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Old 08-18-2014, 01:12 PM
 
1,673 posts, read 1,066,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Yes, we're in Uptown, which is the perfect fit for us. Our son's school is fantastic, our neighbors friendly, and we love being able to walk everywhere.

In south Minneapolis, just watch out for airport noise; believe me, you'll know right away if the house you are looking at has a plane problem. It's sort of hit-or-miss over there, with some locations being noisy, others not loud at all.
For airport noise, there is a MAC Flight Path page that may be of some help. For some approaches/exits, the noise on the ground is surprisingly loud further out than I would have guessed (one of the reasons we sold our home in Eagan, which was on the path for the new runway that opened in 2010 or so ... until then, no issue ... after, you just did not want to have the windows open). The flight tracker is at:

https://www.macnoise.com/tools-reports/flighttracker
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:11 PM
 
93 posts, read 98,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
GreatSchools ratings seem to be a pretty reliable indicator for the most part. That is one of my biggest hesitations about SLP as TxTnVtMn and others have recommended. I occasionally see people talking about the schools being tops in the state, but the GS ratings are all fairly low. I realize that number isn't a perfect indicator, but when I've looked at schools and communities that I'm familiar with, it always seems about right. Overall, I would say the stuff I have seen here and elsewhere about SLP seems pretty mixed. TxTnVtMn or anyone else, do/did you have kids in SLP schools? Any feedback?
My kids are not yet school age, and our plan is to go with Catholic education (that I work for a Catholic school helps with $$). Thus, I have not researched the SLP schools too closely, but in meeting other young families through community ed programs and such, all have seemed happy with SLP elementary schools. Again, I have not gone into depth on the topic, and I would imagine there are differences from campus to campus that might inform a housing decision.

On that topic though, you should not lose sight of the fact that private education costs a fraction of what it does in the Boston. Who knows, private/parochial education could be reachable in MN in a way that is not the case in metro Boston. Maybe this frees you up to live where you want...
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:56 PM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
5,052 posts, read 5,717,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atalanta View Post
Lived in the Twin Cities all of my 48 year life.
I would stay far away from Minneapolis as possible!

Gang activity is horrible.
Murders, so many.
Somalians and such are ruining that community, house value, and safety.

You mentioned White Bear Lake. That is a beautiful hometown community and Mahtomedi borders it which has nationally awarded school district.

Shoreview which is about 5 miles southeast of White Bear Lake is also a very nice community. It is bigger and better freeway access.
You can get MSP airport from shoreview in 20 mn, downtown St Paul 10 mn and downtown Minneapolis 15mn.

Just stay away from Minneapolis.
This is why I don't comment on every corner of the Twin Cities.

Stillwater? Been there. Know nothing about it. Kind of like this poster's relationship with Minneapolis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
I'm in the process of selling my house that has train tracks right behind it. The noise never bothered us much and it gave us a huge yard. The first 40 or so people that looked at it didn't feel quite the same...

You must have looked pretty hard to find a home in that price range, well done!
This is how you would come to feel about airplane noise.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 606,879 times
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My wife is kind of into the parochial school idea, me not so much. I did tell her that I would compromise on that in a heartbeat in exchange for city living.

If I could pay a little or a lot less for house in exchange for some airplane noise, I'll take that trade off too. With our tentative plan, we will have to find short term housing on a whim but then can take some time to find out which areas fit our needs and wants and then spend some time waiting for the right house and scoping out airplane noise etc.

I just finished hammering out the last details of inspection issues etc. with the buyer of our house a few minutes ago. Even though we have no idea where we're going, we're on our way. Thanks to all of you, at least we know where to start looking.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
511 posts, read 606,879 times
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One more thing...

On paper at least, there is a dense and walkable riverside town with a nice selection of very reasonably priced houses about 30 min from Minneapolis:

Hudson, WI

Please feel free to give your most candid reactions to that possibility. I know nothing about the place, but I grew up in the Milwaukee area and have always said I would never live in Wisconsin again. My guess is I will be standing by that statement, but I would be interested to see your impressions.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 8,534,326 times
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Hudson sells alcohol on Sundays....and fireworks. That's the gist of what I (and most Minnesotans) know about Hudson.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
330 posts, read 398,850 times
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Hudson has a cute, walkable downtown on the picturesque St. Croix River. It's the first town you enter in Wisconsin once you leave Minnesota via Interstate 94. There are some neat little restaurants and stores in the city, but it would take about 35 minutes to get to Minneapolis in non-peak hours.

I like Hudson a lot, but if you're considering it as a place to live, I'd put Stillwater back on your radar as Stillwater is on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix and is therefore a bit closer to the Twin Cities.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:28 AM
 
871 posts, read 861,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestRedux View Post
I work from home, my wife is a stay at home mom with our two year old. We have no specific geographic pull to any area. Our plan is to find a short term rental/townhouse (hopefully for around $1500/mo) and then to purchase a home shortly afterwards. I would love to spend around $250k, don't mind doing some minor rehab and have realistic expectations of what that will buy...

...

