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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:56 PM
8 posts, read 19,278 times
Reputation: 32


Ok. We have read just about every post in the past 2 years about moving to Raleigh and we need some truth and good advice, not just lame whining or exaggerations. What is it like there? I mean right now...today? Please be accurate. What is the economy like? We want to hear the successes and the failures. We want to believe it has got to be so much better there than where we are now. We live in Reno, NV and are running to stand still. Our house is underwater, if I lose my job I can't replace it -a daily reality where I work. Unemployment is hovering around 15% and jobs, like home values, are worth less today than yesterday and dropping. We like the Raleigh area because we are looking for someplace that has a strong job market, that is poised to turn around faster than the rest of the country. We also want somewhere that has all that a place like Raleigh has to offer aside from the job market. You all probably take your 4 seasons, lush landscape, humongous trees, fireflies, and Cardinals for granted but, after living in high country desert for the past 40 years, we would be stunned by them.
We have been living stressed like this for 3 years now since my contracting business dried up and we have reached the conclusion that we need to do something about it. Hence the decision to go to North Carolina. We just need help deciding where. Overall, we are impressed by all of the GOOD things we have heard (jobs, nice people, weather, jobs) about it and how much people love it there. I work in Facilities Management now, I have multiple trade skills, management skills, engineering skills and a Bachelors degree. There are so many jobs listed there that I qualify for so that has me encouraged. Should I be? Am I out of my mind? Should we just stay put? I have applied to numerous places but it seems the responses are taking a little while. Is that normal? Has anyone heard of anyone else who has had a rough time getting a job offer if they are from out of state? Regardless of what others might suggest, I think it would be really foolhardy to try and move without a job offer in hand. Agree? Disagree? Also, don't be shy, let us know what you really think about the schools and the neighborhoods, step on some toes if you have to. What are we in for? Could this plan work? Help!
Facts to consider:
Politically we are conservative for the most part, but we tend to vote for such liberal causes as more tax dollars for education and anything that helps the middle class. None of us are religious-not atheists, just unable to endorse organized religion. Will that be a problem?
We don't have anything to do with the casinos here so leaving a 24 hour town is no big deal. We are home bodies who like to do stuff with our kids and pets.
We are avid fly fishermen, we love camping and the mountains, road trips and antiques, we like the country but still like having a hospital and an airport nearby.
We have three kids 19, 16, and 13. We want to live close to work (small commute) but in a somewhat rural setting (would like to rent a 3 to 4 bedroom house with at least 1 acre and a fence, for now), need great schools, safe neighborhood, nice people. Oldest kid is going to be a sophomore in college, (will most likely live with us and commute for the first year anyway-biology major) is thinking about UNC-Chapel Hill. Next kid is big into sports (volleyball and track) and next kid is big into music (strings and piano), all are academically talented so they need to be challenged by the curriculum. Advice on schools that have great programs for them would be very helpful.
Also, someone please reassure my wife that the humidity will not be that bad. She thinks it's absolutely going to be a sauna for 4 months out of the year. I think otherwise-who's right? We know to expect the humidity, especially because we live in the driest state in the US. We just don't know how much to expect. We know the tornadoes that just ripped through the state were horrible and our hearts go out to everyone affected by them-we haven't been paying attention too much, is that something to factor in? Does that happen often? Are there some areas more prone to this type of devastation than others?
I have to ask, my wife made me-are there alligators in the lakes and rivers?
Finally, any insight into which city is the most liveable, the Raleigh area or Charlotte-neither one of us has been to either place. We want to visit first if possible but that might not be in the cards. We like what we have read about the types of job opportunities and the housing and schools in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill but don't want to discount Charlotte. Thanks everyone...we look forward to your replies.

Last edited by Fred2herEthel; 06-17-2011 at 05:00 PM..
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:33 PM
Location: NC
1,695 posts, read 4,673,430 times
Reputation: 1873
its hard to get a job. there are more applicants than jobs.

dark doesnt like when we say it, but dont move without a job unless you can make it a year without one. its just a fact of life right now.

it IS like a sauna for well... at least 2 months out of the year. sometimes longer.

schools are great.

commutes can be great or torture. depends on where you live and where you work.

no one cares what religion you are (or aren't)

we get weather. tornados, sure, but more often hurricanes. at least you have warning for those. the devastating tornados this year are not a common occurance, but yes, it can and does happen.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:40 PM
9,680 posts, read 27,153,963 times
Reputation: 4167
It gets very humid here but I don't mind having come to Raleigh from New Orleans in 1989.

