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Old 06-24-2011, 01:28 PM
53 posts, read 106,702 times
Reputation: 34


We are moving from San Diego to Chicago because my husband has a new job where he will be doing a lot of international travel and O'Hare is a good airport for him and my Mom (plus other family) lives in the area. We have 3 children ages 1, 2 1/2, and 5 years. Both my husband and I work from home, therefore, we are not concerned about a commute. My preference would be the Winnetka/Wilmette area because of the good public schools and the quaint houses/neighborhoods. That said, my Mom lives way, way out in a small town about 20+ minutes southwest of Joliet off the 80 and it would take her about an hour and 45 minutes to get to the North Shore, therefore, we are also looking at suburbs on the West side that might be closer for her because she will probably be staying with us when my husband is travelling. I've heard that Naperville has good schools, but has gotten crowded. It also doesn’t seem to have the same character (small and quaint) as the North Shore, although I’ve heard it is nice. We've also looked at the St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia area. We would initially rent (to see if we can even make it through a winter) and would prefer to keep rent under $4,000 per month. Since my husband will be gone a lot, a nice, safe area is very important, not just a good pocket surrounded by not so good areas. Kid friendly with access to parks and good public elementary schools is very important (within walking distance would be nice, but not imperative). As for houses, I don’t care so much about huge houses/big yards and am fine with a smaller house with a smaller yard, although we do have 3 kids, so we need some space. I’m kind of overwhelmed by all the different suburbs. Can anyone provide input on the St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia area? How does that compare to a Naperville/Aurora? And how do both compare to the North Shore? Will $4,000 be enough to get us a decent house in Winnetka/Wilmette? Any other suggestions? I realize this is a highly subjective question, but any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Sorry for such a long post.

Last edited by linicx; 07-10-2011 at 11:50 AM..
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:25 PM
Location: Palatine, IL
14 posts, read 37,788 times
Reputation: 12
Great questions. The areas you are looking are all good ones. My main question is really how often do you plan on seeing your mom? The winnetka area will be quite a long drive. You are right to wonder about that. I have lived in the nw suburbs almost my whole life, 355, other than rush hour, travels pretty well, so I agree you should look at suburbs off that. The towns you have listed all have a lot to offer. Renting is a great idea, it will give you time to explore and decide where you want to put down roots. You should not have a problem finding a nice home with a spacious yard in your budget. I would suggest starting with a good agent who can help you on the rental. Have a safe move!
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:01 PM
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,870,491 times
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I think the older downtown sections of St. Charles and Geneva are quite charming with lots to do. I'm not sure how often your husband will need to be going to O'Hare. That's not an easy drive. Glen Ellyn or Wheaton might be nice options for you; closer to O'Hare, but not as far as the North Shore for your mom. Your budget seems fine. I found this after a very quick search: Rental Property: St. Charles, IL 60175 - 4 Bedrooms & 2 Bathrooms for $2,975 - Rentals.com (http://www.rentals.com/Illinois/Saint-Charles/r1231655/ - broken link)
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:18 PM
4,145 posts, read 7,698,061 times
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That is one humongous home...it looks nice. You'd probably never find something like that on the North Shore. Wilmette, etc....yes quite quaint but mostly older homes. You will find bigger newer ones in other places that are still really nice. A really huge home on the North Shore could be unaffordable.
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:49 PM
28,460 posts, read 83,760,793 times
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With a budget of $4K/mo for a rental, a husband that needs access to airports, a mom in the SW portion of the region I honestly cannot think of a single reason to prefer any area over Hinsdale / Clarendon Hills.

Charm factor is probably as high / higher than Geneva / St. Charles and you have MUCH better access to airports. Housing stock compares quite well with North Shore.

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Old 06-24-2011, 05:03 PM
53 posts, read 106,702 times
Reputation: 34
Thanks so much for everyone's input thus far. . . great suggestions - I never thought of (or heard of) Hindsdale / Clarendon Hills or Wheaton and the St. Charles house looks nice. My husband will probably only be taking two to three trips a month and he can do it during off hours, therefore, I am not so concerned about him getting to the airport (don't tell him). It's more my Mom - I'd feel bad asking her to help me with my 3 kids and then have her drive a couple of hours to do it! She'd probably just stay with me, but it would be nice to give her the option of cruising home, although, even Naperville is almost an hour away.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:19 PM
Location: Chicagoland
4,027 posts, read 7,168,949 times
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Also, depending on where you husband is going, you could fly Midway so you could live a little further South.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:26 PM
131 posts, read 280,225 times
Reputation: 121
I second Chet's suggestion of Hinsdale. I was going to suggest it, but saw that he beat me. That was the first town that came to mind, after reading your post. Hinsdale is most definitely Winnetka's western suburb cousin! I think it offers what you are looking for. Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:48 PM
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,537 posts, read 29,716,425 times
Reputation: 6420
Welcome to Illinois! You will be pleased to know that you will find familiar stores like Trader Joe's, Whole foods, and Costco. Your Von's is our Kroger's.

There are not many rolling hills nor an I-5, but for an area of 10M traffic moves remarkably well. Winter weather can be brutal; dress for it. You will find an excellent children's hospital if you should ever need it.

Fox River Valley is a lovely area to live.
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:25 PM
4,145 posts, read 7,698,061 times
Reputation: 2722
Hinsdale is a good idea. It compares very well to the north shore. Airport should not be a problem. I used to travel all the time for work, and called a limo at any hour and they would pick me up and take me to the airport, no problem.
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