2.10.2016

Relocating to Raleigh Area: What will 250K Buy Me in North Carolina



Relocation to Raleigh, N.C. What will $250K buy in N.C.



I talk about my hometown of Raleigh a lot on this blog.  I love it. Visit Raleigh just interviewed me this week on my favorite thing to do for a date night. You can see that story here and it's also fun to see what others in the area have to say about our town, too.

House Sale Information for Relocation to Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area.
Visit VisitRaleigh's website for more information on the area.

Moving to this area in 2000 was the best decision I made.

Raleigh encompasses a large area in Wake County from the Northern area of Wake Forest to the Southern side of the town of Fuquay-Varina. Morrisville is the closest town to the Research Triangle Park and in between are the towns of Cary, Apex, and Holly Springs. We've got homes Inside the Raleigh Beltline, which are closer to downtown Raleigh, and homes now  sandwiched between the Inner Beltline and Outer I-540-Beltline. Boy, that makes us feel so "big" city.

I love to look at real estate. As a blogger, I get asked a lot about area schools, where to eat, where to shop, where to stay, and other area facts.

According to research, the average home price in Wake County is around $250,000. So, what will a mortgage of $250,000 get you for a house in some of the areas of Wake County?

For this research, I put the following criteria together and I only looked at the homes that met these guidelines.

Budget: $250,000 to $260,000
Square Footage Minimum 1750
3 Bedrooms and 2 baths 
Single-Family Detached


Apex, North Carolina

I have a lot of friends who live in Apex, and I think this town is adorable. The schools are good. It has a cute downtown with upscale shops and restaurants. It also has some urban sprawl with Target, and the brand new Costco. You can hop on the new I-540 Outer Beltline in a flash, and it can take you to other parts of the Triangle quite quickly.

There is a lot to like about Apex. Single family homes in the price tag we're targeting for this market fly off the market about as quickly as the Lilly Pulitzer stuff did at Target.  If you want to move to Apex then you may want to call my friend, Raleigh Realty Mom, quickly. When I did our search only five homes popped up, and they were all either pending or on contingent. None of the listings in the price range were active.

My Favorite:


Home in Shepherds Vineyard Neighborhood
Asking Price: $255,000
Square Footage: 1865 on .025 acre
4 Bedroom/2 Baths 1 Half Bath
Year Built: 1987

With this home, you could be at the new Apex Costco in four minutes, and in downtown Raleigh in 24 minutes. It is 25 minutes to the RTP via I-540. This home was on the market for zero days according to sources. That's fast.

Cary, North Carolina 

Cary is larger than the town of Apex and borders Apex, Raleigh, and Morrisville. It encompasses a large area. Cary has an older section, and a newer developed section of town as you move toward Morrisville. The historic downtown area opened its first luxury boutique hotel, The Mayton Inn, this month. Cary has a lot to offer as a suburb of Raleigh. It has two beautiful country clubs, a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and many ethnic markets. Cary is a good place to raise a family.

My favorite: We found nine homes that met our search criteria and all, but one of the listings were active. Out of the nine. I liked this one the best. It sold in ten days and was at the top of our price range.


Home in Cary Park Neighborhood
Asking Price: $259,900
Square Footage: 1892 on .09 of an acre
3 bedrooms, 2 baths 1 half bath
Year Built: 2002

It is 17 minutes to the new Costco in Apex and 38 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 19 minutes to RTP.


East Raleigh (Includes Raleigh, towns of Knightdale, and Wendell)

I know very little about this area. It's closer to the cute town of Wake Forest. Wendell and Knightdale have easy access to downtown Raleigh. The schools do not flourish as well as Apex, Cary and other parts of Raleigh, but Wake County has good schools. Magnet schools are going into this area. And the towns are now on the cusp of booming like Western Wake towns did years ago. I think this area is on the rise with new home developments, and even a brewery. You definitely get more house for the money here. We had 22 listings on our search.


Home in Princeton Manor in Knightdale, N.C.
Asking price: $260,000
Square Footage: 2462 on .029 acre
4 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1 half bath
Home built: 2005

In this home, you can be to downtown Raleigh in 18 minutes, and to RTP in 34 minutes via I-540. And believe it or not, you could get to the new Apex Costco in 26 minutes.

