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Old 02-22-2010, 12:02 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,085 times
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Considering looking at a house for sale on the 400 block of N. Spring St. in Elgin. There appears to be from the outside several multiple family houses with chain link fences. I do not want to judge based on this, but these are telltale signs or aspects of a less desirable neighborhood. We want a safe neighborhood with ethnic diversity that is well maintained. We have heard of gang and crime problems, but have not been able to get a good read on this part of the neighborhood. It seems to be on the edge below the "Gold Coast" and on the top end of the more distressed part close to Kimball. We are looking for a vintage home with character to bring back to it's original glory, but may also build a family in. A safe neighborhood is most important. All help or information is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,649,328 times
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I live pretty close to there. We haven't really had problems at all, an occasional noise complaint in summer, less than 1/yr. We've been here for 12 yrs. I don't have kids. If I did I would probably plan on private school until U-46 gets it's act together. You might want to also look at homes on the west side near Highland. There are some good deals out there. You might also want to talk to these people Welcome to Abode if you're looking to restore an older home. They have members who were pioneers in restoring some of the great homes here.

I should also mention that even with the downturn in the economy, I did notice some very modest homes where the owners were making improvements to their property, e.g a home nearby that added a nice wrought iron fence. I think there are a lot of people out there that are afraid of Elgin because of the large number of hispanics and poor people here, but I have definitely seen pride of ownership with properties that many people who post on this board wouldn't consider buying. My hispanic neighbors keep their yard in better shape than we do, they plow the sidewalk all the way down the block, etc. If you're open minded, you might really enjoy living here.

Last edited by knitgirl; 02-23-2010 at 09:48 AM.. Reason: added
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:16 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,831,025 times
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I think knitgirl's assessment is very honest. If you go into this with open eyes AND THE VALUE IS HARD TO PASS UP because you've shopped other towns with better schools and less negatives then it might be worth doing -- that said I have seen lots of folks (too many, really) that fall in love with a charming house in a neighborhood that has little to keep it from further decline get angry / frustrated when they see how much return folks can get for plain (even ugly...) homes in areas that are more stable.

Now if your goal is NOT just financial, but artistic / emotional you can't have it both ways -- if you can see that the "neighbors don't share our values" (with regard to living in multi-family housing and tolerating crummy schools) it would NOT be wise to plan to raise your family here. IF (and this a HUGE think) there is any way that you can find a place with affordable housing that show signs of folks putting down roots and building up instead of "making due" I would much prefer such a block...
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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The neighborhood seems ok driving around, but the house doesn't do it for us. We are going to continue our search. Thanks so much for your advice. Greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Sugar Grove, IL
3,131 posts, read 11,197,467 times
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That area of elgin has always been considered a little iffy.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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I read an article in yesterday's Elgin Courier that the city of Elgin has bought 6 foreclosed multi-unit buildings with plans to buy 4-8 more, deconvert them to single family homes and resell them. Here's the article Bailing out foreclosed homes, one at a time? :: The Courier News :: Town Talk (http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/news/talk/2063908,3_1_EL23_02TALK_S1-100223.article - broken link) I think this will probably help get more homeowners into the neighborhood and alleviate some of the problems. Here's more on Elgin's efforts to improve the neighborhood:http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/news/2045496,3_1_EL14_04HOUSES_S1-100214.article (broken link) Weighing the pros and cons of Elgin's plans for 6 homes :: The Courier News :: Local News (http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/news/2050319,3_1_EL16_04HOUSES_S1-100216.article - broken link) I know they have had a program for years that gives building owners a grant for deconverting. I would love to do that with my place, but the rental unit pretty much pays our mortgage right now.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:51 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,831,025 times
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A little bit "chicken & egg" -- even in highly desirable areas of Chicago there are still lots of multi-family units. It really seems better for the market forces to be the primary driver -- my sister lives in Lincoln Square, many of the older homes there were originally SFH, then times got tougher and it made sense to convert 'em to multi-unit. With the demand for SFH soaring many have been de-converted back to SFH, now the SFH's are crazy expensive, the larger mult-unit buildings have low vacancies, but no one would really consider turning their million plus granite countered beauty into several choppy flats...

Elgin needs better schools, better coordination of employment, lots of other things to be attractive to more people. I hope they don't spend too much of their limited resources on projects that might just enrich speculative improvement without getting to the core issues that make other place better for families...
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Elgin, Illinois
216 posts, read 614,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post

Elgin needs better schools, better coordination of employment, lots of other things to be attractive to more people. I hope they don't spend too much of their limited resources on projects that might just enrich speculative improvement without getting to the core issues that make other place better for families...
You are right. And sadly the City continues on this dream that downtown projects will make us Oz.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,649,328 times
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The money for the project I referred to was a federal Neighborhood Stabilization grant. The city should go for whatever funds they can get.
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