Family looking to move to Cary or Raleigh from Southern Ca. What is Cary like to live for families?

Asked by jengagliardiphoto, Laguna Beach, CA Tue Nov 13, 2012

We are a artsy liberal minded family looking to move to Cary or Raleigh and want good schools, an area that is slightly diverse and open minded. We live in Southern Ca. right now and its just to expensive! We want to be able to buy a home in the next few years and live in a nice area with entertainment, good schools and safe. I know it is nothing like California but we are ready for a slower paced lifestyle. I am a successful photographer and my husband is a graphic and web designer. Would Cary or Raleigh be good for us?

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Margaret Moore’s answer
Margaret Moo…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Wed Jan 16, 2013
It sounds like you're probably still in the search process. In addition to Cary and Raleigh we have Durham, Chapel Hill & Carrboro, each with its own personality. You'll find good schools, welcoming communities, cultural attractions and lovely weather. For an overview of the area please visit, plus you can take a video tour.
Margaret Moore
Triangle & Coast Realty
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Robpollack99, Home Buyer, Raleigh, NC
Tue Dec 6, 2016
You are going to probably hate it. Not that it's bad. It is really, really polite compared with say, the middle part of the country, nevermind California. The typical interaction in California -- if you did that -- would be like throwing a cup of icewater (no, a whole bucket) onto your typical North Carolinian. Yes, it's that different. Or, put another way, most North Carolinians put into California are going to instantly hate the place. Partly because it's not as patriotic, partly because your average conversation is going to sound very aggressive.
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Kerikennedy10, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Tue May 17, 2016
Did you and your husband end up moving to Cary or Raleigh? My husband and I are thinking of moving there from Orange County CA and I read such contradicting information about it that I don't know what to do.
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wwendt, , Raleigh, NC
Thu May 23, 2013
If you are more liberal in your thinking then Chapel Hill is the place to be. That is where the University of North Carolina' top liberal arts university is located and it has a top reputation. As a result, Chapel Hill is very diverse but it was too liberal for my wife and I. It is the most expensive area in the Triangle which include Durham and Raleigh. Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina so it is more of a government town. Anywhere in the Triangle is great for entertainment, shopping malls, and things to do. These three cities are contiguous to one another. But having said what you said, I would recommend that you try Chapel Hill first and work it from there. Havin been to California many times, I know what you are saying. It is dramatic and lovely, but also very expensive unless you move into the desert areas near the mountains. Good luck. No I am not a realtor, although I do have a Broker's license in North Carolina. My wife and I retired here 15 years ago from Connecticut. We moved first to Chapel Hill and then to Pinehurst which is an hour south. wmwendt
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Samantha & N…, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Jan 14, 2013
You have received tons of great answers but I really wanted to add my two cents. Each city in the Triangle (Raleigh, Cary, etc) can be a wonderful back drop to the artsy slower paced lifestyle you're looking for. Raleigh is an extraordinarily busy city. Several major colleges are located in the Raleigh area and being the capital has turned Raleigh into a big and wonderful pot of gumbo. There are various cultures and neighborhoods all stewing in this city so there are many outlets for creative minds. Cary on the other hand brings to mind visions of old towns past. Cary in itself is historical beauty and very family oriented. It's the kind of place where people have planted their feet in at age 25 and haven't left for over 50 years. It's close to the highways and hugs Raleigh but still feels removed and peaceful.

When it comes down to safety all of the numbers are in favor of Cary. Here is a link if you want to take a look at crime comparisons:…

