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Old 07-07-2008, 05:21 PM
 
12 posts, read 57,241 times
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My husband and I are relocating (from PA) to the Milwaukee area soon for his job. We are looking at communities within reasonable commute to Milwaukee. We are 50 something, empty nesters, looking to buy up to the $400K range. Even though our children are grown, we are still very concerned about moving to an area with excellent schools.

My question is - are there any areas that are more welcoming to transplants then others. Areas where alot of people from out of the area have relocated. Any towns / areas that you'd recommend or not recommend? Have so far been looking at Brookfield, Elm Grove, Cedarburg area, Pewaukee area.

We drove around for the past several days and getting alot of information also from Realtors. Any help appreciated from those of you who have lived here a long time and those who have recently relocated here. Would love to know of any experiences with people who also are transplants.

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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Your choices so far are fine, as are other nearby Western burbs. North Shore, i.e. Whitefish Bay etc...also have top schools.

I also know of several empty nesters who have moved to condos in the city and are very happy. These include college professors and a lot of white collar business types. They are all very happy. But you did say you preferred near good schools which is definitely a hit and miss proposition in the city and more miss than hit.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:54 PM
 
2,502 posts, read 8,925,281 times
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Are you a part of the Pittsburgh company that sends people to MKE for 2-year increments?

If so, you'll have an easy time making friends with the other people in the company. Since almost all of them are only staying temporarily, they are very close-knit. I know a few people within the company, and they seem to be doing well enough (although they are a bit homesick, I think).
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 12,719,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
We are looking at communities within reasonable commute to Milwaukee. ...

looking to buy up to the $400K range. ...

Even though our children are grown, we are still very concerned about moving to an area with excellent schools. ...

My question is - are there any areas that are more welcoming to transplants then others. Areas where alot of people from out of the area have relocated. Any towns / areas that you'd recommend or not recommend? Have so far been looking at Brookfield, Elm Grove, Cedarburg area, Pewaukee area.
I am in my young-30s so take my advice for what it is worth as I cannot fully relate to your situation, however, I have lived in the metro Milwaukee area for a large majority of my lifetime.

First question - and it isn't to be nosy:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
Even though our children are grown, we are still very concerned about moving to an area with excellent schools.
I guess my question then would be - why??

I mean, if you don't have children of school age, why would you care what your local school district shaped up to be?

Again, I am not trying to be nosy, it is more that I am anticipating that you are using that semi-as-a-gauge to determine the quality of life of the surrounding community. If that is the case, that is fair enough, but I think that then you might be putting emphasis in an area that you really need not worry about.

Frankly, metro Milwaukee is well known - heck, nationally known - for the quality and safety of its school districts. The city of Milwaukee itself - like many large urban cities currently in the US sadly - is a big exception, as Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is largely horrible. There are actually some very nice MPS schools that often times get overlooked and brushed over, however, overall MPS schools tend to be awful.

Having said that about MPS, realize that if you live in the East Side of Milwaukee, Bay View, Downtown, the Third Ward, many of the far west side areas, many of the far north-west side or south-west side areas, the Washington Heights, etc., you'll be in a great area even if your school district isn't considered pristine.

Beyond that though, if you live in virtually any suburb of Milwaukee, you'll live in a great school district. The suburbs of Milwaukee have superb school districts by and large. I don't care if it is Greendale or Pewaukee or New Berlin or Menomonee Falls or West Bend or Mequon or Whitefish Bay or Brookfield...great schools abound. So I wouldn't worry much about this, as great schools are all over in this metro area. Seriously. The 'burbs in Milwaukee have some of the most well-put-together public school systems of any major metro area in the US.

I guess what I am saying: if you are buying for up to $400K (which'll put you pretty much anywhere you want in the metro) and don't have school age kids, I wouldn't worry too much about the schools' performance in your area - you'll be living somewhere very likely with very high achieving schools, and even if not, you'll be in a very nice / safe / desirable community.

Now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
We are looking at communities within reasonable commute to Milwaukee. ... looking to buy up to the $400K range. ...

My question is - are there any areas that are more welcoming to transplants then others. Areas where alot of people from out of the area have relocated. Any towns / areas that you'd recommend or not recommend? Have so far been looking at Brookfield, Elm Grove, Cedarburg area, Pewaukee area.
I think where you are looking - communities wise - is overall good for transplants.

