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View Full Version : Where to Live Near RTP?



Rich
04-07-2007, 10:49 PM
I'm considering a position and relocation to the RTP area from the Northeast. As a Duke grad of '88, it's been awhile since I've been in the area and I know it's grown tremendously. I have a 5 year old and an 8 year old. Any recommendations regarding good school districts, nice communities, short commute, and reasonable housing (in the $500-600's) would be greatly appreciated. My family is Jewish so we are also interested in an area that has some synogogues. Any suggestions where I might find such information would be great too.

Exiled_Devil
04-08-2007, 01:58 AM
..but I just wanted to say that "reasonable housing" around RTP is $200-300. 500-600 is really nicehousing.

If you live in the Boston area, figure that you should be able to get almost twice the square footage for the mortgage you pay now. I am just coming to appreciate the house prices in Durham as I rice houses in California. It's 3 to 4 times more expensive here.

Exiled

Just got home and you have better advice from others than I can give. I can say that Durham is a nice option for RTP, especially east Durham. I live just north of RTP and there is almost no traffic between here and RTP. I am also close to downtown Durham and the nature of Falls Lake. If a short commute is important to you, this is a great option

Rich
04-08-2007, 06:59 AM
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you and will continue to check the boards.

Incidentally, I live in NJ about 30 miles outside of NYC. I'm sure this is one of the top 5 most expensive metro areas in the country. I live in a 3 bedroom ranch which could probably sell in the $500's. An upgrade for me in this area would run me close to a mil. I checked Realtor.com and what you can get for the money in RTP is pretty amazing comparitively.

I'm very interested in the schools, neighborhoods/communities, and the religious makeup of the area. While my family is Jewish, and I would like to be in an area that has some Jewish population, I wouldn't want to live in a strictly Jewish area. Diversity of culture and religion is also important.

-jk
04-08-2007, 02:36 PM
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you and will continue to check the boards.

Incidentally, I live in NJ about 30 miles outside of NYC. I'm sure this is one of the top 5 most expensive metro areas in the country. I live in a 3 bedroom ranch which could probably sell in the $500's. An upgrade for me in this area would run me close to a mil. I checked Realtor.com and what you can get for the money in RTP is pretty amazing comparitively.

I'm very interested in the schools, neighborhoods/communities, and the religious makeup of the area. While my family is Jewish, and I would like to be in an area that has some Jewish population, I wouldn't want to live in a strictly Jewish area. Diversity of culture and religion is also important.

If you're looking at public schooling, Wake County schools or, perhaps, (man this is hard to type) Chapel Hill city schools, are probably the best. My cousin is an English teacher in the Wake Co system, and says if she ever has kids, she'll be in Cary, which she otherwise despises as much too managed. (Though, who knows?, you might be comfortable there - locally they call it the "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees" for a reason.) If you're so inclined, there are good private schools all over the Triangle.

Durham is far funkier/diverse (with its attendant problems) than the rest of the Triangle, and has the best restaurants. (I highly recommend a bar on Ninth Street called Dain's. Their fries are to die for.) Raleigh has the better night life. I presume you've outgrown the college bar scene of Chapel Hill, though Cat's Cradle somehow remains a viable venue after all these years.

Durham also has the easier commute to RTP (I-40 at rush hour between Raleigh/Cary and RTP is murder). And, of course, it's much easier to get to Cameron. :D

(OK, in the interest of full disclosure: I also have two young kids, I grew up in Durham, and I get back frequently.)

-jk

Ima Facultiwyfe
04-08-2007, 03:01 PM
Hi Rich,

We're long time residents of Chapel Hill. My daughter (who grew up here) and her family have recently returned to the Triangle from a stint in Charlotte. Her husband is a developer, so they were not required to live anywhere in the area in particular. She's very particular about schools.They have one regular kid heavy into sports and one who is really, really brainy, so they needed a school system that could meet the needs of both. Her husband is very knowledgeable and sensitive about property values. They did extensive research and ended up in Cary. They haven't been sorry.

There is a wide price range of housing. Teachers are paid better in Wake County than anywhere else in the Triangle. Consequently, they get good ones.

Cary has a very culturally diverse population, as the nearby Research Triangle draws people from everywhere in the world.

The drawbacks on Cary are the typical ones you run into when dealing with a fast growing area; keeping up with the need for more of everything from roads to school buildings to utilities, etc. And, of course, it's a good 20 minute drive to Cameron. That's a bummer.

Hope this helps a little.

Love, Ima

DukeUsul
04-09-2007, 12:17 AM
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you and will continue to check the boards.

