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Old 05-29-2017, 08:28 AM
 
44 posts, read 39,147 times
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Hello, I've read a bunch on this forum - thank you. helping the folks on this forum can help me narrow or focus my search.

We are a family of 5 city-dwellers looking at the suburbs because CPS resources are horrific and no longer sufficient to meet our needs. Here is my list, in order:

1. Good high school. By good, I mean well-resourced, small class sizes, students feel safe and part of the community.
2. Excellent support for dyselexia at the high school level. Corroborated by outside therapists.
3. Can buy / rent decent 3-4 bedroom SFH for under $450k or rental equivalent. Non-negotiable list includes 1500+ SF, hardwood floors, 7' ceilings, and the electrical panel isn't a total disaster.
4. Metra commute of under an hour on the local.
5. Racially diverse population.

We really started looking too late to get a feel for what is possible as it seems the spring suburban house market is winding down. We've looked at a lot of garbage @ open houses! (I know open houses are typically not great anyway.) My hit list includes the following - am I missing something else? Are my assumptions correct?

Evanston - meets 1, 2, 4, 5; think 3 will be hard
Oak Park - meets 1, 4, 5
Riverside - meets 1 and 4
Brookfield - meets 1, 3, 4
Glenbrook South - meets 1, 2, 4
La Grange - meets 1, 2, 4
Skokie - meets all but the houses we've seen are TINY. Not a fan of the 50s 1-level ranch
Morton Grove - meets 1, 3, 4

Where else should we be looking? We have ruled out Naperville/Wheaton (#2) New Trier (#1/2) and Schaumburg (#5). Would you agree with my assumptions?
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:49 AM
 
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I think it is very likely that RBHS (serving Riverside and Brookfield) as well as OPRF (Oak Park) fulfill your #2. Both are excellent high schools with lots of resources. I would contact the schools directly. Arguably, Brookfield also might fulfill #5 to some extent, with approximately 15-20% Hispanic population. You can either spend in the 300's and get a solid house in Brookfield, or spend $450 and get a very nice, completely renovated house. $450 will not go as far in La Grange or Oak Park, but in general are somewhat more upscale towns. My family of 3 lives in Brookfield and we love it - feel free to PM me with questions.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:27 AM
 
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I would add la grange park.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:48 AM
 
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Evanston ticks all the boxes on your list and really has a decent selection of homes in your price range --

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/8.../home/13626558

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/9.../home/13628982

The taxes might seem high coming from Chicago, but $10k for the Williamsburg Rd home or $8400 for the Springfield Ave are not out of line given the fiscal mess of Illinois...


I am fairly sure you could include towns like Downers Grove on your list too -- the BNSF locals are still under and hour, the schools are top notch especially with regard to dyslexia and associated special needs, there are a grow mix of families from various racial backgrounds (as well as increasingly visible political activists unhappy with the national election results...).

Downers Grove has some of the most attractive tax rates in the region due to the nice mix of higher value retail, office, industrial and residential properties -- https://www.redfin.com/IL/Downers-Gr.../home/18028963

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Downers-Gr.../home/14172917

Last edited by chet everett; 05-30-2017 at 07:00 AM..
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:14 AM
 
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ETHS is racially diverse, but Evanston is a pretty segregated community.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:21 AM
 
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Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights meet you needs. I've lived in MP and I can tell you it hits 4 out of 5 points. Prospect is in the top 10 in the state. 2 is an option I would imagine. $450 gets you a nice house here. 30 minute commute on express lines that run at rush hours. Not extremely diverse however very accepting and family town.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:58 AM
 
44 posts, read 39,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Evanston ticks all the boxes on your list and really has a decent selection of homes in your price range --

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/8.../home/13626558

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Evanston/9.../home/13628982

The taxes might seem high coming from Chicago, but $10k for the Williamsburg Rd home or $8400 for the Springfield Ave are not out of line given the fiscal mess of Illinois...
With this post, you have confirmed for me that #3 will be hard in Evanston. Both of these homes are at the top of my range, have dormered bedroom ceilings, and very likely have messy wiring.

Taxes in Evanston seem really reasonable. Only a slight bump from my current city dwelling assessments.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:51 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,596,022 times
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Default Huh???

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnieparent View Post
With this post, you have confirmed for me that #3 will be hard in Evanston. Both of these homes are at the top of my range, have dormered bedroom ceilings, and very likely have messy wiring.

Taxes in Evanston seem really reasonable. Only a slight bump from my current city dwelling assessments.
No offense but I, as somebody once was a landlord, owned MANY homes that looked MUCH WORSE than these are none of them had "messed up wires". What would make you think these homes should be ruled out? Do you realize that EVEN IF these homes were listed "as is" (which they are not...) it would be standard practice to GET AN INSPECTION before moving forward with a purchase. If there were any issues with the wiring it is very likely the SELLER would need to make repairs as it would otherwise be impossible for any lender to write a loan on an unsafe home. With regard to "dormered bedrooms" there are MANY buyers that find them CHARMING. I have lived in homes like that and I can remember that my kids LOVED THEM. You really should prioritize things that you have already listed and explore the range of homes that you have decided are in your budget. I focused on these for their POSITIVES like HARDWOOD floors and mostly modern kitchens / baths that generally are a good sign that there is sufficient electrical service for current appliances.

There are lots of things that can determine from "on line listings" but the QUALITY of the systems like wiring, plumbing, HVAC and potential costs for any neglected maintenance will require in-person assessment. If you are not currently working with a qualified buyers agent that can help you understand the process AND mindset needed to buy an affordable home that won't be a money pit it would be good to seek out such an agent.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:31 AM
 
44 posts, read 39,147 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
No offense but I, as somebody once was a landlord, owned MANY homes that looked MUCH WORSE than these are none of them had "messed up wires". What would make you think these homes should be ruled out? Do you realize that EVEN IF these homes were listed "as is" (which they are not...) it would be standard practice to GET AN INSPECTION before moving forward with a purchase. If there were any issues with the wiring it is very likely the SELLER would need to make repairs as it would otherwise be impossible for any lender to write a loan on an unsafe home. With regard to "dormered bedrooms" there are MANY buyers that find them CHARMING. I have lived in homes like that and I can remember that my kids LOVED THEM. You really should prioritize things that you have already listed and explore the range of homes that you have decided are in your budget. I focused on these for their POSITIVES like HARDWOOD floors and mostly modern kitchens / baths that generally are a good sign that there is sufficient electrical service for current appliances.

There are lots of things that can determine from "on line listings" but the QUALITY of the systems like wiring, plumbing, HVAC and potential costs for any neglected maintenance will require in-person assessment. If you are not currently working with a qualified buyers agent that can help you understand the process AND mindset needed to buy an affordable home that won't be a money pit it would be good to seek out such an agent.
Look, I don't want to argue with you. I appreciate the input shared on this thread and others. I'm not quite in the buyers agent stage yet. I do understand the importance of inspections and in-person showings before the deal goes through.

Dormered ceilings are a problem when you are almost 7' tall, hence my 7' ceilings thing.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:38 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,596,022 times
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Default That is rather different!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnieparent View Post
Look, I don't want to argue with you. I appreciate the input shared on this thread and others. I'm not quite in the buyers agent stage yet. I do understand the importance of inspections and in-person showings before the deal goes through.

Dormered ceilings are a problem when you are almost 7' tall, hence my 7' ceilings thing.
Yep, I can totally understand how lower ceilings would be a negative if you are quite tall. I thought you were equating dormered bedrooms with "DIY" electrical or something. That is not my experience. Sorry for any confusion. Good luck with your search!
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