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Old 12-22-2006, 06:42 PM
 
57 posts, read 116,982 times
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I am re-locating to Chicago next week. I have just sold my home in Scottsdale, AZ and will be staying in an apartment in Chicago for roughly two months.

I am married with a son that is just over 1 year old. We do have plans to have more children but we're okay with a 3 bedroom house if necessary for the next 3 to 5 years.

I will be working in Chicago in the 200 block of West Washington.

My wife and I are debating the merits of living in the city versus the surburbs. We had pretty much narrowed the suburbs down to Naperville. We are now considering whether to live in the city to reduce my commute time.

We have a target amount of $550k to $650k to spend on a new place. We can and may go as high as $750k to $800k. We have lived in two places and always in the suburbs in a Single family house, so city living would be new to us.

We are open to living in a SFD, condo, or townhouse.

I'd like to keep my commute time to no more than 45 minutes to an hour. We're considering the city to reduce the commute time.

Questions:

1. Other than Naperville, what suburbs should we consider that would fit with my commute time (assuming train travel)?

2. What parts of the city should I consider?

Any other advice. Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2006, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,797,999 times
Reputation: 29746
If you want a short commute time with many of Naperville's good qualities and without many of Naperville's bad qualities, I would zero in on Oak Park. I don't mean to be one of those tiresome city-dwelling Naperville-bashers, but at the risk of sounding like one anyway, I will tell you that Naperville is overrated. The core of Naperville -- the downtown area and the many lovely old houses around the downtown area -- truly is nice. But the fact that those charming attributes drew over 100,000 new residents to Naperville in the last 30 or so years has in fact turned most of Naperville into a bland, soul-crushing landscape of conformity and tacky, cheaply-built tract-housing townhomes. It hasn't done traffic conditions much good either. Oak Park development reached its capacity before WWII so you see very little of this sort of thing.

Another area to consider is Evanston, for much the same reasons. Both Evanston and Oak Park border Chicago proper.

I would generally avoid the city unless you intend to put your kids through private schools. It sounds like you may have the means to do just that. So that said, there are two main areas in the city that I would consider a good environment for raising kids: many of the neighborhoods on the far Northwest side like Jefferson Park, Edison Park, Oriole Park, Edgebrook, Norwood Park and Sauganash; and certain far South/Southwest side neighborhoods such as Beverly, Ashburn, Mount Greenwood, and Morgan Park. Both areas are well-served by public transportation to get you downtown; the Northwest side neighborhoods by both CTA and Metra lines, and the South Side neighborhoods by Metra. The Northwest side neighborhoods will give you quicker access to nightlife, entertainment and cultural areas that are located in neighborhoods other than downtown. You'll get a lot more house for your money in the South neighborhoods than in the Northwest neighborhoods, and the homes in the South Side neighborhoods will typically have bigger lots for the tyke(s) to play in. Many of the lots in the South Side neighborhoods are quite generous even by suburban standards, much less for Chicago.

Hope this helps, and best of luck to you and your family.
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Old 12-24-2006, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 72,093,920 times
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The Naperville area is NOT overrated. I always hear people say how the town is overrated and yada, yada, yada. People say its cookie-cutter homes (not true) that are cheaply built, etc. Yes, there are some areas like this, but theyre ALL OVER THE STATES, not just here. In fact, California and Arizona had the highest concentration of cookie-cutter homes Ive ever seen in my life, endless neighborhoods that all look identical. Youll find a few of those in Naperville, but they hardly make up the bulk of the city. Anyways, back on track....

