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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Boston
3 posts, read 23,808 times
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Hello All, I'm a long time reader- first time poster.

My wife and I are seriously considering moving to the Triangle Area in the next year or so, specifically somewhere in Chapel Hill- Carrboro due to the stellar schools. I don't know what our price range would be yet, but she is a physician and I'm an engineer- so I would say that we could be able to look up into the $400's.

We have been renting for the past 9 years because decent homes here in Mass. with a good school district are ridiculously expensive. We have friends in Chapel Hill who love it- but we have a kid and a dog and need an actual house- whereas they live in a condo near the center of town.

My questions are pretty basic:

1)What are some good family neighborhoods with lots of kids that have decent sized and relatively newer (last 10-20 years) houses that also have appropriate sized yards for amenities like gardens, etc.?

2)I am relatively new to the whole HOA and PUD thing, since we really don't have them up North in New England. I grew up in rural West Virginia- so even neighborhoods are a newer concept to me... But here's the thing- We want to live in a nice stable community/ subdivision- but I want to be able to decorate for Halloween and Christmas without having to abide by a ridiculous list of what's allowed and what isn't. We want to have a large vegetable garden with outdoor grilling, bbqing and dining area, and I love to do landscaping that is classy and impressive- but not cookie cutter (I paid my way through college and grad school doing landscaping).

I have heard horror stories of fines for putting up Halloween decorations beyond cornstalks and pumpkins (my father-in-law and I do a big haunted graveyard/ house for the kids every year at trick-or-treat and I don't intend to stop) or fines for using anything but "warm white" LED lights come Christmas time. Or having to get everything down to the type of bushes you plant approved. Or no firearms even allowed (I am an avid hunter and own several rifles and shotguns). Or no allowance for things like rain collection barrels, etc. I understand the need to retain property values and the fact that some people ruin it for everyone- but I'm reluctant to shell out a large sum of money for a home I have dreamed of owning for YEARS and then not be able to do anything I want with it.

So, what are some subdivisions/communities that are "middle of the road" in terms of being nice and family friendly and classy- but not over the top in regulations??? We are looking to escape the obscene population density, high cost of living, and outright oppressive political atmosphere in Mass, for what we have found to be a very spacious, relaxed, and open area in the Chapel Hill section of the Triangle.

Any words of wisdom for this guy???
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:00 AM
 
9,196 posts, read 25,012,997 times
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I really don't know what the HOAs are like in each neighborhood - but any of the newer developments are going to have one (as state law requires an HOA to manage storm water facilities). My limited experience with a couple of neighborhoods in CH suggests that, well, this is Chapel Hill. Conformity is not a strong ideological movement here. So the HOAs tend to be reasonable.

Your price range may be a bit low for some of the newer developments in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Many built in the past 5-8 years start in the 600s.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,024 posts, read 5,929,448 times
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Curious: what town in Mass. are you coming from? (Ex Cambridge resident here.)
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 54,365,995 times
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Chapel Hill/Carrboro are very crunchy. You will not find HOA's here that are that unreasonable.We have rain barrels, gardens, etc. I've never heard any horror stories about HOA doing these ridiculous things you mention.
You need to start looking at real estate ads now. 400K will not buy much in CH/C. And be sure to factor in the high property taxes (somebody has to pay for those great schools)
Understand not all properties with CH address are in CH school district. Kinda confusing but you will figure it out. Any listing IN CH school district will brag about it, big time.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:17 PM
 
49 posts, read 106,592 times
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Check out Southern Village. You probably won't get a large yard, but you will get space for a garden. We love decorating here for Halloween, Christmas, etc.

Schools are fabulous - elementary and middle schools within walking distance.

$400s would get you a single-family home probably around 2,500 square feet. Houses here have been selling quickly, so I would speak with a realtor and be ready to act when one comes on the market that you like.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Boston
3 posts, read 23,808 times
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Thanks for the help so far...

BCR- We reside in East Arlington a few blocks from the Capitol Theater, just a little bit away from Cambridge. But like I said, everything from the prices to the weather to the same ol' MA politics are getting under our skin.

So far- I am very relieved to hear that the local culture doesn't match some of the scary things I have heard regarding property rights (Maybe that's reserved for areas like Raleigh-Cary or Charlotte?).

But I should say, on our visits, I don't think I haven't seen the crunchiness people are alluding to- maybe its because coming from Boston/Cambridge- I don't think you can get much more liberal or crunchy other than maybe San Fran and Berkeley. Its a little toned down- which we like. We are both more or less moderate and don't like any "in-your-face" politiking from either side.

As far as prices- I have seen a bunch of homes listed right in the 4's and 5's which is where I figure we'll end up price point-wise. But as I originally asked then- if I needn't worry about over-the-top HOAs, which subdivisions are best for young families? We have a toddler and another on the way and a handsome German Shepherd who will all be looking for playmates in no time at all.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Boston
3 posts, read 23,808 times
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I have heard good things about Southern Village- yes. Yard size does concern me a little bit, since we were hoping to have a larger garden- but i doubt it would be a deal breaker. And some of the SFH's I have seen listed do look awfully nice.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:43 PM
 
9,196 posts, read 25,012,997 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wismerock View Post
But I should say, on our visits, I don't think I haven't seen the crunchiness people are alluding to- maybe its because coming from Boston/Cambridge- I don't think you can get much more liberal or crunchy other than maybe San Fran and Berkeley. Its a little toned down- which we like. We are both more or less moderate and don't like any "in-your-face" politiking from either side.
I think there are small pockets of it, but it's certainly not the whole area. Yes, CH and Carrboro are politically more liberal than surrounding areas. But the not-so-secret secret of Chapel Hill is that it's not a bunch of hippy families and artists. It's lawyers, doctors, executives, etc. living in very expensive houses and paying high taxes - not really who one things of in terms of "crunchiness."
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 54,365,995 times
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We live in the northern part of Chapel Hill. Look at neighborhoods off Homestead Drive or Weaver Dairy like Hogan Farms, Wexford, Cates Farm and some others I can't remember right now.

We looked at Southern Village but the lots were just too small for us. You can spit in your neighbors window from your yard. Everything else looks nice there.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 54,365,995 times
Reputation: 47922
CH transplant. Don't know where we would get the going definition of crunchiness. I tend not to think in terms of income and profession but more towards political leanings and environmental responsibility. And it seems you think in terms of bohemian lifestyle. I guess we can meet in the middle.
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