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apex vs. wake forest

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
apex vs. wake forest

We have 4 children and are considering a move form Long Island NY to the Apex/Cary area. We've researched the schools to the point where I feel we understand the system there. Our next concern is what can we afford? Looking in Apex for 300-350k seems like we would have to stretch our buget, especially if we want about 1/3 acre. Looking at Wake Forest it seems we could get a lot more for our money but the schools don't seem as good. Is this accurate? Another question I have concerns the rules that the subdivisions have. Would putting a boat in ones own drive-way be allowed or frowned upon? Actually any info that anyone would like to include would be helpful. Traffic, taxes, likes and dislikes, what kinds of critters roam around and what are the bugs like?. Someone who did not want us to make the move told me that the kids are not very accepting of new-comers at the HS level. Is that known to be true? I have heard so many wonderful things I can't wait for our upcoming visit!

Sea Isle, NJ
7 posts
1. Re: apex vs. wake forest

We have also researched the entire Triangle area. We are from South Jersey and are moving down to NC next month! We have two small children (1 & 3) and large, private lots and family environment with good schools are important to us. Subdivision rules are unique to each subdivision, some are lax, some are strict...so I would check out the rules and regs. of each before you decide on one. Last week, we were in the same boat asx you and went down and searched between Apex/Cary, Wake Forest, and Clayton. This is what I can tell you....

Apex/Cary:

Very nice, very expensive (comparatively). Reminds me a lot of Naples, FL with the roads all looking the same w/ landscaped medians, etc.. pretty. Schools are excellent. Tax rate is about 1. (very low compared to the NE). Very yuppy, mostly what is moving into that area is $$. Lots are smaller. We decided against it, b/c you really don't get as much for your money, and with all the $600K + homes being built there, I didn't want my kids to feel as if they were on the "low end". Kids can be cruel.

EX: We looked at one home ($300K) and the owner was home. We were asking about schools etc., she told us that (about the new homes up the street) "THOSE kids don't take the bus..." with a condescending tone. That turned us off to the area. Very nice if you're looking for yuppy and congestion.

Wake Forest:

Certain areas are nice. Look into Wakefield (technically in Raleigh) and Heritage Wake Forest developments. Very nice, a little pricier than others in that area.

Wake Forest in general...the downtown and the surrounding areas... Has potential to be nice someday, right now a mess in our opinion. Needs some revitalization. The houses weren't bad, the newer neighborhoods ok, but you turn out of the neighborhoods and YUCK. In a nutshell...the infrastructure cannot support its rapid development. It's as if there really isn't a "master plan." The roads aren't wide enough, traffic is a nightmare (especially on Capital Blvd...anytime, not just rush hour.) Aesthetically, it could be nice someday, but it's not yet.

Tax rate is a little over 1, higher than other areas in the Triangle. Schools aren't as good as other areas, but on the rise and still not bad. We weren't really impressed. Researching it, we thought we found the "diamond in the rough". In actuality, it looked better on the internet than in person.

Clayton...

The true "diamond in the rough," if you are looking for bang for your buck, larger lots, etc.. I'd recommend looking into developments off of 42E and Neuse River Parkway...very nice area! We are buying a home in Plantation Pointe in Flowers Plantation off of Neuse River Pkwy...beautiful! Everything we are looking for: (www.plantationpointehomes.com) Others in Flowers Plantation are nice as well.

You can get A LOT for your price range there, and you don't have to spend that much: County tax only = .78! We got a 2465 sq. ft new construction home, LARGE rooms, on .59 acres, backs up to woods and a creek, NOT on a cliff (which you'll find a lot of when they say "private" backyard), in a great neighborhood w/ pool, tennis, playground, beautiful wooded walking trails, and a lake for $223,500. Homeowner's dues are only $44 /mo. You can't find that in Cary or Apex! Shopping/schools, etc. are all new and/or being built within a mile of the development. (Reminds me of what Cary must have been like when it was being developed.)