Naperville, where to begin? Here we go: best schools in the state, best library system in the USA, consitently ranked by CNN/Money magazine in the top 5 places to live in the USA, the riverwalk, the quarry pool, the vibrant downtown, the theatres, the endless shopping, the excellent restaurants. Here are just a few of the restaurants in the downtown area: Mangolian Barbecue, Heaven on Seven, Rosebuds, Potters Place, Sullivans, the Samba Room, Jimmys, Sushi House, Lou Malnatis, Giordanos, etc. The covered bridges and fountains and mosaics/murals/sculptures make downtown very unique. And for a town of 160,000 people, Naperville has VERY low crime and a small town feel that Ive yet to find anywhere else with a population that large. There are also many nice parks in town and lots of historical sites to visit as well. Nightlife is great, although mainly downtown only. There are festivals galore, year round. There is RibFest, Last Fling, many many many other events and they even light up the downtown during Christmas and offer ice scuplture carvings on the streets if the weather is cold enough.

Oak Park is nice (in areas), but doesnt offer what Naperville does. In your price range, you should be able to find a lovely home in a great area devoid of cookie cutter homes. Oak Park is surrounded by ghettos, Naperville is not. You can drive town to town in 100% safety, unlike being on Chicago's westside.

If youre looking to take the train in, Id recommend Wheaton, Geneva, Glen Ellyn. Other towns that are noteworthy would be Lisle, Barrington, St. Charles, Wayne, Bartlett, Winfield, Warrenville, Orland Park, Hinsdale, Schaumburg, South Elgin, Libertyville, Oak Brook, Elmhurst, Long Grove, Batavia, Northbrook, Winnetka, Lake Forest. Too many to mention here. Do a little research on city-data and you should be able to pull up more info on these towns.

You can also visit www.visitnaperville.com and see what you think. That site doesnt show much, but will give you a general idea.

Here are a few shots Ive taken around here. They dont show much, but hopefully will help you visualize some of the area:

St. Charles:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/St-1.jpg (broken link)
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/HotelBakerwithbridge.jpg (broken link)

Geneva:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/DobsonSquarewithpedestrians.jpg (broken link)

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/DobsonPlaceinBW.jpg (broken link)

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/LittleTravelerwithlights.jpg (broken link)

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/LookingacrossthestreettowardsLittle.jpg (broken link)

Typical Lake Forest neighborhood:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/ElawaFarmhomes.jpg (broken link)

Some homes around South Elgin area:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/Picture017.jpg (broken link)

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/Picture019.jpg (broken link)
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Old 12-25-2006, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,797,999 times
Reputation: 29746
Those last two houses -- are they in Crane Road Estates? I think I recognize them.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 72,093,920 times
Reputation: 10250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Those last two houses -- are they in Crane Road Estates? I think I recognize them.
I think you could be correct, that name sounds familiar. Is the subdivision off of Randall Road north of St. Charles a bit? If so, I think youre right.
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Old 12-26-2006, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,797,999 times
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Yep, on the corner of Randall and Crane Roads, just east of Randall. That area is still St. Charles; or at least St. Charles Township if not the city proper.
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Old 12-26-2006, 02:17 AM
 
21 posts, read 83,451 times
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I recommend Evanston or Skokie, which are north of L.A. and are very beautiful and relatiavely safe cities.
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Old 12-26-2006, 02:30 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,797,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodelady View Post
I recommend Evanston or Skokie, which are north of L.A. and are very beautiful and relatiavely safe cities.
Oh, they're north of L.A. all right. About 700 miles north. Oh, and a couple thousand miles east too.

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Old 01-08-2007, 11:44 AM
 
17 posts, read 215,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodelady View Post
I recommend Evanston or Skokie, which are north of L.A. and are very beautiful and relatiavely safe cities.
THATS BECAUSE HE'S FROM CONNECTICUT!!
ONLY 1100 MILES NORTH, AND LIKE 1500 MILES WEST... CLOSE
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:07 PM
 
4,808 posts, read 8,907,009 times
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If you do consider a property in Chicago, use this tool to determine the zoned schools of the property: http://schoollocator.cps.k12.il.us/

Enter the address and determine the zoned schools.

If you do not like the zoned schools, you may opt for magnet schools or private schools.
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