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Old 03-21-2008, 03:44 PM
6 posts, read 24,769 times
Reputation: 11


My husband and I are looking for a house within 45 minutes from Harvard,IL ...the closer to Chicago the better. We know Elgin, Barrington, Crystal Lake, West Dundee....but has no clue their differences. If you know about these towns or nearby neighborhoods, I'd appreciate if you tell us!

We are expecting our first child in August this year. How does school district matter in our situation?

Convinient communiting is important. We don't want to live at a place where grocery is at least 15 mins driving away.

Our budget is around $500K, perhaps minimum 4 bedrooms and 3 baths.

Any advice about the neighborhood is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:00 PM
4,721 posts, read 13,610,199 times
Reputation: 4685
Many iffy areas of Elgin and that goes for schools. Crystal Lake is a safe bet, good schools, many family activities centered around the Park District and the lake, and a zillion strip malls for shopping. Also a nice 'older downtown'. Very busy area.Barrington is a very affluent community with beautiful homes/countryside , great schools but limited homes in your price range but still worthy of a look,certainly in this market. Dundee has a historic charming down town,very nice hoods,parks around the river but shares a high school with Carpentersville which is not so nice. I have heard mixed reviews about Dundee-Crown High. Again, nice older homes as well as some cookie cutter sub divisions a little further from town. I would say Barringtons the nicest followed by Crystal/Dundee and I would put Elgin last. There are some nice areas in Elgin, but alot of iffy areas ,crime,gangs, not rampant by any means, but a source of concern compared to all the surrounding areas which are very nice (except for Carpentersville).
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Old 03-21-2008, 06:37 PM
75 posts, read 351,631 times
Reputation: 18
You probably would not want to live in Harvard. It doesn't have great schools or housing. I have some towns that I am going to recommend to you. I will give you a brief description of them and then I will give links to real estate listings and some helpful links.

1) Woodstock, IL

Woodstock is a great little town in McHenry County. Woodstock was named in the top 15 most distinctive historic destinations in the United States in 2007. Woodstock has a great charming downtown with restaurants, botiques, and other specialty shops. Woodstock offers quick Metra service to Downtown Chicago and to Harvard, IL. Housing in Woodstock is very affordable when comparing it to other communities in Chicago. Woodstock is only an 18 minute drive to Harvard. Woodstock is an atractive spot for young families because of affordable newer housing, good schools, and an easy commute. The best public schools in Woodstock are Olson Middle School, Dean Street Elementary, and Mary Endres Elementary. All public schools feed into the very good Woodstock High School. Private K - 8 schools would be, Woodstock Christian School, Crystal Lake Montessori (Woodstock), and St. Mary School. The local private high school is Marian Central Catholic High School.

Woodstock Listings:
1) Single Family Home - 708 INDIAN TRACE, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
2) Single Family Home - 3121 BRAEBURN CT, Woodstock, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
3) Single Family Home - 344 FREMONT ST, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
4) Single Family Home - 1532 BULL VALLEY DRIVE, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
5) Single Family Home - 1340 INFANTA, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
6) Single Family Home - 2100 MARITIME LN, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
7) Single Family Home - 1318 SAVANNAH LN, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
8) Single Family Home - 2465 FAIRVIEW LN, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
9) Single Family Home - 10910 Williams Ct, Woodstock, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com
10) Single Family Home - 15316 ROSE LN, WOODSTOCK, IL, 60098 - Realtor.com

Photo of Downtown Woodstock:

Helpful Links:
City of Woodstock, Illinois --
The Woodstock Chamber welcomes you!
District 200

2) Sycamore, IL

Sycamore is a nice little town near DeKalb, IL. Sycamore has a cute downtown with a few shops and restaurants, it is definitely a small town. It is convenient because it is very close to DeKalb, a larger town, home to NIU. Sycamore has many new expensive home being built for those who would like to be in the Chicago Area but would like a very small town or even country feel. Sycamore also has very good public schools. Sycamore Trails Elementary is the best elementary school, with Southeast and South Prairie also being very good. North Elementary is a school that should probably be avoided. The high school is Sycamore High School and the middle school is Sycamore Middle School, both receive high-marks. Private schools would be Cornerstone Christian School (PK through 12) and St. Mary School (PK - 8). Sycamore is a 44 minute drive to Harvard. There is rarely traffic on this route.

Sycamore Listings:
1) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1079984998/
2) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1092966143/
3) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1081537749/
4) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1094165380/
5) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1093866458/
6) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1097419682/
7) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1090404697/
8) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/sycamore-il-60178-1056295874/

Helpful Links:
Welcome to the City of Sycamore!
The Sycamore Chamber of Commerce
Sycamore Community Schools

3) McHenry, IL

McHenry is a great small little town that blends an easy commute to Chicago or Rockford, small town feel, and convenience. McHenry has a great tiny town center. McHenry has great schools and the best public elementary schools are Hilltop Elementary, Riverwood Elementary, and Landmark Elementary. The best middle and high school are McHenry Middle and McHenry West High School. McHenry is only 30 minutes from Harvard and is conveniently located near Crystal Lake and all it has to offer.

