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Review of Raleigh, North Carolina

Why We Said No to Raleigh and Yes to Wilmington NC
Star Rating - 12/31/2018
Better weather, great eats, funky historic neighborhoods walking distance to downtown... an artsy vibe, brew pubs and dog parks. This was what we were hoping to find in the Raleigh Durham area- we were moving from the north.

A sprawling diaspora of new construction awaited us, Truman Show type developments with 5’ between you and your neighbor. This is Minivan Metropolis. Suburbia on Steroids. Helloooo Gridlock.

2 hours east, we discovered Wilmington NC. A port city that was never destroyed during the civil war, the historic neighborhoods are walking distance to a fun and funky downtown... homes less than HALF of what you would pay for Raleigh. 15 minutes to the beach, the downtown is currently undergoing extensive development with house boat communities and luxury condos incoming. Golf courses and new developments abound as well; there’s plenty of variety for everyone.

Will prices stay low in Wilmington indefinitely? I doubt it. Since coming here I posted one review on of the city, received over 80 inquiries and ended up spending so much time answering questions that I opted to get my real estate license.

We looked at over 100 homes in New Orleans, but the violent crime was worrisome to us. Richmond VA didn’t have the charm we were hoping for. Prices in the DC metro area were more than we wanted to spend. The Burlington VT area (where we moved from) had absurdly cold winters and crazy hush property taxes. California wildfires /property prices were too risky for us to be comfortable with.

If you’re thinking of moving anywhere, my best advice is to book an airbnb and stay local. Experience weekend culture, what a neighborhood is really like. Walk a block before you make an offer.

Still longing for the world of lazy front porches where Dawson’s Creek was filmed? Where neighbors bring you cookies and brownies just because? That’s Wilmington. One Tree Hill was also filmed here. Our neighborhood (Carolina Heights) has fans who still come by to photograph homes featured in the series. We are a 20 minute walk to ice cream and fantastic culinary cuisine.

Our house was featured on the historic home tour, is almost 3000 s/f, it wasn’t a fixer upper and we paid under $400k. Bungalows in Carolina Place can still be had for under $200k. Cute cottages in up and coming areas... under $150k.

And as for the dog parks and the people parks, most of the older neighborhoods have an abundance of green spaces. It took us more than 6 months of research to find our Best Place and it was so worth it!
Samira | Grand Isle, VT
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4 Replies

This comment is funny to me, because I lived in Wilmington and absolutely hated it, whereas I love Raleigh. Wilmington has plenty of negatives, too, if you're wearing the right colored glasses. Examples: -Giant cockroaches everywhere. Can't go for a stroll at night wearing open-toed shoes. Seriously, roaches, roaches, roaches everywhere you look. -WAY too many people in way too small a space means traffic is ungodly. A trip to the beach that should take 15 minutes is an hour. -And when you get to the beach, it's always, always packed. Finding parking is expensive or impossible. -Crime, drugs, opiates, alcoholism. People living in the projects. I never saw poverty like I did in Wilmington. People just come here to burn out. Forever. -Very, very rednecky. Except for the people who all seem to come from New Jersey, who are a different sort of annoying. -Not enough jobs for the area. If you lose a job in Wilmington, you'll probably have to move. Lose your job in Raleigh, and there are hundreds of other marketing companies in the area. Now, does all this mean Wilmington's a bad city? Is Raleigh a bad city? Is either a good city? No. They both are good and both bad. And a lot of what makes a city good or bad (in my aged experience) is the people you're with. You can sit in a cozy waterfront historic district bungalow and be utterly miserable...or sit in your crappy little $1,000 Raleigh apartment and be totally happy. I won't say "it's up to you", because it isn't; it's up to your circumstances...good family, good job, good commute. I've lived in Boone, Greensboro, Asheville, Wilmington, and Raleigh and I finally see that now.
Avery | Greensboro, NC | Report Abuse

Yopu use terms such as we and us. I will take a wild guess and say you are 50/60 something empty nesters looking for a small cozy Mayberry pretty port town not too crowded with art galleries window shopping and couples meals on the water. For me as a single guy this is BORING beyond belief. Wilmington is just that and it goes to show the subjectivity of these [posts, I would say if you are single of ANY age you will hate the inaneness and pace of Wilmington, lack of strong nightlife and lack of a party culture. Raleigh is of course more crowded and active and busy but that gives it the allure to a single man or woman looking for some edge and spark and nightlife if you're considering NC there really is no other choice . forget these smaller baby boomer empty nester couples places like Wilmington and Asheville. You'll be there for a week and be bored out of your mind. To the older Boomers with a significant other in tow have at it with the Wilmingtons of the world. Hilton head another good boomer escape. Be careful when you read these reviews who they are written by meaning what demographic they are from in comparison to your own. In summary and generally speaking Single and under 50 Raleigh Durham forget the rest.
Edmund | Spring Valley, NV | Report Abuse

I’m glad you found your best place, but it’s not great that you left negative and condescending reviews of several other cities in your wake.
Noelle | Albuquerque, NM | Report Abuse

I had to leave Wilmington. While I enjoyed the downtown area the traffic was far more horrific for such a small place, you couldn't get anywhere on the peninsula in under 30 minutes. I lived less than 5 miles from my job and it took me 20 minutes in the morning to get there and I was no where near the beach for work which is far worse and backs up the whole town. The people are snotty if local and drunk if not, they are constantly building with no way to relieve the traffic congestion, and other than the over-crowded and dismal beach area of Carolina Beach or Kure (rental units on stilts that are not in the best of shape and on top of each other), there isn't anything there that you can't get anywhere else. The food, as in any city, can be good, bad, or just so-so. You find the places you like to go and stick with it. There really, other than the expensive Wrightsville Beach, isn't much around it to do either. One small art museum, one theater, a small expensive aquarium, and drunken night life of downtown. There are good things, the sound is pretty if you can get to it, the housing costs are lower but the expectation of buyers is high for the cost, and with so much new construction of course the market is stable and low. Don't expect to make money there. The employers know that they are the only game in town and draw to a beach front town makes it easy to get help. The turn over is high and the salaries are low. They are selling off huge golf courses to build condos and apartments on already busy and gridlocked main roads. The city government is killing the atmosphere there. I won't even get into the huge drug problem and human trafficking that don't get mentioned. Check the crime rates per population. And weather? EVERY hurricane that comes floods Kure and Carolina Beaches and leaves the place a mess. Even those areas not in the flood zone are hard hit by high winds and torrential rains. While the weather is nice most of the time, those storms are at minimal annual and often several times a year.
Lisa | Four Oaks, NC | Report Abuse
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