that have curb appeal. I would like to look at homes with character. A little more than four flat walls. Maybe arches, hardwood floors, built ins. As I said, I've been looking on the web but, I'm not interested in talking to an agent at this point, I just want to do some research on my own. Please help!
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:47 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,188,801 times
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Well, there are places *in* Cedar Rapids that definitely fit your description! The homes around Brucemore immediately come to mind. There are some mansions there, but also a lot of smaller homes. They can be a lot of work, but are SO beautiful!

As for smaller surrounding towns, you should check out Mt. Vernon. It's a fun little town with good schools and some great houses. Marion is 'attached' to Cedar Rapids but is very proud of its heritage and there are some gorgeous older homes. Marion is VERY close; Mt. Vernon pretty darned close. I'd start with those and see what you think.
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:50 AM
 
1 posts, read 7,353 times
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Default Marion'Mt.V

Xcuse short hand-writer is spot on-CR is nice,insurance, grain processing, and Collins-Collins very forward thinking technologically Iowa City maybe a little nicer-Big university, professional people, lots of dr.s, med students, wonderful old houses-Mt. V has one of the best restuarants in IA, old houses, and a good college-Communting from small towns-Solon, Tiffen, Lone Tree can be great-quite living in Craftsman homes, beautiful scenery, safe for kids, close to Ia. City. If you're of a different bent, some love Riverside-birthplace of Captain Kirk, and home to a new Casino. the whole area is good, Marion is classy- Don't go South of 80 and you'll be fine-income and IQ's drop dramatically..... All Iowa schools have open enrollment-and Ia City has a dog park, but some friends are opening a new Camp Bow Wow in CR, premium doggig day care/ boarding/web cams
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Old 08-19-2007, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,823,070 times
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Cedar Rapids has its merits, but in your case, I would definitely recommend Iowa City over CR.

Iowa City is a much better town for young families, in my opinion. Iowa City is a much more walkable city, with better public transportation, and equally good if not better schools. IC also has a much more interesting downtown and more cultural opportunities at both the child and adult level. There are downsides to living in a "university town" for sure, but the upshot is that the UI puts on a number of programs for young children and teens--also there are plenty of college-educated babysitters and daycare providers. Of course, the downside to this is the commute issue. Depending on where your husband works in CR, he's looking at about a half-hour commute both ways--and since a lot of people do live in IC and commute to CR, the traffic could be a headache.

Architecturally, I think you can find interesting houses in either city. There are usually several old Victorians for sale at any given time--some Prairie style houses maybe, too. I don't know about new construction in CR, but I have ridden my bike through the Peninsula development and been really impressed with the construction there.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:46 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,188,801 times
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With all due respect, I strongly disagree with SharpHawkeye about Iowa City being a better choice. I lived there for 11 years and loved it, but I was a working woman with no children. Had I had children, I would have looked for the "small town" virtues with which I grew up, and Cedar Rapids is the biggest small town in the world; or I would have gone to one of the surrounding older small towns. Iowa City is by nature a very transient town. If you want to get to know and trust your neighbors and neighborhood, I don't think it's the best choice. I also don't think Iowa City has more programs for kids. I.C. definitely has better public transportation, but I don't think the biggest users are typically young families, who tend to need the vehicle for packages, strollers, coolers of juice, diaper bags, etc. not to mention a place to go if you just need a little time out, and also the freedom to go home right now if somebody's tummy gets upset.

It's entirely possible to do the "home with character" in Iowa City, and if you want a very avant-garde, emphasis on the granola experience, that would be the place. However, if you just want stability, family-friendliness and a neighborhood of folks who share your interest in property values, safety and privacy, I think you'll find better options away from the University.

Also, I did the I.C. to Cedar Rapids commute for 11 years, and it sucks. It is an EASY commute, but it is an hour and a half wasted out of your day, every day, and who has time for that? I honestly don't understand how people manage 3 and 4 hour commutes... when do they live? Anyway, in the end, you figure you can just live close to work and visit Iowa City for its unique opportunities, and that works great, let me tell you! That's why I'd vote for living in CR rather than a surrounding small town, too.
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:03 AM
 
31 posts, read 198,100 times
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Default From So Cal to Iowa

we just moved to Iowa (Marion) and we absolutely love it. It's like nothing we've every seen. I moved my wife and 5 kids (7 yrs old and under) to Marion about 3 months ago and we are staying. We moved from So Cal and I wouldn't move back to that rat race even if someone paid me to.

