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Old 08-16-2012, 08:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 8,581 times
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Hello: we're thinking of moving to Winnetka from Chicago, we're both 45 yrs. old, two kids ages 1 and 3.

We can only afford a house in the lower quartile of Winnetka, and (based on our ages) it would not be a starter home, it would be the home for the next 20 years. Our income is $150K, but we've got $300K for a down payment, so the goal would be to pay the house off in 15 years' time, use the public schools. I feel we're mostly locked in income-wise, and firmly in mid-career, so the idea of progressing to a $1 million+ home is not likely.

I'll get the point, we're wondering if this is a bad move?

Most people who buy the lower quartile homes (under 2,500 sf) are younger parents around 30, and for them it's a starter home, and they usually move-up to something better and bigger by the time they are 45.

Will our kids feel like have-nots in Winnetka under this scenario? (I grew up in Deerfield and have no desire to live in Deerfield, Glenview or NBK, so please don't suggest that "we'd get more house for the $$" in those burbs, etc., no offense) Thanks for any input on my insecurities, are they justified? I figure if we get a nice, well-kept, older home in Winnetka, furnish it with high quality stuff basically once, that would make me happy, but I worry about the kids living in these smaller "have-not" houses all the way through teen years. We're looking in Hubbard Woods (Asbury, Vernon, etc.) and those houses off Hibbard: Cherry, Ash, Oak, Elm, etc. that have the smaller lots.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:26 PM
 
2,288 posts, read 5,630,152 times
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Wow. I think your kids will probably survive the Winnetka ghetto. Here's some perspective.

Girl, 12, shot on Southwest Side while 'doing her homework' - chicagotribune.com
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:50 PM
 
1,103 posts, read 1,728,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferFn View Post
Will our kids feel like have-nots in Winnetka under this scenario?
That largely depends on you're ability to raise them with some sense of grounding. You have plenty of time because it probably won't be until Jr High until they become aware that your family is less wealthy than the families of the majority of their peers. When that realization does come, you want them to have some perspective. If all they know is Winnetka, it's going to be difficult to make them realized that living in the "lower quartile" there is still a higher standard of living than 99+% of the world enjoys.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:06 AM
 
136 posts, read 316,379 times
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sounds like you're being a little too materialistic. $300k for a down payment and you're worried about being look down upon? dude, take your money to where you get the most bang for your buck and where your kids won't have a chance to be seen as a 'have-not', that way your kids will see you as an intelligent, well together man instead of someone who's trying to buy status or appear a certain way.

sorry to sound harsh, but this is absolutely ridiculous to me. best of luck to you
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:06 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 27,455,845 times
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You will be 65 and 67 when your children graduate from high school; my father was 59. I was a "lower quartile" kid in the "right town with the right address" with parents who had white collar jobs. The judge, the MIT grad, the bank president, the lawyers were neighbors. I went to public school. The message from my parents was pretty simple. "You're not one of them." Because I led a sheltered life with adults only, I really didn't start to understand pretentious snobs, reverse racism, or the "whispering" until junior high school. The only kids my age lived a mile away; their parents belonged to a very strict religious sect. "WE" (meaning me) didn't do that either. That was more than 60 years ago.

If I, as a parent, was in your financial position today, I would look at integrated communities such as Oak Park. There is a couple of very strong reasons I like OP. [1] The religious community/culture is not one note. It is very diverse. [2] The library is heavily involved with children's activities starting at a very young age. It is one of four libraries that was selected to take part in a *national high school* project. There is a children's theatre, and music in encouraged too, plus there is more than a dozen parks.

OP homes do hold value. It wasn't too long ago a Chicago TV anchor moved to NYC. Her house in OP sold for several hundred thousand dollars more than the purchase price. Oak Park is a family town where professionals live.

I have no ill feeling about Winnetka or any village, town or city in America. By the time most children are 6 they are aware of their surroundings. If they have always been involved in an integrated environment they won't give nearly as much thought to the differences as they do to the schoolyard bully, teacher, names/words that are difficult to pronounce, and the cafeteria. It is up to the parents to be involved with school work, teachers, schools and school boards.

