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Old 04-28-2009, 08:56 PM
 
158 posts, read 335,129 times
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Hi all,
I visit this site regularly and post occasionally-- I'm actually looking for some input though. My fiancee and I are starting to think about buying a home- we are both from the Mt.Prospect/Arlington Heights area however we don't really want to live in either town and honestly I doubt we could afford it. What I'm really looking for is some input on other towns that you think we should look into. He works near Woodfeild and I'm still finishing up by Bachelors. We would ideally like something with a reasonable commute to his work, we have around 40k saved as a down payment and we're thinking we can afford something around 200k (but we could be completly wrong.) He's dead set on a house, we wouldn't mind a bit of fixing up but nothing extreme.

Can you advise on any areas to consider? I'm fairly familiar with the NW burbs and all but we are finding it somewhat overwhelming to try and narrow down where to start looking based on our criteria.

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Last edited by rose125; 04-28-2009 at 09:22 PM..
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:46 AM
 
4,721 posts, read 13,617,612 times
Reputation: 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rose125 View Post
Hi all,
I visit this site regularly and post occasionally-- I'm actually looking for some input though. My fiancee and I are starting to think about buying a home- we are both from the Mt.Prospect/Arlington Heights area however we don't really want to live in either town and honestly I doubt we could afford it. What I'm really looking for is some input on other towns that you think we should look into. He works near Woodfeild and I'm still finishing up by Bachelors. We would ideally like something with a reasonable commute to his work, we have around 40k saved as a down payment and we're thinking we can afford something around 200k (but we could be completly wrong.) He's dead set on a house, we wouldn't mind a bit of fixing up but nothing extreme.

Can you advise on any areas to consider? I'm fairly familiar with the NW burbs and all but we are finding it somewhat overwhelming to try and narrow down where to start looking based on our criteria.

Your input is greatly appreciated!
What about Itasca? Hoffman Estates/Palatine/ Bartlett?
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:14 AM
 
28,384 posts, read 67,971,595 times
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A $40k downpayment is a nice starting point. Similarly if you have "run the numbers" and feel comfortable with taking on a mortgage of about $160K, along with the insurance, taxes and utilities, there ARE homes that you could afford in the region.

As you suspect, trying to find a 'gem' in AH or Mt. P at the price is no easy task, if you are handy and motivated I would suggest shopping for something that needs some TLC. If you have experience /time doing some more heavy duty renovations you can get an even better value. If you have the time to invest in researching distressed sales, and the emotions to not stress out if the deal falls through that is another avenue that could have a lot of upside.

My experience in 20+ years of real estate investing is that detached single family homes can be a very solid way to have a nice place to live that has a good chance of selling for more than you have put into it. This is tougher to do with townhomes and condos, but if the financial distress of the seller is great enough this may be easier to do. Right now we are experiencing an unusual surge in borrowers in distress. It is a good time to shop.

I would not limit myself to just AH & Mt. P, there are any number of towns along the UP NW line that have very similar values in housing. The massive renovation of downtown DesPlaines is a huge plus for real estate in that area. To the east Park Ridge still has a handful of homes that would have been teardowns just a short while ago, but offer excellent schools, a short trip into Chicago and solid value.

Even towns without quite as convenient a commute can be a good place for a starter home. Niles, Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood and others all have a small number of houses that would fit into your price range.

In general, there is stronger activity in your price range than further up the price ladder, so you have to be realistic about what sellers are asking, but time on market is still FAR above where it was when these markets were red hot and you should expect sellers to welcome most reasonable offers. You could probably "shop" about $50K higher than you ultimately spend and find sellers that would work with you.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:32 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,657 times
Reputation: 10
Check out this nice Elgin home on the website below in a nice neighborhood very close to Woodfield. Then call the realtor and ask her to qualify you before you look further. Good luck.

