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Old 11-02-2013, 11:11 AM
 
11 posts, read 39,192 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all! I've been pouring over the forum for weeks and need some advice. My husband, 18mo son, and baby on the way will be transferring from Atlanta to Chicago in early spring. We came up to visit and drove from WI I94 down through Lake Bluff to Evanston. We spent the bulk of our time in highland park staying overnight in Deerfield. After spending time in Lincoln park/Lakeview we decided the city is too much for us.

Quick background, we live in Buckhead which is an upscale area of the city. Lots of restaurants and shopping. It's urban, but has true neighborhoods, mature trees, mostly single family homes in our area and two of the nicest malls in the South.

We have family in Wisconsin so the North Suburbs are convenient for visiting family. We absolutely love the area, beautiful homes, parks and of course the lake. Our favorites are Highland Park and Lake Forest.

Important things for us are: safety, schools, parks, easy access everyday activities (doctors, retail, whole foods etc) strong community feel, and young families to create networks and make friends.

Our questions:

We will be making approx $160k and will be renting initially, but will ultimately look to buy. We know North Shore is affluent, but how does that income stack up? I've looked at the stats here and elsewhere, but I would like to know for those two communities what does the wealth factor "feel like?" Or is it overrated. Walking around we didn't see the flashy cars we see down here etc.

We are a young (in our early 30's) growing family and want to be around other young families so our kids can have playmates and we would like to meet parents in their 30s as well. Do these communities skew MUCH older?

The lake is one of the draws for us and wanted to know if people in the community get good use out of the lake during the summer months, or is it just a beautiful backdrop?

How is the commute into the city? My husband's job will be downtown, not far from the Ogilvy station.

We are absolutely thrilled to be coming to Chicago and wish we had the opportunity to visit more areas before our move, but we feel good about NS and just wanted to get as many opinions from y'all as possible. Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:08 PM
 
28,455 posts, read 85,332,804 times
Reputation: 18728
You are going to have some trouble finding homes that are in your target price / affordability based on standard multipliers -- the fact that SINGLE FAMILY DETACHED homes in all three of the towns you've listed skew MUCH higher:

The data available from are good hosts here:

https://www.city-data.com/city/Lake-F...#ixzz2jWmSzK1p
Mean prices in 2011: All housing units: $840,475; Detached houses: $885,972;

https://www.city-data.com/city/Lake-B...#ixzz2jWmHVZIf
Mean prices in 2011: All housing units: $794,919; Detached houses: $796,918;

https://www.city-data.com/city/Highla...#ixzz2jWmcWG12
Mean prices in 2011: All housing units: $698,703; Detached houses: $739,487;

Townhomes in those areas tend to attract retirees moreso than young families.

You might be better off looking in Glenview or Deerfield:
https://www.city-data.com/city/Glenvi...#ixzz2jWnTCbdg
Mean prices in 2011: All housing units: $578,047; Detached houses: $649,777;

https://www.city-data.com/city/Deerfi...#ixzz2jWnn9rh7
Mean prices in 2011: All housing units: $594,319; Detached houses: $631,665;

As far as "flashy" cars and such there are Ferrari dealers and such in the region, http://www.lfsc.com , but really as a percentage of cars owned they are not all that visible. Much like folks in "The Millionaire Next Door" the great majority of wealthy people in desirable suburbs around Chicago do not waste money on cars and other things that do not hold value... Folks pay BIG MONEY in property taxes to have top notch schools and that is a lot better long term investment than automobiles. There are certainly plenty of people that do enjoy travel and if too great a percentage of your income is going to housing in relation to your neighbors you may spend a lot of time hearing about trips neighbors have taken and not much traveling on your own. Other "kid centric" expenses include youth sports, with costly expenditures for things like hockey and equestrian events being quite common.
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:20 PM
 
Location: broke leftist craphole Illizuela
10,326 posts, read 17,420,544 times
Reputation: 20337
Try Du page County. There is great shopping/outdoor facilities, good transit to downtown, and areas ranging from upscale to extremely affluent (Naperville).
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:53 PM
 
28,455 posts, read 85,332,804 times
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If trips to family in Wisconsin are frequent it probably makes sense to focus on north suburbs -- additional distance to Naperville could mean a couple a more hours of travel.

The key to better affordability is often just targeting areas without the uner costly lake front homes of the north shore.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:03 PM
 
11 posts, read 39,192 times
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Thanks Chet and MSchemist80 for your responses.

Chet, we won't be buying for awhile in any location unless we find an amazing deal. We want to save up quite a bit so we can buy what we really want. We will be in WI regularly, as well as our parents coming down, so it's mutually beneficial for us to be closer. Deerfield is definitely a contender.

MSchemist80, As for Du Page, we will check it out, we've heard good things about Glen Ellyn, Elmhurst and Park Ridge so we are planning to do a quick look on our next trip down before we have to make a commitment.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Park Ridge is in Cook Co, sandwiched NW of Chicago close by O'Hare.

Last edited by chet everett; 11-02-2013 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:27 PM
 
223 posts, read 662,084 times
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Fullyoak - I would still stay north for access to WI but in a town that has a train line/good commute to the Loop.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
337 posts, read 929,575 times
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We (family of 3, one in college) bought a house in Lake Bluff almost a year ago.

We love the town. For us, it's ideal. It is one of the most idyllic and community-oriented towns I have ever seen. It has a cute little downtown, and a remarkable amount of architectural history and diversity for such a small place. For us, a fun weekend afternoon involves walking the dog to the lakefront (there's a beach just for dogs), then coming back to the center and finishing up with a beer at our excellent local brewpub, which allows dogs on the premises. The whole town is ideal for walkers and bikers. It has its own Metra station, which allows you to get downtown in approx. 70 minutes. There are express trains during rush hour which cut that by about 20 minutes.

People are, on the whole, friendly and approachable. I know almost all my neighbors, and we help each other out. Last 4th of July, we were out wandering around, and got invited to a couple of house parties by people we didn't even know. That speaks to the high level of social trust here. I expected to encounter some snootiness when we moved in, it being the North Shore, but that turned out not to be the case. Lake Bluff is sort of like Lake Forest's modest little brother, more low-key and friendly. Though it is very rich on the whole, you don't have to be rich to live here, and many residents are ordinary middle class. There are some rental properties as well, in the downtown area (don't know about elsewhere), so renting initially is certainly a possibility.

The only downside really is that if you're looking for excitement, go elsewhere! Lake Bluff is a sleepy, sedate little town. But excitement is readily accessible by car or train.
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:50 PM
 
11 posts, read 39,192 times
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Thank you Josef K. Great feedback and we appreciate your in depth response.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,339 posts, read 5,985,828 times
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I would consider Elmhurst.

My husband also has family in WI and we go up there pretty often. Even though Evanston is closer mile-wise living there did not save us any time in getting to WI because we were so far from the expressway. Of course if you are farther north then the drive to the expressway is shorter, but living in Elmhurst the drive to WI is not bad.

I lived in Evanston for 3 years (my husband lived there for 8). I didn't use the lake even once and he may have gone swimming in the lake one time. So, unless you are positive that you will really make use of the lake a lot I don't personally see it as a compelling reason to live on the north shore over western suburbs. Your money will certainly go farther in Elmhurst or Glen Ellyn than it will in Lake Forest. The commute downtown from Elmhurst is quite easy (27 minute express trains, and about 35 for non-express trains).
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