One area that I would HIGHLY recommend you check out though is FRANKLIN.

Franklin is a suburb on the southwest side of Milwaukee that is growing at an incredibly high clip. It also has one of the most diverse populations of transplants by far of any community in Wisconsin. Quite a large number of business transplants into the area - even international folks.

Franklin seems like it would be a perfect mix of what you are looking for. It is close enough to the city / urban areas for sure, and it still has a mix of rural - open green farmland spaces, but also some very nice, upscale, $250K, $300K, $400K+ developments.

Very safe, excellent schools, quite scenic with rolling hills, lakes, lush greenery, etc. And again, rapidly growing with - for metro Milwaukee at least - a great mix of new transplants to the long-time locals.

Other communities you may wish to consider:

-Greendale
-Whitefish Bay
-Shorewood
-Germantown
-Mequon
-Oconomowoc
-Hartland
*(My current boss who is from Virginia - nothing like a native Wisconsinite - she is in her late 50s, married, an empty nester, upper/upper middle class - moved to Hartland and has had no problems meeting folks / making friends).

I can't fault any of the communities you are looking at though.

As a transplant first off, and in the income class secondly, I would rank these this way for you:

Brookfield, Elm Grove, Cedarburg and Pewaukee all very good, but I would actually probably recommend all of my suggestions either at - or above - those to consider too.

Really take a hard look at Franklin, I would say. It is a younger, more expanding community, than say a Brookfield or an Elm Grove, but it has a lot of non-natives and a lot of great communities in that $400K category.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
603 posts, read 2,360,170 times
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EnjoyEP, you are right on. Brookfield and Elm Grove are very nice but I agree that the demographics might not match for the OP. Elm Grove (I'm sure it will change over) has many elderly people with some gradual transition to young families. But the overall feel of the community is senior citizen (nothing wrong with that at all, just if the OP wants to meet people their age). Brookfield definitely has empty nesters, but the suburb is more geared towards kids. Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, Franklin and downtown Milwaukee would be better choices. Greendale is a very nice suburb (I think schools were rated best in the state) but I don't know much more about the area in terms of empty nesters and transplants.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:05 PM
 
Location: La Jolla, CA
7,284 posts, read 16,695,815 times
Reputation: 11675
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
My husband and I are relocating (from PA) to the Milwaukee area soon for his job. We are looking at communities within reasonable commute to Milwaukee. We are 50 something, empty nesters, looking to buy up to the $400K range. Even though our children are grown, we are still very concerned about moving to an area with excellent schools.

My question is - are there any areas that are more welcoming to transplants then others. Areas where alot of people from out of the area have relocated. Any towns / areas that you'd recommend or not recommend? Have so far been looking at Brookfield, Elm Grove, Cedarburg area, Pewaukee area.

We drove around for the past several days and getting alot of information also from Realtors. Any help appreciated from those of you who have lived here a long time and those who have recently relocated here. Would love to know of any experiences with people who also are transplants.

Thanks!
Do you have any other criteria? It wouldn't hurt to have a little more information like what you want to buy (house, condominium, townhouse or whatever), and why you want good schools without having kids. Maybe you'd get a little more on-target responses. I have to be really honest, but your question seemingly contradicts itself (empty nest, good schools) so I find myself wondering what it is you are really looking for or what the logic is behind that criteria. That little bit of extra info might help out.

That said, if you are quiet people and don't spend much time out of the house except to work, any of those areas are fine and the neighbors' kids will get a good education. If you like short commutes and more action, those areas are not as good. I'm not sure they'd be as welcoming as other places (not that they would be unwelcoming, but just not as open to fresh faces). You could do better in the North Shore, or the lakeshore areas of the city, north of Downtown, or downtown itself. You would be in good company in those areas as well. There are a lot of empty nest types in Shorewood and on the East Side. Shorewood has good schools, same for everything north of there, but it gets quieter as you go north. If that's your thing, go for it. Lakeshore areas from downtown north, seem to have a more worldly crowd, IMO. But that lifestyle doesn't necessarily appeal to everyone.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:48 PM
 
12 posts, read 57,241 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks so much for the replies. I've been looking them over and the suggestions are very helpful.

