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Old 01-01-2012, 03:12 PM
 
375 posts, read 848,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmasevemom View Post
A yard would be nice but is not required, good publicschools would be great but I can homeschool if need be, and I am fine with being an hour train ride from Chicago (convenient doesnt always mean short; sometimes it means being able to read a book and not being stuck behind the wheel). I have no idea what "crunchy" means and I am 36 years old with kids and wear clothes from Target so "hip" is not an issue.

And we will of course have to rent briefly first, as he will have to present a couple of paychecks to get a mortgage, but I would prefer to rent as close as possible to where we are going to buy, thus doing the research first. Trulia shows dozens of condos and even single family homes available in Chicago suburbs for under 100k, so please someone tell me what about the big picture I am missing! This is why I am asking you fine local folks, because the data look right but the data are not the whole picture.


We are from L.A., by the way,so costs in your area will be a relief.
Although housing is cheaper here compared to LA, Chicagoland is still an extremely high cost of living location. Your price point limits you greatly. A starter home in all desirable suburbs is probably close to $300,000. Condos or townhomes would be slightly lower, but not much.

Whatever suburbs where you are finding multiple properties that fit your families' needs and are in your price range are probably not family friendly in any way, even assuming you don't need schools. And although homeschooling is certainly an option, please don't pick a place with awful schools knowing you are going to homeschool, because you may be in a situation where you need to use the local schools.

Please share listings you are seeing or towns in general, and you will get more specific advice. This board is a great resource. If you find a listing you like, use the search function on this board and see what comes up.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:37 PM
 
65 posts, read 115,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kindrakindra View Post
Please share listings you are seeing or towns in general, and you will get more specific advice. This board is a great resource. If you find a listing you like, use the search function on this board and see what comes up.
They are honestly too many to list completely, which is why I came here to try and narrow down where I should look. I found addresses in literally twenty or thirty different "cities." Wheeling, Skokie, des plains, streamwood, elgin, Hanover park, several that had about 5 different versions of almost the same name... I honestly cannot remember them all. It was a bit overwhelming.

I think my idea of a home is very different from most people's, which may be part of the problem. I have lived in tiny apartments for the past dozen years, and at this point 1000 square feet looks like a palace. I have not lived in a suburb of any kind since I was a child. I am not used to a yard, I am used to kitchens where when you open the refrigerator door it hits the oven; I am used to seeing homeless people every time I step outside my front door. I am raising a two year old in a place where we are frequently choked by the downstairs' neighbors' pot smoke or kept awake by loud music, where sometimes we have to step over vomit on our way to pick up a quart of milk, and we have made do and cope and have found things to be happy about except for the fact that we are renting and losing that money ($2600 a month now) every month.

Because I am a long-term investor I don't care if the place has an unfinished basement or one of the bathrooms needs new fixtures or whatever, as long as it does not need immediate and extensive repairs to make it safe to live in. Also to me "safe" means I and my children will most likely not be physically attacked, kidnapped, or raped if we observe reasonable precautions. It does not mean I will never ever have someone steal my car stereo or hit me up for beer money. I do not really intend to shelter my kids, just keep them alive and reasonably able to pursue their interests and studies without major health hazard or violence.

Obviously the safer and prettier the better, but price is more important to me than prestige.

I hope this gives a better idea of my priorities.

Last edited by xmasevemom; 01-01-2012 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:31 PM
 
15,314 posts, read 16,886,348 times
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I looked up Evanston and Skokie and a lot of the listings for under that price are foreclosures. I don't know how they would be, but they might work. Some of the listings might be in dicey areas though. Most appear to be 1 br 1 bath. Not sure if that would be good for you.

There are some pre-foreclosure ones listed as well

Evanston Real Estate & Evanston Homes For Sale — Trulia.com

Skokie Real Estate & Skokie Homes For Sale — Trulia.com

Those prices are very low.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:41 PM
 
46 posts, read 83,793 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmasevemom View Post
I am looking for somewhere to live where I can get a 3 bedroom condo or townhouse for not too far over $100k, but where I will not be in a complete wasteland far from any exciting events or big city amenities. So some of the Chicago suburbs appeal to me, and I'd like to start sending my husband's resume to Chicago companies as positions become available (we are not in a huge hurry and can move any time between now and 2013, but the sooner the better of course).

What we look for in a suburb:

*No more than 75%-80% white (we are white but want our kids to have friends and positive role models of other races)

*Train commute to Chicago. My husband likes to read, so he doesn't care so much about the length of the commute if the train station itself is easyish to get to.

*Affordable housing. Every house on the block doesn't have to be in my price range, so long as there will eventually be a deal on a condo that we can snap up (and the deal isn't because the place is crawling with mold or sinking into the earth).

*Access to health foods and yoga classes and the like (the one thing that rubbed off on me from living in CA is I am very health conscious now, especially when it comes to what I feed my kids.)

*I'd like it to be the kind of place I could live happily for 20 years if need be. I am not fond of moving and would like to put down some roots so a community that is mostly "here til we find something better" doesn't work for me. I would love a place where people have a real sense of community and care for the neighborhoods and their future.

Other random facts: my husband is a journalist/filmmaker/movie buff and I am a writer who enjoys gardening. We have a 2 year old, I am pregnant, and we may not be done having kids yet. We are both liberal-ish but I have some conservative leanings myself and am religious (Baha'i).

