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Old 11-13-2018, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
3 posts, read 3,417 times
Reputation: 13

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Hi all, I live in the western Chicago suburbs and work in the northern suburbs. I'd say that we are considered upper middle class. I am a corporate Controller and my wife is a stay at home mom to our 1 year-old daughter.


We are tired of the high taxes in Illinois and are looking to move over the border to Indiana. First and foremost, safety and a good place to raise our daughter is the top priority. We want to live somewhere with a good sense of community, good schools, low crime, mostly single family homes, and commutable to the Chicago loop (10 minute drive to station, maybe 45 minute train ride), since working in the northern or western suburbs would be a monster of a commute.

Basically, I would like to live in an area that resembles the western Chicago suburbs, without the high taxes and high home prices. For comparison, our home is 1,900 square feet and is currently valued at around $380,000. Goal would be a 2,000 square foot home, attached 2 car garage for somewhere in the $300,000 range, with property taxes $5,000 a year or less.


What are our best options?

The first two that come to mind are Munster and Highland.


Thoughts? Pros/cons? Any other recommendations?
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:20 PM
 
809 posts, read 2,196,327 times
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Your requirement that the commute be about 55 mins and ~10 min drive to the train station limits you significantly. Munster and Highland would be just about the only options given your other criteria, I agree. Maybe only Munster. If you consider driving or a slightly longer commute overall (that increase in commute time being additional time traveling to/from the train), that'll open up your options considerably.

FYI this response will change in a few years as the extension of the train to Dyer is supposed to be completed by 2022. Might be something to keep in mind for down the road or purchasing a home in NWI now and looking to stay for a while.
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Old 11-14-2018, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
11,584 posts, read 5,915,841 times
Reputation: 14778
We moved from the Western Illinois suburbs 2 years ago. Svillechris is correct, in that your criteria limits you, but if you're willing to drive a little further to the train for a few years then it will open your options up greatly!

As far as a good family community with low crime, good schools and low taxes, any of the following towns would fit that bill.

Munster
Dyer
Schererville
St. John
Crown Point
Cedar Lake
Highland

Indiana's property taxes are capped at 1% of the assessed value, so you could easily have a property tax bill around $3k; however, some school districts have passed referendums so it could increase your bill past that 1% cap. Munster probably has the highest property taxes out of the towns I listed, but again, nothing like Illinois!

Dyer, Schererville and St. John are part of the highly rated Lake Central school district, but all of the towns listed have excellent schools!

The National Council for Home Safety and Security has rated St. John the second safest community in Indiana for 2018. They rated St. John number 4 in 2017. St. John and Munster have the highest property values from the towns listed and St. John has zero apartment buildings and very few townhomes/condos. However, you will be able to find a home in your price range with desired square footage in all of these towns. Munster has an excellent park district and Crown Point has a very nice down town area! Every restaurant and store you can think of is down Rt 41 or Rt 30.

When we started to think of relocating here we came out several times to explore the towns to help narrow our search and met with a realtor.

Last edited by CGab; 11-14-2018 at 09:31 PM..
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
3 posts, read 3,417 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you both for the very helpful posts!

Debating on what we want to do first - find a job in the loop or move to NWI. I'm thinking move, then deal with a monster drive until I can find something in the loop. That way I'm not starting a new job and house hunting at the same time.
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Old 11-15-2018, 12:37 PM
 
2,138 posts, read 5,117,371 times
Reputation: 1543
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPANerd View Post
Thank you both for the very helpful posts!

Debating on what we want to do first - find a job in the loop or move to NWI. I'm thinking move, then deal with a monster drive until I can find something in the loop. That way I'm not starting a new job and house hunting at the same time.
Your best bet would be to find a job in the loop first. I have a few friends that have told me that some companies have made lowball offers to potential employees whom reside in Indiana and “don’t need to make as much money”. Not saying that is a widespread issue or anything but if you could wait it out, you may be in a better position.
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:11 PM
 
113 posts, read 161,259 times
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I recently moved to the St John/Dyer area. I have been looking for jobs in the loop. I have found that I have a 12 mile drive to the Hammond train, another 45 minutes on the train to the loop, and for some addresses a CTA bus to address. This makes the commute 90 minutes one way. I hope and pray the Dyer station gets completed by 2022.


Another option I found is Pace Vanpool for commuting to the city.


