Plano vs Hampshire? (Chicago, Aurora, Joliet: real estate, sex offenders, crime)
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My husband and I are currently living in Schaumburg, IL. I'm a stay-at-home mom with an 8-month old, and my husband is an IT consultant traveling every week out of O'Hare. We're looking to buy our first home, but are confused as to where to go. Right now we're looking in a modest $200,000-250,000 range for either a townhome or a single family home because we're living on one income. So far, we've been to Huntley, Hampshire, Pingree Grove, and Plano, but we're having trouble figuring out which areas are good. Schools are very important to us (kindergarten, elementary, and even middle school)....so far, we've heard great things about St. Charles too, but it's looking to expensive for us...
We need to be within reasonable travel time to O'Hare, and I would love access to public transportation for going downtown.
Any takes on which burb is a safer choice? Also, is it better to wait to buy or is it really a buyer's market for any of these areas? I don't know too much about real estate yet...Thanks for any help!
I was actually in your exact situation about a year ago. I quit my job to stay home with my son when he was born, he is now 18-months, and we had a similar home budget to you. We wanted a single-family-home large enough to raise our family in, and our budget ruled out a lot of the closer in suburbs. We looked at most of the areas you mentioned. We ended up settling on West Joliet. Some parts of Joliet (mainly the east side) don't have the best rep but the area we are in is extremely nice and safe. We are very far West, in between Plainfield and Shorewood. (Which are also nice, more affordable areas.) The area I am in is not in Joliet schools. (Joliet schools are not good.) We are in Minooka schools which rate well. (Walnut Trails Elementary in Shorewood, Minooka High School.) A few of the things we liked about this area are, we wanted to build new construction and most of the other areas mentioned had the SSA tax, which we weren't a fan of. We don't have that in this area. Also, we have a decent amount of shopping for being a newer area. (A lot of the other areas mentioned don't have much yet.) We are about 5-10 minutes from route 59 which is lined with shopping and restaurants and we have a few malls close by. So this area might be worth checking out. We've been very happy here. But all the other areas you mentioned seem nice too, Huntley/Hamshire/Pingree Grove is probably closest to O'Hare since they are off I90. Yorkville is a nice newer, still affordable and in your budget area as well, which is near Plano. I don't know if you've looked into that area. Also, a good website I've found to check school stats is GreatSchools.net It's a great resource for checking the schools in the areas you are interested in. Hope this helps!
... It would be the best for you to choose a community directly West or directly North West of O' Hare. My answer goes back to the question - - "How does one drive to work each day if gasoline prices are too expensive to operate one's own automobile? There are many opinions out there but most agree that the price of gasoline will keep soaring but not necessarily on a linear scale. Gas could also soar in a logarithmic (sp?) function , too.
So IF we compare Hampshire to Plano - - the better choice would be Hampshire.
For those who do not know, the only ground public transportation system out of Chicago's O' Hare is only the CTA elevated system that goes back to Chicago. Of course, there is the automobile but I am excluding this in our discussion.
Out of O' Hare - - currently - - there is no ground public transportation system in any direction except East.
Therefore, the closest one lives to O' Hare - - the better the situation - - if one is employed at O' Hare or close by.
IF 'you' locate to Plano, Illinois with a daily commute to your employment at O' Hare - - you are going to become sick of the traffic mess within a month or less.
On the flip side, I have only been through Hampshire one time. And from memory, there isn't too much out there.
Personally, since I like isolation as a retired senior citizen, I think I would like Hampshire. But perhaps you are a young person and also enjoy city life.
... I made a serious mistake in my above thread. Yes, it is true that O'Hare DOES have bus and limosine service. But that is not too viable for a daily commute between one's home and O' Hare. That's due to the price of such service.
Only as a guess - - perhaps a limosine would offer you a one way ride between Hampshire to O' Hare at $50? But that is only a guess on my part. Perhaps other people would know for sure?
Reasonable travel time to Ohare + close proximity to CTA does NOT equal Plano or that area. I grew up about 6 miles from Plano and spent a lot of time there - I would not recommend that town - it has been cleaning its act up a bit but it has always been known for crime issues, low-income / no-income population (i'm trying to be nice here, but Plano has always been pretty run down in a way.) You will hate the traffic on 34 and getting to I-88 alone will take at least 30 min. I wouldn't recommend Plano.
I don't have much opinion on the other areas, Huntley is nice - decent schools - but is WAY too far for a commute to OHare.
There are some portions of Aurora (west side esp) that might fit what you are looking for. Stay near the toll for access to OHare and a CTA line will always be within reasonable distance also. You will definitely be able to get at least a townhouse for your price range in different parts of Aurora. The only issue with there is you have to be careful about the schools. Aurora area DOES have some great private schools through, if that is an option for you. (Marmion, Aurora Christian, IMSA)
Good luck! Hopefully if you narrow an area down slightly more, you'll get more specific opinions too.
Thanks so much! This helps a lot...Nothing like outside perspective!
We're leaning towards the Hampshire/Huntley/P. Grove area as we found a townhome that we like (by Cambridge Homes)...It's in the Sleepy Hollow school district, I believe. Any takes on that? Of course, they say it's a really good district, but I have been able to find much information on it.
I forgot to add that Gas prices etc won't affect us that much because my husband flies every week to NYC, STL etc, so he only has to make 2 trips (one on Monday mornings at 4am, and one back home on Thursday/Friday nights at 9pm). He doesn't have to commute daily. Plus, his company reimburses him for gas/cab fare to and from the airport. We are only concerned about congestion, and travel time. I don't want him to have to get going at 1am to make it to the flight by 6am...one hour or so is ok, but anything more is probably to much. The sleepy hollow school looks like a 9 out of 10 on the greatschools.net website, so this might the a good choice for us. We still have some time before our little one goes off to school, but we'd like to be prepared for it. Education is very important to us (we're both MBAs).
To correct a previous post, it takes 15 minutes, not 30 to get to I-88 from Plano.
O'Hare is 60 minutes away during non-rush hour times. 80 to 90 minutes during rush hour.
I've lived in Plano for 35 years (most of my adult life) and in that time it has grown from a sleeply rural community of 5000 people with very few amenities to more of a suburban city of 12000 people with plenty of shopping in the area (Plano, Yorkville and Oswego).
The nearest Metra station is in Aurora which is about 25 to 30 minute drive. In the next few years there should be a Metra station in Montgomery about 10 miles away.
If your looking at new homes I don't care for the Lakewood homes. Check out Sharp homes in the Woodwind II subdivision which have homes in your price range.
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