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Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Naples, FL
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Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Hi, folks. My husband and I are hoping to relocate in 2007. We've been living in Naples, FL for 10 years and are looking for a much younger place to live. Believe me, it is beautiful here, but not much to do for 30-somethings and younger.

We've just started reseraching the area and plan on visiting in December. Is anyone familiar with Shea Homes, and if so, what success have you had with them? Specifically, we're looking at homes in the $350-$425 range and prefer new. Shea happens to have a few plans we love, but we know nothing about them. Any information would be helpful.

Also, what are the pros/cons of Raleigh as compared with Charlotte, NC -- demographics, things to do, job market, etc.?

I am a teacher and my husband is self-employed, but looking to work for a company (most likely in the technical field).

Any information you can provide us with would be much appreciated!

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1. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Hi Kristy,

I'm in the same boat as you. We're planning on moving to N. Raleigh next year (or sooner if the job comes sooner). We researched everywhere in N. Carolina (Charlotte, Hickory, Huntersville, Raleigh). If you like ALOT of congestion and a citylike feel, then Charlotte's the place for you. Since I have 2 small children, schools were important and the Charlotte/Mecklenburg system is awful. Kids are in trailers, student-teacher ratio is crazy. This was not the place for us.

We visited Raleigh in April, stayed in Cary (too crowded- when Money magazine printed article about 'Best Places to Live' and Cary was #1 back in '02 or '03, guess everyone flocked there), now it's overrated personally. You know the acronym for CARY stands for 'Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.' Gee...what a welcoming thought! We fell in love with N. Raleigh/Wake Forest. More house, more value for your money and less congested. Bedford Falls is where we would like to live. Look it up @ www.bedfordtradition.com. We found Raleigh offers everything we're looking for and more. The job prospects are better (RTP is the King of Pharmaceutical/Biotech/Telecommunications companies.

Good Luck in your search.

Kazzy

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2. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Thanks for the info, Kazzy. That was pretty much the impression that we've been getting after doing our research -- that Raleigh is more suburban. We're both from city areas, my husband from NY and I'm from Boston, and I just wonder if there will be enough for us to do.

Right now, we live in Naples, Florida and are bored to death. We're in our mid-30's and are looking for a place with good restaurants, jazz/blues bars, pro sports, and good shopping. We don't mind living in the suburbs, as long as we can access a lively city area within 30-45 minutes. Do you think Raleigh will live up to our expectations in that respect?

Also, how are the school systems in Raleigh? I am a teacher and have been researching the Mecklenburg County area, and as you said, it isn't that great (at least for the kids). Any advice on this topic would also be helpful.

Regards,

Kristy

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3. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Charlotte is more of a corporate (e.g., banking) town that wants to be Atlanta. It has a bigger metro area and professional football and basketball teams. It does have a lot of bars & restaurants but none of great reknown. Raleigh (actually the whole Triangle area in general) is a little more laid back and artsy. The three major universities in the Triangle are big cultural and sports draws -- college sports are huge here! Durham has several 4-star restaurants, Chapel Hill is a great little college town, and Raleigh/Cary is more family friendly but not great for young couples. There are legendary music clubs in Chapel Hill/Carrboro and Raleigh has some decent venues as well. Check out www.indyweek.com (our local alternative paper) for more details.

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4. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Charlotte has more of a big city feel and Raleigh is more suburban. Charlotte has the real downtown area.. in comparision downtown Raleigh is a laugher if that is your thing. Both areas have their pros and cons.. you really have to research both and see what fits best. I lived in Charlotte in the late 70's and early 80's.. and I am shocked when I return. The traffic and congestion is unbelievable. I used to think Raleigh was busy.. and I guess it is.. but NOTHING like Charlotte. I remember 25 years ago there was talk of Charlotte becoming the next Atlanta and I think it is happening. If I was moving back.. I'd look at Pineville or Mathews/Providence Road areas. I've also read quite a bit about the communities north of Charlotte - Huntersville comes to mind - that are up and coming and close to UNCC.

