If you could provide more info, ie beds and baths, price range etc I would be happy to make recomendations, i am very familiar with Durham as well as North Durham. Schools , I would recomend visiting schools as the scores do not always tell the story, its nice to meet the teaches and they are happy to give you a tour, what age range are you most concerned about?
Good questions! A real estate agent can only direct you to the schools websites that usually offer as a min. the test scores and free lunches handed out. I would encourage visiting the schools during lunch as the schools are usually welcoming to prospective students and their parents.
I have a lot of ideas but I need to know your buying power so I don't waste you time in presenting neighborhoods that might not be of interest. Picking a neighborhood / town is very comprehensive and leaks to lot's of questions and answers before centering your focus on a home.
Let me know how I might be able to help.
The neighborhoods you've mentioned, Old West Durham, Trinity Park and Watts Hillendale are all good choices.
I live in the Duke Forest neighborhood and love it, but it doens't have sidewalks through most of it, but the streets aren't that busy and you can easily access the Duke Trails from most of it. You might also want to consider the Rockwood or Forrest Hills neighborhoods.
Feel free to contact me through my profile here on Trulai if I can be of any assistance.
From what I understand, the best school districts are Githens middle and Jordan high school. Look for neighborhoods that feed into those schools. At different levels there are magnet schools that are very desirable. If you are in the walk zone for those schools, you are automatically in. Otherwise you participate in the lottery system. Within a particular school district, there will be only 1 magnet at one level so you can't go all the way through in magnet schools.
I've come to love neighborhoods that don't have sidewalks. It is just a feeling because they often feel more open and welcoming. Kids run all over and across yards. My son and his friends did that all the time. Sidewalks are safer and also seem to keep the neighborhood more at a distance.
Durham has some lovely neighborhoods that have no sidewalks. With sidewalks, have you checked out SW Durham? Woodcroft, Hope Valley, etc. What about the area called Tuscaloosa, near Guglhupft, Fosters, Q-Shack, etc? Everything depends on your price range.
From where are you moving? One of the things about NC weather is that people don't walk much during the day in the summer, and are out in the evening.
I also love older homes with character. You ought to be able to find plenty in Durham as it is a fairly old city.
Have fun with your search because you are starting a new process that is so exciting. If you need a lender, I work with someone who is absolutely superb, because, as he says, it isn't about the money, it's about the relationship.
Which level of schools are you referring to? I'd say Jordon and Riverside are the top 2 high schools.
Asking for walking to stores and wanting more land/house for your money are working against each other. You've already mentioned the ones that people commonly do walk to services.
Because you are looking for character...that might mean pre-ranch...so as old at 1950 and before. If you do like a ranch...you are lucky, there are a ton of well built ones in the NW. If you like the older...I'd suggest the outskirts of Forest Hills and either side of business 15/501.
I am here to help!
Anne Aylin, Prudential York Simpson Underwood
Keller Williams Realty Cary http://www.sellingrdu.com