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Old 11-19-2015, 06:11 AM
 
27 posts, read 31,855 times
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i regularly prowl these forums and know theres a lot of polarizing discussion about berwyn as well as forest park, in particular in relation to oak park, riverside and cicero but was wondering if anyone could give me any insight on pros and cons compared to each other, or a heads up on any other affordable suburbs with cta access i may be overlooking (the blue line is my biggest draw to either of these suburbs). ideally i am looking to purchase a two flat and rent one unit out, i know berwyn is stricter on landlord regulations as well as building codes, but is it seen as more desirable for renters in any way? mid twenties here, no kids but its a possibility far in the future. im aware of the state of the schools in both these towns, and would probably plan on moving if i did have children, leaving this home as an investment property. currently my price range is in the mid to upper 100's, aka im looking for a decent starter home. any advice or tips would be appreciated, i know similar topics have been hashed over a thousand times on these boards but i havent been able to find anyone directly comparing the two towns.
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:08 PM
 
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It is a pretty simple calculation -- even if you do not have kids, nor anticipate renting to people with kids, would you prefer to have a building in a town that is almost certainly going to face more pressures from it is already quite miserable high school (Proviso -> Forest Park) or at least has a growing awareness that the biggest thing holding things back / looming is the potential decline of schools (Morton West -> Berwyn)???

The biggest PLUS for Berwyn for potential renters is the location of the BNSF Metra line. That is kind of the "heart of town" and that makes for a fairly convenient location.

The relative ease of access for Forest Park on the Blue Line is harder to judge, as many folks do not like the way the Blue Line platfrom is on the middle of the expressway at Harlem and the end-of-line DesPlaines Ave station is kind of pokey ride to the Loop... It is probably faster for many folks to DRIVE to the Loop from Forest Park and the relative high percentage of businesses in Forest Park that depend on parking probably backs this up.


Frankly at the "upper $100K" price point I would worry that any building is ALREADY facing some pretty signficant negatives -- that might include deferred maintenance, bad location , unusable layout...
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:19 PM
 
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Forest Park is probably more diverse in population. One third or more black and mixed ethnicity whereas Berwyn is becoming
much more Hispanic (Mexican) and more white. Berwyn has more streets with businesses like Roosevelt, Oak Park Ave.
Harlem, etc whereas Forest Park businesses are mainly on Madison (the downtown) and one area on Roosevelt with
Walmart. FP is closer to the DesPlaines River if you like walking in woods. I prefer FP to Berwyn. Both towns have
excellent access to hospitals, good health care. I would not call either one progressive. FP probably has more cool
restaraunts and bars. Education is nothing to brag about but not bad.
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Old 11-27-2015, 12:40 PM
 
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Most people know me around City-Data as the defender of Berwyn. LOL.

Berwyn shouldn't be too bad. I'd choose Forest Park, though. The schools in FP are much better than Berwyn but beware Proviso East....
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Oak Park
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Berwyn & Forest Park both have some great investment options, but finding something in relatively move-in condition for under $200k in either of these areas might be tough. Have you made any decisions yet?
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:24 PM
 
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I have not! I'm keeping my eyes and ears open as spring starts. My boss has pointed out a number of loans and grants that could be beneficial, so im conditionally moving my price up to the low 200's, especially given my overall experience looking at cheaper properties. My biggest concern with berwyn is building codes and regulations, from what i've heard they have a lot of hoops to jump through relative to surrounding neighborhoods.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:12 PM
 
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I did exactly what you are trying to do, I bought a two flat. You won't find one easily at that price point, maybe an old frame fixer upper. Berwyn has some great housing stock, I think better than Forest Park. Forest Park has that cute little strip with the restaurants but Berwyn's businesses are scattered through several corridors. Schools in either town are not good but there are some good private schools around. The building codes are very strict in Berwyn and any old building you buy will probably need some work. Still if you live in one apartment and rent the other out, it can be very cost effective. Prices have risen though and its hard to get a nice vintage building for a low price now.
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:12 AM
 
27 posts, read 31,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
I did exactly what you are trying to do, I bought a two flat. You won't find one easily at that price point, maybe an old frame fixer upper. Berwyn has some great housing stock, I think better than Forest Park. Forest Park has that cute little strip with the restaurants but Berwyn's businesses are scattered through several corridors. Schools in either town are not good but there are some good private schools around. The building codes are very strict in Berwyn and any old building you buy will probably need some work. Still if you live in one apartment and rent the other out, it can be very cost effective. Prices have risen though and its hard to get a nice vintage building for a low price now.
Can I ask where you ended up buying? And maybe even how long ago?
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:54 AM
 
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I bought in Berwyn in 2014 which was not terribly long ago but prices are higher now. Its going to be hard to find a house with a price point you are mentioning but not impossible. Be prepared to put money in it as well as you probably won't get anything turn key. Beware of properties that are or look like single family homes but are two units as one might not be a legal apartment and then you might have to rip it out.

Here is one you might want to look at. It looks clean and bright and it budget friendly. Its in north Berwyn but not too far east. Most of the two flats in
Berwyn are north of Cermak Road. As you go further south, its more houses. You'll have to get out and actually look at some places and keep up with Redfin or other website that can send you alerts. There are many flippers as well as investors buying in Berwyn. Some people are buying to flip, others just buy 2 flats and rent them out so you will be competing with them. In terms of location, I'd stay out of the northeast quadrant of Berwyn that is closest to Cicero.

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Berwyn/150.../home/13246237

Last edited by ToriaT; 02-16-2016 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:20 PM
 
27 posts, read 31,855 times
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Funny you posted that one, I've had my eye on it a while but I'm waiting while I save up to pad my down payment/emergency fund. I probably won't be able to make a move before summer regardless but I'm meeting with the west cook housing org next week just to explore my options and see if I can qualify for any loans or grants
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