I'm glad to pay the low taxes and love the area but the commute to the city is painful. I've noticed that employers in NWI pay far less than employers in the western suburbs in IL where I lived before here, so the city is my only option for a good paycheck.
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Old 11-16-2018, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Edmonds, WA
8,925 posts, read 9,146,337 times
Reputation: 13980
Yeah, I can’t believe how low wages are in NWI compared to IL. Of course, the COL is cheaper but if you’re looking to maximize your discretionary income, NWI jobs will turn that income dial down from IL. If you can land a Loop job and can live in western Lake Co., I imagine you could make a killing and not have a killer commute. Fortunately, the Loop is becoming increasingly desirable for employers and more jobs are being created on a daily basis.
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:15 PM
 
2,038 posts, read 2,081,131 times
Reputation: 4702
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPANerd View Post
Hi all, I live in the western Chicago suburbs and work in the northern suburbs. I'd say that we are considered upper middle class. I am a corporate Controller and my wife is a stay at home mom to our 1 year-old daughter.


We are tired of the high taxes in Illinois and are looking to move over the border to Indiana. First and foremost, safety and a good place to raise our daughter is the top priority. We want to live somewhere with a good sense of community, good schools, low crime, mostly single family homes, and commutable to the Chicago loop (10 minute drive to station, maybe 45 minute train ride), since working in the northern or western suburbs would be a monster of a commute.

Basically, I would like to live in an area that resembles the western Chicago suburbs, without the high taxes and high home prices. For comparison, our home is 1,900 square feet and is currently valued at around $380,000. Goal would be a 2,000 square foot home, attached 2 car garage for somewhere in the $300,000 range, with property taxes $5,000 a year or less.


What are our best options?

The first two that come to mind are Munster and Highland.


Thoughts? Pros/cons? Any other recommendations?
My thought is that you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. What is the difference in taxes vs. schools, services, and a normal commute to the loop or to a high paying job? I think the western suburbs are far nicer than Northwest Indiana, which in looks are different, political outlook different, and the cohesiveness of a bunch of nice suburbs vs. a donut around Gary. Just being honest, Indiana would not be for me, and I will spend the extra in taxes.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:03 PM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
11,584 posts, read 5,915,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justabystander View Post
My thought is that you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. What is the difference in taxes vs. schools, services, and a normal commute to the loop or to a high paying job? I think the western suburbs are far nicer than Northwest Indiana, which in looks are different, political outlook different, and the cohesiveness of a bunch of nice suburbs vs. a donut around Gary. Just being honest, Indiana would not be for me, and I will spend the extra in taxes.
WOW! You’re a little clueless on the area!

I moved from the Western suburbs, a block from Naperville actually. My taxes were almost $12k a year! Not only are my taxes only $3200 now for a like house, but I was also able to cut my mortgage down by ten years because the COL overall is much cheaper! And IMHO the schools are better too! The High School offers more college classes here than the one my children would have gone to in Illinois! When we moved here I was told my child was behind. So much for great schools in Illinois!

Missing out on services? Hmm, my streets are plowed just fine, lots of parks, libraries, no government/city strikes, good park district services, etc. Not missing out on anything I had in North Plainfield!

Being near Gary? Again, you obviously don’t know where the OP is considering because they are no where near Gary! St. John has million dollar + homes just like Naperville.

As far as the commute, going downtown is the same distance from here than from the Western suburbs, so again..... by the OP (like many others) moving here, to a state with lower overall COL, fiscally sound state, where you are still close enough to work in Chicago, why the heck not!

Illinois is driving out people in groves. People are not just leaving for Indiana, but to any other state where they’re not taxed to death! And Pritzer getting elected just made things worse!

Last edited by CGab; 11-17-2018 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 11-18-2018, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Sweet Home Chicago!
6,477 posts, read 5,559,993 times
Reputation: 9155
Justabystander has some valid points CGab. There's an express train from Naperville that gets you downtown in ~30 minutes. And from places like Hinsdale, La Grange, etc., the ride can be less than 30 minutes. Also true that the western burbs are generally a nicer area with more jobs, shopping, dining and entertainment options. A ride down 88 from Aurora to Oakbrook screams, there are bucketloads of high paying jobs here! NWI cannot compete with the I-88 corridor or areas like downtown Naperville. While NWI has some nice areas, it is surrounded by a lot of questionable towns making it a roll of the dice in the future IMO. That being said, I am still considering a move to NWI, but for those that require a commute downtown or have a job in the burbs, they may be better off stomaching the high taxes. Munster also raises eyebrows with its higher than normal property taxes. For people like you and me, we have the option to go out a little further where the lower taxes make the decision easier, but I get where Justabystanbder is coming from. Unfortunately no utopia on either side of the fence, but many good options in each.
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