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  #1  
Old August 12th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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Scott T
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Need Insight from North Carolina Board Members..

Okay North Carolina Defender owners, need some input on living in North Carolina. We’ve been thinking about possibly making a move to the Jacksonville or Wilmington areas, but are open to other suggestions that in your personal experience met what we are looking for. It seems like the general cost of living (housing, etc.) is somewhat to significantly lower than the Baltimore Maryland area where we currently live. Factors that are currently motivating our search:

  • We’ve had enough of northeast winters
  • We like living near the water and being able to be outside, so a warmer climate, with better quality of living, and lower cost of living (if possible) are motivating factors..
  • We are ready for a change

We chose to initially investigate the Jacksonville or Wilmington areas for their proximity to the coast, but we’re a bit in the dark though when comes to things like demographics and quality of public school systems. Do the residents (in general) live healthy active lifestyles, are they mostly educated professionals? What is the risk from Hurricane or other natural disaster, etc, etc.. Any insight from fellow Defender owners living in the areas or with knowledge of the areas is greatly appreciated!

Things that are important to us:

  • Good Job opportunities
  • Good Health Care
  • Professional, educated neighbors
  • Strong Public School Systems, elementary through high school
  • Safe neighborhoods, schools, environment (good place to raise a family type thing, but still young and energetic with fun to be had)
  • Good Access to nice beaches and lakes for recreation..

P.S. – Yes there is a nearly identical post asking about Texas, as this is another area we are considering..
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  #2  
Old August 12th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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I don't know much about NC, but I'm sure that it is like anywhere in that the more money you have, the better your quality of life.
All your bullet points can be fixed with wealth. All except the safe neighborhoods part. there ain't no such thing.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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Okay North Carolina Defender owners, need some input on living in Texas.

Not sure what NC owners will know about living in Texas ....

If the death penalty stats are anything to go by I guess these places are the top 20% most dangerous states in the union.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 04:16 PM
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I'm not near the coast so I can't comment on much, but the Wilmington area is great and you can drive on the beach near there. you're not far from myrtle beach or hilton head either. all cost of living is going to be lower than NE, that why there is a clear exodus going on from the NY state area into the carolinas. very easy to perceive it at least here in Charlotte.

as for hurricanes, if that is an important question, you need to really dive into that. you can expect to deal with hurricane warnings almost every year. wilmington or charleston are the bowling alley's for the carolinas, as that is where the Eastern seaboard curves back to the East and is ground zero when all the coast running hurricanes make their turn going north. But the city is pretty hurricane hardy after years of this.

if you want to avoid all natural disasters and stay in the US, move to hi ground in Phoenix.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Many Investment banks have operations in NC - Including Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.
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  #6  
Old August 12th, 2013, 05:07 PM
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Will Hedrick
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Jacksonville has a large military population due to it's proximity to Camp Lejeune Marine Corp Base. I can't really speak to much about the living situation there, but I do not think that they have a terribly good reputation as far as their public school system goes. As far as beaches, your closest access would be to Topsail Island, I believe.

IMHO, Wilmington offers a much more comfortable pace of living. New Hanover County has a fairly decent school system and is also home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which is where I went to undergrad. There is plenty of housing and the opportunity for jobs, depending on what you're looking for. Wilmington is sometimes referred to as "Wilmiwood, or Hollywood East" due to Screen Gems Studios being located there. They cater to a fair number of movie and television projects (e.g., the Iron Man movies and Stephen King's TV show "Under the Dome") Also, easy access to Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach. I still have several friends that live in and around Wilmington. There is also some relatively new residential construction and population just across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County.

Based on your criteria, I'd recommend you concentrate your search around Wilmington. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about the area. I haven't lived there since 2001, but like I said, we still have friends that live there and we go down to visit them every so often. Best of luck!
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  #7  
Old August 12th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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The short time I spent in Jacksonville my oldest daughter went to J'ville commons. My wife and I really liked that school, and the *most* of the surrounding neighborhood. Just like any place, it has its 'ghetto' areas.

Good things in Jacksonville: The beachs are close and the local ER is nice, cant forget the jacksonville ninja ,

Bad things: A LOT of Marines, crappy mall(closest decent one is in wilmington), traffic sucks, tattoo and car dealerships on every corner, no direct access to hiways.

*IF it snows, everything shuts down. and by snow, I mean a LIGHT dusting.

I never had any hurricane damage at my house but people I worked with did and hurricanes/tropical storms do happen.

