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Old 10-12-2011, 09:59 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,228 times
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My wife and young son (<1yr old) want to stay in the Chicagoland area. We are here to be close to our family, and our old friends. Our family is spread from Detroit, to Toledo, to Ft. Wayne. Our friends are mostly in Kansas, Texas & Colorado (and Illinois). We currently live in Chicago's north side Andersonville neighborhood and we like the area's walkability and diversity. We also like the relative calmness and perceived safety of Andersonville compared to Uptown or other similarly walkable, diverse north side areas.

In the next 6 months, we want to choose a suburban or rural area to raise our family. We hope to find a walkable, relatively diverse Chicago suburb.

We want a smaller house (1,500 - 2,000 sq ft, 3-4br, 2ba, is fine for us) on a larger lot (8,000 - 10,000 sq ft if possible). The ability to walk to Whole Foods or other (not Jewel) grocery store, the library, the dry cleaner, cafe, park etc is a big plus. I work downtown, my wife stays home. Metra trumps car for me. 1 hour, or just over, on the train is acceptable. We plan to have more kids and schools are important to us. Our budget tops out at $350k. We're ready to buy and we want to stay near Chicago-- we don't want to move to Grand Rapids to get the type of lifestyle we want.

Downtown Geneva and Wheaton seem like decent options, but there are so many suburbs and I know this awesome forum will have more details for us! All the help you can provide is much appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:04 PM
 
28,384 posts, read 68,028,377 times
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If you are OK with a compact older home on a lot that is around 50x150 you could probably find a perfectly acceptable home in a REALLY desirable suburb. The places that used to be attractive as "tear downs" for builders in towns from LaGrange through Downers Grove on the smaller lots are not nearly as attractive as the bigger lots that can support a much larger home.

In any of those towns youy could walk / bicycle to an independent / organic friendly grocer, the BNSF Metra with the speediest service to Union Station, great libraries, places to pick up /drop off dry cleaning, grab a bite to eat, etc...

Now if the towns further out hold more appeal to you, the longer commute, more overall car centric bulk of the developments, and higher relative taxes should factor into your decision. Honestly, living in an area where many homes are worth double / triple or more than yours is a way to live quite economically...
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:55 PM
 
3,786 posts, read 5,540,925 times
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Wheaton is good. The old part of wheaton is walkable to the downtown. You cant really walk to whole foods. there will be a marianos built on roosevelt that will be walking accesible from the downtown area.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:57 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,228 times
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Default Evanston?

awesome. thank you both for these replies.
Evanston stands out as a possibility to me-- is Evanston a reasonable option?
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:29 PM
 
15,307 posts, read 16,867,859 times
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Evanston is great for walkability, but you will not find larger lots there. Most homes are quite close together. It is a very built up town. Evanston is also very convenient to the city as the *el* runs from the north end of Evanston to Howard (and further during rush hour - the Evanston Express) and the city has 3 metra stops as well (Central Street, Davis Street and Main Street).

Since you currently live in Andersonville, it would be easy for you to go to Evanston and research it yourself.

I could walk to Whole Foods there, btw. It's right near the main library. Of course, walking it would depend on how far you walk and how close you live to it. I am a walker, so I could walk anywhere in Evanston from my house. Walking along the Lake is quite pleasant there.

The other constraint would be budget.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,067,053 times
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Arlington Heights within a mile of downtown fits your list. near Mariano's grocery (upscale grocery by Roundy's)library, park/pool, movie theater, live theater, restauarants, Metra train, sidewalks for walking and it is older tree lined area. Very good schools as well.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Barrington
41,984 posts, read 31,779,380 times
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I'm not feeling a particular diversity vibe ( remotely comparable to Andersonville) in any of the places mentioned, other than perhaps Evanston.

Diversity means different things to different people, ethnic, age, race, religion, orientation, politics, education and so on.

I also suggest that you factor in the time it will take to travel from your home to the Metra, park and have a few minutes to spare before your train arrives and then which station is closest to your employment.

A train ride of an hour can easily turn into a 1.5+ hour, door to door commute each way, each day. Also factor in the cost of the train ticket and parking, too. That can be in the $200/month range for some of the further out areas. Evanston is likely the best commute.

Generally speaking, the homes closest to Metra stations ( which tend to offer more walking destination opportunities) trend smaller lots, especially at your price point.

Assign priorities to your criteria.

Last edited by middle-aged mom; 10-13-2011 at 06:49 PM..
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:03 PM
 
320 posts, read 603,869 times
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Oak park? Skokie? Homewood? (not very walkabke but has a great downtown. Excellent schools )
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Cook County
5,288 posts, read 6,200,995 times
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Arlington Heights works, and depending on your budget, Long Grove works (but its very pricey). You could get an older home there though, and they recently built a Sunset Foods right near one side of town, which would be walkable from the east part of the town (I like almost as much as whole foods). You could potentially get a decent size lot as well, but again, it will be pricey.

Edit- just read your OP more carefully, no walkable library in LG as far as I know, but AH still works. In fact, based on your description with using the Metra, AH sounds like a home run, though I'm not sure about lot sizes getting that big in the downtown area.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,067,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middle-aged mom View Post
I'm not feeling a particular diversity vibe ( remotely comparable to Andersonville) in any of the places mentioned, other than perhaps Evanston.

Diversity means different things to different people, ethnic, age, race, religion, orientation, politics, education and so on.

I also suggest that you factor in the time it will take to travel from your home to the Metra, park and have a few minutes to spare before your train arrives and then which station is closest to your employment.

A train ride of an hour can easily turn into a 1.5+ hour, door to door commute each way, each day. Also factor in the cost of the train ticket and parking, too. That can be in the $200/month range for some of the further out areas. Evanston is likely the best commute.

Generally speaking, the homes closest to Metra stations ( which tend to offer more walking destination opportunities) trend smaller lots, especially at your price point.

Assign priorities to your criteria.
^^Very true! I brought in AH because of getting more house for the $ on a potentially larger lot. The other factors do put Evanston top of the list. And at the end of the day, ANY poster needs to visit in person and spend some time in each area to see if they get a "good feel" for the area.
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