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Old 10-12-2013, 11:24 AM
 
16 posts, read 85,989 times
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Hello everyone,

I may be relocating to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area soon and am looking to find a good place to live there. I'm not too crazy about living in the city, mostly because of the crime rates and property prices. I am also looking to buy a new home. I don't want anything fancy, just maybe bigger than 1,700 sq. ft. and less than $250,000. However, I don't want to live among a crowded row of houses; my family wants a house with a lot size of at least 5,000 sq. ft. So does anybody know any safe areas preferably 10 to 25 minutes from the city with properties like these?
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Southwest MPls
191 posts, read 352,807 times
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Actually many of the suburbs have much worse crime than most neighborhoods in the twin cities.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Leaving, California
480 posts, read 768,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMathematician View Post
Hello everyone,

I may be relocating to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area soon and am looking to find a good place to live there. I'm not too crazy about living in the city, mostly because of the crime rates and property prices. I am also looking to buy a new home. I don't want anything fancy, just maybe bigger than 1,700 sq. ft. and less than $250,000. However, I don't want to live among a crowded row of houses; my family wants a house with a lot size of at least 5,000 sq. ft. So does anybody know any safe areas preferably 10 to 25 minutes from the city with properties like these?
From what I can tell, there are lots of houses in the southwest suburbs that fall into your price range and size needs. (St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie) The issue you'll face, I think, is that well-renovated houses are probably going to be high for your range. However, around that price, if you find a good contractor and plan on maybe $10-$15k in reconditioning (new floors, paint, and sprucing things up), you'll probably be able to find something.

I hear you on the "row of houses" feeling - lots of neighborhoods use 40' wide lots, and the houses look almost like Monopoly pieces. (Whole areas with nothing but small bungalows, each with basement and detached garage.)

One caution - don't use Zillow for anything but the most basic evaluation of the market. I've noticed quite a difference between the "zestimate" and a realistic property value, and frequently properties will remain "available" at Zillow long after they've left the market. Get in touch with an agent who can put you on the MLS and show you around.

Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
5,833 posts, read 6,862,479 times
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Originally Posted by Pisces69 View Post
Actually many of the suburbs have much worse crime than most neighborhoods in the twin cities.
He must mean imagined, sterotyped crime rates, not actual ones, but it sounds like he'll be a better fit in the suburbs anyway.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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Your specific requirement are probably a tall order, so you'll need to decide what points you want to compromise on. There's not much of *any* new construction single family houses 10-25 minutes from the city. There's a lot of teardowns in Edina, but these are probably more expensive with smaller lots than what you want, and I get the idea it's owners doing it for themselves, not building houses to sell.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:44 AM
 
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Thank you very much for your detailed answer.

I actually came onto this forum because all the properties I could find on websites like Trulia and Zillow didn't seem too great for their price, and I don't have any experience with the area. And I know what you mean about Zillow - it's definitely not the most trustworthy real estate website. I think I will try to find an agent soon.

Anyway, so which parts of Minneapolis are good places to live, in general?
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Leaving, California
480 posts, read 768,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMathematician View Post
Thank you very much for your detailed answer.

I actually came onto this forum because all the properties I could find on websites like Trulia and Zillow didn't seem too great for their price, and I don't have any experience with the area. And I know what you mean about Zillow - it's definitely not the most trustworthy real estate website. I think I will try to find an agent soon.

Anyway, so which parts of Minneapolis are good places to live, in general?
Well, full disclosure, I'm in almost your position - living outside of the Twin Cities, trying to be diligent about my research, and working out the details. I don't consider anything I'm writing here to be 100% certain, and I don't mean to make it sound like I'm downing anyone's preferred area with these remarks.

We've decided on the southwest area of the city or the western suburbs, but we're struggling through the process of narrowing that decision.

In the southwest area of the city (the southwest portion of Police Precinct 5, west of Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun), you find several neighborhoods that seem desirable: Armatage, Kenny, Fulton, Lynnhurst, Linden Hills. These areas are upscale and expensive, to the point where that might be a barrier for us.

I noted the crime statistics for District 5 here: Precinct 5 Crime Maps - City of Minneapolis

The neighborhood crime statistics are here: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/...s1p-104212.pdf

The most crime in Minneapolis seems to be northwest and southeast of downtown. I think the southeast area (where the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus is located) is more property crime, but that's a very rough approximation.

My family needs fairly close proximity to amenities, work, and entertainment, so we can't go to more distant areas. That leaves us with the suburbs or St. Paul. We absolutely *love* the St. Paul downtown area, but it seems most of the job concentrations in the TC are from Minneapolis toward the south/southwest. So for proximity to work, we'll go there, but I suspect that we'll visit St. Paul a lot, because it has a very vibrant city core.

When we think about the suburbs, we break them into north, northwest, west, southwest, and south.