Anyways, the schools in Iowa are very good. I've heard they are 2nd in the nation. So Cal was something like 48th? It is a great environment and the kids are doing well.

I would recommend Iowa if you A) don't want to work three jobs, B) don't want to loose hundreds of thousands on the value of your home, C) would like to see a strong police presence on the roads, D) don't want to commute hours one way to work, E) like wide open space without hundreds of thousands of people and track homes everywhere you look, and F) want to buy a nice affordable home suitable for a big family.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:05 AM
 
1 posts, read 7,289 times
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I LOVE CEDAR FALLS! I was born and raised there and for the past 20 years I have lived in South Florida! I always enjoy going back to visit Cedar Falls. I grew up 2 blocks from the Parkade and across the street from Overman Park. Cedar Falls is quaint, friendly and CHARMING! The people are awesome and will help you at the drop of a hat. They have beautiful parks and wonderful education. They also have an amazing bike/walking/rollerblading trail that takes you along the Cedar River and through town and extends many many miles. You have the Cedar River, UNI, Hampton College, Hawkeye tech. God Bless You for considering a move to Cedar Falls. In many ways, I wish I could move back. Wish I knew then what I know now. The hustle and bustle of South Florida is just crazy and oftentimes, I fantasize about GOING HOME! Please let us know what you have decided! Cedar Falls is a wonderful place to raise a family!
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:52 PM
 
10 posts, read 143,989 times
Reputation: 17
Default Been in CR for 6 months

Take your time. The realtors will attack in groves. If you are working in CR don't bother looking in Iowa City. The drive will get old/expensive (with gas @2.89/gallon)and the housing prices seem to be higher there or anywhere along the I380 corridor. We decided to lease for a year near Kennedy HS and Pierce Elementary. Older neighborhood with sidewalks, trees, hills, well manicured lawns, and close to the bike trail. We are in the only leased house that I know of on the block. This area was developed in the 60-70s but all updated with at least 1200 sqft up, 1200sqft down and a 2 car garage. 150-200k range. As a new engineer I have a 5 minute drive to work and no traffic. Can't say that if you live out in Marion or Hiawatha. So many new hires headed in that direction there are plenty many new developments around with homes in the 175-250k range but the houses all look the same, lack sidewalks, and have few if any trees. The shopping is better out that direction but with that comes the traffic and homes that lack character.
A previous post mentioned the "old money" downtown area near Brucemore and I agree that the homes are beautiful but keep in mind that you are within 6-10 blocks of the worst part of town and your kids will attend the same school unless you go private. Find out for yourself and take a drive from downtown 1st Ave out to Brucemore you will see some scary folks out to about 16th street.

FYI - You can look on the Cedar Rapids tax assessors site to get photos and schematics of each home by address.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,823,070 times
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WoodwardGirl and bch7 bring up some good points, although I don't agree with everything they've said. Living in a university town is not for everyone. However, the number of people who live in IC and commute to CR suggests that it does have its advantages for some.

At the very least, you owe it to yourself to consider it as an option and to possibly visit IC when you're looking for a home.
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:03 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,255 times
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I used to live in Cedar Rapids. AVOID, I mean AVOID the South East side. Unless it is a down by Brucemore. Yes your kids will attend school with the ghetto kids. We did not know better and bought a house on the SE side. We last ten months. Drugs, shootings, stealing, rap music all night long. Never had any sleep. Houses are really nice, but the neighborhood is unbearable. Don't let the realtors talk you into it. Not far from there is a nice area but your kids still interact with the ghetto kids and run with them.
Any way other than that I loved Cedar Rapids. Adequate shopping, nice parks, fun things to do, lots of festivals etc.
Good luck
K marie
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