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Old 11-03-2011, 04:15 PM
 
27 posts, read 41,965 times
Reputation: 13

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Well, after one unsuccesful house hunting appx 2 years ago, we are back in search again.
Back then we looked at Aurora area, but didn't quite like it. No offense to anyone, the area wasn't bad, but it was not what we were looking for.
Now, two years later we set our hearts at Arlington Heights.
Initial idea was to be as close to downtown as possible, but given our budget, that is not going to work.
Our budget is $225k (max) and we are looking for at least 3BD/2BT single family house, preferably with bigger yard.
Since there is nothing in this price range walking distance to train station, we decided to look at the northern part of the village as we like that area better plus it will be easier to commute to Libertyville where I work.

There are few houses in this price range that we are willing to see, but they are all built in 1960's. Most of them are on crawl - is that an advantage over basement given the years of the house or not? Are these houses worth checking?

But, first, what we want to know is:
1. Can we really afford to live there with our current earnings at around $95k combined (before tax and everything)?
2. In general, how are the people in AH area? Down to earth or keep up with Joneses type?
3. How are the schools including daycare and kindergarten as we have 2 1/2 year old with us?

We have been to downtown AH many times and like the atmosphere and people there, but know nothing more than that.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Will County
179 posts, read 413,206 times
Reputation: 72
Nicol_77: I'm sure you've heard it and read it before, but I will offer a suggestion once again. Before you do anything concerned with buying a home .. talk to a mortgage lender to be pre-qualified. This truly will give you the best idea of what (and if) you can afford to buy .. and where and when. The lender will need to run a credit report, so be prepared to provide social security numbers and basic financial info, employment history, etc.
As a mortgage lender myself, I can't urge your taking this step any more strongly. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask them ... or shout here on City-Data again. Best of luck to you in your new home pursuit .. and new life ...
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,079,542 times
Reputation: 2784
There are few houses in this price range that we are willing to see, but they are all built in 1960's. Most of them are on crawl - is that an advantage over basement given the years of the house or not? Are these houses worth checking?

Quote:
But, first, what we want to know is:
1. Can we really afford to live there with our current earnings at around $95k combined (before tax and everything)?
2. In general, how are the people in AH area? Down to earth or keep up with Joneses type?
3. How are the schools including daycare and kindergarten as we have 2 1/2 year old with us?
1) Investigate property taxes, I find them expensive. This really is a question you will have to answer based on your down payment, lifestyle and desired savings goals.
2) Generally the people are pretty nice. Not too much Joneses copying. Of course you have the occasional jerk-but that is anywhere.
3) Schools are good to excellent. Elem 21 is OK-good, Elem 23 is good-excellent and Elem 25 is excellent. Buffalo Grove and Wheeling HS are very good, Hersey and Prospect are excellent. You will need to see which district boundary you are in. You can PM me, I am pretty familiar with the boundaries in central and northern AH.

Not having a crawl space is not a deal breaker in my mind. Just make sure it is dry and stays dry and that critters can't get in. A bonus is if the floor is cement instead of gravel and if the walls have had a vapor/moisture barrier put in. What you get is storage space, what you lose is living space you would have if it were full depth basement.

Have you considered Wheeling? There are some sections that are decent and seem to be less $ than AH. and you would still be close driving distance to downtown AH. $225 in AH doesn't seem like it will go far. Good luck, you have picked a nice area IMO.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:57 PM
 
921 posts, read 884,546 times
Reputation: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfLover2 View Post
Nicol_77: I'm sure you've heard it and read it before, but I will offer a suggestion once again. Before you do anything concerned with buying a home .. talk to a mortgage lender to be pre-qualified. This truly will give you the best idea of what (and if) you can afford to buy .. and where and when. The lender will need to run a credit report, so be prepared to provide social security numbers and basic financial info, employment history, etc.
As a mortgage lender myself, I can't urge your taking this step any more strongly. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask them ... or shout here on City-Data again. Best of luck to you in your new home pursuit .. and new life ...
.

Last edited by Pete MUFC; 11-03-2011 at 09:10 PM..
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:48 PM
 
921 posts, read 884,546 times
Reputation: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by cubssoxfan View Post
There are few houses in this price range that we are willing to see, but they are all built in 1960's. Most of them are on crawl - is that an advantage over basement given the years of the house or not? Are these houses worth checking?


1) Investigate property taxes, I find them expensive. This really is a question you will have to answer based on your down payment, lifestyle and desired savings goals.
2) Generally the people are pretty nice. Not too much Joneses copying. Of course you have the occasional jerk-but that is anywhere.
3) Schools are good to excellent. Elem 21 is OK-good, Elem 23 is good-excellent and Elem 25 is excellent. Buffalo Grove and Wheeling HS are very good, Hersey and Prospect are excellent. You will need to see which district boundary you are in. You can PM me, I am pretty familiar with the boundaries in central and northern AH.

Not having a crawl space is not a deal breaker in my mind. Just make sure it is dry and stays dry and that critters can't get in. A bonus is if the floor is cement instead of gravel and if the walls have had a vapor/moisture barrier put in. What you get is storage space, what you lose is living space you would have if it were full depth basement.