It's not a lot but I hope it helps. I am a little biased about J'ville since I had no choice on living there.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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At least half of my friends have moved down to S.C. or N.C. I talk to them often but have only visited a few times. Cost of living sounds a hell of a lot better than here in MD. I don't know anything about Texas but all my friends down south are very happy.
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  #9  
Old August 12th, 2013, 05:50 PM
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Stay out of Jville it's a hole, better schools in Hampstead area which is on the pender county side of the New Hanover line. I'm here, come down buy me a few beers and I will answer all your questions. I have been here for 13 years, have kids etc.
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  #10  
Old August 12th, 2013, 09:45 PM
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Yes I agree J-ville is the worst! I was a Cherry Point Marine and even we stayed away from Jacksonville. Swansboro is nice, as well as Ocean Isle beach, and bald head island. If is was up to me and I could afford it I would live on Ocracoke. It's the first stop after a three hour ferry ride once you get to the outer banks (southern route).
As for hurricanes inland NC does a great job of preparing and preventing most problems associated with hurricane evacuations. As for actual damage when hit by one, I'd say its better then being right on the coast. You will still have trees down and flooding where ever you live in NC and you are in direction line of a Hurricane or what's left of one after it hits the coast.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 10:30 PM
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I have no experience with the areas you're considering, but huge fan of Apex and Cary.
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  #12  
Old August 12th, 2013, 10:43 PM
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I'm from Jacksonville and would steer clear of Onslow County. If I were looking for property on the NC coast I'd focus south toward Wilmington or north toward Emerald Isle (from Swansboro to Morehead City/Atlantic Beach).
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Old August 13th, 2013, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
  • Professional, educated neighbors
  • Strong Public School Systems, elementary through high school
Like others have said, if you are professional, educated and relatively wealthy then you will most likely have neighbors of similar qualities. Not to state the obvious, but this is sort of true for anywhere. You aren't going to pay less than 120K for a home in a neighborhood anywhere and have 'professional, educated neighbors'. I'm from the south... a lot of folks move down to NC and love to complain about the people and the "ignorance". I'm just saying -- its not Maryland. Most folks that come down from the north/midwest never say things like "I just love the locals" or "there is so much culture!". Generally, the feeling is mutual. A

As for the second, just go to google news and type in: "North Carolina Education Budget" and read away. Its kind of a hot topic right now. General local consensus is that it is going down the drain real quick.

You will trade harsh winters for a 3 season annual climate. Long, humid and hot summer... a short cold spring (that many consider winter)... and a short but pleasant fall.

All that being said, North Carolina is great. The coast is amazing, as is the fishing. Lots of great day-trips from the Wilmington area to keep the family busy and enjoying life.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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Brian Jones
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Growing up in Eastern NC, I wouldn't live in Jacksonville. If your other choice is Wilmington, I would go with living there. As for your list:
  • Good Job opportunities - You have your pick of towns, best would be Raleigh or Charlotte then Wilmington
  • Good Health Care - NC Health is up there - more medical schools than we know what to do with
  • Professional, educated neighbors - In eastern NC this can be a crap shoot. Can't comment on Wilmington
  • Strong Public School Systems, elementary through high school - Good schools in the triangle
  • Safe neighborhoods, schools, environment (good place to raise a family type thing, but still young and energetic with fun to be had) - Don't live in most of Durham/ N Charlotte
  • Good Access to nice beaches and lakes for recreation.. - I prefer Atlantic Beach or Ocracoke

*Full Disclosure - I'm from Washington, NC so I am more biased to the area than farther south to Wilmington. Grew up on the Pamilco River and lived on the Outer Banks.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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I concur with ontheway, about neighbors, as for price $120k is like a starter home here but you get a lot of bang for the buck which is why we stayed post active duty. I would get closer to 200k for everything you are looking for, you’ll also get a lot of house.

The closer you are to the water the more you are going to pay. I'm in Swansboro, NC, slightly to the north of Jacksonville, about a 20 min drive. Didn't know it existed until I went house hunting a year ago. The school is one reason that we chose that area. The J’ville Commons are nice but since they started putting smaller house and townhomes there it just didn’t seem to be what we are looking for. It is close to all the restaurants and the mall but with town homes you are going to get junior Marines so think college age individuals, with the same type of mindset.

There is a lot of beach access in the Jacksonville area but you just have to stay out of Jacksonville, only Campl Lejeune and downtown Jacksonville have access to water. There is not that much downtown. They are trying to revive it. It’s quaint like most small towns and you’ll miss it if you are not looking for it but generally not worth the trip.