Incidentally, I live in NJ about 30 miles outside of NYC. I'm sure this is one of the top 5 most expensive metro areas in the country. I live in a 3 bedroom ranch which could probably sell in the $500's. An upgrade for me in this area would run me close to a mil. I checked Realtor.com and what you can get for the money in RTP is pretty amazing comparitively.

I'm very interested in the schools, neighborhoods/communities, and the religious makeup of the area. While my family is Jewish, and I would like to be in an area that has some Jewish population, I wouldn't want to live in a strictly Jewish area. Diversity of culture and religion is also important.

As a fellow Jersey-ite, I can agree with others that you might feel at home in Cary. Every other person I meet here is from NJ, NY, CT, etc. I honestly don't know where the synagogues are around here, but I'd have to hazard a guess that Cary probably has a larger Jewish population than some of the other areas around here.

Apex is also a good choice. Right next to Cary, it's the "little brother" town. Cary's ballooned to over 100,000 people, Apex is at around 40,000 and trying to catch up. Apex and Cary are considered western wake county. This area of the triangle has great schools and low crime. Houses range from $100 to $140 per square foot, depending on how fancy you want. You can easily get a beautiful, brand new 3000+ sq ft house all tricked out for between 400 and 500 around here.

If you need a realtor, call Bud and Beth McKinney. Beth is fantastic. She helped us buy our current house, and we're currently with her again as we are moving. http://www.budnbeth.com/

Oh and on traffic - if you look at Western Cary and Apex, you won't have to take I-40 into RTP. Just hop on NC Hwy 55 and it's a straight shot up into RTP. They just finished a widening project on it a few months ago, and the commute is a breeze. 15 minutes to work for me.

devil84
04-10-2007, 08:26 AM
Another point of view here. I live in Cary -- almost in Raleigh. I live in a Cary subdivision very close to Crossroads shopping, which has nearly everything anybody would need to survive (lots of big box stores: Circuit City, Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, Office Depot, Office Max, AC Moore, Micheal's, JoAnn's, BJ's, Old Navy, Target -- everything). Add some wonderful specialty stores and a slew of restaurants from fast food to elegant dining -- all within 2.5 miles.

The schools are phenomenal: AB Combs elementary in Raleigh is an award-winning leadership magnet school (touted as #1 in the country). Diversity? Over 25 countries are represented in the annual parade of flags in their cultural diversity festival. The requirement for inclusion of a flag in the festival is that the student or the student's parent is a citizen of the country. Lots of kids from NCSU professors. The emphasis on leadership is wonderful. The very stable adminstration is top notch, making a concerted effort to know each child by name, and remembers them years later BY NAME when they come back with their high school programs that volunteer there. Dillard Middle is a nice middle school; not quite as diverse, but moreso than many of the schools in the Cary/Apex/North Raleigh area. The kids complain about how strict it is; it's actually a great setup so that high school seems a breeze in comparison. From a parent's perspective, they're not strict, they're expecting a child to be responsible! Athens Drive High is super -- and has (arguably) the best band program in the area, which has been a TERRIFIC program for my kids. This program goes beyond music. It drives a great social scene and it's about the only program I've seen in schools that goes above and beyond in developing self-esteem, responsibility, and those other intangibles that are so important to education. Throughout the school, the population reflects the community at large (definitely not a homogenous group of kids!), Honors/AP classes are plentiful, and NCSU is right around the corner for an even larger selection of higher level courses, if needed (I think they're a 1 block walk to the NCSU bus line). No, ADHS doesn't have quite the reputation that Cary, Apex, Green Hope, and some of the other schools have, but I've been thrilled with the education, both in the classroom and in the "real life" of the schools.

Our subdivision is "below average" (cost-wise) for the Cary area, only about $200-300K, and the homes are about 18 years old. We're in a culturally diverse neighborhood (of course, any area around 25 years or older is likely to be fairly diverse, thanks to the insane growth in the area). The Beth Shalom synagogue is an easy 2.7 mile drive, and several other options are available (thanks to entering "synagogue" in Google maps). There are several families on my cul-de-sac that would love to share information about their synagogue.

Another benefit: almost all the roads around us have been widened, and the final project will be complete in another 8 months, giving us WONDERFUL access to 1/64, the beltline, and I-40. The access was great before, just with orange barrels lining every street to get there (I'm whining about all of .5 miles to get to 1/64 & the beltline, and the less than 1.5 miles to get to Crossroads shopping center!). Do check about future widening projects before you buy -- there's a ton of widening projects in progress and even more planned. Had I known that this particular subdivision would have major widening projects on every street surrounding it while my children were learning to drive, I might have gone to the subdivision just down the road with an entrance on a different street (that will be widened in a few years). Now that it's almost done, it's going to be very nice!