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5. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Hello Kristy,

I just had to reply to your post because I am from NY and I looked into relocating to Charlotte, Raleigh, and even Naples. First Naples because my husband had a job opportunity there with an old friend, but Naples wasn't for us and I can totally understand why you want to get out. Now considering what you're looking for and where you're coming from you really can't go wrong with either Charlotte or Raleigh. Being a city girl myself (even though I've now been living in the suburbs for the past 7 years) Charlotte is impressive. It is a clean city with a real downtown which gives you the feel that there's stuff going on. The city is accessible, you can drive into downtown (uptown as they call it) and actually find a parking spot. And like most cities, outside of the downtown area are all the suburban communities people live in. I think on the whole people relocating look north and south of Charlotte instead of east and west. After Charlotte set the bar, we thought Raleigh was going to have to blow Charlotte away. And while I never got stuck in traffic in Charlotte, I did get stuck in traffic on my drive down from NY in North Raleigh. So after that our first night there we felt disappointed, downtown had no vibe, in fact it looked deserted!. So immediately I thought "I'm not gonna like Raleigh". But after a shower and a good night's sleep, I got to see more of the area, and really it reminds me of Long Island meets Florida, clean, new, suburban communities, lots of shopping and still of LOTS of events/activities if you look for them. We fell in love with Apex, which is where we're moving to (small town charm with big city access). The thing with Raleigh is that it is definitely family-friendly and everything you'd like to see or do is available within the triangle, just not in one central location like a downtown area. It just doesn't have an impressive "city" although I hear they're working on that but you pick up any local events calendar and you'll find anything you might want to do in the area. My instinct is that you're going to like Charlotte best, for my family however, an urban area like Charlotte seems more exciting and has its advantages but it also has its disadvantages. We're happy about our decision. And I'm sure you'll be happy with yours, whichever you choose.

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6. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Kristy,

My husband and I are in Bradenton Florida and in our 30's. We are bored in Florida too! We originally were looking at Raleigh/Charlotte to relocate and my husband is also in the technical field. When we visited, the areas just weren't quite what we wanted. There was not as much "to do" as we were hoping. In our research we stumbled upon Austin Texas and visited recently. First of all, anything you think about Texas is not in Austin. It has beautiful green rolling hills and a city with everything you could possibly desire. Shopping, nightlife, cultural events, and outdoor activities are everywhere. Home prices are extremely modest. Austin is also known as "silicon hills"; technical jobs opportunities are everywhere. Dell, IBM, Motorola, and several other tech companies reside here. The weather is similar to Florida, but the winters are "cooler" and summers are not as humid. I encourage you to research this area. I think it has what you are looking for. No disrespect for Raleigh residents. The city is beautiful and you have a lot to be proud of. Austin was just a personal preferance.

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7. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

I had to chuckle at the "bored with Florida" comments. My brother in law and his wife are in their thirties and left NC to GO to Florida because they were bored with life HERE! They love Florida. LOL. What a great country we have where we can move to a completely different venue! Best wishes.

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8. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

IT all depends on what you want out of Florida. If you like the beach, Disney, theme parks, then this is the place you want to be. If you like hot summers, mild winters, then Florida is great. If you like the retired life, horray! Personally I like Florida, but hubby wants more of a seasonal life.

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9. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

Charlotte does have a better downtown, but if u haven't been to raleigh in the past couple years, it has changed. The entire Glenwod South area which in the past was mostly warehouses is nopw all bars and restraunts. While technically not "downtown" u can walk to it from downtown. Charlotte has pro football, basketball, racing. Raleigh has pro hockey and great college sports. Charlotte closer to mountains. Raleigh closer to beach. Schools better in Raleigh (Wake County) Overcrowding is a problem is both school systems.

If u are looking at builders in Raleigh try looking up Denmark Homes - Barham Place its north of Raleigh, country setting. Either city is better than most, Raleigh is growing into a big city, downtown is being developed

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10. Re: Relocation advice - Raleigh vs. Charlotte

We're a Boston area family looking to make a change. I have a great job, 6 figures, flexible hours, benefits. But I want to strike out on my own and go into business. Raleigh is on top of our list...and we've never seen it! I'm flying down in a few weeks to look at some businesses and check out the neighborhoods and towns - Apex, Wake Forest, etc. We want our money to go further. We want to lose the attitudes and chill a little. We want to feel like we're part of a community...something that just seems to be less and less a priority here.

Naples is great, by the way. For a visit (and a side visit when traveling to see the Red Sox in Fort Myers, at that!).

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