If you want to be right on the beach, then you want houses in Topsail and Emerald isle. If there is a hurricane you will more than likely get serious damage, as there is nothing between you and the hurricane force winds. It snows approximately every 2 to 3 years and I don’t think it has gotten over 2” but 1 to 2”that can bring the area to a grinding halt. Hurricanes make up to most of our bad weather with the occasional tornado. I think the worst we had was about 2 years ago, even parts of Camp Lejeune got hit. We normally just get tornado warnings.

If you don't mind a short drive, to the South of Jacksonville, Richland used to be nice but I think it's getting very crowded & Hampstead is also nice and growing. To the North of Jacksonville, Hubert, Stella, Swansboro, Cedar point, Emerald isle, Bogue, Beaufort & Morehead city, to name a few. Google is your friend so you can check any of the places I listed but there is nothing like driving the area for yourself. This is the Swansboro site; http://swansboro-nc.org/. No I don’t own a boat but my wife likes to fish and she can from the piers and I like quiet.

These are a few of the builders in the area:
http://www.drhorton.com/where-we-bui...lls-creek.aspx
http://www.savvyhomes.com/community/queens-harbor
Nice homes, we like the drhorton floor plans best. No I’m not a realtor, nor do I work for either of them.

As for work, anything military, health care or logistics related is good. I’m sure you could find more but those are the things I’ve observed. I would get the work first though and then move. Some of the best work opportunities are unfortunately on Camp Lejeune. Wilmington would probably have more diversity in the job market. I’ve also heard that they have filmed several movies there. I think the rumor is that it might be the new Hollywood. J
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  #16  
Old August 19th, 2013, 08:21 AM
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Thanks for everyone's response. While we may be even more confused than when we started, we are grateful for the additional insight. And for those who offered to talk by phone, and extra thanks (and we still may call, so don't be surprised )
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  #17  
Old August 19th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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Scott,
Talking about NC have you checked out the Raleigh area? We are seriously considering that area due to the variety of industry it offers as we are both professionals (at least on a resume). CA living is redonculous and yes I would really consider puckering up my lips on someone's bare ass for a $120K mortgage compared to San Diego where home prices are 4X-5X that price. Just call me smoochie. Anyway we have been seeing homes in the $250K range in Wake County. Since we are originally Floridians, heat and humidity are not a true bother just and inconvenience. Like anywhere we probably could down size and stay in CA but we would be in the boonies and spending days in the car commuting. Besides IMHO, CA is going to hell in a handbasket. Though my views have gotten a little more liberal I am not ready to accept piss pore legislation, ineffective government and getting taxed everywhere I turn on top of forking out the price of a loan on a Ferrari each month. I will truly miss CA's scenery, park system and the friends we made BUT hell I only have 20 more years in the workforce until retirement unless I want to be the knuckle back typing on a laptop in the corner and college funds to saver for....time to bug out. You may want to consider a rent to own property in case you don't like the area. We have already done a scouting trip to Raleigh so we know the areas we want to live in. Good luck with the hunt and maybe I will see you guys at the Concave and Winter Stomp (yes I am f**N with you east coasters on those events' names)
Clay
Quote:
Originally Posted by LRNAD90 View Post
Okay North Carolina Defender owners, need some input on living in North Carolina. We’ve been thinking about possibly making a move to the Jacksonville or Wilmington areas, but are open to other suggestions that in your personal experience met what we are looking for. It seems like the general cost of living (housing, etc.) is somewhat to significantly lower than the Baltimore Maryland area where we currently live. Factors that are currently motivating our search:

  • We’ve had enough of northeast winters
  • We like living near the water and being able to be outside, so a warmer climate, with better quality of living, and lower cost of living (if possible) are motivating factors..
  • We are ready for a change
We chose to initially investigate the Jacksonville or Wilmington areas for their proximity to the coast, but we’re a bit in the dark though when comes to things like demographics and quality of public school systems. Do the residents (in general) live healthy active lifestyles, are they mostly educated professionals? What is the risk from Hurricane or other natural disaster, etc, etc.. Any insight from fellow Defender owners living in the areas or with knowledge of the areas is greatly appreciated!

Things that are important to us:

  • Good Job opportunities
  • Good Health Care
  • Professional, educated neighbors
  • Strong Public School Systems, elementary through high school
  • Safe neighborhoods, schools, environment (good place to raise a family type thing, but still young and energetic with fun to be had)
  • Good Access to nice beaches and lakes for recreation..
P.S. – Yes there is a nearly identical post asking about Texas, as this is another area we are considering..
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