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Old 01-15-2021, 08:02 PM
 
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Don't really care about school districts, not relevant for us. That withstanding, is there a material difference in quality of life between these suburbs? Would you say they're all on the right trajectory as communities? We're looking into buying a home in the SW suburbs as telecommuters and love the Chicagoland area, but it's been a half decade since I've spent any time down that way.

tl;dr SW Cook County, how are things lately?
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TelecommutingSteve View Post
Don't really care about school districts, not relevant for us. That withstanding, is there a material difference in quality of life between these suburbs? Would you say they're all on the right trajectory as communities? We're looking into buying a home in the SW suburbs as telecommuters and love the Chicagoland area, but it's been a half decade since I've spent any time down that way.

tl;dr SW Cook County, how are things lately?
Do you prefer more space, updated home, no preference? Do you prefer a more rural, wooded feel or a town with a decent walkable downtown and very close amenities? Can you define quality of life in your mind? Are you intentionally excluding Orland Park or Lemont for any reason?

Given that home values and whatever you're calling trajectory tend to be tied to schools, I'd say maybe avoid Midlothian. I will mention schools because it's important to know unless you intend to live in the home the rest of your life, you should probably at least consider it from a home value standpoint. Anyway, for Midlothian, it's generally safe, specifically near Cicero Ave and there are some nicer houses near the country club, but there's not much going on there. I'd cross this off the list.

Oak Lawn has an underrated downtown area. Its library, bars and restaurants, parks and some grocery shopping are all pretty convenient. Generally traditional grid layout with sidewalks.

Palos Hills is more traditional suburban and doesn't really have a downtown. I don't find it to be overly interesting personally. At the west end of town is access to a lot of forest preserves if you'd like that to be convenient, bike paths, horse paths, etc.

Palos Park is basically in the midst of forest preserves - large wooded lots but a bit more of a drive to shopping. Some nice older homes and some newer subdivisions and newer homes in the woods.

Palos Heights - more suburban feel than Palos Park but also has easy access to forest preserves and bike trails along the Cal-Sag. West of Harlem feeds into a better school district that should help your home maintain value.

There's a lot of golf courses around the Palos/Orland/Lemont area if that interests you at all.

Worth - Not much of a downtown. Standard suburb, not many larger homes. Some generally older homes. Lack of access to forest preserves unlike the Paloses. Not interesting. Most of the town (east of Harlem) feeds into lesser school district, so you'll maintain value better in the small section west of Harlem, but in that case I'd suggest Palos Park or Palos Heights over Worth if you're planning to do that.

I'd try to rank these, but you may look at Oak Lawn and Palos Park completely different based on your preferences. Palos Heights should also be considered.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Bellevue
1,310 posts, read 1,596,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TelecommutingSteve View Post
Don't really care about school districts, not relevant for us. That withstanding, is there a material difference in quality of life between these suburbs? Would you say they're all on the right trajectory as communities? We're looking into buying a home in the SW suburbs as telecommuters and love the Chicagoland area, but it's been a half decade since I've spent any time down that way.

tl;dr SW Cook County, how are things lately?
If you are going to look at SW suburbs, you need to look at Orland Park for shopping. IMHO a lot will depend on the end of Covid in a year & how many small business can survive. Plenty to do in county park district properties. For events look up Moraine Valley Community College.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GWoodle View Post
If you are going to look at SW suburbs, you need to look at Orland Park for shopping. IMHO a lot will depend on the end of Covid in a year & how many small business can survive. Plenty to do in county park district properties. For events look up Moraine Valley Community College.
I've actually been to MVCC events before, small world! Was yeaaaars ago though.

Anyway, will check out Orland, just haven't seen as much in the way of housing that interested us there. I'm looking for a project with fairly good bones at worst, but something I'll still be able to squeeze some fairly immediate equity out of while I'm home during COVID.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:47 PM
 
4 posts, read 1,476 times
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Originally Posted by fusillirob1983 View Post
Do you prefer more space, updated home, no preference? Do you prefer a more rural, wooded feel or a town with a decent walkable downtown and very close amenities? Can you define quality of life in your mind? Are you intentionally excluding Orland Park or Lemont for any reason?

Given that home values and whatever you're calling trajectory tend to be tied to schools, I'd say maybe avoid Midlothian. I will mention schools because it's important to know unless you intend to live in the home the rest of your life, you should probably at least consider it from a home value standpoint. Anyway, for Midlothian, it's generally safe, specifically near Cicero Ave and there are some nicer houses near the country club, but there's not much going on there. I'd cross this off the list.

Oak Lawn has an underrated downtown area. Its library, bars and restaurants, parks and some grocery shopping are all pretty convenient. Generally traditional grid layout with sidewalks.

Palos Hills is more traditional suburban and doesn't really have a downtown. I don't find it to be overly interesting personally. At the west end of town is access to a lot of forest preserves if you'd like that to be convenient, bike paths, horse paths, etc.

