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Old 11-26-2014, 02:59 AM
 
13 posts, read 20,309 times
Reputation: 39

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My husband is getting an offer this week to work in Deerfield. We live in Europe right now and have only visited Chicago a few times. We are looking for a good school district (we have two kids) and would like to live in a safe neighborhood. We would like a walkable downtown, healthy food places, bike friendly and not further than 30 minute commute from his work. Our budget is around 450,000 three bedroom two baths but we want to rent first. More questions I have are.....

-we are considering alternitive schools as well, anything in that area that is not too expensive?
-we dont want to be in a high pressure school district
-we also dont want to be in a snobby area
-are there whole foods or trader joes around?
-what is the quality of fresh vegetables and fruit in the Chicago area? Is it expensive?
-is the Chicago area concidered a high competitive environment like New York City?
-where does one go to play tennis, are there clubs?

Thank you so much for your help!
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:30 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 79,181,683 times
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I do not know what a "high pressure: school district would be. If you want a school that does not emphasize success on standard measures of progress you very likely will need to seek out a true "alternative" private school. Such places are increasingly rare as most traditional private schools also face lots of pressure from parents to funnel large numbers of students into highly selective colleges. There is a Waldorf school in Chicago's Roger's Park neighborhood. Depending on tolerance for driving children to school and then heading to work one could probably consider that -- Chicago Waldorf School Tuition is not cheap.

I doubt you could make it to Deerfield in 30 minutes from either Rogers Park or Evanston but maybe it is possible to do so from other northern suburbs that are would be about halfway between work & school, though that likely means a need for two cars and towns like Skokie / Morton Grove lack walk-able downtown.

Park Ridge might be an option, they do have a Whole Foods market that might help in your desire to spend a lot of money on organic produce.

I do not know what one considers "snobby" but it is probably worth noting that even towns like Evanston, which is home to Northwestern, does not have a particularly "granola" vibe that one might expect in college towns like Ann Arbor or Berkeley.


Similarly folks that work in well paying jobs in finance or similar fields are probably motivated by the same competitive forces regardless of being in NY or Chicago (or San Fran, Dallas, RTP, ...)


In the US tennis is not considered a particularly egalitarian sport. Though some towns do have park district courts the majority of competitive play does take place through private clubs.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:18 PM
wjj
 
868 posts, read 1,057,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitnut View Post
My husband is getting an offer this week to work in Deerfield. We live in Europe right now and have only visited Chicago a few times. We are looking for a good school district (we have two kids) and would like to live in a safe neighborhood. We would like a walkable downtown, healthy food places, bike friendly and not further than 30 minute commute from his work. Our budget is around 450,000 three bedroom two baths but we want to rent first. More questions I have are.....

-we are considering alternitive schools as well, anything in that area that is not too expensive?
-we dont want to be in a high pressure school district
-we also dont want to be in a snobby area
-are there whole foods or trader joes around?
-what is the quality of fresh vegetables and fruit in the Chicago area? Is it expensive?
-is the Chicago area concidered a high competitive environment like New York City?
-where does one go to play tennis, are there clubs?

Thank you so much for your help!
I fear you may be in for a bit of a culture shock.

I don't know if I would label the entire Chicago area as highly competitive, but the north and northwest suburbs in the Deerfield area are home to many highly successful executives, professionals, and business owners. You don't reach that level of success without being very competitive. That competitiveness is encouraged in families and then becomes the norm in neighborhoods of those families, and then into the schools serving those neighborhoods where residents insist on very high standards. There are many outstanding school districts in that area - top 5% nationally kind of districts. But those schools, especially the high schools, reflect their competitive populations and can be intense. I am not sure what you mean by high pressure, but if constantly being challenged to get better and succeed is considered high pressure, then I think you are in for a shock. That is the norm. These schools strive for the highest levels in academics as well as athletics and the arts. There are no trophies for participating. You will not make the cut on one of the athletic teams simply because you showed up. If you start to fall behind academically, these schools all have counselors that will intervene to try to get the student back on track.

These are not "go at your own pace" kind of places. I am not sure what you mean about alternative schools. Most of the private schools are church affiliated and they pretty much all strive to compete with the best public schools. So I don't think there is much difference.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:34 PM
 
1,517 posts, read 2,059,996 times
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Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and Lincolnshire. You will have to cast a wide net; inventories will be thin at your price point. You're more-or-less priced out of any other desirable towns in the area, especially those with shoreline.

If you're willing to extend your commute limit, you will open lots of better options. West and northwest suburbs are much more appealing at $450k, and you don't really have sacrifice on school quality or amenities.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:08 PM
 
397 posts, read 540,195 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitnut View Post
My husband is getting an offer this week to work in Deerfield. We live in Europe right now and have only visited Chicago a few times. We are looking for a good school district (we have two kids) and would like to live in a safe neighborhood. We would like a walkable downtown, healthy food places, bike friendly and not further than 30 minute commute from his work. Our budget is around 450,000 three bedroom two baths but we want to rent first. More questions I have are.....

-we are considering alternitive schools as well, anything in that area that is not too expensive?
-we dont want to be in a high pressure school district
-we also dont want to be in a snobby area
-are there whole foods or trader joes around?
-what is the quality of fresh vegetables and fruit in the Chicago area? Is it expensive?
-is the Chicago area concidered a high competitive environment like New York City?
-where does one go to play tennis, are there clubs?

