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Old 09-27-2018, 05:28 PM
 
12 posts, read 27,042 times
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Hi All -

My wife and I are looking for our first home together that will hopefully serve as the home base to raise our family for the next 20+ years. I'm in sales, work from home, and commute all over the Chicago area. She works in Wheaton but will likely work from home in the next few years.

I grew up in Elmhurst and while it's a nice suburb, I want to move to an area with larger lots and a "country" feel while still having a sense of community around you. We searched STC, Geneva, Batavia, Hawthorn Woods, Barrington, and Long Grove.

Unfortunately, we haven't found anything that we fell in love with until yesterday. STC felt a bit deserted with new constructions from 10 years ago that people lost their butts on. HW/Barrington/Long Grove were nice but had mostly dated homes.

Yesterday we checked out Sugar Grove, specifically, Hannaford Farms. We loved the community and I was shocked by the amount of new constructions going up in the subdivision. Our max price range is about $900k and are considering buying a custom home or building one.

I generally hear good things about Sugar Grove but was hoping to hear from a resident on the details of the township:

- School System. It seems to be ranked rather mediocre from K-12. Any real world experiences with district 302?
- Taxes. I know they suck. But what are the high taxes going to? There is not a downtown area to my knowledge and there isn't a high school in town.
- Long term investment. Is Sugar Grove on the up and up? I know it stalled in 2008 but it seems like things are picking up. We don't want to live in a ghost town.
- Young Families. We are looking to raise young children there and would rather avoid being surrounded by elderly. Is this a good suburb to target?
-Hannaford Farms. What's your opinion of the subdivision?

Anything else I should know? Seems like there are great people out there and we are excited for the opportunity.
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:16 PM
 
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Pretty close to 50% or more of Chicagoland suburban property taxes will go towards the assigned school district(s). So even if the high school (Kaneland?) isn’t physically located in Sugar Grove, that’s still who receives most of the money.

I would think hard before commiting to ~$20k property taxes for mediocre schools. I would encourage you to reconsider areas with large lots feeding into Stevenson HS. Hawthorne Woods and Long Grove are good options. At least you will know the schools are top notch for a similar COL.

Didn’t Sugar Grove sue the developers over unfinished improvements at Hannford? Do you really want to be close to that mess per se(?)
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:37 AM
 
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I'll second the advice of damba. Generally a terrible financial decision to consider spending big money in any area without a record of high desirable schools. I know lots of people who've made that mistake, sometimes even in towns with well regarded "brand names" but split into several school districts -- those who build or buy a home in the parts of such towns served by the less desirable schools will end up potentially hundreds of thousands behind those who settle in the areas served by more well regarded schools...

The situation in the more rural areas of STC should be a lesson in what happens far too often with "new developments" -- the desired level of sales never materializes at the target price and developers end up with incomplete projects that feel more "abandoned" than rural. That pattern ends up contributing to lots of other negatives, from ineffective HOAs, to poorly maintained roads / parks, to schools that end up busing kids on very long routes. Generally everything that folks who've embraced more traditional "in town" developments associate with "sprawl" -- likely to remain a negative going forward for the foreseeable future...

I will say that there are some attractive homes in the greater Sugar Grove area, some with good access to nice amenities like golf and other recreational options BUT if you are spending literally HOURS in your car getting to clients and such the value of even those things is going to drop significantly. For what is worth I have a pal that is now retired, he used to build swimming pools and LOTS of folks who technically lived in areas with access to a community pool ended up contracting with him to have their own pools built specifically because by the time the family could get to the pool after work / commute the community pool was closed. Of course those private owner pools cost an ever loving fortune to heat well past the point the community pools closed for the season and inevitably even buyers were not unhappy with the "outdoor living areas" that included nice cooking / entertaining space never saw much return on the money they sunk into such things, which predictably left more than few clients with a bitter view of the overall costs... Believe me when sellers / their agents advertise homes selling for far below "replacement cost" that is NOT a situation that makes one feel financially savvy. The sad fact too is that such situations are FAR WORSE in the "keeping up with the Joneses" category that even the most "notoriously" pricey areas in traditional high income suburbs for the simple reason that folks who put up with lenghty commutes to get ANYWHERE inevitably are more conditioned to "pamper themselves" a LOT MORE with frequent purchases of things like high end cars that quickly accumulate eye popping mileage AS WELL AS feeling compelled to lavish costly toys upon the kids they see far too infrequently...

