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Old 01-04-2012, 09:39 AM
 
3,790 posts, read 5,552,101 times
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I recommend looking into Glen Ellyn or Wheaton. They are very nice suburbs with good schools, parks and other amenities. In fact a lot of people say "downtown" Glen Ellyn reminds them of New England...there is a bit of traditional architecture in both towns that is not often found in the Chicago area. There is the Union Pacific trains that take you into Chicago and not as much parking hassle as in Naperville, where it is not easy to get a space. Great stores and access to shopping, restaurants, and easy to shoot into the city on I-88. I have posted a few links. Housing prices are expensive here but with the downturn, you may be able to pick something up for your price range.

About Glen Ellyn

http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc20107.php
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,883 posts, read 3,854,325 times
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fyi, and not meant in a snotty way at all. Our commuter trains are Metra with an A. I 2nd Toria with her suggestions of Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. They are smaller and closer to the city than Naperville. Naperville has a nice downtown, but it is quite sprawling and there is something about it that just turns me off. I am apparently in the minority though, as it is very popular, especially it seems, with transplants.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:09 PM
 
382 posts, read 651,459 times
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I grew up in NY and now live in Naperville. I've lived in both the city of Chicago and various suburbs, so my opinions are based on that. I also have two children, aged 5 and 3. I found Chicago difficult to raise a family for the following reasons. First, you do not get a lot of house for your money, even in this market. If you are looking for top schools, it is going to be very expensive. Lincoln Park or Lakeview both have some excellent schools, and are in general very family-friendly areas. But don't expect to find a single family house with a yard unless you have a lot of money at your disposal, even in this market. Condos and townhomes are fine, but then you often have a hard time with parking, your assessments can skyrocket with no warning, and very little backyard space (if that is important to you). Our budget was 500k. For that we got a 2 br 2 ba condo with garage. It was on the top floor which made it very hard to get up and down with little kids, and most places are walk-ups unless you are in the downtown area. There was plenty of crime even in our "good" area. Most of these were property crimes, not violent, but nonetheless it was a concern.

I really have loved living in Naperville for the past 3 years. Wonderful downtown area, wonderful schools, tons of shopping and restaurants. Great park district with plenty of activities for families with young children. They even have a fine arts center and a beach which is wonderful during the summer months. The library system is one of the best in the country. To me, Naperville has the best of both worlds. A small city with plenty to do and the safety and great schools of a suburban community. Keep in mind that Naperville has become huge. I consider Naperville to be the downtown area and a mile's radius around downtown. Once you get very far out, you start to lose what makes Naperville great to begin with in my opinion and your commute will drastically increase. We limited our search to a mile from the train when we were looking. Your best bet is to stay North of 75th street and East of Route 59. They also have Pace suburban buses. My husband works in Chicago and it takes him 1 hr. door to door. A Pace bus picks him up two houses away, then takes him 7 minutes to the train station. He waits 15 minutes for the express train to arrive, which takes 32 minutes to get to Chicago. He then walks 10 minutes to his office. Total time: 1:04. You will need to do some research regarding Pace bus service to the train station. Parking at the train is not an option b/c there is a wait list of 5-10 years for a spot. A few good subdivisions that are the best for commutes in North Naperville are: Cress Creek, Buttonwood, Huntington Estates, Pembroke, Hobson Village. There are others, but those are some that I can recall right now. These neighborhoods have retained their value because they are both convenient (close to downtown and the highways) as well as established (lots of trees). You can get a bigger house for the same price if you go further south or west in Naperville, but again, that's the trade-off. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:15 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,122,509 times
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Default Lots of solid advice!

I have had dozens of clients that had nearly identical experiences when weighing the pros and cons of living inside Chicago vs the core of a desirable suburb like Naperville or other "train centric" towns in the region.

The "urban theorists" and various hipster idealists clash with the reality of how nice it can be to have the convenience of a short commute to a pleasant home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by divakat View Post
I grew up in NY and now live in Naperville. I've lived in both the city of Chicago and various suburbs, so my opinions are based on that. I also have two children, aged 5 and 3. I found Chicago difficult to raise a family for the following reasons. First, you do not get a lot of house for your money, even in this market. If you are looking for top schools, it is going to be very expensive. Lincoln Park or Lakeview both have some excellent schools, and are in general very family-friendly areas. But don't expect to find a single family house with a yard unless you have a lot of money at your disposal, even in this market. Condos and townhomes are fine, but then you often have a hard time with parking, your assessments can skyrocket with no warning, and very little backyard space (if that is important to you). Our budget was 500k. For that we got a 2 br 2 ba condo with garage. It was on the top floor which made it very hard to get up and down with little kids, and most places are walk-ups unless you are in the downtown area. There was plenty of crime even in our "good" area. Most of these were property crimes, not violent, but nonetheless it was a concern.