Beach and mountains aren't right around the corner at all. If it matters, little to no public transit.

People are nice but rudeness is spreading as transplants (not from Nevada) deteriorate courtesy here.

Salaries can be lower depending where you live now. Taxes aren't that low for the South.

You really need to visit to be sure this place is what you want.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:54 PM
Location: NC
4,532 posts, read 8,866,443 times
Reputation: 4754
hmmm, rare to see gators here. Mostly in the coastal river areas. Humidity is normally rough in July, Aug and sometimes may and June. If you aren't used to it, it takes sometime to accept. I imagine you will find housing ( to buy) more expensive here? Jobs...it is true, not as many as there used to be. Our area has not, in decades, been so affected by job loss and poor economic conditions. I suggest you line up some interviews for your visit here so you can get a sense of what your options are, as well as ck out some rentals. I'm sure you plan to do that anyhow. Will your wife be looking for work, sorry couldn't read all your post....
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:17 PM
Location: My House
34,938 posts, read 36,231,960 times
Reputation: 26552
From reading your post (humidity aside) it sounds like you'd like living here.

Look for jobs, as you've said you plan to do.

If you find a good one, give it a chance.

Homes do cost more here than they do in Nevada. But, it sounds like we have many of the things you are looking for here.

Good luck to you!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:34 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,728 posts, read 22,813,762 times
Reputation: 12325
You're asking a lot of questions in one post.

Alligators? Very rare in NC. This isn't Florida!

Humidity--yes, especially coming from the desert. Without any question, you need to VISIT here in the heat of summer (or this week, where it's going to be in the 90s despite technically still spring) and spend a few days to be realistic with your ability to handle humidity. Otherwise, weather will be nicer than NV.

Very good plan to look for a job before actually moving, especially with kids. There might (or might not) be more jobs listed here, but there are also more applicants for them (many from out of state) than ever before, according to some HR folks who post here. NC's unemployment may not be like Nevada's, but it's still high--if jobs are what cast your eye you here, I'd look more into places like DC, Texas, and the plains states (KS, NE). NC most certainly is not the "jobs falling off trees into people hands" place that so many for some reason move here believing. You can't always go by job listings, since many places are required to list a job even when they already have an internal candidate lined up (though I guess this is the case everywhere). Wait to see how many interviews you get before proclaiming this a robust job market; in the meantime, if getting out of NV is your primary goal, I'd be putting out feelers in many places, not just NC. Don't put all your eggs in the "Raleigh" basket, especially when you've never even been here. Internet sites can only tell you SO much, and whatever's written is immediately out of date. I presume you are looking and researching in a lot of states if "getting out of Nevada" is the goal.

UNC is very difficult to get into from out of state; I would not presume that your son would be accepted there (not that you necessarily are, but just know that out-of-state applications are capped at 18%. If he's a sophomore, I guess he would be doing a Jr transfer, which is easier, but I think he would still be considered "out of state" for acceptance purposes until declaring residency which would take a minimum of a year AFTER living here).

Tornadoes are rare but do happen, obviously. By nature, they are unpredictable, but this is not like Kansas or Oklahoma. We DO get harsh thunderstorms which can do damage, but tornado-spawning storms usually come only in spring or fall when the weather is changing. We are also prone to ice storms in the winter that can leave the power out for a few days, but of course snowstorms aren't an issue here except that their rarity means the whole city (whatever city) shuts down over a few inches, which has spawned Northeasterners' very favorite hobby, Making Fun Of Southerners When It Snows. We just don't have the snow-removal equipment other states do that get it more, of course. Being were you are, I guess any snow will be a novelty! Hurricanes, also pretty rare except RIGHT on the coast, hit inland every few decades. NC had major damage in 1996 from Fran and 1999 from Floyd. The shape of our coast means NC is always in a hurricane state of awareness, but more than an hour inside the coast, it's not something to lose sleep over.

Politics aren't really an issue here unless one is a real outlier on either end of the spectrum. NC is a Purple state that leans fiscally conservative and socially libertarian on most things, with urban areas much Bluer than rural areas (as in any state). The recreational things you mention are all here, no problem there.

