Possibly Moving There, Questions About Schools, Neighborhoods Etc

Updated on October 26, 2009
C.W. asks from Naperville, IL
47 answers

Hi! There is a strong probability that we will be moving to the Chicago area with my husband's job. We live in Texas and know nothing about the area. Some people have recommended the Naperville area. My husband would be riding the train to work. I'm wanting information on good school districts with reasonable housing. We're hoping to get a 4 bedroom house in the $200 to $300,000 range. Is this possible? From what I've seen online the housing there costs a lot more than what we are used to here. Are there other suburbs other than Naperville that are family friendly and a good value for your money? My twins will be starting kindergarten in the Fall and I also have a 2 year old. Thanks for your responses!
C.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for the wonderful advice ya'll gave me! We have found out that we are moving there for sure, sometime this winter. I'm sure I'll have more questions about areas once I've been up there to look around so I'll post again soon. I really appreciate all the responses. Thanks again!
C.

Featured Answers

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

I live in and highly recommend Woodridge, right next to Naperville, and we have a terrific school district!!
M. H.

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P.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi;
Naperville is by far the town that meets what you are looking for. The train station is right downtown, they have the best schools in the area and there is a ton of stuff to do. With that said I know we couldn't afford to live there so we live in Bolingbrook which is a neighboring community. We can still enjoy what Naperville has to offer without the cost. We are in Plainfield schools which are better than Bolingbrook, and there are areas in Bolingbrook you can be in the Naperville schools and right now with housing prices much lower then they have been you might be able to afford one. I would just watch out for property taxes and SSA those can be really high on a reasonably priced home.
Good luck and welcome to the area.

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P.W.

answers from Chicago on

We live in Bolingbrook (just South of Naperville). It is very family friendly and the houses are in the range you are considering (upper part of that range). Bolingbrook high school does not have the best reputation, but the grade school and middle schools are good. Also, parts of Bolingbrook are in the Naperville school district (but the houses are a bit more expensive in those neighborhoods). I hope that helps!

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S.G.

answers from Chicago on

First, I would recommend to look for a good school district for your kids. Check: http://iirc.niu.edu/,
You can search by city, if you already have some kind of list, I see some good recommendations that you received.

Unfortunately your house budget is limited for the Chicago area, even in the today's real estate market. Many places keep high prices, especially with good school districts.

Here are some of the Western suburbs close to where I live and know / or I heard are good:
Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Oak Brook, Western Springs - great schools, but expensive housing;
Downers Grove, Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, part of Addison - good neighborhoods, good schools.
Also:
Wheaton - good, although a little more pricy and heard police in this town is like in the army;
Lombard – nice to live, but not so great schools.
Riverside, La Grange, River Forest, Oak Park – I don’t know much of their school system; old towns with great history, /one of the first suburbs in Chicago/, close to the city, but also some not so good towns-neighbors.

Further West: Plainfield /part of/, Naperville – it was in Top 10 towns in US to raise a family - 10 years ago, it is still a great suburb, but could be pricy, and end up having more expectations, that can be delivered.

Northwest: Elk Grove, Glenview, Park Ridge - I heard they have good schools.
North and by the lake – many good neighborhoods, but expensive housing.

I would consider carefully: Villa Park, Aurora, Joliet.

Good luck!

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C.F.

answers from Chicago on

I just posted my own question about schools, etc and saw your question. I live in Wheaton, IL right now (great schools, little house for your money) and am moving to Downers Grove / Woodridge area. We are in the same price range and are still searching! We want 4 bedrooms. (I've got an almost 6 year old, just started kindergarten, a just-turned 2 year old boy, and a 5 month old baby girl.) Out of curiosity, have you moved out here? Have you found a house and a school you love?