Palos Park is basically in the midst of forest preserves - large wooded lots but a bit more of a drive to shopping. Some nice older homes and some newer subdivisions and newer homes in the woods.

Palos Heights - more suburban feel than Palos Park but also has easy access to forest preserves and bike trails along the Cal-Sag. West of Harlem feeds into a better school district that should help your home maintain value.

There's a lot of golf courses around the Palos/Orland/Lemont area if that interests you at all.

Worth - Not much of a downtown. Standard suburb, not many larger homes. Some generally older homes. Lack of access to forest preserves unlike the Paloses. Not interesting. Most of the town (east of Harlem) feeds into lesser school district, so you'll maintain value better in the small section west of Harlem, but in that case I'd suggest Palos Park or Palos Heights over Worth if you're planning to do that.

I'd try to rank these, but you may look at Oak Lawn and Palos Park completely different based on your preferences. Palos Heights should also be considered.
Awesome wrapup, good to know about the Paloses, Hills and Park sounds interesting, especially when trying to wring what one can out of a midwestern summer!

Good tips on Midlothian too. Loving the feedback so far, appreciate the replies, you all!
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:14 PM
 
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fusilliRob is spot on. I was raised in Oak Lawn, married and raised my family in Orland Park. Moved out two years ago (after 22 years) for Northwest Indiana. But I still go back to the Orland and Oak Lawn area often for my favorite businesses - Jack-N-Pats (Chgo Ridge), S&T Provisions (Mt Greenwood), Kenwood Liquors, etc.


Orland has everything in the way of shopping and stores but it's demographics are changing rapidly, and not for the better IMHO. It is still one of the most desirable of the SW suburbs, all things considered. The three Palos suburbs have much higher taxes. Tinley Park is similar to Orland but slightly more affordable. You might want to consider Homer Glen too, although the taxes will be a bit higher than Orland and some parts of Homer don't have Lake Michigan water. Consider Frankfort as well, although it may be a bit far south for your liking.


Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:46 PM
 
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You can learn a lot about a particular suburb by looking at its housing stock on Zillow or similar. Oak Lawn, Worth, Chicago Ridge and Burbank, although having some very early homes built in the 20's or 30's, had most of their housing stock built in the 1960's plus-or-minus, with a lot of teardowns and McMansions having been built in the 90's and 00's. Most homes are built on 1/6 or 1/4 acre lots, and are "brick bungalows". There are a lot of folks escaping the city currently and moving into these suburbs, which is a Plus for them. The further you get into the Palos' suburbs, the larger the homes and lots are.

Orland was almost all cornfield prior to 1970, but grew mightily since then, there are many different subdivisions in and around it. There are quite a few apartment complexes in Hickory Hills and Palos Hills, they have gone up and down the scale of tenant quality over the years. The real estate taxes in these suburbs, although lower than those suburbs further east, are still in the "3-to-3.5% of actual value" range, which to me is "theft", and is an impediment to appreciation. But if you've got to live near Chicago, they are better options than living in the city itself IMHO. I'm not very optimistic on the future of Chicago, save for the most desirable neighborhoods in and around downtown - most of the south side is not doing well after the loss of the manufacturing that used to be located there. Look no further than Ford City Mall for an example of this. Cicero Avenue between Bedford Park and 95th Street has the largest collection of Auto Title Loan, Cash for Gold, crappy motels and ghetto nail salon shops in the area. The trend of this area over forty, thirty, twenty, and ten years has been downhill - not sure what is going to turn around the South Side.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Curly Q. Bobalink View Post
You can learn a lot about a particular suburb by looking at its housing stock on Zillow or similar. Oak Lawn, Worth, Chicago Ridge and Burbank, although having some very early homes built in the 20's or 30's, had most of their housing stock built in the 1960's plus-or-minus, with a lot of teardowns and McMansions having been built in the 90's and 00's. Most homes are built on 1/6 or 1/4 acre lots, and are "brick bungalows". There are a lot of folks escaping the city currently and moving into these suburbs, which is a Plus for them. The further you get into the Palos' suburbs, the larger the homes and lots are.

