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Old 01-02-2012, 09:10 PM
 
6 posts, read 8,037 times
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Hi,

My husband and I are planning to move to Chicago from New England in the next few months. It would be a good career move for him and allow us to live much closer to family. We have three year old b/g twins so a good public school system is a priority. He'll be working in the downtown loop. We are considering both downtown living and the suburbs. The goal is to have a commute via the metro that is a hour (or less).

We are taking a big loss on our current home due to the economy or may be renting it out. Regardless, it limits our budget to around 300k. Can anyone recommend a good suburb or downtown area that would meet those needs? We are excited for the new opportunities, but are a bit overwhelmed at our options.

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:04 PM
 
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Biggest question I would have centers around how old are the kids? If they are little and you want to make things easy I would certainly try to be close to family.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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Some of the important questions I would want to know:

How are old are the kids?

How important is it to be geographically near to family?

Will you have the time to jump through hoops for CPS selective admissions?

Does it make sense to shop for a fixer upper at a better price or only consider move in ready properties?
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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The OP said the kids are 3.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL SouthWest Suburbs
3,528 posts, read 4,995,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinMom445 View Post
Hi,

My husband and I are planning to move to Chicago from New England in the next few months. It would be a good career move for him and allow us to live much closer to family. We have three year old b/g twins so a good public school system is a priority. He'll be working in the downtown loop. We are considering both downtown living and the suburbs. The goal is to have a commute via the metro that is a hour (or less).

We are taking a big loss on our current home due to the economy or may be renting it out. Regardless, it limits our budget to around 300k. Can anyone recommend a good suburb or downtown area that would meet those needs? We are excited for the new opportunities, but are a bit overwhelmed at our options.

Thanks!
You had mentioned living closer to your family , that is good to hear.
New England is a large area and I was curious to what part of New England you would be coming from.

Moving to the city from a rural or even city of 200k can be a shock to your system.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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Thanks for the feedback so far, much appreciated. My family is in Michigan so it would be a 3-4 hour drive from the Chicago area to see my family (versus 19 hours or so from New England). Not ideal, but realistically the closest we could get in my husband's field of work.

We've lived a few places in New England. We've been in the Boston suburbs and loved it, but when we had kids we moved just over the border to NH and built a home in a town of about 100,000 (almost too rural for us). I love our house, good schools, etc.. but my husband's commute is awful (no metro option here) so he commutes almost 2 hours each way via car. If we could cut that in half we'd be happy and would prefer the metro.

We're open to a condo in the city, townhouse in the outer limits, or a single family in the suburbs. Basically, the house needs to have good bones. We could do some cosmetics, but would prefer a newly rehabbed or newer home just because we don't know how to do it ourselves.

I don't know anything about applying to magnet schools or how the process works. My kids are right on the cut off for birthday so they may start in the fall of 2013 or 2014. Is that enough time to get into a good system?
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
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If driving to Michigan frequently, I would look into a South or Southwest suburb or maybe even NW Indiana within a short drive of the South Shore line. Going south on 294 on a Friday afternoon/early evening to get around the Lake is a real PITA!
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:30 PM
 
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Since your faimily is not "daily visit" close that kind of eliminates them as a constraining factor.

Condos in your price range in Chicago are rarely preferred by families -- even in the best circumstance of a well built unit the hassles of getting young kids around in bad weather and crowded area along with the poor economics of condos tend to make other kinds of properties higher on the wish list for families. While there are certainly some building that would technically be in your budget the trade-offs that you be making coming from a single family home may be quite extreme. I assume your house in New Hampshire had an attached garage which certainly simplifies things as mundane as strapping the kids into car seats and bringing groceries into the house during incliment weather. Even if you found a condo with parking in your price range the extra trips would add to the hassle factor. The families that I know with twins rarely sink the praises of needing to double-up on the bulky and expensive necessities needed for even a short stroll to the park let alone trips to the market...

Housing costs in desirable parts of Chicago or the other parts of the region remain among the higher in the country. In many areas $300k will do little more than buy a buildable chunk of land and if you do not have the skills / motivation to look at fixer-uppers you will probably either be looking at a longer commute, and undesirable part of the region or un-updated home in a desirable area. Of the three my personal preference would probably the last, as at least with good schools you would not need to jump through hoops for selective admissions and hassle with getting kids to a far away school...