In my opinion the child, who has parents who are involved with the child, and with the child's life through high school, will be a more rounded individual with a broader view of life. He will also be much better prepared for college and beyond. A one-note kid has a hard time adjusting to an international world that looks and acts differently than the only one he was exposed to much of his life. It is also much different than the world his parents knew. Nineteen years from now when your first born is ready to enter college the campus whether it is across the street or 1000 miles away will look different than Chicago does today.

As a side note I also think when your children are older they should be exposed to the four other Alpha cities in America. Also to the great national parks, great waters, great American stories, and simple historical places such as Lincoln's New Salem, and Mark Twain's Hannibal MO. Exposure to North America, and great European cities if it is possible is also good because it is educational, and it is something they can share with their children.

Last edited by linicx; 08-17-2012 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:38 AM
 
2,288 posts, read 5,630,152 times
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Take a look at Oak Lawn. It's a nice community and for $300,000 you can pay cash for one of the best homes in the village. Your kids will think you're a genius for not carrying a mortgage and you'll save a fortune over 15 years.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:08 AM
 
221 posts, read 584,960 times
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Sounds like you're looking at a nice house that you could furnish in a way that would make it very comfortable and liveable and make you happy. I think the larger question that you're raising is about the community (?). I'm not questioning Winnetka, in particular, but I'm raising the question that if the vibe in the community makes you a tad uncomfortable given the situation, then I personally would want to raise my kids in an area where there is less potential for competition/insecurity over wealth. And by the way, I'd be telling you this whether you were looking at a house in Winnetka for $750k or a bazillion-dollar mansion. (Before anyone jumps in to disagree and state that towns don't engender insecurities, individuals do, I get that. But the poster is raising a question that's been raised here before about other similar towns, and I think it's valid. At the end of the day, we're all humans with feelings who want to feel comfortable with our choices and are searching for the right fit; it's why we seek out the opinions on this board.) I think you need to ask yourself if Winnetka and all that it offers that other suburbs don't is what's so attractive to you, or is it something about the house, or is it the lake, or the top-notch schools... If it's something that no other town can offer and Winnetka itself makes the move all worth it, then go for it. I have nothing against these areas (I'm intrigued by Hinsdale, myself, but have similar concerns about it), but as someone said in one thread on Hinsdale-- at a minimum, you'd have to go in knowing that your kids are going to be influenced in some way by living in a more posh community and being surrounded by wealth -- and there's nothing wrong with that, but I think anyone moving into such an area would need to be acutely aware that it can influence kids, for better or for worse.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:32 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,240,392 times
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The OP is probably not interested in commuting from the south suburbs and I really doubt that advice from decades ago or towns that really have very little in common with Winnetka is going to be helpful. The OP states where they grew up and I am sure they are well aware of any trade-offs that come from choosing a pricey town as far uniformity of income and such

The facts about Winnetka and other pricey desirable towns regarding "starter homes" are simple -- there aren't very many. The vast majority of folks that purchase a home in Winnetka are VERY similar to the OP in age and resources. Large downpayments are the norm. It is extremely uncommon for younger families to live in pricey areas. A household income of about $150K is below the mean of $196K in Winnetka, but I am sure that of the 12K residents many live very comfortably with even less resources.

Homes that are definetly NOT tear downs have sold for far less than $750K and I suspect the families that have bought them are just like the OP -- value minded folks that have no need for an enormous home. 1250 Cherry St, Winnetka, IL 60093 - Zillow

Believe me, having sold homes in towns every bit as pricey as Winnetka the mindset of MOST buyers is NOT to buy something small and "move up", it is far more common at the price point the OP is discussing to just "get the right house".
When there are homes that have everything any family could ever NEED at fair price their no reason to feel like it is just a starter. Lots of folks would be thrilled to live with their family in such a home: 350 Auburn Ave, Winnetka, IL 60093 MLS# 07874719 - Zillow With some redecorating and appropriate furniture such a home will be worth even more down the road...

It is further not at all true that one NEEDS some HUGE disposable income to "keep up with the neighbors". In fact, in more traditional towns some of the wealthiest individuals consciously AVOID showy excess and the family driving a decades old BMW or Mercedes likely has LOTS more wealth than the spendthrift that leases a new Bentley every year or two. Ditto for the style of clothes that true generational preppies prefer vs the trendy low class appeal seen on MTV 'stars'...