The schools are excellent! Especially East Clayton, Riverwood, etc.. districts. It's really booming, with larger lots, bigger homes, and the infrastructure is keeping up / ahead of growth. It's an easy commute to Raleigh and surrounding areas, (20 mins, traffic not too bad). You could get places faster from Clayton than you could from Wake Forest via Capital Boulevard...and on the map Wake Forest looks closer! Go figure!

Funny thing...all of our neighbors are from the N/E...next door and across the street: Jersey, other side CT & MA...all moving for same reasons. They said that they looked for a year, looked at Apex/Cary b/c that's "where you're supposed to look," found out about Clayton, and fell in love with this area.

We liked certain areas of Clayton. The taxes are around 1...if you go outside city limits, its county only at .78. The downtown is ok...definite "this side of the tracks / that side of the tracks." There really isn't a need to go to the downtown area though. Everything you would need is accessible to the 42E area.

Check out newcomer.com. Click on Educating our Children, and at the bottom it gives you links to school systems. Clayton is Johnston County. Avoid areas that says "Cooper Elem.", W. Clayton Elem. is ok, but E. Clayton and Riverwood are better...these are the up and coming areas. There are plans for new middle and high schools in this area. I can't imagine that there would be a problem with outsiders b/c everyone I met was an outsider. There are always exceptions though.

We found coldwellbanker.com to be a help with demographics. If you find a house you like, click on neighborhood, click on community, and it gives you demographic (education, etc. ) info of the area.

Good luck in your search. Hope this helps! Let me know what you decide.

PS>> If you are looking for a good realtor, look into Randy White from Re/Max Southland Realty. He deals with Plantation Pointe and others in Clayton. We (unfortunately) did not use him, but we heard RAVE reviews from our neighbors and others. Wish we did!

ny but not for long
Level Contributor
36 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: apex vs. wake forest

I've never been to Clayton, can't really comment on it, I've heard other people say good things about it. But I do disagree with the previous poster's comments on Apex. Cary and Apex always get lumped together but they each have their own distinctive personality. As far as Cary or Apex being snobby or yuppy I didn't find that to be the case in my encounters and interactions with people in those areas. I think there are certain parts of Cary (like MacGregor West) that have grandiose homes with huge price tags so I imagine that it is the people who live there that may be the ones who are giving Cary the rep for being snooty. Also, being from NY I like being in the middle of it all, and Apex does have the advantage of being located in the middle of it all. Wake Forest and Clayton, not so much. And I do agree with the previous poster's comment on the traffic in and out of Wake Forest and that part of North Raleigh, not worth it.

I've found Apex to be very charming and family friendly. As you can probably tell it is where I've decided to move to. As far as what you get for the money, truly I think your money goes equally far in all these areas. You can find 2800 sf homes for under 300k in Apex just like you can find 4b 2ba homes for over 350k in Clayton. Also, to the orginial poster, a home listed on the internet as having 1/3 of an acre can be very deceiving. I saw homes with 1/3 acre lot where there was very little usable backyard, either the house was set too far back or there was too much of a slope and then I saw 1/5 acre lots that had nice big flat backyards. It really is a matter of finding the right house with the right lot in the right location at the right price for you.

Best wishes!

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
3. Re: apex vs. wake forest

Thanks so much for your time! It really does help. We are going in two weeks so that should help with our decision. Seems like Wake Forest is out though.

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
4. Re: apex vs. wake forest

Clayton sounds like it's worth looking into. I'm curious though, are there any subdivisions that anyone can recommend in Apex that feed into Apex HS? I feel very lucky, my brothers and their families and our inlaws are considering the move also. We all hope to find what we'ld like in the same area. It does sound lovely there.

ny but not for long
Level Contributor
36 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: apex vs. wake forest

try this search engine:

http://www.hpw.com/SearchPages/

You can search by school here and enter your other paramaters as well. If you see a subdivision you're interested in let me know and I'll tell you if I know anything about it.

Happy househunting!