Property Search Results | Prudential Starck Realtors®
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:14 PM
 
198 posts, read 724,223 times
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First, go visit a mortgage professional and run the numbers as Chet advised. A 200K 30yr mortgage at 5% runs about 1400/month with taxes of 4K and insurance included. Then add your utilities and you are up to 1500-1600/month. You might qualify for this but do you want to spend it. Every 10K will save you about 60-70/month. Taxes vary and can make a big difference in your ultimate choice as can choosing a newer townhome with energy efficient appliances and systems vs an old home with old windows, insulation and heating systems but then you have to watch the assessments which can wash out everything you just saved. Decide what type of home you want. If you want newer then you should look out in Huntley or Lake in the Hills. If you want to feel at one with nature then Fox River Grove or certain areas of St. Charles might fit the bill. If you want old and charming the downtown area of St. Charles would be my pick as both and investment and home because you can find that older home that just needs a few touches because of this market and you won't be competing with builders as much as before. Be carefull about certain features like basements which in certain areas are must haves - look at raised ranches or splits in these areas instead of buying a nicely rehabbed ranch with no basement. If you go the townhome route, make sure you are doing so because they far surpass any home you look at within 25K of the price range. The townhome just may be the right purchase because it has a basement, a 2 car garage, and was built in the last 10 years plus look at the area and compare the two because down the line that is exactly what someone else will be doing when your home eventually goes on the market. Again, focus on an area that is the right fit for your style, wish list and most importantly budget. If your dream is a single family home, define what you want in that home and what you are willing to sacrifice (ie an extra 10 minutes in the car) to get that dream. home.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:49 PM
 
Location: West 'Burbs of Chicago
1,216 posts, read 5,042,727 times
Reputation: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanannie View Post
What about Itasca?
you wont be able to get a house in Itasca for $200,000
sad but true.

I know of 2 fixer-upers on Catalpa, both just over 200. one has the train, literally in the back yard... the other is a block north -- and i'm assuming it needs to be gutted, as the folks who lived there [ they were old when i was a kid, 30+ yrs ago] I'm sure they never did anything with the house.

you may be able to get the family members to drop the price just to get rid of it.

other than those 2, i can't think of anything near the 200 mark.
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Chicago
2,883 posts, read 3,845,433 times
Reputation: 2743
Quote:
Originally Posted by dundeemd View Post
Check out this nice Elgin home on the website below in a nice neighborhood very close to Woodfield. Then call the realtor and ask her to qualify you before you look further. Good luck.
]
I live in, and really like Elgin. I wouldn't call it VERY close to Woodfield, but it's not that bad of a commute, either. I live on the East side of Elgin and commuted to Roselle Rd in about a 1/2 hr. Had to take surface streets since there is no exit @ Roselle from the west which I think is really weird. If he works really close to Woodfield, it might not really be longer taking 90 to 53. There are a lot of nice, affordable homes in Elgin if you like older homes, as I do. Steve-O will probably come on here and say the crime is terrible. I disagree. I did have my car stereo stolen last summer when I left the car unlocked, they didn't touch the locked car also in the driveway. Every so often in summer music from a party will get loud. The police are very responsive. We've got a beautiful library and some good events at the Hemmens. There's a great bike path along the Fox river. I like the diversity of my neighborhood. A couple of weeks ago the city had free haul away of yard waste. That weekend just about everyone was out in their yards cleaning up. I have some rather poor neighbors and most of them take a great deal of pride in keeping their property looking nice. It's not always to my taste, but they make the effort.

When we bought our home about 10 yrs ago, we bought a 3-flat with FHA financing which allowed us to qualify for a higher loan amount using the rental income. It's been a life saver. I was laid off for 6 months last year and the rent from 1 apartment now covers all but a little bit of the principal and interest. We've had good tenants so it's worked out well for us. Pay attention to OakBrookMom's info about taxes and utilities and also consider that if you're going from renting an apartment to owning a single family home, there's a lot of stuff you'll need: lawnmower and other yard care equipment, possibly window treatments, etc. I'm a loan processor and several years ago I worked on a lot of purchases that refinanced when the rates went down, most people had significantly higher balances on their credit cards by the time they refi'ed. Be prepared.

Last edited by knitgirl; 04-30-2009 at 02:13 PM.. Reason: added
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:38 PM
 
158 posts, read 335,129 times
Reputation: 57
I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the help, we ended up finding a great home in Schaumburg during the summer. We really like it and feel like we've (hopefully) made a good investment!
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