Raleigh, Inside the Beltline

Inside the beltline is the area inside the area's original beltline I-440. Downtown Raleigh, the State Farmer's Market, NC State University, Cameron Village, an upscale shopping center, and historic neighborhoods are in this area. It's a very walkable area depending on where you live, but this budget does not get you much. There were four listings for our search. I had to bend our criteria a little bit and take off the square footage minimum to even get a favorite to show. There was only one house for $260K over our minimum square footage requirement. It was in an area that still needs some revitalization.

My Favorite:



Home in Woodcrest neighborhood
Asking price: $250,000
Square Footage: 1257 on .37 acre
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
Move-in-Ready: Remodeled and up to date
Home Built: 1957
This home is 9 minutes from downtown Raleigh, 23 minutes to RTP, and 22 minutes to Costco in Apex.

North Raleigh

North Raleigh is still Raleigh, and it is a very large area.It is basically land north of Crabtree Mall and the area that borders the town of Wake Forest.  Only 9 homes popped up, and only one is still an active listing.

My favorite:
Home in Quail Hollow neighborhood
Asking Price: $254,900
Square Footage: 1905
3 bedrooms and 2 baths
Interior could use an update
Built in 1971

Honestly, nothing wowed me in the price range for North Raleigh which tells me your budget may need to be higher. I chose this home because of its location to North Hills shopping center and the schools around it. This home was on the market awhile, but at a higher price. It's probably not very North in its Raleigh location, but it is north of downtown Raleigh.

This home is 14 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 23 minutes to the RTP without TRAFFIC. I think it would be longer in traffic.  It's also 23 minutes to the new Costco in Apex, but they have their own Raleigh Costco on their side of town so I doubt they will be going across town much to shop.

South Raleigh

This area is South and Southeast of downtown Raleigh and includes the town of Garner, N.C and areas in the county of Wake County before getting into the city limits of both Holly Springs and  Fuquay-Varina.

There were 12 homes in this price point. All seemed a lot alike. I'm going to feature this one to give you an idea.  This is in a golf, swim and tennis community.


Home in Eagle Ridge
Asking price: $254,900
Square Footage: 2325 on .025 acre
4 bedrooms and 3 baths
Year Built: 2001

This home is 18 minutes to downtown Raleigh and 30 minutes to RTP in good traffic.  Yeah, Yeah, it's 18 minutes to the new Apex Costco. It's back country roads, baby!

WAKE COUNTY

Wake County is large and there were 101 homes for sale in  Wake County in this price point when we searched. The one with the most curb appeal goes to this home for sale in Wake Forest.  It's a pending sale now and was on the market for 12 days. Asking price: $259,900


If you enjoyed this series, we'll slowly start increasing our budget. My thanks to Costco for the wonderful products they have sent me in preparation for their store opening. Costco offers members savings on both travel and on services, such as insurance and identity protection. You can find more information on CostcoTravel.com and on http://www.costco.com/services. Here is a link to the digital version of the My Costco Services magazine, which contains additional information and a link to a video that highlights Costco Services http://goo.gl/8Omy2K

If coming to check out homes in Wake County, book your hotel directly  via Marriott for the best direct savings, Mayton Inn,  and at Hotels.com.  Also, be sure to visit the Visit Raleigh website and get a free visitor's guide. 


2.06.2016

North Carolina is Super Bowl Ready: And We're Betting that NC Beer will be Served in Colorado

North Carolina is filled with excitement. The Carolina Panthers will make their second Super Bowl appearance on Sunday in the NFL's Super Bowl 50 championship game. From doughnuts to gourmet bread, businesses are showing their support. 

This #OutaboutNC photo from CarolinaMama of Panther doughnuts at North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme is just another example of our excitement. 




LaFarm Bakery has a special bread to mark the occasion. 





And now we're betting on beer. When it comes to serving up inventive suds, Charlotte and Denver  are both known for their strong craft beer presence. 


Charlotte’s (Beer) Record: The Panthers’ record 15-1 regular season (17-1 overall) adds to a list of recent Charlotte accolades that is peppered with awards for homegrown hops and brewery tours. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte has been named Best Brewery Tour in the United States by USA Today/10Best Readers’ Choice. 

I attended a wedding reception at the brewery this year, and loved it. It's got that old world feel with a huge Biergarten. 




In 2015, the brewery’s Mecktoberfest took home the gold at the European Beer Star International Competition for German-style Märzen, a category that that had not seen a non-German winner since 2011. 