The smartest thing to do is probably to stick with areas that have most / all of their elementary & middle schools on the Illinois Honor Roll -- Illinois Honor Roll - Academic Excellence Awards 2010 List Even if you head way out to Geneva that will not be a comute as long as you've endured before. In places like Naperville the express trains on Metra will enable the whole office-to-home trip to be done in under 60 minutes for many. If you are lucky enough to find something in your price range even closer and long a Metra route the travel time will be shorter, though I am sure how realistic that price point will be...

Even if you do head out to Geneva my expeirience in New Hampshire suggests you won't feel nearly as "rurally isolated". There are wide range of shops, resturants and entertainment options geared toward families with young children and more cosmopolitan tastes in all the well developed cities and towns of the region -- farming has not been a big part of any part of the area for long long time...
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,084,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Since your faimily is not "daily visit" close that kind of eliminates them as a constraining factor.

Condos in your price range in Chicago are rarely preferred by families -- even in the best circumstance of a well built unit the hassles of getting young kids around in bad weather and crowded area along with the poor economics of condos tend to make other kinds of properties higher on the wish list for families. While there are certainly some building that would technically be in your budget the trade-offs that you be making coming from a single family home may be quite extreme. I assume your house in New Hampshire had an attached garage which certainly simplifies things as mundane as strapping the kids into car seats and bringing groceries into the house during incliment weather. Even if you found a condo with parking in your price range the extra trips would add to the hassle factor. The families that I know with twins rarely sink the praises of needing to double-up on the bulky and expensive necessities needed for even a short stroll to the park let alone trips to the market...

Housing costs in desirable parts of Chicago or the other parts of the region remain among the higher in the country. In many areas $300k will do little more than buy a buildable chunk of land and if you do not have the skills / motivation to look at fixer-uppers you will probably either be looking at a longer commute, and undesirable part of the region or un-updated home in a desirable area. Of the three my personal preference would probably the last, as at least with good schools you would not need to jump through hoops for selective admissions and hassle with getting kids to a far away school...

The smartest thing to do is probably to stick with areas that have most / all of their elementary & middle schools on the Illinois Honor Roll -- Illinois Honor Roll - Academic Excellence Awards 2010 List Even if you head way out to Geneva that will not be a comute as long as you've endured before. In places like Naperville the express trains on Metra will enable the whole office-to-home trip to be done in under 60 minutes for many. If you are lucky enough to find something in your price range even closer and long a Metra route the travel time will be shorter, though I am sure how realistic that price point will be...

Even if you do head out to Geneva my expeirience in New Hampshire suggests you won't feel nearly as "rurally isolated". There are wide range of shops, resturants and entertainment options geared toward families with young children and more cosmopolitan tastes in all the well developed cities and towns of the region -- farming has not been a big part of any part of the area for long long time...
If the visits are 6+ times a year and the OP is easily frustrated with PITA type traffic, I disagree. Maybe it's me, but when weekend camping going south to Indiana or Michigan is usually avoided because of the traffic heading south on 355 or 294.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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Thank you for the suggestion of Naperville and the express metro train. That type of fast train commute sounds ideal. We'd prefer to be in the suburbs, but not small town (like New England). The goal is to live somewhere where my husband is actually able to see our children awake M-F. I'll look on the Chicago Transit website for more information, but the idea of one quick metro train with limited transfers sounds nice. Is Naperville the only express train with good schools?

We don't like driving in traffic, but if it is just an occasional trip to Michigan then it wouldn't matter what part of town (ahem suburbs) we live within. I'd most likely being going without my husband when he travels or has a busy work week. Also, since he travels it might be nice to live closer to O'Hare, but I'm sure they have good transit there as well.

Funny you mention the hassle of taking the kids out into the cold. Yes, we do have a double attached garage and it is a nice feature. The temperature dropped from 58 to 14 in the last two days. I think now that we are experiencing true winter weather I'm reminded of why I want a garage and that a parking spot isn't an option. Yes, suddenly the suburbs with sound appealing again!
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