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S.K.

answers from Chicago on

I would second batavia area. You will find an amazing school district there (I am trying to see if I can move there becuase of the school district). There is not a lot of new construction as it is a well established area so this means mature trees and large lots. My girlfriends lot is about 1/2 an acre which is common in Batavia and unheard of for Chicago. The houses are well maintained as it seems most people take pride in their home. You are still close to Naperville if that area appeals to you. Whatever you do please check out the school report cards as that will give you a black and white answer to the schools true ratings. Good luck.

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi! I live in Batavia and highly recommend it. We have just been rated one of the best towns to live in in Illinois. Our schools are the best in the county and it is much more affordable than Naperville. We have a very low crime rate. It is well known that Naperville is a very "snooty" town. Batavians are very real, friendly and down to earth. We moved here 5 years ago and were amazed at how many neighbors brought us treats and welcomed us as well as the friendly strangers downtown and along the riverwalk.
You should be able to find a house here without a problem.
Good luck!

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E.F.

answers from Chicago on

I moved to Oswego from the Dallas area 4 yrs ago and love it here. I think Naperville may be out of your price range but but I'm not sure what current housing priced are. It is a very nice area. There are a lot of other great areas near by with easy train access. My husband takes the train and it takes him about 15 minutes to get to the station. Plainfield is also nice. Parts of Aurora are good. Yorkville is nice but a bit farther from the train station. Montgomery is another option. I do like the area! There is a lot to do with the kids around here. The winter's aren't fun but in my opinion a Chicago winter is better than a Texas summer =)

Good luck!

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E.S.

answers from Chicago on

I would recommend the Lombard/Villa Park areas. They are family friendly with good schools. You can find a smaller 4 bedroom house within that range right now, I just looked on the mls and found 76 listings. The train is much closer from here, it's about a 30 minute ride. Let me know if you'd like any other information.

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

I live on the west side of Bolingbrook and my kids go to Naperville district school district 204. We love our neighborhood and we absolutely love the Bolingbrook park district--their programs for kids/family are outstanding. Our location is great because we have easy access to great shopping as well as a forest preserve just down the road. Your husband would have to drive to the train station in Naperville (which many folks do.) Definitely don't limit yourself to Naperville--we got a great house for our money (about 2 years ago) and with housing prices the way they are, you could get something really nice in Bolingbrook or any other far western suburb (besides Naperville!) Good luck to you!
K.

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M.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Cara,

Boy this is tough. Housing here is very pricey but you can find good deals, especially right now. I read someone's response about Lisle. I live in Lisle and love it. I wouldn't move for anything. I live in the southwest corner of Lisle that neighbors Naperville. The subdivision is Green Trails. It is a community with 17 parks and 27 miles (or vice versa)of bike trails that go through our common areas in the backyards. The best thing about where I live is that our area goes to school district 203 Naperville (not all Green Trails does so you have to look). In 2006 we bought our 4 bedroom home with a 5th bedroom option for $385k. I'm sure now it is worth slightly less since the housing market has taken a hit. Oh and there is a city bus that goes throught our subdivision in the morning and the evening to transport the people who need to get to the train. No gangs, no violence, no sexual prediators nearby. Take a look and don't be afraid to low ball your offer. Our house listed originally at $450k, then they dropped it to $425k and we got it for $385k. If you need resources or more info I would be glad to help. Good luck and welcome to the area - Chicagoland it is a wonderful area!

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S.T.

answers from Chicago on

I live at the North end of Aurora, which also feeds in to the Naperville schools. Our houses are very reasonably priced. We have a nice sized 4 bedroom, with lots of upgrades, and it's right around the $300,000. Check the areas south of Fermi-lab. The classrooms are quite large in the Naperville schools. If class size is more important, I'd look over in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton. You probably won't find the size of house you are looking for though. The further in toward the city you go, houses get smaller and a tad older for the price that you are looking for.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

Good Morning,
We just moved to Plainfield from Denver and really like it. We are on the border of Plainfield/Naperville. Naperville has very good school but you can a house with in the 204 school district. Naperville is very nice but you may pay higher property taxes.

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K.P.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Cara!

