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Old 01-15-2009, 06:12 PM
 
21 posts, read 84,968 times
Reputation: 23

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My husband and i met in Chicago several years ago, but we are not native Chicagoans. Currently, we live in the city of Chicago and are making plans to possibly stay in Illinois and move to a Chicago suburb - pending several factors including our jobs. We believe that suburban life will offer better Home equity, more home space, a place of solace from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a sense of stability.

Since my job, church, friends, activities, and hobbies seemed to be in the city, I am not familiar with any of the Chicago suburbs. I know many of the suburbs by name but have rarely ventured to any of them.

My husband is suggesting Matteson as on option (since he has some friends who live there). However, it seems too far away.

We are a rising upper middle class couple who is in search of a safe, quiet, and nice area/neighborhood without breaking the bank. We'd like at least a 3-4 bedroom home no more than $350,000.

Any recommendations on suburbs that offer the elements that I have outlined above without having to live as far west as Aurora? We'd prefer a newer home at the price stated...instead of a fixer-upper.

Let me know....
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Elmhurst
88 posts, read 306,141 times
Reputation: 49
Oh gosh you are going to be overwhelmed with suggestions asking this question!

First of all welcome to the melting pot of Chicago. I have to agree with you Matteson is quite a distance in good driving weather. Snow conditions compound the drive and will make it twice as long.

Assuming you want to stay closer to Chicago there are many suburbs to chose a home in your price range. The tripping point is the new home desire, that is difficult when you are looking for homes in your price range.

I'll read with interest the suggestions here on the board, sorry I can't offer any except perhaps Northlake? I'm not sure about the availability of new homes.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:10 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 80,367,407 times
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The suggestion about Matteson is kinda odd -- it is pretty far south. While the median home price is lower than in many other areas, I am not sure that should be too be a big a driver for a young professional couple. If your incomes rise it probably makes more sense to consider a suburb where you would do well with a starter house and then "move up".

If you take a look at the Metra system map ( Metra - Metra System Map ) you'll see there are lots of towns that are much closer to the City. While $350K won't go very far in many of the most desirable towns in DuPage Co, southern Lake Co, or N/NW Cook Co the odds of these towns remaining stable and desirable make them ideal for a starter home and eventually a good "move up" using your equity for a home that is more than you can currently afford.

Of course it is difficult to know your ultimate family size / household income, but decades and decades of professional couples have gone down the same path and been able to either maintain their two incomes or if conditions work out, cut back to a single income.

I would strongly recommend shopping for the BEST VALUE in the most desirable towns, especially as prices and mortgage rates are both moving in directions of great affordability. While you WILL NOT find a "new" home in any of the desirable towns for the price you set as your ceiling, I do believe you CAN find a home in GOOD condition but merely DATED (anything from 70s-80s decor to real "pre WWII" relics are out there. With affordable and minor touches you can redecorate and get great return on your purchase.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:31 PM
 
17 posts, read 81,290 times
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Are you looking for a house with property? Me and the wife are going to be selling the house in a couple of weeks. We live in crete a little further south of matteson but still convenient to metra and close to 394 or I-57
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:01 PM
 
21 posts, read 84,968 times
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Thanks to all who responded. I realize that my question was very broad and that a budget of $350,000 may not get me into the best neighborhoods with the newer homes. It was worth the inquiry. The only newer homes that I have found in my price range are in the new development communities in Aurora or Matteson.

Chet, you provided some invaluable advice. I had not considered what you recommended. I guess I was just considering a good value (low cost + lots of space/rooms) in a rising area with potential versus a more stable and perpetually desirable town. Thanks for this insight. we may have to begin with a starter home-even if it was built 10-30 years ago.

For Tennesseebound, we are not looking to purchase right away. I have a possible opportunity to relocate for work. If it does not work out, then our option is to stay in Illinois and move to a Suburb outside of Chicago. So for now, I am doing some research on possible suburbs for us to reside. I think Matteson is far enough and would not want to go any further south.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,872 posts, read 8,648,376 times
Reputation: 3764
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestYoungCouple View Post
Any recommendations on suburbs that offer the elements that I have outlined above without having to live as far west as Aurora? We'd prefer a newer home at the price stated...instead of a fixer-upper.

Let me know....
A newer home which is affordable and reasonably close to the City is going to be a tall order. Most of Chicago's inner-ring was fully built up by 1960. I know that Burbank, for example, has had a lot of tear downs, but those, like many tear downs, do not tend to blend into their surroundings very well.