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
6. Re: apex vs. wake forest

Thankyou again . I will defidently check out the link you recommended and I will pick your brain about any subdivisions we may like. I hope it's not to much if I ask for you opinion (or anyones) about Holly Springs? It didn't look like the schools were as good. Could I be wrong? I also heard that there were some nice sections and others quite run down. I understand they will have a new HS next year, is that scheduled to open on time? One reason for leaving Smithtown would be because of not wanting to be to close to Manhatten, Holly Springs is closer to the power plant and that does not thrill me at all. Any comments?

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
7. Re: apex vs. wake forest

To jerzgirl2nc my sister-in -law is checking out all the information you sent. She's great! Thank you for all of that!

Sea Isle, NJ
7 posts
8. Re: apex vs. wake forest

You're welcome. Good luck to everyone! It's just a matter of finding what YOU are comfortable with. I'm not disagreeing that Apex and Cary aren't nice, it just wasn't for us. We don't really like being "in the middle of it all." For us, a more laid back lifestyle suited us better. Everyone is different. I hope you find what you are looking for! I'd be happy to give you anymore feedback you want.

Good luck to the other poster with your home in Apex. I know people who are very happy there, and I hope you will be too!

Let us know how it works out...

Sea Isle, NJ
7 posts
9. Re: apex vs. wake forest

I can completely relate to what you are going through, quiche. You just want somebody to come out and say "live here, avoid here, etc...," but nobody will. FRUSTRATING!

We went through the same thing. From what I've gathered, through A LOT of research and reading between the lines when people talk....(sorry if I'm too frank)...in a nutshell...

Traditionally, north and nw of raleigh is very desirable, then it went to the west as cary developed...then not too long ago, because of cary starting to overdevelop/overprice (maybe 'over' is too strong of an adjective-sorry), apex became the next hotspot. Now, because apex prices are starting to rise (but not as fast as cary's), people are looking to Holly Springs and Fuquay. (The trend seems to be going counter-clockwise.)

Traditionally, the east and south of raleigh have not been (as) desirable. This has been changing as 540, the outer loop, is in the works bringing development to the wake forest/rolesville toward the knightdale areas. Also the 64 bypass allowed an easier commute from zebulon, wendell, knightdale into the city, increasing it's desirability. This area was described as an "emerging market" by a realtor I met. People are starting to look toward Garner and south because of the availability of more affordable housing. The trade-off is that the schools haven't (traditionally) been as good. I'm sure all that will change though. If you go further south on 40 toward the "Cleveland Rd." school area...which are Johnston County good schools...there is a lot of development. (A little too farm-ish for me though).

One of my brother's friends is from Raleigh and I asked him to sum up the area. He pretty much said that these "emerging markets" to the east and south, are "up and coming" but still "infested with locals." (exact words). That is why these areas haven't been desirable. They've been considered "the boonies" by natives from Raleigh...which leads to the schools not being as good. (REALTORS WON'T TELL YOU THIS!!!) This is changing, but there is still that element.

Holly Springs and Fuquay, although developing rapidly, still have that element. Like you, we did not like the power plant and didn't look at that area at all (it's pretty visible from almost everywhere...I prefer out-of-sight-out-of-mind).

We were looking for 'up and coming', being from the beach we like 'laid back', so Clayton was the right fit for us. Apex is nice as well, a little more action - very family friendly, we just couldn't find a home in our price range that fit what we were looking for.

As the other poster said, www.simmsj.hpw.com/SearchPages is the BEST.

Use that to find your homes....then go to coldwellbanker.com, find those homes on that search, check the demographic info (education, # children, etc..) (click neighorhood then community) to see if it's right for you.

Links to town newspapers and chambers of commerce are on newcomer.com.

Check out the school reports from the state of NC (also linked to newcomer.com)...they tell you how many students are on free/reduced lunches, test scores, etc...

I'd say you can't go wrong with either Apex or Clayton, visit both places and decide which is best for you!

GOOD LUCK!

Long Island NY
Level Contributor
18 posts
1 review
10. Re: apex vs. wake forest

Again I can't thank you enough for your time. Getting input from people other the those who will make money off of me really helps! Can't wait to go!

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