The downside of all the great advice I've received here is that now I have absolutely no idea where to start.
You have been getting great advice. I'm not sure what to tell you other than what others have said, so I'll take a different tack:

My advice would be to not think short-term rental. Think medium-term rental. Create an itinerary of the places people have mentioned in this forum that pique you and your wife's interests. Get to know them once you are here and renting. I think you give yourself an impossible challenge if you do not physically go to these areas and check them out first hand. My suspicion is that some of these places you will eliminate immediately once you actually see them, and some will be better than you expected. In any case, it's a great way to get to know the metro area that will become your home.

Perhaps I missed someone's advice but I haven't seen mention of St. Paul yet. St. Paul is and feels smaller than Minneapolis. You and your wife might want to poke your noses around the Como area of St. Paul, and why not have lunch at the Finnish Bistro while you do so - Finnish Bistro - A Neighborhood Bistro with a flair for flavor ?

I've been in that area several times since my dogs love nothing better than to injure themselves, costing me thousands of dollars at the nearby U of M Emergency Vet clinic. The area is really charming, but also feels very family-oriented and safe. I'm not sure about home prices there, however...perhaps someone else will pipe in and say "no way- that area's pretty far out of their price range...".
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:54 AM
 
391 posts, read 560,883 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thedosius View Post
Perhaps I missed someone's advice but I haven't seen mention of St. Paul yet. St. Paul is and feels smaller than Minneapolis. You and your wife might want to poke your noses around the Como area of St. Paul, and why not have lunch at the Finnish Bistro while you do so - Finnish Bistro - A Neighborhood Bistro with a flair for flavor ?

I've been in that area several times since my dogs love nothing better than to injure themselves, costing me thousands of dollars at the nearby U of M Emergency Vet clinic. The area is really charming, but also feels very family-oriented and safe. I'm not sure about home prices there, however...perhaps someone else will pipe in and say "no way- that area's pretty far out of their price range...".
Como Park on the whole would be in the OP's budget (except around the lake) - a nice compromise between urban and suburban as well. It's in the northwest part of St. Paul and borders the suburbs of Roseville and Falcon Heights, but is close to a lot of thingsā€¦ nice lake and city park, state fairgrounds, shopping on Larpenteur Ave.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:15 AM
 
1,673 posts, read 1,066,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thedosius View Post
You have been getting great advice. I'm not sure what to tell you other than what others have said, so I'll take a different tack:

My advice would be to not think short-term rental. Think medium-term rental. Create an itinerary of the places people have mentioned in this forum that pique you and your wife's interests. Get to know them once you are here and renting. I think you give yourself an impossible challenge if you do not physically go to these areas and check them out first hand. My suspicion is that some of these places you will eliminate immediately once you actually see them, and some will be better than you expected. In any case, it's a great way to get to know the metro area that will become your home.

Perhaps I missed someone's advice but I haven't seen mention of St. Paul yet. St. Paul is and feels smaller than Minneapolis. You and your wife might want to poke your noses around the Como area of St. Paul, and why not have lunch at the Finnish Bistro while you do so - Finnish Bistro - A Neighborhood Bistro with a flair for flavor ?

I've been in that area several times since my dogs love nothing better than to injure themselves, costing me thousands of dollars at the nearby U of M Emergency Vet clinic. The area is really charming, but also feels very family-oriented and safe. I'm not sure about home prices there, however...perhaps someone else will pipe in and say "no way- that area's pretty far out of their price range...".
That's pretty solid advice, actually. MSP, 'burbs and outlying communities offer quite a variety from which to choose.

The Como Park area, along with Highland Park (also in St. Paul) and St. Anthony, is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the Twin Cities - they are in the middle of everything but don't feel like it, very walkable, big trees, variety of home types. From friends who live there, I hear great things for families in those neighborhoods. And being within MSP, they are part of a pretty good public bus system (there are express buses to the 'burbs, but buses between the 'burbs and MSP are not nearly as robust as within MSP).

And if you are considering private k-12 as an option, you will have a variety of very good schools added to the mix (admittedly, I am pro- public school - the public k-12s in the metro as a whole are very good as well).

As for Hudson, I know it only from shopping there (I am just over the border in Woodbury and actually closer timewise for many things in Wisconsin than in Woodbury), hitting restaurants and friends. From what I see, like Stillwater it has an older, historical riverfront downtown area that is very walkable, full of restaurants and shops, bars and riverfront park area. Also like Stillwater, there are larger groceries and big box retail of all kinds in other parts of the city. There is also a variety of neighborhoods, from a housing stock standpoint - older, historical homes nearer the riverfront downtown in long-established neighborhoods with huge trees, newer association-like developments further out and some very nice, '60s/'70s and '80s built neighborhoods in the areas surrounding in between. And, like Stillwater, you can get out into the country in about ten minutes.

And, as mentioned upthread, Hudson is where Minnesotans go on Sundays to buy beer. Not only because of the arcane Blue Law in Minnesota, but also for the fabulous Casanova, one of the best beer selections in the upper midwest (stuff you can't buy in Minnesota ... and they fill growlers, usually from a selection of ten or a dozen beers on tap in the restaurant side of the house).
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