NoDa Brewing Company’s signature IPA, Hop, Drop ‘n Roll, has amassed its share of fame after sweeping the gold in the American-style IPA category at the 2014 World Beer Cup, held in Denver. Charlotte made its mark again in Denver at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, when Sycamore Brewing’s Southern Girl Lager claimed the bronze as did Triple C Brewing Co.’s 3C IPA. Adding to 2015’s victories, Sugar Creek Brewing’s Belgian Dubbel earned the silver medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championship. 

Top Taps: What’s on tap for Super Bowl Sunday? The folks at Untappd.com determined the top five beers within a 15-mile radius of each city. 



When it comes to wetting their whistles, Charlotte fans opt for: NoDa Brewing Company’s Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA or Jam Session; The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper Amber Ale or Dunkel; and Birdsong Brewing Company’s Higher Ground IPA. In Denver, fans prefer: Great Divide Brewing Company’s Titan IPA or Hibernation Ale; Odell Brewing Company’s 90 Shilling; Denver Beer Co.’s Graham Cracker Porter; and New Belgium Brewing Company’s Citradelic IPA.

The North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild and the Colorado Brewers Guild announced this week a friendly wager between the two states. The losing state has to host and promote a tap takeover of five of the winning state’s best beers.


photo from the Instagram account of @OldeMeckBrew

Each state’s best beers will be determined through a nomination and voting process to take place prior to the big game. Both guilds will invite the public to choose their favorite brewery in both Colorado and North Carolina. The ballot can be found at bit.ly/NCvCObeer

Voting will close at 6:30 pm Eastern Standard Time when Super Bowl 50 kicks off. The top five vote-getters from the winning state will be featured in a tap-takeover in the losing state. Exact beers will be brewer's choice.

“We have lots of faith in our Broncos and looking forward to shipping some Colorado beer to our friends in North Carolina to celebrate a Denver victory,” said John Carlson, Executive Director of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “But if the Panthers happen to win, we will be honored to showcase some of North Carolina’s finest beers here in the Mile High City.”

“We can almost taste victory, and the people of Colorado are in for a real treat when we send over some of North Carolina’s best brews to celebrate the Panthers’ first Super Bowl win,” said Margo Knight Metzger, Executive Director of the NC Craft Brewers Guild. “On the off chance that the Broncos prevail, we will welcome our Colorado to Charlotte and toast their success in both football and brewing.”

This story was made possible by our OutaboutNC community, CharlottesGotAlot, and the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild. 

Small Victories Link Up 

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At  Small Victories Sunday Linkup, we like to reflect on the small victories of the week that passed and look forward to the week ahead. We invite bloggers to our community to share their best posts to inspire our readers to read, eat, create, live and blog well. The linkup is open all week long so bloggers can celebrate the best of their blogs anytime! 

!Ways You Can Follow Your Hosts:
Your Small Victories Sunday Linkup Hosts: Echo from The Mad Mommy, Gail from Frugal & Coupon Crazy, Tanya from Mom's Small Victories, Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly, Crystal from Tidbits of Experience, Leigh from Hines-Sight Blog, Heather from Simply Save, Meagan from Sunshine & Sippy Cups, Karren from Oh My Heartsie Girl, Danita from O Taste and See, Michelle from Divas with a Purpose, Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama
Echo from The Mad Mommy (family/parenting, humor)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Gail from Frugal & Coupon Crazy (saving money) | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Tanya from Mom's Small Victories (books, food, chronic illness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly (lifestyle, travel, entertainment) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Crystal from Tidbits of Experience (family, entertainment, books) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Leigh from Hines-Sight Blog (lifestyle, food, travel) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Heather from Simply Save (saving money, minimalism, life) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Meagan from Sunshine and Sippy Cups (lifestyle) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Karren from Oh My Heartsie Girl (food, crafts/DIY, blogging tips)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Danita from O Taste and See Blog (food) |Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Michelle from Divas with a Purpose (inspiration, lifestyle and entrepreneurship) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama (family, recipes, fitness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Featured Bloggers 

Congratulations to this week's Featured Bloggers as chosen by our readers. Here are the top 6 most read posts from last week:
How I Saved Money This Week from Frugal & Coupon Crazy
Be Fearless from Grammie Time
Are You a Free Spirit or a Nerd? from Setting My Intention
Simple Ways to Relax and Recharge from Something 2 Offer
* Follow your hosts.
* Grab the Small Victories Sunday button and place it in your sidebar or the post you are linking up. * Share up to 3 of your favorite blog posts you want to share. Enter your link below and let’s celebrate our small victories together! Please refrain from linking up posts with mature themes like erotica, new adult or offensive language. * Please comment on 2 posts for every link you enter. This linkup only works if we support one another, your visits are crucial to encourage fellow participants as you want to be encouraged too. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to share your post and post images on their social media pages and our Featured Blogger collage. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to email you notifications when the linkup is open. Your email addresses are not shared and you can unsubscribe to emails at any time. * Stop by our Small Victories Sunday Linkup Board on Pinterest and like and repin the posts to your boards. * Spread the word! The more you share about the linky, the more visitors you will get to your content too. Please use the #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup hashtag so we can find your posts and share them too!