Have you considered Wheeling? There are some sections that are decent and seem to be less $ than AH. and you would still be close driving distance to downtown AH. $225 in AH doesn't seem like it will go far. Good luck, you have picked a nice area IMO.
Good post. +1

Last edited by Pete MUFC; 11-03-2011 at 09:55 PM..
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:16 PM
 
27 posts, read 41,965 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GolfLover2 View Post
Nicol_77: I'm sure you've heard it and read it before, but I will offer a suggestion once again. Before you do anything concerned with buying a home .. talk to a mortgage lender to be pre-qualified. This truly will give you the best idea of what (and if) you can afford to buy .. and where and when. The lender will need to run a credit report, so be prepared to provide social security numbers and basic financial info, employment history, etc.
As a mortgage lender myself, I can't urge your taking this step any more strongly. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask them ... or shout here on City-Data again. Best of luck to you in your new home pursuit .. and new life ...
Thanks GolfLover. We were pre-approved after thorough checking of our credit history, employment, SSN.... The actual pre-approval is higher than $225k, but we want to be comfortbale with monthly payments and to be able to keep our current lifestyle, so that is why we dont want to go higher than this.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:17 PM
 
27 posts, read 41,965 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cubssoxfan View Post
There are few houses in this price range that we are willing to see, but they are all built in 1960's. Most of them are on crawl - is that an advantage over basement given the years of the house or not? Are these houses worth checking?


1) Investigate property taxes, I find them expensive. This really is a question you will have to answer based on your down payment, lifestyle and desired savings goals.
2) Generally the people are pretty nice. Not too much Joneses copying. Of course you have the occasional jerk-but that is anywhere.
3) Schools are good to excellent. Elem 21 is OK-good, Elem 23 is good-excellent and Elem 25 is excellent. Buffalo Grove and Wheeling HS are very good, Hersey and Prospect are excellent. You will need to see which district boundary you are in. You can PM me, I am pretty familiar with the boundaries in central and northern AH.

Not having a crawl space is not a deal breaker in my mind. Just make sure it is dry and stays dry and that critters can't get in. A bonus is if the floor is cement instead of gravel and if the walls have had a vapor/moisture barrier put in. What you get is storage space, what you lose is living space you would have if it were full depth basement.

Have you considered Wheeling? There are some sections that are decent and seem to be less $ than AH. and you would still be close driving distance to downtown AH. $225 in AH doesn't seem like it will go far. Good luck, you have picked a nice area IMO.
Thanks Cubssoxfan. The one that we like the most feeds into SD25 & Hersey, but it only has 1 1/2 bath. Our agent informed us that the crawl space is of gravel, but does have vapor/moisture barrier on top of the gravel. We want to have a basement, but, oh well, there has to be some trade off.
Property taxes are $5,200. Home is built in 1960's, and is ranch style.
There is also one house that feeds into SD23 and Hersey, similar size and built, but the property taxes I think were $4,800, not sure about this, I have to double check with agent.
Both homes have only 1 car garage space and only 1 1/2 bath, but for the price this is what you can get, I believe.
And the sq/ft I think is anywhere between 1250-1300, appx.
We don't like Wheeling much, so we never considered it.
So based on these info, do you think choices are good?
Are taxes high for the area?
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,079,542 times
Reputation: 2784
HArd to tell if they are high for the area without doing comps on the Cook County web site. Both school district choices are quite good. There is a neighborhood in Wheeling that is a subdivision NE of Hintz/Schoenbeck corner. It is SD 23 and Wheeling HS. Homes are newer and bigger so may not fit your budget. But it may be worth looking into.
The question of good choice is personal. I kept thinking townhouse, but with kids and pets a yard is quite nice to have. Can the 1/2 bath be expanded to a full bath in either home? What neighborhoods are the 2 homes in?
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:51 AM
 
27 posts, read 41,965 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cubssoxfan View Post
HArd to tell if they are high for the area without doing comps on the Cook County web site. Both school district choices are quite good. There is a neighborhood in Wheeling that is a subdivision NE of Hintz/Schoenbeck corner. It is SD 23 and Wheeling HS. Homes are newer and bigger so may not fit your budget. But it may be worth looking into.
The question of good choice is personal. I kept thinking townhouse, but with kids and pets a yard is quite nice to have. Can the 1/2 bath be expanded to a full bath in either home? What neighborhoods are the 2 homes in?
Both houses seems to be under contract now. We have to keep looking around, but you were right cubssoxfan...$225k will not go far in AH. And we are not even looking at the bigger homes. Our preference are single family ranch homes and we are Ok with 1200-1300 sq/ft as long as it have 3BD/2BT or even 1.1BT with an option to convert the 1/2 bath to full. I think we will have to look at the $250k+ homes although that is not our ideal option. And you were right about the property taxes too... There are few nice homes available around $250-$255k, both in SD25 and Hersey, but property taxes are $7k plus, which is way too high in my opinion for the size of those properties.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Will County
179 posts, read 413,206 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicol_77 View Post
Thanks GolfLover. We were pre-approved after thorough checking of our credit history, employment, SSN.... The actual pre-approval is higher than $225k, but we want to be comfortbale with monthly payments and to be able to keep our current lifestyle, so that is why we dont want to go higher than this.
Glad to hear that you took this important step .. and that you made a sound decision as to your own comfort level on expenditure. Very level-headed and wise. Best of luck to you ... and don't forget to keep asking those questions!
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