North suburbs have a lot of new construction options (Blaine, Maple Grove, Plymouth), but we feel they're a little remote (and would be especially so in the winter). We really like Maple Grove.

South suburbs (Savage, Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley) are demographically younger, are much more affordable, and have new construction options. However, we decided we don't want to go south of the river. We noted the scour path of the Minnesota river, which cuts across the area west-to-east and creates a natural gap in settlement. That gap could add to transit/commute times. Bloomington (on the near side of the river) is a significant option, with its crime map concentrated near the Mall of America, as you might expect. Here's the Bloomington crime map, in case you're interested.

RAIDS Online: Regional Analysis and Information Sharing[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,20,22 ,24,25]&startDate=30&endDate=1&zoom=9

In the west, we see two bands of suburbs. From north to south, the near band is Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, and Edina. We like this band a LOT. Home prices are variable, but there are solid housing options (as I mentioned, some of the properties are fully renovated and expensive, but many are just tired and could use reconditioning). They offer proximity to MPLS downtown, and the Southwest LRT will extend through SLP and Hopkins to Eden Prairie. These cities all have strong development/redevelopment plans.

The second band of suburbs, from north to south, is Wayzata, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, and the river. Wayzata apparently has excellent schools (not a factor for us), and people seem to like the quality of life in Wayzata and Minnetonka a lot. I see it as a problem that they aren't in the light rail plan, and they're a little remote, so we're not strongly considering either of them. On the other hand, Eden Prairie is in the light rail plan, and has a ton of work options, so that's very desirable for us.

The southwest suburbs have sprawled a bit, so if you continue southwest from Eden Prairie, you run into Chanhassen, which routinely hits "top 10 cities in the US" lists. It's just a little isolated from the downtown areas for us. If you go further past Chanhassen, you see Chaska and Victoria, which are wonderful small cities (Victoria has a lot of affordable new housing), but we just can't imagine the transit times.

So what to choose? Our strongest preference is for SW Mpls, St. Louis Park, or Eden Prairie. However, we're running into a whole range of different what-about-this/what-about-that issues.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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WOWWWWWW. That is an extremely detailed and helpful answer. Thank you very, very much for helping me. I really hope I didn't take too much of your time.

I will definitely check out the areas you listed. I had run into a few of the suburbs such as Golden Valley and Eden Prairie when I first started searching. I tried to find more information about these areas and searched for others, but I stopped soon after because I just got confused. I didn't know where to search, mostly because of my lack of knowledge of the area, and how to search. I stuck to Google, but not all of the results that turned up were completely relevant.

Once again, thank you so much for helping me out. I really appreciate your effort. )
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Leaving, California
480 posts, read 768,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMathematician View Post
WOWWWWWW. That is an extremely detailed and helpful answer. Thank you very, very much for helping me. I really hope I didn't take too much of your time.
Oh, it was a win-win, because it gave me a chance to get all of that out and organized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMathematician View Post
I tried to find more information about these areas and searched for others, but I stopped soon after because I just got confused. I didn't know where to search, mostly because of my lack of knowledge of the area, and how to search. I stuck to Google, but not all of the results that turned up were completely relevant.
Definitely look for the individual web pages for the suburbs. Here are a few that might be useful:

St. Louis Park: City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Edina: City of Edina, Minnesota

Hopkins: City of Hopkins, Minnesota

Eden Prairie: City of Eden Prairie, Minnesota : Home

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMathematician View Post
Once again, thank you so much for helping me out. I really appreciate your effort. )
I'm happy to help, and glad you found it useful. Here are a couple more pages that I found useful:

Minnesota salary information: MNDEED - LMI - OES
Pro Tip: Choose "Metropolitan Statistical Areas" and click through Minneapolis St. Paul. This will show you average salary information for various job titles.

I like this property search page (even though their result pages aren't as pretty as Zillow or Trulia). TheMLSonline.com - Minnesota Real Estate, Top Minnesota Real Estate Search - Call 763-576-8286

Oh, and the City-Data forum.

Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:58 AM
 
145 posts, read 304,684 times
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The usual advice I give is to try to stay north of the river if you work or want to visit downtown frequently and can find housing that suits your fancy. The I-35W bridge does have toll lanes, but otherwise MN 77 (Cedar), I-35W, and US 169 (The Ferry Bridge) are not some place you want to be at rush hour. My parents bought a house in Bloomington back in 1968 because even then it was a hassle crossing the river.

Bloomington is kind of where inner ring meets outer ring, and generally gets nicer and more expensive the farther west you go, and Hyland Park (with it's bicycle and hiking trails and the super playground) is a nice amenity. As a very, very broad generalization, west of I-35W is an OK place, while near Hyland Park are some wealthy and/or newer neighborhoods.

Last edited by Mdcastle; 10-15-2013 at 09:12 AM..
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