Thank you so much for your help!
What do you mean by alternative? Sudbury, Waldorf, Montessori? The only Sudbury school in the area is in Riverside which is pretty far from Deerfield. The Waldorf school is in Rogers Park. There is a Montessori elementary school in Lake Bluff which is very close to Deerfield.

Generally speaking, the more "alternative" the school is, the higher the tuition. Affordable private schools are usually affiliated with a church (in Chicago usually Catholic or Lutheran). Parochial schools often mirror the public schools in curriculum and structure.
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:46 PM
 
939 posts, read 2,208,973 times
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I think you might like Libertyville if you are looking for good schools, walkable downtown and non-snobby atmosphere. Deerfield has great schools but the downtown isn't great. Highland Park has the best downtown, also has great schools, but there is a little bit of a snob thing. It's easily avoidable though. You won't get a big house for $450,000, but if you don't need lots of square footage, or a big lot, there are homes to be had.
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:55 PM
 
2,111 posts, read 4,948,372 times
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This is somewhat true, but it is probably also a good thing. At the same time, I wouldn't say that Deerfield is exactly Manhattan (NYC) or a Greenwich (Connecticut). It's not THAT level of competitiveness, exclusivity or a rat race, but it's the biggest, expensive & most competitive landscape that you'll find in the Midwest though, that's for sure. If you want cheap housing but with good schools in the area, maybe look just to the west of Deerfield and check out Buffalo Grove. Also check out Arlington Heights. As someone else mentioned, check out Libertyville. I'd also check out Vernon Hills & Lincolnshire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjj View Post
I fear you may be in for a bit of a culture shock.

I don't know if I would label the entire Chicago area as highly competitive, but the north and northwest suburbs in the Deerfield area are home to many highly successful executives, professionals, and business owners. You don't reach that level of success without being very competitive. That competitiveness is encouraged in families and then becomes the norm in neighborhoods of those families, and then into the schools serving those neighborhoods where residents insist on very high standards. There are many outstanding school districts in that area - top 5% nationally kind of districts. But those schools, especially the high schools, reflect their competitive populations and can be intense. I am not sure what you mean by high pressure, but if constantly being challenged to get better and succeed is considered high pressure, then I think you are in for a shock. That is the norm. These schools strive for the highest levels in academics as well as athletics and the arts. There are no trophies for participating. You will not make the cut on one of the athletic teams simply because you showed up. If you start to fall behind academically, these schools all have counselors that will intervene to try to get the student back on track.

These are not "go at your own pace" kind of places. I am not sure what you mean about alternative schools. Most of the private schools are church affiliated and they pretty much all strive to compete with the best public schools. So I don't think there is much difference.
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:10 PM
 
13 posts, read 20,309 times
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Thanks for all your feedback, it really helps us get a better feel for the area. I think we are zoning in on the buffalo grove area. Would this be a commute to Deerfield that is less than 30 minutes? Libertyville is second on our list but the housing prices scare us a little. We will not get a look see trip so we have to figure this out from afar! .
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:02 PM
wjj
 
868 posts, read 1,057,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitnut View Post
Thanks for all your feedback, it really helps us get a better feel for the area. I think we are zoning in on the buffalo grove area. Would this be a commute to Deerfield that is less than 30 minutes? Libertyville is second on our list but the housing prices scare us a little. We will not get a look see trip so we have to figure this out from afar! .
Depends on where in Buffalo Grove and where in Deerfield. The schools on the Lake County side of Buffalo Grove are considered to be superior to those on the Cook County side. Stevenson HS is always ranked in the top 5 in the suburbs. But the better schools are reflected in higher house prices than on the Cook County side of the village and much higher real estate taxes. One positive is that house prices in Buffalo Grove have not recovered from the recession yet and you can buy a lot of house for the money right now.

If you are commuting from northern BG to one of the companies along the Tri State and between Lake Cook Road and Deerfield Road (like Baxter, Takeda, Walgreens, Mondelez, Siemens Healthcare, etc), 30 minutes will be doable. It will take longer in the evening than in the morning (west bound Lake Cook and Deerfield are a mess every evening - less so east bound in the morning).

Libertyville to Deerfield in rush hour traffic would be tight at 30 minutes. Might be a bit longer depending where in Libertyville the house is, but not horrible. House prices seem to have recovered a bit more in Libertyville than they have in BG.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:36 AM
 
13 posts, read 20,309 times
Reputation: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl1ngsworth View Post
Deerfield, Northbrook, Highland Park and Lincolnshire. You will have to cast a wide net; inventories will be thin at your price point. You're more-or-less priced out of any other desirable towns in the area, especially those with shoreline.

If you're willing to extend your commute limit, you will open lots of better options. West and northwest suburbs are much more appealing at $450k, and you don't really have sacrifice on school quality or amenities.
I think you are right. We are getting a little discouraged by what 450k will get us within 30 minutes commute of deerfield. Would my kids be considered one of the poor kids in these neighborhoods if they live in a 450k house???? What western or northwestern towns would you recommend?
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