Suggestions?
I am going be to the truth and honest. The northern burbs might be a good fit for you but there are some south such as Lagrange Park, Lagrange (both are beautiful BTW), Oak Park. But for the most part I would avoid the south suburbs. Oak Forest which is the town I live in is a disaster in the making and so is nearby Midlothian...sorry it is just the truth. There is Tinley Park, Frankfort, New Lenox, Mokena and others that are nice but the truth is these areas tend to be much more Republican and conservative. Orland is kinda a mixed bag.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:48 PM
 
65 posts, read 115,328 times
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These posts are becoming very helpful very fast! Thanks guys!
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:10 PM
 
65 posts, read 115,328 times
Reputation: 52
Here are three just in Evanston that fit my criteria: Evanston Real Estate & Evanston Homes For Sale — Trulia.com

I bring up Evanston since in my research so far most people agree it is "desirable" but I see a lot of other areas with way more listings than this.

What am I missing here?

I
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
4,052 posts, read 3,282,549 times
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I'd suggest two places to look at out here in the western suburbs would be Bolingbrook or Aurora. Be sure to do your homework and make sure the area you're looking at is acceptable to you from a crime perspective ... there are active gangs in both communities but given where you've been living they're likely to seem pretty tame to you.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:31 PM
 
15,314 posts, read 16,886,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmasevemom View Post
Here are three just in Evanston that fit my criteria: Evanston Real Estate & Evanston Homes For Sale Trulia.com

I bring up Evanston since in my research so far most people agree it is "desirable" but I see a lot of other areas with way more listings than this.

What am I missing here?

I
Evanston, imNsho, is the best suburb (Oak Park is another), but it depends on what you want.

Evanston has
1. very family friendly and animal friendly (if you have a dog or cat)
2. good schools
3. lots of services - parks, beaches, etc.
4. lots of free or inexpensive things to do including many activities Northwestern provides including Northwestern movies, Northwestern Band Concerts, children's theater, art galleries, etc.
5. Evanston's downtown consists of 4 different areas. If you are a walker, you can walk to most of these. If you are not a walker there are buses and the *el*
6. Transportation to downtown is easy and reasonably priced.
7. Access to the lake is lovely especially if you enjoy walking. The beaches do cost some money in the summer, but it isn't too expensive if you are a resident.
8. There are tons of good daycares and after school programs, including a YMCA and YWCA which have swimming for the kids in the preK programs.
9. Evanston is bike friendly if you bike. The lakefront path is great for biking and jogging.

Of the three listings you have - the best one is on Sherman, imo, in terms of location, but I don't know enough about co-op apartments to say much about how that would work. The one on Emerson is too close to the high school for my taste - the area around the high school is somewhat iffy in regard to crime. The one on Pitner looks fine. It's pretty close to the downtown area although it's a bit west. I tend to like staying closer to the Lake, but that's a personal preference and it is why I like the one on Sherman.

The other reason why there are probably less listings in Evanston is that it is a more settled place. People tend to love it there and they don't move out as often, I suspect. We lived in our first house for 30 years (3 br - 2 bth, with a great yars - bought back when it was $45,000 and sold when we moved for over $300,000).
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:32 PM
 
15,314 posts, read 16,886,348 times
Reputation: 15034
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmasevemom View Post
Here are three just in Evanston that fit my criteria: Evanston Real Estate & Evanston Homes For Sale Trulia.com

I bring up Evanston since in my research so far most people agree it is "desirable" but I see a lot of other areas with way more listings than this.

What am I missing here?

I
Evanston, imNsho, is the best suburb (Oak Park is another), but it depends on what you want.

Evanston has
1. very family friendly and animal friendly (if you have a dog or cat)
2. good schools
3. lots of services - parks, beaches, etc.
4. lots of free or inexpensive things to do including many activities Northwestern provides including Northwestern movies, Northwestern Band Concerts, children's theater, art galleries, etc.
5. Evanston's downtown consists of 4 different areas. If you are a walker, you can walk to most of these. If you are not a walker there are buses and the *el*
6. Transportation to downtown Chicago (the loop) is easy and reasonably priced.
7. Access to the lake is lovely especially if you enjoy walking. The beaches do cost some money in the summer, but it isn't too expensive if you are a resident.
8. There are tons of good daycares and after school programs, including a YMCA and YWCA which have swimming for the kids in the preK programs.
9. Evanston is bike friendly if you bike. The lakefront path is great for biking and jogging.

Of the three listings you have - the best one is on Sherman, imo, in terms of location, but I don't know enough about co-op apartments to say much about how that would work. The one on Emerson is too close to the high school for my taste - the area around the high school is somewhat iffy in regard to crime. The one on Pitner looks fine. It's pretty close to the downtown area although it's a bit west. I tend to like staying closer to the Lake, but that's a personal preference and it is why I like the one on Sherman.

The other reason why there are probably less listings in Evanston is that it is a more settled place. People tend to love it there and they don't move out as often, I suspect. We lived in our first house for 30 years (3 br - 2 bth, with a great yars - bought back when it was $45,000 and sold when we moved for over $300,000).
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:28 PM
 
65 posts, read 115,328 times
Reputation: 52
Thanks, these are some great ideas. I should clarify by "what am I missing" was that I had found three listings even in a really popular suburb in my price range with 3 bedrooms, and people kept telling me that there would be nothing in ANY Chicagoland suburb for that price.

The details about why some of the evanston listings may have been so inexpensive were especially helpful; this is the kind of info I am looking for so I can know what's a good bargain and what's cheap for a reason! Most of these suburbs are just names to me until I learn otherwise
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