Orland was almost all cornfield prior to 1970, but grew mightily since then, there are many different subdivisions in and around it. There are quite a few apartment complexes in Hickory Hills and Palos Hills, they have gone up and down the scale of tenant quality over the years. The real estate taxes in these suburbs, although lower than those suburbs further east, are still in the "3-to-3.5% of actual value" range, which to me is "theft", and is an impediment to appreciation. But if you've got to live near Chicago, they are better options than living in the city itself IMHO. I'm not very optimistic on the future of Chicago, save for the most desirable neighborhoods in and around downtown - most of the south side is not doing well after the loss of the manufacturing that used to be located there. Look no further than Ford City Mall for an example of this. Cicero Avenue between Bedford Park and 95th Street has the largest collection of Auto Title Loan, Cash for Gold, crappy motels and ghetto nail salon shops in the area. The trend of this area over forty, thirty, twenty, and ten years has been downhill - not sure what is going to turn around the South Side.
That's weird, because I keep hearing about how good of an investment opportunity Oak Lawn is due to a lot of the community renovation. Also, I've been there within the past 10 years and it didn't seem bad by any means, typical first ring American suburb...
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TelecommutingSteve View Post
That's weird, because I keep hearing about how good of an investment opportunity Oak Lawn is due to a lot of the community renovation. Also, I've been there within the past 10 years and it didn't seem bad by any means, typical first ring American suburb...
I agree with Curly you’ll seem some of the less desirable store fronts of Oak Lawn along Cicero at the northernmost part of Oak Lawn, mainly the stretch of Cicero from 87th Street to Southwest Highway. I’d say that part of Oak Lawn looks more like Burbank. There’s been newer development elsewhere in Oak Lawn -currently an Amazon Fresh is getting ready to open at 95th and Pulaski, and Panera already opened. A new Mariano’s and Cooper’s Hawk opened at 111th and Cicero a handful of years ago long after the Kmart/Dominick’s closed on that property.

I can’t say I fully agree with him that it keeps getting worse because really, in most instances, if something closes on a desirable stretch of 95th, it’s often redeveloped into a nicer looking businesses. That said, the strip mall at 87th and Cicero seems to downgrade almost every time a tenant leaves. Downtown Oak Lawn looks much nicer than it two decades ago. The stretch of Cicero south of 103rd seems to regularly attract decent businesses more so than the northern stretch of Cicero. Even if already somewhat familiar with these towns, it probably doesn’t hurt to drive around them somewhat thoroughly to see what you’re comfortable with.
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Old 01-19-2021, 02:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fusillirob1983 View Post
I agree with Curly you’ll seem some of the less desirable store fronts of Oak Lawn along Cicero at the northernmost part of Oak Lawn, mainly the stretch of Cicero from 87th Street to Southwest Highway. I’d say that part of Oak Lawn looks more like Burbank. There’s been newer development elsewhere in Oak Lawn -currently an Amazon Fresh is getting ready to open at 95th and Pulaski, and Panera already opened. A new Mariano’s and Cooper’s Hawk opened at 111th and Cicero a handful of years ago long after the Kmart/Dominick’s closed on that property.

I can’t say I fully agree with him that it keeps getting worse because really, in most instances, if something closes on a desirable stretch of 95th, it’s often redeveloped into a nicer looking businesses. That said, the strip mall at 87th and Cicero seems to downgrade almost every time a tenant leaves. Downtown Oak Lawn looks much nicer than it two decades ago. The stretch of Cicero south of 103rd seems to regularly attract decent businesses more so than the northern stretch of Cicero. Even if already somewhat familiar with these towns, it probably doesn’t hurt to drive around them somewhat thoroughly to see what you’re comfortable with.
Don't get me wrong, there are some very nice parts of Oak Lawn, as you say. I was speaking more toward "Chicago" itself going downhill where it interacts with the suburbs, and the suburbs being negatively affected as a result. During the BLM protests in April, Burbank shut down 79th, 83rd, and 87th Streets with dump trucks to keep a lid on "the peaceful protesters" spreading their nonsense further west, I was listening to the south suburban online police scanner that night, and the Cicero corridor was getting a lot of police attention. Oak Lawn hasn't seen the number of closed businesses that Burbank has, there is a Facebook page specifically devoted to them: https://www.facebook.com/Burbankbusinesses

Quite a bit of crime (carjacking, shootings, etc.) is spilling over from Chicago into the adjacent suburbs as well - Chicago Lawn and Scottsdale used to be enclaves of city workers, much like Mount Greenwood (still) is - no more. We used to hang out at Marquette Park when I was coming of age, there used to be huge tailgate parties going on Friday and Saturday night there. Good luck doing that today. As goes Chicago, so goes the suburbs, and the south side of Chicago keeps getting worse. Hence...

But on the other hand, both Burbank and Oak Lawn have thrown a WHOLE lot of money into renovating their grade schools, and MVCC just can't seem to stop building, same with Christ Hospital. But I remember Cicero Ave. looking MUCH better in the past than it does today, the trend has definitely been "downhill" through the decades (as you stated, mostly to the north - I sure do miss Annie Tiques, Scottsdale Bowl, Ford City Bowl, Coral Theatre, the Branding Iron, the Roller Rink, etc.). Ford City Mall is on its last legs, what a shame. I think Oak Lawn has done better than Burbank, because it has Hometown and Evergreen Park acting as "buffers" from Chicago. Bridgeview has taken a big hit with K-Mart's closure, and the soccer stadium being a money-loser (at least in the first few years, I remember reading it wrecked the village's finances).
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