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Old 12-27-2013, 07:43 AM
 
3 posts, read 11,221 times
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Hi Everyone. My husband and I, both 29 yrs old, and our two girls, 4 and 1; are relocating to the Madison Area for my husbands new sales position. We are from Eau Claire, WI, currently living in Wausau, WI.
We are looking for a safe, family friendly area with good schools (specifically Elementary/Middle Schools, since we most likely will be relocated again at some point in the future.)

As I stated my hubby will be doing sales, home based and we can live anywhere within his territory. We are thinking Madison area, since it's in the center of his territory. But also considering Janesville, because of the affordability of houses, compared to anything we've seen online in the Greater Madison area.

Our budget is $180,000 and ideally we would like to find a 4 bedroom home.
We would like to get the most "bang for our buck", but at the same time would like to be in a desirable area, with a short drive to shopping, grocery, dining, etc.

So, can you please suggest some affordable/desirable neighborhoods in Madison?
Some good cities surrounding Madison, where we may be able to find a nice home within our stated budget?
And is Janesville a good area for our young family? I have heard schools are good there, is that correct?
Thank you SO much for your input in advance!
Happy Holidays!
Sarah
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:23 AM
 
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I'm not familiar enough with the desirable areas of Madison to give my input on that but some surrounding areas of Madison that you should be able to find pretty much everything you're looking for in Sun Prairie or if you're willing to look further in places like Stoughton or De Forest. I would suggest Middleton or Verona but I'm not sure how much you would get for $180,000.

Janesville was hit pretty hard by the recession but since it sounds like your husband has a stable job, you should be fine there if that's where you choose. My tip for Janesville if you decide to go there is try to get as close to the east side as possible. Better schools there.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:05 AM
 
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Hate to break it to you, but that budget for a 4-bedroom home in a "desirable area, with a short drive to shopping, grocery, dining, etc." isn't going to get you anything in Madison. Home prices here are a whole heckuva lot higher than they are in most other parts of the state, and home prices in desirable areas, as you call them, are off the charts. Just as a data point, the 60-year-old two-bedroom bungalows in my blue-collar neighborhood (not at all "desirable" by your definition) go for $125K to $140K, or more if they've been extensively upgraded.

If you need a lot of house for the money, Janesville is a good place to look. That city got slammed hard by the Great Recession, and there are plenty of folks who are desperate to find a buyer for their homes. I'm not familiar with the school system there, however.

Another possibility would be Evansville, a little north of Janesville and about a 30-minute drive from Madison. It's a very small community, but quite lovely, decent schools, and with much more affordable home prices than you'll find in Madison itself.

Stoughton is a very nice community, good schools, although it has become quite a bit more desirable (i.e. expensive) in recent years. Sun Prairie is also a nice community with slightly more affordable housing prices than Madison, although I have heard very mixed reviews about the schools there. Cross Plains is a small village west of Madison that might be a little more affordable. Places like Waunakee, McFarland, Middleton and Verona are all going to be way over your budget.

The sad truth is that Madison is an expensive city to live in, at least in comparison to most similarly sized cities in the Midwest, and many of the nearby satellite communities are just as costly. It's nowhere near as bad as NYC or San Francisco, but for southern Wisconsin, living in Dane County is mighty pricey.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:58 AM
 
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Loving the input and honesty. Thank you admiralsfan24 and MidwesternBookWorm!
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:52 AM
 
2,953 posts, read 9,190,796 times
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I just did a realtor dot come search and was shocked that even in Sun Prairie you couldn't find a house within your budget, with 4 bedrooms. I think Janesville is your only option if you can't make any adjustments to your budget or expectations for housing in the Madison area.

I don't think it makes sense to move to an outlying, semi-affordable suburb of Madison...only to be faaaar from shopping. You may as well live in Janesville, where it is cheaper and there is plenty of shopping, easy access to lots of places...
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:05 PM
 
46 posts, read 120,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelito23 View Post
I just did a realtor dot come search and was shocked that even in Sun Prairie you couldn't find a house within your budget, with 4 bedrooms.
I found this hard to believe so I did a search as well.

4-Bedroom Sun Prairie, WI Homes for Sale - realtor.com®

Not a lot of homes but some decent choices.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:52 PM
 
2,953 posts, read 9,190,796 times
Reputation: 2714
Quote:
Originally Posted by admiralsfan24 View Post
I found this hard to believe so I did a search as well.

4-Bedroom Sun Prairie, WI Homes for Sale - realtor.com®

Not a lot of homes but some decent choices.
Out of 192 homes for sale, 9 meet their criteria. If they up their budget or reduce the number of rooms, the options increase. Let's just say that Sun Prairie is the cheap suburb in Madison...yet it really isn't. Even in Madison there are some homes within their budget, but none in areas that have good schools or in great neighborhoods.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,736 posts, read 4,906,367 times
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Just be careful. Sun Prairie has some not so great neighborhoods, obviously not 'hoods, but not great, either. Also, as MWBW pointed out, the schools get mixed reviews. I know a guy whose partner works in SP as a teacher and he says the overall quality of the teachers is very low. I also have a friend who teaches 4th grade in Madison. She sighs when she sees she is getting a transfer from SP as she has stated they are almost always below grade level in multiple subjects. Those are my only two sources of info about the schools, but I haven't heard anything good to contradict these two people.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:27 AM
 
3 posts, read 11,221 times
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Again, thanks for all the replies!
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Verona, WI
1,201 posts, read 2,120,228 times
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You may wish to check out Oregon, just a few miles South of Madison off Hwy 14. You'd have good access to Madison activities/shopping/services as well as the Dane County Airport from there, and the property taxes are lower there than Madison. Schools are much better than Sun Prairie. The area is still being built up and you may have to come to Madison for most shopping in the short-term, but there are some new options planned in the near-future just off Hwy 14.
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