I really have loved living in Naperville for the past 3 years. Wonderful downtown area, wonderful schools, tons of shopping and restaurants. Great park district with plenty of activities for families with young children. They even have a fine arts center and a beach which is wonderful during the summer months. The library system is one of the best in the country. To me, Naperville has the best of both worlds. A small city with plenty to do and the safety and great schools of a suburban community. Keep in mind that Naperville has become huge. I consider Naperville to be the downtown area and a mile's radius around downtown. Once you get very far out, you start to lose what makes Naperville great to begin with in my opinion and your commute will drastically increase. We limited our search to a mile from the train when we were looking. Your best bet is to stay North of 75th street and East of Route 59. They also have Pace suburban buses. My husband works in Chicago and it takes him 1 hr. door to door. A Pace bus picks him up two houses away, then takes him 7 minutes to the train station. He waits 15 minutes for the express train to arrive, which takes 32 minutes to get to Chicago. He then walks 10 minutes to his office. Total time: 1:04. You will need to do some research regarding Pace bus service to the train station. Parking at the train is not an option b/c there is a wait list of 5-10 years for a spot. A few good subdivisions that are the best for commutes in North Naperville are: Cress Creek, Buttonwood, Huntington Estates, Pembroke, Hobson Village. There are others, but those are some that I can recall right now. These neighborhoods have retained their value because they are both convenient (close to downtown and the highways) as well as established (lots of trees). You can get a bigger house for the same price if you go further south or west in Naperville, but again, that's the trade-off. Good luck!
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:17 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,036 times
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the tips on places to look. To be honest, we are a bit overwhelmed with options. We've accepted the job, but are having serious second doubts regarding relocation and the housing market. I'm also looking at both buying or renting in the Chicago area, especially when we are new to the area. I figure that the kids have 1.5 years until kindergarten so we could rent for a year to know each area better and accumulate to the area.

Naperville seems promising, IMO, but my husband isn't keen on the commute. I've also found quite a few nice properties, but they aren't accessible to metra (even with Pace busing). It is the common problem of space versus location. We'll talk with our Chicago realtor on Tuesday so we are hoping to find some answers quickly.

Oh and thanks for the tip on "metra."
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,883 posts, read 3,854,325 times
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DEFINITELY rent 1st. This is a big area and you don't want to be stuck in a house that ends up not being right for you. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:02 PM
 
20 posts, read 51,274 times
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You should look into Frankfort. It's a suburb SW of Chicago. It is small, but you have the ammenities of both a small town and a large city. We but up to several other suburbs, so it feels larger in that sense. Orland Park is close with a Mall and all the shopping and restaurants you could think of. Frankfort is just off of I-80 so trips to Michigan will be easy. (We do it sometimes on the weekends, jsut love Michigan)! People move to Frankfort mainly for the schools. We have an EXCELLENT school system. (157-c). Your hubby can catch the metra at the station in Tinley Park, not far at all. There are a TON of homes for sale in Frankfort. You mentioned losing $$ on your home in New England, but we are all in the same boat here. You can find a decent home, from $300-400. If it might seem out of your price range, I think you will find sellers are willing to sell for less, just to sell their home. There are a lot of preschools to chose from and Frankfort has the choice of full day or extended day kindergarten. And of course Chicago is just a short drive, (if traffic is good) for all the wonderful museums, sporting events, shopping restaurants, etc. Good luck with your move!
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:51 PM
 
10,301 posts, read 12,436,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knitgirl View Post
fyi, and not meant in a snotty way at all. Our commuter trains are Metra with an A. I 2nd Toria with her suggestions of Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. They are smaller and closer to the city than Naperville. Naperville has a nice downtown, but it is quite sprawling and there is something about it that just turns me off. I am apparently in the minority though, as it is very popular, especially it seems, with transplants.
I think Naperville is popular with transplants because it's any "nice" suburb USA.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:11 PM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,122,509 times
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I don't really feel like I need to defend Naperville as it has won more than its fair share of accolades from various magazines that rate "best places to live" but I do think that people that equate Naperville with "any 'nice' suburb" probably are rather limited in their experiencce and ought to give credit to the uniqueness of Chicago and the surrounding region.

The Metra system is pretty much without peer as a suburban commuter railroad. While Westchester Co / southern CT/ Long Island / northern NJ commmuters do have access to extensive links to NYC the degree to which the compact employment hub of the Loop contrasts with the auto-centricity of the southern reaches of Naperville much more sharply than east coast suburbs, and the BNSF time warping speed makes the contrast even sharper. You don't get that kind of mix of workday rail commuter and non-work hours auto driver. Other parts of the country that have 'nice' suburbs, from other parts of midwest, to TX, , GA, CO, CA or the Pacific NW really have far more limited transit options for the burb-to-central city worker.

The overall scale of Naperville is rather unique too. Sure there are a number of "mega builders" especially in the southern areas and those nearer the Aurora border, but even in those areas the general lot sizes and other things that encourage both good interaction between neighbors and allow for municipal services to be delivered w/o resorting to gated communities and other cost shifting is unique. It is jarring to go to some of the Dallas suburbs and find lot sizes that have single family homes spaced more like townhouse developments.

Though sometimes it seems like there is a lot of tension between suburban interests and those in Chicago the reality is that w/o any sort of "regional clout" the city rarely has to fight to keep / expand on what it has -- the White Sox,Cubs,Bulls,Blackhawks, Bears all play exclusively at venues inside Chicago inviting a whole of suburban dwellers to partake of the offerings of Chicago's sports monopoly, Chicago's live theatre and music venues have no rivals in the burbs, Chicago has a lock on ccommercial air travel, even the regional resturant scene is pretty well dominated by firms whose base of operations in firmly inside the city limits with synergistiic offerings in the burbs that help the overall operation.

The attitude some have toward the suburbs is completely out of whack with reality...
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:52 AM
 
172 posts, read 379,981 times
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We live in Oak Park and really like it. The schools here are good. We are close to the city (either by Metra or CTA....takes around 30 mins to get downtown). We are renting right now but plan on buying here in the future. The property taxes are high but I don't think they are any higher than other "nice" suburbs. Oak Park is right next to a not so good area in Chicago and that scares some people. I have talked to many people who have lived here for a long time and they don't have anything bad to say about Oak Park.
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