Background: Wife + I, no kids yet. Both of us are 30 and well established with professional work experience. I know anything can happen, but I don't see either of our job possibilities slacking off anytime soon. My area is in engineering and petro chem. No, I'm not a used car salesman.
Hers is retail management (area/district level). We do plan on her taking off for kid(s) eventually. We plan on being in Baton Rouge at least 10 years.
Our "issues": Both of us have been in Louisiana less than 3 years. We don't really have any friends here with our same situation on age/income/kid situation/etc. We don't know the neighborhoods here let alone suburbs and outer cities (Zachary, Prairieville, etc). We are not catholic and have no clue what the different school systems are.
Current stats: Earliest we would buy is end of summer '13. Cash flow is relatively good, even counting our $1000/mo current rent and monthly expenses we take in $2500 /mo. One true debt is recent new car, owe $15k. We plan on being able to put down $40k, but still unsure if we really want to.
What we are looking for: An area that will be great in ~10 years. We are both very handy fixer uppers so we are not afraid of work needed. We both agree that our first home should be just that, that with our first home and we want to not only afford it on one salary, but be able to live, travel, have fun with two salaries. However, I don't want to surpass something in a higher range if its worth the investment over 10 years. We know we can say it now, and will be more difficult later, but we don't want to fall in love with the house where we live in it for 30 years. One last thing, we both work in South Baton Rouge, so I'm note sure about living north of Baton Rouge.
So MB, I'm asking advice on where to start researching different "neighborhoods" of BR and the value histories.