Deciding where to live in Raleigh


When deciding where to live, we know it can be tough to sort through all the decisions swirling around! What will make my family happiest? Which neighborhood will be the best fit? When is the best time to buy (or sell)?  How much will my mortgage payments be—and what other costs should I anticipate?

We want you to feel confident and informed as you move forward, so we’ve compiled some of the top questions for you to think about as you make your decision. Many of these questions are ones for you and your family to answer together, but others might need some input from those who know the area. Especially if you’re planning to buy a home, it can help to ask your real estate agent for input and suggestions.

Lifestyle and Property Investment Factors

When you’re deciding on a location, your first set of decisions will be “macro”:

  • Do you want a setting that’s more urban, suburban or country?
  • Are you someone who likes to spend a lot of time in the mountains, at the beach, or strolling around streets of adorable shops and cafes?
  • What sort of weather makes me happiest—and how many sunny or rainy, hot or cold days do the areas I’m considering get? Is it an area prone to major storms (and if so, am I prepared for the potential financial and emotional costs of a possible disaster)?

Once you’ve got a general locale in mind, consider some of the major factors that influence resale value, as well as your budget:

  • How are the schools? Which are the top-rated in the overall area? Are there private school options to consider?
  • What are the taxes like, and how are they calculated?
  • What are the average water and electric rates? What would a typical bill be like for a home the size I’m considering?
  • What driving routes would I be taking — and what’s traffic like at times of day I’d be traveling?
  • What’s the crime rate, and what types of crimes occur?

Zero in on what matters when deciding where to live

Once you have a sense of the general area that meets your needs, now the fun can really begin! It’s time to envision what you want your immediate home environment to be like. As you tour various areas and neighborhoods, alone or with your realtor, flag those that do or don’t fit your family’s priorities.

  • Am I okay with an HOA? What types of HOA rules are absolute NO’s for me?
  • Is it important to be on a cul de sac? A lightly-traveled road? Can we avoid having to be in a home on a double-yellow line road? (These typically have a lower resale value.)
  • What’s parking like and what are the rules when I have guests or if we have more than 1-2 cars in the household?
  • Is high speed internet available, and if so, who are the primary providers and how are their reviews?
  • Will biking, walking, jogging, skateboarding, etc,. be easy and safe for everyone?
  • How far do you want to be from important destinations and resources? Coming up tops on most of our home buyers’ lists are:
    • Fire house
    • Hospital
    • Police station
    • Gas station
    • Grocery store
    • Family
    • Friends
    • School
    • Work or work center
    • Airport
    • Public transportation
    • Restaurants
    • Gyms or fitness centers
    • Entertainment
  • What is the culture in the neighborhood — is it one where people are out and about, or is that not part of the way of life there? Is there a pool and/or any other community amenities?
  • What activities, civic groups and/or clubs are nearby?

It’s never a bad time to start thinking about what would make your day-to-day experience fit better with your dream lifestyle. Sometimes the nice home we first buy when we settle down in a new area is just a springboard to the perfect home that we’re better able to identify once we know an area better.

We hope these helpful tips will be a useful guide for your eventual move—and encourage you to give us a call if we can help you in the all-important process of deciding where to live in the Triangle area of, North Carolina!

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