There aren't too many areas in the Cary/Apex/Morrisville area that I'd avoid, but I really like this little area of Cary/Raleigh due to the proximity of terrific shopping and great schools.

And it's about 25 minutes to Cameron. :)

- della

oakroom
04-10-2007, 10:45 AM
Don't sell Durham short. Look in southwest Durham and you'll find plenty of nice suburban houses in more-established neighborhoods (with big trees, for instance) than the stuff that has been thrown up in Cary etc. Check out Hope Valley farms and other neighborhoods off of Hope Valley Rd (NC 751). This would be an easy commute to RTP.

DukeUsul
04-10-2007, 12:51 PM
Don't sell Durham short. Look in southwest Durham and you'll find plenty of nice suburban houses in more-established neighborhoods (with big trees, for instance) than the stuff that has been thrown up in Cary etc. Check out Hope Valley farms and other neighborhoods off of Hope Valley Rd (NC 751). This would be an easy commute to RTP.

I'll agree. Even though I talked up Cary, my wife and I are currently in the process of building a house in Durham (she works at Duke). We really like the new neighborhood we're building in. Convenient access to Duke, shopping, the elementary school there is one of the best in Durham.

http://www.drhorton.com/corp/GetCommunity.do?dv=AU&pr=41935

Indoor66
04-10-2007, 01:29 PM
I looked at the map. I dated a girl that lived on Randolph Road - back in the early 1960's. Ah, memories....

TNTDevil
04-10-2007, 03:22 PM
All the benefits of Wake County Schools and Raleigh without the "Stepford Wives" feel of Cary. Plenty of nice neighborhoods and very easy access to the rest of the Triangle (I can be at DU in 30 minutes).

DukeUsul
04-10-2007, 09:36 PM
All the benefits of Wake County Schools and Raleigh without the "Stepford Wives" feel of Cary. Plenty of nice neighborhoods and very easy access to the rest of the Triangle (I can be at DU in 30 minutes).

Is it really not too bad? Every time I seem to drive up to Wake Forest, I have to sit in traffic on US 1. Is it generally not too bad?

TNTDevil
04-10-2007, 10:22 PM
Rule 2: Always obey Rule 1.

No, it's not that bad but, it helps to know alternative routes to get to/from WF. I work out of my house so, I don't suffer commutes any longer.

BuschDevil
04-12-2007, 12:27 AM
First, let me say that I'm not seeking business, as I feel that would not be in the spirit of these boards, but I am a Realtor in Durham & I would be happy to offer help to a fellow Duke fan. Of course, I can't talk to specifics on schools & ethnic or religous groups, but I can direct you to some sources for info.

You might find this site helpful regarding schools: http://www.ncschoolreportcard.org/src/ This is a State of North Carolina site with very good info on schools and how they compare.

This is the website for the Durham Synogogue: http://www.judeareform.org/ I'm sure there are several in the Raleigh/Cary area, but I have a few friends at Judea Reform and they like it very much. It is also very close to Duke on Corwallis Rd.

I am a native of Durham, so I am biased, but I think Durham is a great place to live. Professionally, I concentrate on the west-side of the Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill, etc.), but I would be happy to recommend an agent in Cary/Raleigh, if that is where you choose to look. I believe I have met the agents that DukeUsul mentions, they were very nice, and the developement, Carillon Forest, he is building in is wonderful (I love that they left up so many trees). My kids went to the elementary school with in walking distance of there, Forest View, & it is excellent. In the price range you mention, as with any price range, you can get a lot more for your money in Durham than you can in other parts of the Triangle. A $500k home in Cary would probably cost you around $400k in Durham. For homes in the price range you indicate & for the best commutes South and West Durham are great, as I-40 in Durham & the Durham Fwy are not gridlocked like I-40 is in Raleigh. The west side of Cary & Apex, where you can use a wider NC55, are also good. Another section of I-540 should open soon, but watch out for it to be made a toll-road from RTP & Cary in a couple years.

If you would prefer, you can send me a private message with any questions. I'm happy to help. Again, though, my reply here is not seeking business (I would welcome it, of course), but is merely an offer of assistance & information, one Duke fan to another.

Take care,

RelativeWays
04-12-2007, 12:08 PM
You could always consider the triad area as well since its development has more or less mirrored the triangle area in about every facet (though if you're working at RTP, this may be a moot point). Greensboro in particular has a long established Jewish community. With all the development and annexing going on in the two areas, I wouldn't be surpised if Greensboro, Winston Salem and High Point and Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill just become two large indistinguishable blobs on the NC map.

Indoor66
04-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Durham also has a long established Jewish community. It began back in the tobacco days in the late 19th century when Jewish immigrants were hired to roll cigars and work in tobacco. From that grew one of the first flourishing Jewish communities in NC and most of the South.