When are you thinking about moving? While I would love to help you further when you get here I can definitely recommend you an agent in CA. My company, Fathom Realty, is also based out of Southern California and we have some awesome agents that can help list your home. Just let me know.
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Allymarkham, Home Buyer, Raleigh, NC
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Cary is similar to Irvine, CA in the 1986. Lots of rules and hard to find things because of sign regulations. But pleasant living conditions. If you have kids I would either pick somewhere else or plan on sending your children to private schools, there are loads of great schools and most affluent people have taken their kids out of the WCPSS. You can't plan where your children will go by buying a house. My youngest who is now in a private Catholic School was sent to 3 different elementary schools then I pulled him out in 5th grade. He is so happy where he is now and we are not catholic. There are alot of great places to live in the US that have great schools. Anything you have heard about NC schools is over rated. I live in the North Hills area of Raleigh, we didn't love Irvines steril feel at the time, but as we are getting older that type of town might be more interesting to us now. The RTP area is opening up a housing area, that might be of interest to you.
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I live in Irvine and am seriously looking at Cary. Has Cary moved into the 90's Irvine at least? Just wondering. I love, love Irvine. Just so expensive.
Flag Tue Jun 28, 2016
Are you from Irvine? Just curious! So Ca has gotten way to expensive to live and we are exploring options. Would you say Raleigh would be better than Cary? Are there lots of thing to do there for young families?
Flag Tue Nov 27, 2012
David Worters, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Thu Nov 15, 2012
Ask a question like that and you're going to get a lot of biased answers! The answer to your last question, would Cary or Raleigh be good, is simply "yes!" I hope that you'll take the time to really get to know both communities before you select a home. Too many home buyers start looking at individual homes before they really understand the differences of what living is like in the two. One of the things that a really helpful broker will do is take the time to introduce you to the two communities, drive you around, provide you with online resources, and help you really get a picture of life here versus life there. There are plenty of over-used stereo-types that you'll start to hear that describe the essential differences between the two, but don't settle for those. This community has become a haven for people relocating from other parts of the world, and you'll quickly discover why survey after survey names the Raleigh / Cary / Research Triangle region the best place to live in America. I hope you'll join us.
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Claudia Bell…, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012…

The Triangle would be a fantastic place for your family. I'd like to extend a Welcome to the Triangle!
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Vivian Olkin, Agent, Carrboro, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
You have some informative answers from other agents. I am from the Palo Alto area of CA, go back 3 times a year to see my parents, and even though I love it there you'd have to pay me beaucoup bucks to move back. Quality of life here is fabulous. Cary and Raleigh are in the Wake County school system that has been going through many controversial changes. I would suggest that you look at to see how various schools are rated in the entire Triangle area.

My husband teaches at Duke and we chose Chapel Hill because of the schools and community. My suggestion is that you choose the schools that you think will best serve your kids, check out the community options to make sure it fits your lifestyle and values, then choose a house there. It will take some driving around to see how places feel to you.

I love that the area has become more diverse--not in comparison to CA but in comparison to the way it was when I moved here in 1994 and all through the 90s. When we moved here from Austin, TX my daughter, then in 7th grade, noticed that kids were not that status oriented as compared to Austin, which is far less so than southern CA. It is something I appreciate about this area.

Wherever you decide to live, with whomever you choose as your Realtor, I hope you enjoy moving and living here.
Web Reference:
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Ernie Behrle, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Like you, my wife and I had the same question when we moved here with our family from the Atlanta area back in 1993. My Realtor was very prejidous towards Cary & Apex and they were very nice... but.. as we explored on our own, found we liked Raleigh just as much and the home prices were less expensive. The entire Triangle area has much to offer and it will come down to preference and financial. When I hear artsy and liberal, my first thought was actually Chapel Hill, The way the Triangle is layed out, from a financial point of view, as you head east from Chapel Hill, you will find you get a bit more for your money as you proceed east. Areas east of where I live including Knightdale, Wendell & Zebulon were considered out in the sticks but that all changed with the addition of I-540 which is our outer beltline. Our schools are on a county wide system and all can boast about something over the other. Are there areas you may not want to consider at all....sure. The biggest consideration you may have is your work. Are you getting jobs or working out of the home? If you require a commute, that could help narrow things down.

May I suggest you visit my website at . I have many links to area websites that may help you do more research about this. If there is anything I can do to help you personally, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best wishes, Ernie
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, ,
Tue Nov 13, 2012
You have lots of helpful information here. I think your budget may dictate your decision. You get a lot more home for your money in Cary. I have lived in both places after relocating from the Northeast and I can say I believe you will be happy with either location.
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Mark Pelshak, Agent, Morrisville, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Cary (and the Triangle as a whole) is a wonderful place to call home. In your day to day doings it is quite normal for one to come across families/people that have transplanted to our area from other states. I think this alone is a testament to the diverseness and desirability of the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill and surrounding areas...including Cary).