McHenry Listings:
1) Single Family Home - 2140 BAY OAKS DR, MCHENRY, IL, 60051 - Realtor.com
2) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/mchenry-il-60050-1096868802/
3) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/mchenry-il-60051-1080280490/
4) http://www.realtor.com/realestate/mchenry-il-60050-1085381237/

Helpful Links:
City of McHenry, Illinois
McHenry School District 15
McHenry Community High School District 156- The Home of the Warriors

Let Me Know if you need anymore help!

Last edited by NUman; 03-21-2008 at 07:32 PM..
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:23 PM
24 posts, read 63,790 times
Reputation: 15
I would recomend Lakewood, Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Sleepy Hollow, and Cary. There will be many large homes in your price range in those towns.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:30 PM
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,084,090 times
Reputation: 1406
All good choices. I could go into more detail about Barrington if you want more info. Just in general want to reassure you.....very few places from Chicago to Harvard will you have to drive 15 minutes for groceries!
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:35 PM
Location: Cardboard box
1,909 posts, read 3,202,210 times
Reputation: 1321
Barrington by a long shot. There are plenty of houses floating around the 500k range, and the way the market is going you'll probably have a more and more to choose from as time goes on.

Crystal Lake is solid town that somehow amidst the sprawl has retained its rustic feel, Elgin I would avoid...particularly the older parts.
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:34 PM
7 posts, read 31,405 times
Reputation: 12
People that have never lived in Elgin have a real stigma about Elgin. It just isn't the way it used to be. It is clean and safe. Every city has a bad part or two, Barrington is no exception, neither is Dundee, Streamwood, Harvard and Crystal Lake. For example, look at the Vista in CL. Probably worse than Elgin in most respects.
If you are serious, I would suggest you look at Elgin. Elgin has many positives going for it.
We have a new $22M library in the downtown area. We also have a state of the art
Recreation 'Centre', that has free weights, machines, 3 pools plus classes for just about
everything you would want. We have the Hemmens Auditorium, also state of the art. There
are 3 Metra (train stations in town that take you right to downtown Chicago, not to mention 3
accesses to the I90 Tollway which also take you east to downtown Chicago or west and north
into Wisconsin. We have the Grand Victoria River Boat for fine dining and recreational
gambling. We have wonderful ethnic and American restaurants. Did you know Elgin has not
one, but two full service state of the art hospitals? The only surrounding suburbs that I know of with full hospitals is Hoffman Estates, Barrington and Geneva. We have little league ball fields on the
north end of town, the south end of town and the large sports complex on the west side of
town? We have the Trout Park Botanical gardens. Out of town guests can stay at any of the 5
plus motels? We have lots of neighborhood parks. And don't forget about the golf courses we
have in Elgin, and we also have to mention the Lord's park and the Wing Park facilities, both
with outdoor pools. The Randall Road corridor has shopping from discount retailers to
upscale retailers. There is more to offer here than a lot of the other suburbs. Our population
is about 100k with a small town feel. If you want more information or links to the local
newspaper (yes, we have our own newspaper!) city hall, or anything else, feel free to
message me here or at my alternate mail address: cocoasdad2@ameritech.net (cocoa is my
dog) House prices are less than the Geneva, Bartlett, Carol Stream Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake, Evanston, Wilmette areas. You can get a great home for 300k or less. Of course that means taxes are less also. Thanks, Toolman
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Old 04-20-2008, 02:13 PM
4,721 posts, read 13,610,199 times
Reputation: 4685
Elgin may have positives, but one cannot ignore the gangs nor the large illegal communities. Sorry, but the amount of section 8 housing and the crime factor has not helped this town recover.
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Old 04-20-2008, 04:13 PM
Location: Sugar Grove, IL
3,131 posts, read 10,267,569 times
Reputation: 1604
I would stay away from elgin, unless you can find something in the area west of rt. 47. that is where new growth is taking place. also, you might want to look at burlington, hampshire, or marengo, maybe huntley. they have more there than just sun city! There are plans to have road improvements in the Huntley area at I90 and 47.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:19 PM
1 posts, read 14,084 times
Reputation: 16
Elgin is not for everybody, that is for sure. It is for those who embrace, and I mean embrace with no regard for race, religion, creed, income level, status, etc. As I have said, it is only for those of us who truly are able to accept each other. We are home to many illegals who fled a country so corrupt, dangerous and often vile to its citizens. Yes, they do come to Elgin and they are welcome to call this home, a place where they feel safe. We are diverse. We are colorful. We are a rare breed here. We are not for everybody and we know many would not fit in here. Elgin is a phenomenal place to live because of who we are, not because of what we are not. Honestly, we don't need to sell the town to anybody. You will find us if this is the kind of place that fits the way you see your fellow man, and you will call Elgin home. I will add that all the other communities are lovely, also. Good luck if you are still looking. I hope you find happiness in your new home, no matter where that may be.
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