In response to a couple of questions -
First about being empty nesters and concerned about schools. Not really a contradiction as we see it. As homeowners, my husband and I have always been concerned about the school district that we live in. It has a reflection, usually, about the people that live in an area. Of course when our 3 children were in school, it was even more of a concern, but if you are ever going to sell a property, it makes a difference if it is in a very good school district or one that mediocre. At least that has been our experience and we've moved several times. Wouldn't even consider buying a home in an area with a school district that had a poor reputation. We aren't researching schools like we did when ours were going to school, but it still is a concern coming in new to a community. You pay enough taxes to schools (I would think here too), that you'd like the community you move into to have terrific schools. (I didn't think that was a bad thing!) I thought it funny that people would think that empty nesters aren't concerned about the school district they are buying a house in (we are), or that anyone would see that to be contradictory.

Thanks Enjoy EP for your response about the schools - it really is helpful, as well as all you say about the communities -- I've been jotting down your input, as well as what you've said Littledog and all others - thanks much.

We are looking to buy a house (not condo) and no we aren't with the group from Pittsburgh --- would sure love to meet them though. Would love a place that has a small town to it, and able to walk to stores, library, etc. I'll probably be working at the Children's Hospital (husband already working in Milwaukee).

I went driving around Franklin today to see what that is like. I'll have to have the Realtor take me out - couldn't really find any "downtown" area if there is one to that town. Went by a map, found a bunch of houses, but wondering where it's center of town is. Really liked what we saw in Cedarburg, just wasn't sure if they are welcoming to newcomers. Whitefish Bay looks really nice, but boy are those houses expensive for what you get - might have to take a look there though with the realtor - so far just going by what I see on the internet for that area.

Thanks again for all the replies, very helpful to this newcomer looking for an area.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:35 PM
 
1,869 posts, read 5,806,514 times
Reputation: 701
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
Thanks so much for the replies. I've been looking them over and the suggestions are very helpful.

In response to a couple of questions -
First about being empty nesters and concerned about schools. Not really a contradiction as we see it. As homeowners, my husband and I have always been concerned about the school district that we live in. It has a reflection, usually, about the people that live in an area. Of course when our 3 children were in school, it was even more of a concern, but if you are ever going to sell a property, it makes a difference if it is in a very good school district or one that mediocre. At least that has been our experience and we've moved several times. Wouldn't even consider buying a home in an area with a school district that had a poor reputation. We aren't researching schools like we did when ours were going to school, but it still is a concern coming in new to a community. You pay enough taxes to schools (I would think here too), that you'd like the community you move into to have terrific schools. (I didn't think that was a bad thing!) I thought it funny that people would think that empty nesters aren't concerned about the school district they are buying a house in (we are), or that anyone would see that to be contradictory.
All I can tell you is what I said before and what posters here have told you. Lots and lots of empty nesters, white collar professional types have moved to urban areas with porr school districts and are thrilled with all of the other new aspects of life they have gained. Everyone here would agree that good schools are important when searching for a home, but quality of life, amentities, proximities, etc...are important too. If it were me, I'd be listening to some of the urban suggestions here, but as I said before, you aren't interested, and it isn't my interest nor job to change that. I'd choose North shore burbs for what you are seeking.
Thanks Enjoy EP for your response about the schools - it really is helpful, as well as all you say about the communities -- I've been jotting down your input, as well as what you've said Littledog and all others - thanks much.

We are looking to buy a house (not condo) and no we aren't with the group from Pittsburgh --- would sure love to meet them though. Would love a place that has a small town to it, and able to walk to stores, library, etc. I'll probably be working at the Children's Hospital (husband already working in Milwaukee).
Now that I've seen this, Wauwatosa is what first comes to mind that fits your interests and needs here.
I went driving around Franklin today to see what that is like. I'll have to have the Realtor take me out - couldn't really find any "downtown" area if there is one to that town. Went by a map, found a bunch of houses, but wondering where it's center of town is. Really liked what we saw in Cedarburg, just wasn't sure if they are welcoming to newcomers. Whitefish Bay looks really nice, but boy are those houses expensive for what you get - might have to take a look there though with the realtor - so far just going by what I see on the internet for that area.

Thanks again for all the replies, very helpful to this newcomer looking for an area.
Metro Milwaukee is compact and small so your choices/options can be expanded because of it. I'd go with Wauwatosa or North Shore burbs like Shorewood or Whitefish Bay for what you are seeking.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:08 PM
 
Location: La Jolla, CA
7,284 posts, read 16,695,815 times
Reputation: 11675
Default What an offensive statement!

