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Old 01-21-2012, 05:50 PM
 
3 posts, read 1,649 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi all,

I may possibly be re-locating to Chicago for a job with my wife and 2 small children (5 years and 9 months). We currently live in seattle and are contemplating wether or not this move would be a good choice for our family.

My income would be min $65,000 max $90,000 (my wife would not be working) and I would be working on the Magnificent Mile.

We are looking for a family friendly walkable neighborhood, not smack dab in the city but also not totally in the suburbs. We would like to spend no more than $1500/month in rent for a 3 bed apt. We will have a car, but it will most likely be parked since we would like to live in a neighborhood that we can get to most places by walking or by transit. Ideally i would prefer no more than an hour commute to work by train.

With this salary and rent budget would we be able to live in a decent neighborhood? my son will be starting Kindergarten this fall so good schools would also be important.

Any suggestions would be appreciated

Thanks - Remi
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:10 PM
 
1,323 posts, read 2,405,366 times
Reputation: 478
The suburb with the most walkable downtown is Evanston which borders Chicago. It has a fun downtown that is liveable (even a Whole Foods right there), schools are good,you can walk to the lake, Northwestern University is right there, and you can commute to the Mag. Mile by taking the Purple Line (Chicago Transit) or possibly Metra train. Check on craigslist.org and see what 3 bedrooms run in downtown or near Northwestern (all of that area is walkable).

Oak Park is another burb that is inland but sort of along the lines of Evanston and you could consider living in its downtown and have good schools and walkability. You can also use public transportation.

There are also neighborhoods within Chicago that might work for you. However, the schools vary greatly within the city.

good luck to you.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Chicago - near NW
2,889 posts, read 1,929,979 times
Reputation: 1696
Family friendly, walkable, good schools, and affordable (for you) is not going to happen. There are some near suburbs that you might like, but they're not going to be walkable. Evanston would fit you, but a 3-br will run much more than $1500. The north side outside of the rich areas (further west from the lake, even west of the river) may appeal to you, but the quality of public schools has not kept up with gentrification, from my understanding.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,265 posts, read 8,284,297 times
Reputation: 3329
There are 3 bedroom apartments under $1500 in Oak Park, but they are relatively rare. These will not be "luxury" units with the latest amenities. Still might be worth taking a look.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:02 PM
 
1,219 posts, read 743,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remid98 View Post
Hi all,
Hello!
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:03 PM
 
21,771 posts, read 37,293,575 times
Reputation: 10751
Default Tough choices...

I doubt that I would take this job.

A base of $65k would not go far at all with two kids and a stay-at-home spouse. Given that a job on No.Michigan Ave is not super convenient to the Metra stations that really makes any burn short of Skokie or Evanston a longish commute.

With a child starting kindergarten in the fall you'd not be able to utilize the convulted selective admissions option for Chicago Public Schools.

A housing budget of $1500 in even Skokie which is more affordable than Evanston is unlikely to lead to anything other than the most basic places, likely w/o lots of bad trade-offs.

Finally it sounds like the position includes a possibility of fairly large commission / bonus. While on paper that might be plus my experience is that many fields that rely on such a compensation model leave relocation folks AGA huge disadvantage in lots of different ways. The first thing that happens is that if the commission is for sales and those sales require "relationtionship building" coming from out of town really hurts your networking skills. Second is the culture in Chicago business is a lot different than Seattle. Not sure if it just the much younger average workplace out there or the more laid back general culture but Seattle has a wholly unique feel that does sync-up easily to Chicago ways. Third thing is that finances of eventually trying to buy a house will mean you need documentation of consistent income and the commission and relo will hurt both...

Maybe there are some pluses about the move that I am missing , but from info provided I likely would take a pass...


Quote:
Originally Posted by remid98 View Post
Hi all,

I may possibly be re-locating to Chicago for a job with my wife and 2 small children (5 years and 9 months). We currently live in seattle and are contemplating wether or not this move would be a good choice for our family.

My income would be min $65,000 max $90,000 (my wife would not be working) and I would be working on the Magnificent Mile.

