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Old 05-08-2018, 11:32 AM
 
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After many years living and working pretty much on top of our neighbors in Chicago, we are considering making a move to a slower town with more space. We are a dual-income, mid-30's couple with one elementary aged kiddo and 2 dogs. We have a max housing budget of $600k to work with, probably closer to $500k if I'm being realistic. Tell me about Madison and what you love about it where you live so we can figure out if it may be a good place for us.

Non-negotiables if we do consider moving:

- easy access to a very vibrant local restaurant scene, farmers markets, locally sourced/slow food (we eat out a lot, so this is high on our list)
- great schools (our kid is in the gifted program at his current school, so we would like to keep him challenged)
- a yard that is larger than a postage stamp, the bigger the better
- please, for the love of everything, no chain restaurants and no cookie-cutter suburbs
- 4 bedrooms (may be negotiable); we don't need a huge house, but would love an extra room for guests
- relative quiet -- we are tired of the constant sirens of Chicago, the planes flying over our house to land at O'Hare, our neighbors throwing parties, etc

I've heard Middleton and Waunakee are nice, but if they are very typical suburbs, it would be no dice for us. If both have options for space, we're amenable to both city and inner-suburb as long as the burbs have a vibrant downtown area.

Husband works remotely. I'm used to a 45 min - 1 hour commute, and would love to shave that down if possible. I'm an executive admin, so I assume I will look for work wherever it is, if that's downtown, at UW, etc.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:45 AM
 
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Madison native here, who also lived in Middleton. Living in the northern Chicago suburbs now.

From what I gather in your post, you would be more comfortable living in Madison proper to avoid what you don’t like about Middleton or Waunakee. Definitely not Waunakee and Middleton would be pushing it unless the house was perfect, my gut tells me.

I suggest the boundaries of Madison West HS, closer to downtown/campus. Easy access to downtown, amenities and feeder schools with solid reputations.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:52 PM
 
Location: WI
3,805 posts, read 8,506,316 times
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Hi OP. My first suggestion would be to take a drive up and visit. The Madison area is small enough, making it relatively easy to drive across and around in a fair amount of time. One of the biggest items you may have to search for is land size. Small lots are common and seem to be the norm in newer developments. If you want more space I would suggest trying out west of Madison; perhaps Middleton or Verona or Waunakee. Esp if you can find a rural devolpment, one that has its own sewer/water which will need larger lots.

Anyhow, one can browse realtor sites all day long finding homes but some time spent in-person is the best way to see what you like and where you may want to settle.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger17 View Post
Hi OP. My first suggestion would be to take a drive up and visit. The Madison area is small enough, making it relatively easy to drive across and around in a fair amount of time. One of the biggest items you may have to search for is land size. Small lots are common and seem to be the norm in newer developments. If you want more space I would suggest trying out west of Madison; perhaps Middleton or Verona or Waunakee. Esp if you can find a rural devolpment, one that has its own sewer/water which will need larger lots.

Anyhow, one can browse realtor sites all day long finding homes but some time spent in-person is the best way to see what you like and where you may want to settle.
I really donít think you paid any attention to the OPís post.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:07 PM
 
Location: WI
3,805 posts, read 8,506,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damba View Post
I really donít think you paid any attention to the OPís post.
Uh sure I did, and commented on the parts of it that stood out to me. Everyone with children wants good schools and most want nice amenities, but size and space were also stressed. Living in the city (in most areas) as well as living in most 'burbs will put one on a normal to small city lot. If one truly wants or needs some space, then heading out of town is usually the way to go. But that is why i suggested a visit as hitting site like this can only answer so many questions.

- a yard that is larger than a postage stamp, the bigger the better
- relative quiet -- we are tired of the constant sirens of Chicago, the planes flying over our house to land at O'Hare, our neighbors throwing parties, etc
- If both have options for space, we're amenable to both city and inner-suburb as long as the burbs have a vibrant downtown area.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:22 PM
 
2,767 posts, read 1,494,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger17 View Post
Uh sure I did, and commented on the parts of it that stood out to me. Everyone with children wants good schools and most want nice amenities, but size and space were also stressed. Living in the city (in most areas) as well as living in most 'burbs will put one on a normal to small city lot. If one truly wants or needs some space, then heading out of town is usually the way to go. But that is why i suggested a visit as hitting site like this can only answer so many questions.