[quote=lkj433;4380357]
Quote:

...Wouldn't even consider buying a home in an area with a school district that had a poor reputation...

...if you are ever going to sell a property, it makes a difference if it is in a very good school district or one that mediocre...

...It has a reflection, usually, about the people that live in an area...
You know, I was reading over your post and wondering why you were so condescending and arrogant. My partner and I (extremely well, and very well educated DINKs, respectively) have approaching a $400k combined annual income, and our last priority is finding a home in a "great school district"! Honestly, we could care less if there are any schools within 100 miles, and if there are, we don't care if they're good or not. We prefer to live in more chic surroundings not intended for children. If you wouldn't be happy living next to us, you wouldn't be happy living next to anyone.

Consider that not all people think that suburbs, strip malls, "great schools", and kids playing in the park are the signs of a good neighborhood or a great place to live. There are many others reasons to live elsewhere, that don't coincide with "great schools". In fact, I've been quite happy living where there aren't families OR kids. I have nothing against kids or families, but kids aren't my priority, and I (and many others) don't choose to associate ourselves with the whole family/kid lifestyle.

So I say unapologetically, I laughed when I read someone without kids, judging an area on the schools. You should know better than to assume that everyone would think like you, and you should have more courtesy to find it funny that everyone didn't share your view of suburban heaven.

Having said that, thanks for providing us with a great laugh too.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
603 posts, read 2,360,170 times
Reputation: 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkj433 View Post
Thanks so much for the replies. I've been looking them over and the suggestions are very helpful.

In response to a couple of questions -
First about being empty nesters and concerned about schools. Not really a contradiction as we see it. As homeowners, my husband and I have always been concerned about the school district that we live in. It has a reflection, usually, about the people that live in an area. Of course when our 3 children were in school, it was even more of a concern, but if you are ever going to sell a property, it makes a difference if it is in a very good school district or one that mediocre. At least that has been our experience and we've moved several times. Wouldn't even consider buying a home in an area with a school district that had a poor reputation. We aren't researching schools like we did when ours were going to school, but it still is a concern coming in new to a community. You pay enough taxes to schools (I would think here too), that you'd like the community you move into to have terrific schools. (I didn't think that was a bad thing!) I thought it funny that people would think that empty nesters aren't concerned about the school district they are buying a house in (we are), or that anyone would see that to be contradictory.

Thanks Enjoy EP for your response about the schools - it really is helpful, as well as all you say about the communities -- I've been jotting down your input, as well as what you've said Littledog and all others - thanks much.

We are looking to buy a house (not condo) and no we aren't with the group from Pittsburgh --- would sure love to meet them though. Would love a place that has a small town to it, and able to walk to stores, library, etc. I'll probably be working at the Children's Hospital (husband already working in Milwaukee).

I went driving around Franklin today to see what that is like. I'll have to have the Realtor take me out - couldn't really find any "downtown" area if there is one to that town. Went by a map, found a bunch of houses, but wondering where it's center of town is. Really liked what we saw in Cedarburg, just wasn't sure if they are welcoming to newcomers. Whitefish Bay looks really nice, but boy are those houses expensive for what you get - might have to take a look there though with the realtor - so far just going by what I see on the internet for that area.

Thanks again for all the replies, very helpful to this newcomer looking for an area.
If you're working at Children's, you can also consider Wauwatosa. Their schools have a good reputation and you will find more affordable options than Whitefish Bay or Shorewood (but the overall look and feel of the neighborhood is similar, minus the lake). The people in Wauwatosa are crazy friendly-you will not have a problem making friends. In fact, I have a friend who says it's so friendly sometimes she hesitates to get her mail if she's in a hurry because someone will surely stop and talk to her! Wauwatosa has sidewalks, parks, a small downtown area called The Village, nice library and it would be close to Downtown and Children's. The property taxes are high, but so are the other areas you're looking.

I agree with you on the schools. When it comes to re-sale (it sounds like you want to leave the option open to move), you want to keep the market open to as many potential buyers as possible. One thing to keep in mind, even though Milwaukee doesn't have the best reputation for schools, all employees of the police and fire departments, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Milwaukee Public Works have to reside in the city (there are no if and or buts about it) so even people with young families would consider your house if you live in a safe, nice part of the city.
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