We are looking for a family friendly walkable neighborhood, not smack dab in the city but also not totally in the suburbs. We would like to spend no more than $1500/month in rent for a 3 bed apt. We will have a car, but it will most likely be parked since we would like to live in a neighborhood that we can get to most places by walking or by transit. Ideally i would prefer no more than an hour commute to work by train.

With this salary and rent budget would we be able to live in a decent neighborhood? my son will be starting Kindergarten this fall so good schools would also be important.

Any suggestions would be appreciated

Thanks - Remi
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,265 posts, read 8,284,297 times
Reputation: 3329
Chet, its hard to draw that conclusion without knowing what the alternative is. Perhaps the alternative is staying in Seattle and making $40k.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:21 AM
 
21,771 posts, read 37,293,575 times
Reputation: 10751
Default Mostly agree...

I tried to suggest that, given the relative difficultly of working on literally one of the most expensive and hard to get parts of the region's shopping / business corridors that the move would not be an easy one to make with one child about to enter kindergarten and another not too far behind with a stay at home spouse.

If the OP were to have given more data about current salary / income potential I'd be happy to weigh-in on the relative pluses of the Seattle business community / job potential vs the likely opportunity that a move to Chicago might hold...

I don't see the forum as a Pat Quinn / Rahm Emmanuel "let's con more suckers into moving here so we can tax 'em to death" place for boosterism. It is more expensive for a family with kids to live in Chicago / nearby desirable suburb than all but a handful of other regions. One could argue that the disparity inside the CPS for selective admissions schools / well supported neighborhood schools vs the mass of under performing schools in the same system makes a move here for families with school age children particularly hard to justify unless the income level is such that the whole range of private schools / most expensive neighborhoods / towns open up... The OP, at even the $90k level for a family of four, would not be in those ranks in this region.


Quote:
Originally Posted by oakparkdude View Post
Chet, its hard to draw that conclusion without knowing what the alternative is. Perhaps the alternative is staying in Seattle and making $40k.


Btw I have been to Seattle about half a dozen times on business. I have friends that live out there that are originally from Chicago. My above point got garble. It is my belief that since Seattle's workplaces tend to be younger and more laid back it is harder to move from Seattle to Chicago than the reverse. Established businesses in Chicago tend not to give as much authority to younger people as those in Seattle. It might make for a career boost for a mid 20s person to head out west but the reverse situation is likely to be less positive...
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:23 AM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,937 posts, read 3,562,772 times
Reputation: 3395
I think looking for places in the city is the way to go, as you work your way through your "due diligence" process. But finding a 3-bedroom apartment for $1,500 with a garage (extra, of course) are out there. Each of us may define a plus or minus for a particular neighborhood differently.

Have a look at the information for 3-Bedroom apartments published in this week's Chicago Reader newspaper, a free weekly which has an excellent reputation as a source for apartment rentals:

Apartments and Rentals | Real Estate | Chicago Reader Classifieds=

After seeing listings which seem like possibilities you can check further on them by locating he address/neighborhood at Google Maps and also Chicago Neighborhood Guide | City Guide for Neighborhoods in Chicago.

There are families such as yours enjoying life here in Chicago on the same or less than you're earning. How well you and your wife can plan and budget will probably be the determining factors leading you to enjoyment or unhappyness.

Best of luck with your review process. Chicago's a great place to live and work. I hope it all works out for you and your family.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:28 PM
 
3 posts, read 1,649 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all for the insight, it is very much appreciated, I want to clarify some things though. First, I grew up in Northern Indy, and have lived in NYC, Boston, Vancouver, Seattle, and a few other places. My wife is a Vancouver native, I transferred from NYC back to Seattle for work 3 years ago. The job I am in the interview process for is the executive chef for the Ritz Carlton Residence being builton Michigan Ave. The payscale I mentioned is the absolute minimum my family can efficiently live off of with one person working. The actual starting salary base range is 80k to 90k, we have found multiple places on the northside that range from 1200 to 1500 a month and fit a portion of our criteria. What I am wondering is, what northside neighborhoods are stroller friendly, safe, and have good schools.
Please keep in mind, public schools are public schools, and none of them are perfect, I just would like opinions on what the city considers the best.

Thanks,
Remi
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