There are many sites and scenes to photograph and I would think the area would be a photographer's delight. From nature (lakes, parks, woods, etc) to culture (festivals, parades, functions, etc) we have it all.

You can check out some of these websites below to get a better feel for the Cary area:
1) (town of Cary's official website)
2) (A website for Research Triangle Parks)
3) (Another RTP website)
4) (Raleigh visitor Bureau website)
5)… (things to do around the Triangle)
6) (Triangle Photography Club)

I would love to assit you with any specific questions or information you request. Feel free to contact me at or call at (919) 627.8087 for further questions.

Warm Regards,

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Tim Burrell, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
I moved from Palos Verdes in California to Raleigh in 1996. Both areas would meet your criteria. Both are diverse, and the area is highly educated which usually results in being open minded. Both areas have good schools and it would depend on the neighborhood that you selected for the particular school. The lifestyle is not slower paced, but it is much more courteous and considerate than California (this coming from a fifth generation Californian). Your professions would be sought after i.e. you will not have trouble making a living. There is a wide range of choices in both Cary and Raleigh, so you should consider both and find what part of each town works best for you.

If you want more information on the houses for sale, go to If you want information on relocation, go to www. . Feel free to call me at 919-812-5111 as I can tell you exactly what it is like to move from your area to this area, because I have done it.
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Eric Olson, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Both are great areas. I prefer Cary personally. If you want to move, I would move now. The lower prices are worth taking advantage now. Values will climb fast in the near future and if interest rates go up now would prove to be a better time to buy if you can. Eric S. Olson, Olson Realty Group 919-418-5343
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Linda Morris, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Both areas are great for you! I am from Raleigh originally but currently live in Cary. The Triangle area is very diverse with lots of arts & entertainment to choose from. For example, First Friday is a great art walk that covers the entire downtown Raleigh area the first Friday of every month. You will see lots of art & other venues that offer free beverages & appetizers & even music. Cary is a little more subdued but also a great place to live and was one of the safest places to live in the country.

Please let me know your address and I will send you a welcome package for the area. For a good link to entertainment in the Triangle, try That will help you get an idea what is available by city & date!

Welcome to the Triangle! You are going to love it here and stay forever!
Web Reference:
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Daniel Harmon, , Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Well, due to potential "Fair Housing Violations," I can't answer some of that question. I will say that Cary and Raleigh are very much a melting pot for this country. Many many people from the north, south, and west come to live in what is called "The Triangle" which includes the well known "Research Triangle Park" which many global corporations have their headquarters. The area is also home to one of the most college educated areas in the whole nation. The good part about the area is you can find slow paced areas as well as fast paced business areas.

To give you an idea of that demand for the area, I represent the Jim Allen Group, which is the second highest volume real estate firm in the whole nation. (we've sold over $175 million in homes in just this year and we only operate in the Triangle.) This must be one of the most relocated to area in America.

Anyhow my name is Daniel Harmon. If you do decide to move here, we would love to show you the area.
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Skye Creech, Agent, Apex, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
Cary would be the slower paced lifestyle you are seeking although Raleigh I feel would be the better choice. I have a family of 5 and enjoy Raleigh and what it has to offer much much more. We lived in Cary for 3 years before deciding ultimately to purchase a home in Raleigh. We are 1 mile from downtown and love the schools. 7 years later we feel like there is no where we would be happier raising our family.

Skye Creech
Blue Skye Realty
(919) 622-2469
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Lidah Saylor, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Tue Nov 13, 2012
You can't go wrong with either area. We have a lot of families relocating to the area; and I recently worked with a super family from San Diego! More than willing to forward web links for the area...and neither of you should have any trouble finding employment given your expertise. Do suggest you plan a visit and I would welcome the chance to be your ambassodor!
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