We have over 5,000 pins on our Small Victories Sunday Linkup Board. Be sure to follow our board and repin your favorite posts to your Pinterest account!

2.04.2016

Travel:10 Things You Should Know about Mardi Gras

New Orleans has always seemed like a hot, sexy city with a lot of mystery and intrigue. I've never personally been to Louisiana. When I think of New Orleans, I think of "A StreetCar Named Desire", "Interview with a Vampire", music, ghosts, spicy food, ghosts, and the celebration of Mardi Gras.

I don't know if I will ever be in town for Mardi Gras. I tend to like to go to places during a more quiet time, but New Orleans is a place I would like to see and experience for myself. 


Travel: 10 Things You Should Know about Mardi Gras
Photo from Courtyard New Orleans Downtown Near French Quarter 


HinesSightBlog affiliate partner, Marriott.com has a great special right now for trips to the Big Easy now through March 31, 2016. This special includes two complimentary cocktails per night with the DRINK. SLEEP. PLAY. relax. REPEAT package.  


Photo of  Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel 

As you know, Marriott has a budget for everyone. Some hotels are totally booked, but others have lots of availability. Expect to pay $144 to $419 depending on the hotel you choose and availability. The JW Marriott is at the top tier for pricing and the best rates of all for New Orleans is that last week of March. Enjoy planning your trip. 

What would be my pick? Well, you know I love a Ritz-Carlton


Photo from Ritz-Carlton New Orleans


I always check to see if I could afford that hotel first. This New Orleans property is not part of the special I mentioned, but you could find some great packages including $50 hotel credit per stay beginning at $279 per night. You know I love to find you a lux deal. 


Photo by Marriott.com 

Louisiana-based, Community Coffee Company, worked with me to provide you some insights on Mardi Gras. In fact, I sipped on their limited-edition, Mardi-Gras King Cake blend, while writing this post. It was a great afternoon indulgence. No sugar for me. Just my favorite almond milk creamer that I'm still driving all over town to keep in stock. 

The origins of Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice to evolve into the ornately costumed festivities we see today. There’s a lot of tradition and heritage that have helped to produce the Mardi Gras scene as it’s currently celebrated. 

According to Community Coffee staff, here are some good things to know to enjoy Mardi Gras like a native. 

Number 10 How to spell “krewe” and “flambeaux” and “Mardi Gras” and, well, you get the point. 

Number 9 Technically, Carnivale is a season, and Mardi Gras is a day. But we tend to generalize and refer to the weeks of parades leading up to Fat Tuesday as Mardi Gras. 

Number 8 The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold. Remember to coordinate your outfit appropriately. 

Number 7 The Captain of the Krewe is more important than the King. But the King gets all the glory while the Captain does all the work. 

Number 6 If you miss a doubloon thrown from a float, never reach down to pick it up. Always put your foot on it. If you go with your hand, you're either too late or you'll get your fingers stepped on. 

Number 5 If you bite into a plastic baby in a King Cake, that's a good thing. 

Number 4 Any beads shorter than two feet long are unacceptable unless they are made of glass -- the bigger and longer the beads, the better. 

Number 3 Once any beads have touched the ground, they are sullied and should not be picked up unless under the rarest of circumstances. 

Number 2 The vast majority of people in the French Quarter during Carnivale are from out of town. 




The Number 1 thing you must know about Mardi Gras season is that Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee can help you celebrate anywhere.  For a limited time you can have your cake … and drink it, too. 




If you are in the Raleigh-area, LaFarm Bakery sells freshly-baked King Cakes as well as Lucettegrace in downtown Raleigh. Pastry chef,  Daniel Benjamin, was getting his colors today on social media. 




And for even more hotel stays visit Hotels.com, our new partner for great hotels. 



FTC Disclosure: Community Coffee supplied the research behind this post and pitched it to me along with some complimentary coffee that I've enjoyed drinking for the past two weeks. This post contains affiliate links and I personally found the great travel deals. Enjoy your trip. 

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