Three prestigious universities in the Raleigh-Durham area

There are many benefits associated with investing in real estate in Raleigh-Durham. Inman News called the area the top real estate market to watch in 2012 and it's easy to see why. In the Triangle, the local economy continues to stabilize and many homes are affordable for buyers.

These are but a few of the reasons why you should consider relocating to the area. Raleigh-Durham is also an excellent location for families with children as there are so many top-notch universities in the area. This gives locals the opportunity to send their kids to these schools at the in-state tuition rate and save money by allowing them to commute to class from home. Simply take a look at the three schools that could be within a short drive from your new Raleigh-Durham home.

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chartered in 1789, UNC Chapel Hill is a school rich in tradition and academic excellence. It prides itself in reputation for an array of academic opportunities and diverse student body. For 11 consecutive years, the university has landed in the top spot on Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine for schools that offer the best value to in-state residents and was also number one on The Princeton Review's 2012 Best Value Colleges.

2. Duke University - An intense rival of the UNC Tar Heels, the Duke Blue Devils also boast outstanding NCAA athletes and prestigious academics. This private university is located in Durham and 6,526 undergraduates were enrolled full-time in Fall 2011. Some of the more popular majors at Duke include Public Policy Studies, Economics and Biomedical Engineering. In addition, Duke ranked as the 19th best university in the world in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings.

3. North Carolina State University - Typically referred to as NC State, this university is located in the heart of Raleigh. It is the largest four-year institution in the state and is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the country by several publications, and has also been featured on Princeton Review's list of best value colleges for students. NC State also has a great athletics program as it is an NCAA Division I university. Student can live close to home or at home while attending this school or any of the other excellent universities in the area.