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Old 12-01-2007, 06:04 PM
Location: Southside Corpus Christi
65 posts, read 274,698 times
Reputation: 79


Hello folks,

I asked this a couple weeks ago and no one was even faintly interested in replying....so thought I'd give it another whirl. Anyone got anything for me on decent places to live with my husband working at Great Lakes Naval Station?

We're Washingtonians (that's Washington State) transplanted to Guam for the last five years, contemplating a job at GLNS, and we have no experience whatsoever with anything east of Spokane, Washington ; )

My research thus far seems to indicate that there's kind of a ring around the base--Waukegan, North Chicago--that's not a good place to raise a family, and that our best bet might be to go a little farther west, maybe out to (help me here) Antioch, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst?

Played around with Realtor.com a little, but you can only tell so much from that. The bare facts are these:

I don't work outside the home (raising our 3, maybe 4 next year, small kids) and my husband makes about $85K a year. We can afford (taking into account those unbelievable taxes you all pay out there) between $225K and $300, although it would be a stretch at the top end there. Our priorities are reasonably good schools, trees, and a quiet neighborhood where our kids can play in the yard and ride their bikes. We'd definitely prefer older neighborhoods with roomy, solid houses (probably in need of updating), mature trees and sidewalks to newer subdivisions with that plastic-y paved-over feel.

As far as commuting goes, we'd really like to limit his commute to and from the base to 30 minutes if at all possible.

I also will be returning to school to finish my bachelor's degree when our kids are older, with plans to continue on to graduate school, so I'll need to be within an hour or so of a decent university.

Any input on an area that might be a good fit for our situation?

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Old 12-01-2007, 06:44 PM
Location: Near West Burbs, IL
622 posts, read 2,495,942 times
Reputation: 199
Here's some threads that may help




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Old 12-01-2007, 06:44 PM
Location: Southside Corpus Christi
65 posts, read 274,698 times
Reputation: 79
Wow, thanks for all the great links! Now, where were they when I was Googling...

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:23 PM
Location: Gurnee IL.
692 posts, read 1,858,534 times
Reputation: 332
Default Gurnee or Grayslake good options

I live in Gurnee (grew up in Deerfield). Gurnee is a good option, its affordable, low crime, lots of families with kids and a mix of older homes with tree lined streets, new home construction, townhouses, and really expensive homes---its a good mix. Gurnee being right off of 94 will make it easy for you to get to the Universities that you may want to consider---45 minutes to Chicago, 30 minutes to O'hare and 50 minutes to Milwaukee (all assuming good traffic). Gurnee has a great park district with wonderful parks, a great pre-school program, a new community center, lots and lots of kids sports leagues (my son is in little league and soccer). Schools are good in Gurnee, although the Woodland school district is the better of the two. The other district, Gurnee 56 is constantly seeking tax increases that are always rejected by those residents--so there is a problem with that district.

Gurnee residents generally are employed by one of the 3 big companies in the area, Baxter, Abbott and Motorola. I do have a neighbor though that works at Great Lakes and a few neighbors that commute to the city either by driving or train. Several Chicago Bears live in Gurnee too as the training facility is south of town (you may have heard about one of our former neighbors, Tank Johnson, in the news earlier this year).

Lots of amenities in Gurnee, as most residents get season passes to Six flags, there is a great, new water park for the residents, Hunt Club Aquatic Park---which is much much less crowded than Hurricane Harbor. The Des Plaines River trail goes through the center of town for hiking/biking, and connects to the Independence Grove forest preserve south of Gurnee which is truely world class---fishing, biking, hiking, roller-blading galore. There is a new indoor water park, Key Lime Cove that is opening soon too. Easy access to 94 means you can get to great restaurants to the south of us, visit Chicago or Milwaukee easily. We have a partial season ticket package for the Cubs and I can get to Wrigley in an hour +---ussually.

Gurnee has allot of strip malls though and chain restaurants---but there is a town center with a library, a historical house, a veterans memorial, and a swimming pond in back of the high school.

The down side of Gurnee is that you do get allot of traffic from tourist coming to six flags and the mall. Most towns people stay away from Gurnee Mills on weekends and shop at the other malls in the area like Hawthorn or Northbrook Court.

Gurnee and Grayslake is going to give you a typical middle-upper middle class suburban experience. Now, in my opinion I would stay away from Waukegan, North Chicago, and the towns to the north which are Beach Park, Zion and Winthrop Harbor because of gangs, crime and lower property values.

