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Old 02-01-2015, 09:28 AM
 
61 posts, read 62,376 times
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Hello all,

My husband is considering a position in the general Chicago area, and we are really overwhelmed at the options. He would be working a big territory that spans from southern Wisconsin to Peoria, approximately, but the main time would be spent around Chicago. He might have to drive to the edges of his territory a couple times a year, and most concentration would be in and around Chicago. We are looking for a place to rent (initially) not too far from where we would like to settle down if all goes well.

We have a toddler and a baby, so safety is important as are decent schools but as we have a couple years the schools aren't essential. We need some kind of decent yard, library, community center/ymca, etc. Other stay-at-home moms for me to connect with, church options. We prefer an area that has a community feel, some kind of center/downtown. We are semi-"crunchy" in that we prefer farmers markets and a natural-focused community, and we dislike pretentious, keeping up with the jones' type areas. Hubby and I are both very comfortable in small town/rural areas as long as there are activites and a downtown and accessible nature, but we've never lived in a big city before so we may love that as well. We are very outgoing and like to make friends, hang out with r neighbors, etc. When we do buy, it would be in the $300,000 range (ish) for a 3/2 with a yard in a nice area, at least 1300 sq ft.

I know this is a lot of info! Since we have such a huge area of possibilities we are very overwhelmed. Friends have recommended areas like Evanston, oak park, la grange, st Charles, grayslake, libertyville, Hampshire, yorkville, Geneva, downers grove, Wheaton, glen ellyn. As you can see, it's all over the place! Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:06 AM
 
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Wow that's an interesting range of areas. I think you should look in the west suburbs since they're in the middle of the Chicago metro area and right in between Wisconsin and Peoria. So, definitley look at La Grange, Oak Park, Downers Grove, Wheaton, and Glen Ellyn. I think Yorkville won't be worth it because the schools aren't as good as the other towns your friends recommended and it's very far out. You could look at St Charles and Geneva, but they're far out, not as far out as Yorkville though. However, St Charles and Geneva have good schools and have are more affordable than other western suburbs , so you can get more bang for your buck.

Here's other towns you should look at in addition to the towns your friends recommended to you: Naperville, River Forest, Batavia, Willowbrook, Willow Springs, Woodridge, Darien, Western Springs, Countryside, and Indian Head Park.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:09 AM
 
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Look at Elmhurst too
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:24 AM
 
61 posts, read 62,376 times
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Thank you! Yes it's a huge area with many options, so we are overwhelmed! We don't want to be in a 'boring' suburb, and we are torn between staying close and having a die town feel or being far abd having the more rural feel and property we are used to. We do get bored easily lol, we like to be doing something without constantly spending money...we live in a smaller area now but with a great community feel. Half of his commute would count as work tone, and he'd be driving much of the day to complete his work no matter where we live. So, if we live an hr away he would be gone and home in 9 hours, depending on where he was driving to that day, etc.
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:29 AM
 
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If you don't want a 'boring' suburb, then you shouldn't look in a rural area that's far out. However, Countryside, Indian Head Park, and parts of Willowbrook have a rural feel, but yet within a few minutes drive to La Grange which is not a 'boring' suburb. Willow Springs is rural too, but not as close to La Grange (10-15 minutes from La Grange). La Grange is a very family oriented suburb with lots of things to do with the kids.

Elmhurst is also very family oriented with lots of things to do with kids like La Grange. Elmhurst also has a great downtown. La Grange homes tend to have smaller backyards than Elmhurst homes, so in Elmhurst, you'll probably have more outdoor space for your kid to play.

Wheaton school boundaries also cover Warrenville and parts of Winfield which are also rural. Winfield and Warrenville are not only close to Wheaton, but also close to Naperville which has a great downtown and there are many fun things to do in Naperville. Unlike Oak Park, which also has a great downtown and many things to do within the town, Naperville homes have bigger backyards whereas in Oak Park, neighborhoods have a very urbany layout with very small backyards. However, Naperville is a huge suburb , so there probably won't be a community feel except for within the subdivision you would live in.

Downers Grove is also great for families with a good amount of things to do with the kids and it's just south of Oak brook and Lombard where there's lots of restaurants, stores like Costco, Best Buy, etc. on Butterfield road, There's also Drury Lane Theatre just north of OakBrook center which is a mall around that area along with Yorktown mall in Lombard not too far away.

Illinois property taxes are very high, so looking at how much a town's property taxes are is very important. Here's a list of Chicago Suburbs property taxes from highest to lowest:

Chicago real estate news, data and statistics, home sales and real estate listings | Chicago
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:36 AM
 
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Very helpful, thank you!
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
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Naperville and Evanston are "hip" but also family oriented towns. I live in Grayslake and I love it. For $300,000 you would be able to afford a very nice house (taxes on that being approx 8-11k year) and personally I love the school district. There are some nice apartments (or condos) for rent on center st. right in downtown Grayslake. You would be able to take the kids and walk to farmers market, craft fair and all the things they would generally have on a "main st" in a small town. If you want a nice back yard, cookie cutter neighborhood, white trim, ss appliances and great neighbors; I would look in English Meadows neighborhood in Grayslake.

If you can afford to live in Libertyville, I feel that would be just ideal. Such a great town and sense of community. Downtown Libertyville has very trendy restaurants that all ages love. The schools are great, and there is even a private school which a lot of kids from all over go to called Carmel.
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:51 PM
 
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Naperville is SO AMAZING - but SO, SO FAR from big city... Gotta ding them on something...

La Grange and Elmhurst should make the list...

My advice is same to you as everyone else - narrow em out by location most convenient to work, then VISIT and feel them out... Chicagoland is BIG and a lot to choose from.
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Old 02-01-2015, 01:22 PM
 
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Thanks everyone..do you like living in Chicago? I'm getting pretty nervous about this! Tell me what you like and dislike about the Chicago area please!
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Old 02-01-2015, 01:38 PM
 
649 posts, read 602,261 times
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We relocated here (la grange) about a year ago and LUV IT. its super close to big city (17minute metra express or 30 minutes reg) not to mention tons of Ubers always close.

We are 5minutes walkable to LG core and metra station. Our setup allows us to walk entire job commute avoiding the nightmare traffic here. The traffic is bad (REALLY BAD) so try to score nearby/walkable station. Make it a must have, you can thank me later...

Chicago has everything its just so amazing, it is a world class city... The charming towns along the BNSF are also just awesome so you can really have both the charming town and Big city in 1 package...
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