Beyond the spending aspects the VALUES that one learns living around those who could lead much flashier lives but instead choose to support things like philanthropic causes is every bit as powerful a force as living next door to some "have nots" that squander the opportunities given them.

There are folks that are recent immigrants living in Winnetka that bring their culture and religion with them, as well as their desire to rise above the hardships of the native land instead of taking hand-outs from that make them dependent on the government. When one looks at the lists of where support comes for religious freedoms, educational institutions, and other forces that shape public discourse towns like Winnetka are represented far more than their modest size would suggest. The reason is simple -- these people that care about the future and are not mired in fantasies about the past.

So long as the OP is comfortable in their ability to afford the costs of buying / maintaining / taxes they should have no reservations that they'll be other than right at home in Winnetka.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:26 AM
 
Location: North Jackson
2,176 posts, read 3,531,494 times
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OP titles his post as such - Winnetka in $750K house, bad idea?

Yet someone shows a house well beyond that price point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Lots of folks would be thrilled to live with their family in such a home: 350 Auburn Ave, Winnetka, IL 60093 MLS# 07874719 - Zillow With some redecorating and appropriate furniture such a home will be worth even more down the road...
I guess $45,000 is nothing to some people...

I swear, if your budget is $750,000 you have to lie to your real estate agent and say that your budget is $650,000, because they will ALWAYS try to upsell you and show you houses above your budget. It's like they think I'm joking when I tell them my budget, or that I haven't given it any thought...
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
16,276 posts, read 28,779,938 times
Reputation: 21716
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferFn View Post
Hello: we're thinking of moving to Winnetka from Chicago, we're both 45 yrs. old, two kids ages 1 and 3.

We can only afford a house in the lower quartile of Winnetka, and (based on our ages) it would not be a starter home, it would be the home for the next 20 years. Our income is $150K, but we've got $300K for a down payment, so the goal would be to pay the house off in 15 years' time, use the public schools. I feel we're mostly locked in income-wise, and firmly in mid-career, so the idea of progressing to a $1 million+ home is not likely.

I'll get the point, we're wondering if this is a bad move?

Most people who buy the lower quartile homes (under 2,500 sf) are younger parents around 30, and for them it's a starter home, and they usually move-up to something better and bigger by the time they are 45.

Will our kids feel like have-nots in Winnetka under this scenario? (I grew up in Deerfield and have no desire to live in Deerfield, Glenview or NBK, so please don't suggest that "we'd get more house for the $$" in those burbs, etc., no offense) Thanks for any input on my insecurities, are they justified? I figure if we get a nice, well-kept, older home in Winnetka, furnish it with high quality stuff basically once, that would make me happy, but I worry about the kids living in these smaller "have-not" houses all the way through teen years. We're looking in Hubbard Woods (Asbury, Vernon, etc.) and those houses off Hibbard: Cherry, Ash, Oak, Elm, etc. that have the smaller lots.

You are putting $300,000 down on a $750,000 home that you plan on paying off in 15 years and you plan on staying in that home for maybe 20 years or more. Your concern is are you doing the right thing and you are comparing your situation to those in the $1,000,000 or more homes.

Lets look at many of them and see how you compare.

I would bet that a chunk of those people, maybe 40% (but i bet it may be 65% of them) are putting down 20% to get the million dollar home. So they only have $200,000 compared to your $300,000. You are ahead of them in that respect. They will be extending those payments out for the next 30 years and some of them may be getting 40 year mortgages. So that 15 year pay off looks really good for you as well. Because of the higher cost of home they will be competing with a higher income neighborhood that may like spending on trips, cars, and what have you. They have to keep up with the Joneses so to speak and will finance those trips placing them further behind. You are ahead of those people there because you can probably afford to take your kids on a trip somewhere each year or every other year.

Lets say that those people we are comparing make $200,000 or $250,000 incomes. They spent the money on the homes, financed trips, cars, and will be spending that money over a longer time frame than you will be. You on the other hand will be in a better financial position than they will be in allowing you to do so much more for you and your kids in the long run. To top if off both you and the spend a lots will be in the same company as those that really do have the means to afford the Multi million dollar homes allowing your kids to have friends and make contacts that they can use into the future. I say don't sweat it, embrace it.
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