If you're not totally wedded to the new home idea, you may want to look at Berwyn and Forest Park. Both offer easy access to the Loop (about 15-20 minutes). Berwyn's primary housing stock is the classic Chicago Bungalow. These homes were built all over Chicago in the mid to late 1920s and are actually pretty well laid out for modern living (except perhaps for closet space) and considerably more interesting (and better built) than a new home. And once they're updated, they're pretty low maintenance. Forest Park also has a collection of these on the south end.

$350k should get you one which has been completely rehabbed in this market.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 74,162,720 times
Reputation: 10305
Id look into Wheaton. You should be able to find houses/townhouses in your price range. Its in a great location and is ultra-safe, has a quaint downtown with several excellent restaurants, Metra access (2 stations I believe), close to everything, and had the title of "most churches per square mile" in the world not too long ago.

Have you scrolled through my "suburban photos" thread? Youll find TONS of photos of Chicago's western burbs in there, if youre interested.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: La Grange Illinois
79 posts, read 250,072 times
Reputation: 28
I would suggest near public transportation PACE, METRA RAIL SYSTEM. I am going to push south Westchester (young professionals), Brookfield, Lagrange, Downers Grove. Close enough to all major arteries, Metra & Pace. Taxes are low and home prices are very reasonable in the range of $250-$360K for a nice home.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:14 AM
 
1,464 posts, read 5,258,127 times
Reputation: 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestYoungCouple View Post
My husband and i met in Chicago several years ago, but we are not native Chicagoans. Currently, we live in the city of Chicago and are making plans to possibly stay in Illinois and move to a Chicago suburb - pending several factors including our jobs. We believe that suburban life will offer better Home equity, more home space, a place of solace from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a sense of stability.

Since my job, church, friends, activities, and hobbies seemed to be in the city, I am not familiar with any of the Chicago suburbs. I know many of the suburbs by name but have rarely ventured to any of them.

My husband is suggesting Matteson as on option (since he has some friends who live there). However, it seems too far away.

We are a rising upper middle class couple who is in search of a safe, quiet, and nice area/neighborhood without breaking the bank. We'd like at least a 3-4 bedroom home no more than $350,000.

Any recommendations on suburbs that offer the elements that I have outlined above without having to live as far west as Aurora? We'd prefer a newer home at the price stated...instead of a fixer-upper.

Let me know....

Within your price range and with this economy you can pretty much go wherever you want. While I realize that in another post I bash the sw burbs for their conservative-ness, I realize that to many conservative life is like a dream come true, esp if you have a family. That said, Matteson, while a nice choice as long as you move to one of the safer areas might be feaseable, I would have to suggest you consider moving a little further west to either Tinley Park or Orland Park as both towns offer great schools and can pretty much promise that while yes your home will stay stagnant in price/value with the poor housing economy, you will at least be able to sell your home.

Given your price range, I would really recommend you look in and around the OP and TP areas. They are totally safe, offer top notch schools, and taxes are stable now as both towns are built out so it's not like there's going to be a surprise $500,000,000 new high school needing to be built that the residents are going to have to pay for. Just try to make sure that you buy in School District 230 as this school district is one of the most saught after school districts in the entire Chicagoland area and this will offer you a bit of an advantage when it comes time to sell your home over areas that are not in Dist. 230.

One neighborhood that will fall into your price range and offer you easy access to the city in under 45 mins is right off 135th St. and La Grange Road. If you take 135th Street east off La Grange Road and head towards about 8800 W. 135th Street, you will find litterally a S-Load of houses that fall in your price range and require little work in fixing them up as they are pretty well taken care of. This area offers tons of parks, bike paths, is in Dist. 230, low taxes if you buy on the Orland Park side (South side of 135th Street), close to everything you can imagine as far as shopping and eatting goes, and the area is totally safe where you really don't even need to lock your doors at night. The neighborhood is pretty tight knit. This area though will offer you plenty of all brick houses offering 3-4 beds, 3-4 baths, 2-3 car garages all attached, nice sized yards, and easy access to I-55 via La Grange Road without having to deal with mall traffic to the south more in the center of Orland Park. Check it out.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:19 AM
 
26 posts, read 58,674 times
Reputation: 15
I HIGHLY recommend Oak Park. It has a really nice downtown, though it is nice and quiet as well, and its only 15 minutes away from Downtown Chicago. It also has amazing schools, and is super diverse. It has low crime (a few thefts now and then) and it sounds perfect for the area you described. The places others are recommending are nice, but far from downtown.
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