I'd also caution that the traffic patterns from towns on the fringe of development are notoriously more likely to result in slow-downs than those even a bit closer in. The way even strip malls and such result in a nightmarish stretch of stop lights and such make daily chores a huge time suck. I have a friend who lives in Plano and he basically refuses to come out / head back in anywhere close to the "rush hours" as he has sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic with ZERO alternate routes too many times. In contrast if you could find a parcel that was attractive in a more central part of the region there are likely multiple routes that MIGHT allow one to avoid the tie-ups that happen not just to traffic volumes but road maintenance and such.
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
6,398 posts, read 7,585,618 times
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I'd never buy a $900,000 house in Sugar Grove. While many of us think that a place is our long term home, things can change very quickly. That price range is a small part of the Sugar Grove market with "okay" schools. Should you ever need to sell it, it will take a very long time. You will not only be competing with houses in nearby and better school districts, you will be trying to sell a home at the top end of the SG market. I'd never again buy a house that is one of the most expensive in a town or area.

I'm very surprised you couldn't find anything you liked in St. Charles, Geneva, or Batavia.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:16 PM
 
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Try Campton Hills. For 900k you can get a nice house with some property and have st Charles schools
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:19 AM
 
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I like the area. You're close to a lot while also having a bit of a country feel. You would probably take Bliss to Tanner to get to i88 which I never notice getting backed up. Right now the Orchard Rd exit is under construction so there's some minor delays exiting onto Orchard, but those will be done soon. You have Target and Woodman's (best grocery store ever) close by. Some people in my neighborhood go to Kaneland district and they seem to love it. Their high school is rated 10/10 on GreatSchools. The only con I hear is long bus rides. I notice some new houses going up in Settler's Ridge (SG) as well as my nearby neighborhood in North Aurora, so the area seems to be selling again. I like Sugar Grove's library, too. We go to the Sugar Grove cornboil every summer and there's many young families and a nice community feel.

Only downside (besides taxes) to SG in my opinion is the lack of downtown area. Same with North Aurora. Luckily, Batavia and Geneva's downtowns are only 20 minutes away, St. Charles maybe 25, downtown Aurora is about 20ish. I can even get to downtown Naperville in 25 depending on the time of day.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:42 AM
 
3,270 posts, read 1,916,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking121 View Post
Some people in my neighborhood go to Kaneland district and they seem to love it. Their high school is rated 10/10 on GreatSchools. The only con I hear is long bus rides.

The OP should be focusing on the elementary schools and not the HS. Also, greatschools ratings are to be used with a grain of salt. Look at the IL school report cards online for a better overall picture.
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:22 AM
 
13 posts, read 7,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damba View Post
The OP should be focusing on the elementary schools and not the HS. Also, greatschools ratings are to be used with a grain of salt. Look at the IL school report cards online for a better overall picture.
Greatschools pulls PARCC data at the elementary and middle school level so they are similar. Greatschools also considers growth which the IL report card doesn't focus on until the impending ESSA roll out.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:03 PM
 
28,425 posts, read 70,091,551 times
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Default Respectfully...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking121 View Post
Greatschools pulls PARCC data at the elementary and middle school level so they are similar. Greatschools also considers growth which the IL report card doesn't focus on until the impending ESSA roll out.

PARC is an utter failure, Illinois is not alone in leaving this disaster behind -- PARCC pushback prompts Illinois to remake controversial test for 3rd-8th graders - Chicago Tribune, some of the stories are quite troubling -- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.8b11082f42ab


Even when it comes to test the attempt to use "student growth" as a measure of school effectiveness there are MAJOR problems. The fact is there are good reasons to HOPE that schools do in fact "continually improve" but there are so many barriers to accurately assessing if that is the case that I cannot embrace anything uses simply another standardized test of students as a proxy for school quality. It is a lot more complicated -- Can schools meet the promise of continuous improvement?* - kappanonline.org


Don't get wrong, this is NOT specifically about the schools that serve Sugar Grove, simply that there are currently NO PARTICULARLY useful "rankings" of elementary schools that do anything to help parents decide if schools are decent / excellent / crummy. It's kind of a shame...




What I do find interesting, especially given the increasingly dire fiscal condition of Illinois, is that ISBE has long tracker the ability of schools to use local funds to ensure school quality is maintained.


While Sugar Grove Community School district is in better shape to do this http://webprod.isbe.net/eReportCard/...10453020_e.pdf


Compared to some -- http://webprod.isbe.net/eReportCard/...40473080_e.pdf


Perhaps other nearby districts should be considered -- http://webprod.isbe.net/eReportCard/...90222040_e.pdf



Pretty dramatic differences -- http://webprod.isbe.net/eReportCard/...90222030_e.pdf
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:11 PM
 
3,270 posts, read 1,916,549 times
Reputation: 2551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viking121 View Post
Greatschools pulls PARCC data at the elementary and middle school level so they are similar. Greatschools also considers growth which the IL report card doesn't focus on until the impending ESSA roll out.

FWIW, PARCC is going away/morphing into something else. Here's an interesting release from Lake Zurich D95 on why the Greatschools ratings are to be questioned.


http://www.lz95.org/assets/1/17/D95_...ngs_FINAL1.pdf



The OP would be silly with that budget not to consider the immediate value of the highly rated schools feeding into Stevenson HS (and others). People aren't moving to Sugar Grove for the schools.
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