You should plan a visit for the summer, see lots of parts of the state and do your research on jobs before coming (not that you aren't already). The climate is a lot different, better in most ways but maybe not in all, but only you can answer how you would like it.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:27 AM
11,151 posts, read 15,829,054 times
Reputation: 18844
Originally Posted by suedonym View Post
dark doesnt like when we say it, but dont move without a job unless you can make it a year without one. its just a fact of life right now.

Dark said it's fine to address employment as long as the OP asked about it. In this case, the OP did ask about finding jobs, sooooooooo .....
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:54 AM
6,297 posts, read 16,089,036 times
Reputation: 4846
I think values of homes are decreasing a bit...nothing like Nevada, though. Look at the major real estate sites and look at all the homes. In Cary, for example, lots of them have "REDUCED" tags on them. Lots.

Jobs are hard to find. Many people are "under-employed." People don't like to admit how bad things are. Or they are ignorant of others' suffering. Not all company layoffs are announced in the local news. The "downturn," IMHO, seems to be going on and on and on and on. For a while, we used to hear "things are looking up." I haven't heard that recently.

But if you can find a job -- good for you!!!

There are so many transplants that I don't even think of this place as Southern...at least not in the Triangle. So you and your family would fit in just fine. The only Southerner I know ("in real life") is my husband.

Many natives seem to work for the government. Many transplants seem to work at companies in RTP (Research Triangle Park, a huuuuge office park).

We lived through one hurricane (Hurricane Fran) in 1996; the last one that hit Raleigh before that was 1954. I've only heard of one tornado, and that was in the eighties and was pretty bad. Then this year, one hit a few streets away. So -- 4 bad weather incidents in more than half a century. Not bad.

No alligators.

The worst thing about living here -- to me -- is the wicked summer heat and the lack of lakefront living -- but I grew up along Lake Ontario in NY state near the Finger Lakes. I'm still trying to figure out how to live there during the summers.

People here go to the beach -- the NC coast -- and the closest is 2 hours away, so that's good.

You'll do fine -- if you find a job.

P.S. YES, your wife is right. It WILL be a sauna -- June, July, August, at least. I couldn't be more serious. Some people love it, and I wouldn't trust those natives who've never lived anywhere else -- they don't know how bad it is.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:21 AM
Location: Wilson
12 posts, read 25,490 times
Reputation: 11
Default Ok going to try to answer questions

I will give you as much truth as I can. Today its hot and humid, this is true for a couple months out of the year, seems to be getting worse in the last few years. Economy? Depends on what field you are in and I am sorry to say I dont know about your particular field. We are both health care professionals so its great for us, but we have heard stories of people not getting jobs for years after being laid off from the IT park here. House prices here are better then they have ever been, you can get a lot of house for your money right now. Selling a house now is a different story. The landscape here is beautiful, it is a stunning area. You may have a harder time securing a job from out of state, just my opinion but again it depends on your field.
Neighborhood are just dependent on the price range you are looking for. I can comment on several of them based on your price range. There are a wide range of religions and non religious people in this area, you will find the further you live outside the city limits the more religious people are, however I dont think it should be any type of problem, but many social outings and connecting with new friends are done in churches outside of the Raleigh area itself.
The chapel hill/ carborro school district has been known to be one of the finest in the state, although it is an expensive area, to get land you may have to look at the Pittsboro area about a 20 to 30 minute drive from chapel hill. Lots of lakes in this area too.
You just cant predict the weather. But we see maybe on big hurricane every couple of years, tornado's no where near as bad as the midwest, maybe one of two a year and a couple days of heavy snow or ice, but that is it.
Cant add anything about Charlotte since I havent lived there. Alligators? I havent heard tha,t but I did see some on a plantation in south carolina. If you have more questions would be happy to help, just my opinion through.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:31 AM
Location: Cary
2,863 posts, read 4,674,752 times
Reputation: 3466
If half of the negative folks here live somewhere else, they'd be complaining about that area as well.

I love it here. Great quality of live, nice neighbors, no rudeness in the 16 years that I've been here. If you can make it work for you job wise and neighborhood wise, it's a great place to be. Expect to be in the pool for some of June, all of July, and most of August. If your yard is heavily shaded like mine it's bearable in the shade but there will be high heat at times that is just plain uncomfortable. We get snow, enough to enjoy for a few days but it does mess up your work commute.
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