- a yard that is larger than a postage stamp, the bigger the better
- relative quiet -- we are tired of the constant sirens of Chicago, the planes flying over our house to land at O'Hare, our neighbors throwing parties, etc
- If both have options for space, we're amenable to both city and inner-suburb as long as the burbs have a vibrant downtown area.
None of those communities has any sort of vibrant downtown to speak of. She also doesnít explicitly state she needs a 1 acre plus lot like you might find outside of Madison. That said, she might find a 1/3 to 3/4 acre inside Madison, much closer to amenities and with a nicer/larger private outdoor space than you find in crowded parts of Chicago that sheís leaving. I am quite familiar with what she is dealing with on both ends of this move
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:27 AM
 
Location: WI
3,805 posts, read 8,506,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damba View Post
None of those communities has any sort of vibrant downtown to speak of. She also doesnít explicitly state she needs a 1 acre plus lot like you might find outside of Madison. That said, she might find a 1/3 to 3/4 acre inside Madison, much closer to amenities and with a nicer/larger private outdoor space than you find in crowded parts of Chicago that sheís leaving. I am quite familiar with what she is dealing with on both ends of this move
points taken (and more or less agreed with lol). Lot size can help, but often it's a "luck of the draw" when it comes to one's neighbors anyway. I've had some close to us that were quiet and respectful, and others that would have been a bother even if on 1/2 acre lots...

Guess the OP will just need to take a drive up to check out areas to see what they like/dislike. Ideally coming up for a weekend so they can wander the farmers market on a Sat am, then travel around town to see some areas.
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Verona, WI
1,201 posts, read 1,909,619 times
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The Hill Farms Neighborhood near Hilldale on Madison's West side seems to check all of the OP's boxes, including lot size. It also has good access to Hilldale, Dudgeon-Monroe, UW campus area and downtown for the less cookie-cutter shopping, restaurants and other city amenities the OP seeks.

The primary thing I like about Madison is its size. It's fairly easy to get around town without taking any highways or interstates. And after living here 19 years, I often run into people I know when I'm out and about. Madison also has a diverse assortment of local amenities to suit those who are looking to partake in them.

Madison provides opportunity for easy access to boating and fishing culture either in the lakes and streams in the city itself, or in the surrounding suburbs. This is an example of an amenity in which I don't currently partake, but is readily available for folks to enjoy.

The winter months are longer, darker and colder than even the Chicago area, so that's also something to keep in mind. Property taxes are also on the high side in Madison proper. Expect property taxes easily over $1,000 per month on a $500k house.
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:26 PM
 
2,767 posts, read 1,494,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragnar View Post
The Hill Farms Neighborhood near Hilldale on Madison's West side seems to check all of the OP's boxes, including lot size. It also has good access to Hilldale, Dudgeon-Monroe, UW campus area and downtown for the less cookie-cutter shopping, restaurants and other city amenities the OP seeks.

The primary thing I like about Madison is its size. It's fairly easy to get around town without taking any highways or interstates. And after living here 19 years, I often run into people I know when I'm out and about. Madison also has a diverse assortment of local amenities to suit those who are looking to partake in them.

Madison provides opportunity for easy access to boating and fishing culture either in the lakes and streams in the city itself, or in the surrounding suburbs. This is an example of an amenity in which I don't currently partake, but is readily available for folks to enjoy.

The winter months are longer, darker and colder than even the Chicago area, so that's also something to keep in mind. Property taxes are also on the high side in Madison proper. Expect property taxes easily over $1,000 per month on a $500k house.
Excellent post that sums it up very nicely

I am wondering though about your estimate for a typical RE tax bill in that general neighborhood. It sounds more akin to the bills I have seen attached to more expensive new homes. Most of the listings I see now are closer to 9-10K/year. Aberrations? In any case, she is already used to (mostly) higher property taxes in the parts of greater Chicago where schools are most highly rated.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:23 PM
 
18 posts, read 6,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragnar View Post
The Hill Farms Neighborhood near Hilldale on Madison's West side seems to check all of the OP's boxes, including lot size. It also has good access to Hilldale, Dudgeon-Monroe, UW campus area and downtown for the less cookie-cutter shopping, restaurants and other city amenities the OP seeks.

The primary thing I like about Madison is its size. It's fairly easy to get around town without taking any highways or interstates. And after living here 19 years, I often run into people I know when I'm out and about. Madison also has a diverse assortment of local amenities to suit those who are looking to partake in them.

Madison provides opportunity for easy access to boating and fishing culture either in the lakes and streams in the city itself, or in the surrounding suburbs. This is an example of an amenity in which I don't currently partake, but is readily available for folks to enjoy.

The winter months are longer, darker and colder than even the Chicago area, so that's also something to keep in mind. Property taxes are also on the high side in Madison proper. Expect property taxes easily over $1,000 per month on a $500k house.
Thanks for this. Hill Farms hasn't been on our radar -- will check it out.

Yes, we are planning trips to the area to scope things out. I'm not at all familiar -- husband has been once or twice before, but before us and without the intent to move.

And yes, I've noticed taxes are higher than we are currently paying (in Chicago-proper). I guess we'll see how it shakes out.
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