I would also stay away from the Round Lakes, Ingleside, Fox Lake---as those towns have a different feel and some gang problems. I guess the best way to describe those areas are maybe real blue collar with an influence of bars, fishing and watercraft.

Optimally you could consider southern lake county, where I grew up, but most of the affordable homes in that area have been replaced with Mcmansions and housing prices have sky rocketed.... If I moved back to Deerfield---$400K would probably get me an aging ranch next to a million dollar home at most..... So Gurnee or Grayslake would be my #1 or #2 ....Gurnee taxes are considerably lower than Grayslake and the surrounding villages because of all the tax revenue generated from Six Flags and the mall.

Hope all this helps....

Last edited by lakecountylifer; 12-01-2007 at 09:19 PM.. Reason: spelling errors
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:08 AM
356 posts, read 455,375 times
Reputation: 27

typical of what you get for under $300K in Gurnee
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:23 PM
Location: Gurnee IL.
692 posts, read 1,858,534 times
Reputation: 332
Default thats maybe a $250K house

You can get a nicer house than that picture you posted for $275-$300. Allot of newer homes (1991-1992 built) in the pembrook area of Gurnee that are very nice with 3-4 bedrooms. Go to realtor.com and type in Gurnee and you would be surprised at the amount of home you'll get in the $270-$320K range.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:57 AM
474 posts, read 2,412,818 times
Reputation: 113
Default When You Spell Out Glns....

... Then Uncle Sam OWNS your husband. So my advice - - don't buy a home but only RENT ONE.

That is also good advice for the current bad conditions in the real estate market. IF you were to buy a home 'today' with 'X' type of mortgage and amount - - and IF house prices should fall as much as 40% - - then you become what is called "Upside - Down". This means that you owe more on your mortgage / loan than the house is worth. Obviously, that would lead to a foreclosure.

Prices WILL come down quite an amount in the future. That's because 'money' in the U.S.A is not the dollar, but gasoline. And the United States has no control over gasoline prices. Another reason, is that WE as American employees are now having to take less remuneration from our employer because there are so many college graduates competing for work. When our gross income is less, then we pay less as a home BUYER.

Carter Glass
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:53 AM
44 posts, read 219,626 times
Reputation: 19

I live in Antioch and my husband is military (3 kids, so similar situation). It takes me about 40 minutes to get to the base, and takes him about 30 (so if your husband drives like mine...hmmm). I completed my B.A. in Elementary Ed. through the REACH to Teach program at Trinity Intl. University in Deerfield. Because it was in the evening and a reverse commute (meaning I was driving there while everyone else was driving home,) it only took me about 25 minutes to get there. There is a University Center at College of Lake County that hosts almost all of the state universities. They offer at least 20 or more B.A. and grad school options. That's about 30 minutes from here, too.

Antioch is a really nice place to live. Our kids can ride their bikes in the neighborhood. There are quite a few houses for sale on a couple of streets in town that I think really fit your description of that solid/older home with the trees and everything (my picks, too). If you want to PM me for more info, I'd be glad to help.

I do agree with Carter that you are better off renting. We're looking at losing a substantial amount because of relocation. Our house has been on the market since June, and another military friend's house has been on the market for over a year. They have already moved, but continue to pay the mortgage here. OUCH!!

BUT...I also know how hard it is to find a nice house to rent in your situation (lots of kids, need decent schools, etc.). Most of the homes in this area would fit your budget, and give you the space you need as well. I assume that you are looking for at least 2000 sq. ft.

Again, PM if you'd like advice on military living off-base. It really is a nice area!


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Old 12-06-2007, 09:17 PM
24 posts, read 79,766 times
Reputation: 18
Gurnee...shorter commute than the communities you mentioned, but all the amenities you want, including good schools. Grayslake's not bad either. I agree about the housing market....if you decide to buy, I'd pick a top 3, then see where you get the best deal (who accepts the lowest offer) rather than setting your heart on one home...after all, it's supposed to be a buyers' market. Good luck to you!
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:58 AM
9 posts, read 46,483 times
Reputation: 12
I see alot of Military families from that base in my practice in Lake Villa. They all live within 30 mins of the base and live in great, family orientated communites like Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, and Round Lake Heights. They are happy with the communities, the housing is affordable and within your price range in family friendly areas near newer developments and shopping and all with good schools districts like Lake Villa, Grayslake and Big Hollow. I hope this helps, good luck!
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