My family moved up here from Houston when I was in high school. Yes, housing is more expensive but I'm sure there are good deals to be found with this economy.

You may find more reasonable housing prices if you look in Aurora instead of Naperville. I would stay with school district 204 if you look in Aurora though. Aurora is as far out as I would go if your husband will be riding the train. Parking is easier to find at the 59 station in Aurora than in Naperville. Naperville and Aurora are right next to eachother.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

Oswego is a wonderful area. It is the next town west of naperville. We moved from aurora to oswego about 9 years ago. we love it here. Our older children went to private school in aurora but here in oswego we put the younger one straight into the public school. they are wonderful. We live in boulder hill but there are other subdivisions that are much newer. good luck and welcome to the area if you do move her.
S.

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L.B.

answers from Chicago on

Cara,

Yes, the homes in Naperville are quite high and that is part of District 204, but there are homes in Bolingbrook that is still in district 204 that are reasonable.

also, another good area to live and with a good school program I've been told is Plainfield.

Good luck with the house hunting.

L.

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

Naperville is nice, great schools but traffic can be very difficult! St. Charles /Geneva nice, great schools but pricey. You won't find newer housing comparable to TX, it's just more expensive in IL. However, the market is still really bad here, so you may get a bargain.

Lindenhurst is nice too, way at the top of the state. Great schools. Train is a few towns away, about 15 min.

Good luck!

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J.V.

answers from Chicago on

It may be hard to find a 4 bedroom within walking distance of the train in any of the major commuter towns, even with the market being in the gutter. I'll put it this way, there was a foreclosure down the street from my brother, in Glen Ellyn, that was a 4 bedroom. The house sold for 340. But, the property tax is 11k. So even if you could pick up a foreclosure, you'd be stuck with some ridiculous property tax.

I'd say check out Lombard. Another option is Winfield. I'd pick Winfield over Lombard any day.

If you could do a 3 bedroom with an office in a basement (what we have), you may be able to find something for around 300 in the Wheaton area.

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

Plainfield and Oswego are nice areas and both are close to Naperville.

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V.B.

answers from Chicago on

I would agree Naperville is a little pricey and crowded. I live in Woodridge. I have lived here for 16 years and love it. My daughter loves her school. In 2008 Money Magazine voted Woodridge as one of the best cities to live in. Woodridge borders Naperville, Downers Grove. Lisle, Darien and Bolingbrook. You can find homes of all price ranges in Woodridge. Good luck. Hoep this helps.

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Cara:

You have gotten some great suggestions and all very good towns with their pros and cons. Definitely the further west you go (still on the train line), the more you get for your money. One town that didn't get mentioned is Lisle. It often gets overlooked, which makes its pricing great. Some of it goes to district 202 (Lisle) and some to Naperville schools. We live in Glen Ellyn and we often take advantage of the park district activities in Lisle, because they are excellent. Their library is great too and they are in the midst of rejuvenating their downtown (we love The Nook which is a great spot for penny candy, comic books and ice cream). In Glen Ellyn there are homes in your price range in the south part of town near the Morton Arboretum - it is an unicorporated area so lower taxes. All of the western suburbs have good, solid schools - wherever you land you'll be pleased. It is a very family focused region where good family values are still in tact (for the majority). Best of luck and enjoy your home search if it comes to be.

M.

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S.L.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, Naperville is a great town but quite pricey!:) I grew up in naperville and really wanted to stay in the area and found that Oswego and parts of Aurora (that are in the Oswego school district) are full of young families and the houses are quite affordable. We live in a neighborhood called Barrington Ridge in Aurora. It is still close to all that Naperville has to offer and there is a Pace bus station that could take your husband to the train station. There is parking available or some people walk. My kids have not started school yet, but I have heard great things about Dist. 308 in Oswego. If you have any more questions here is my email address. I hope you find this helpful! [email protected]____.com

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

Here are some cities you may want to consider, but it all depends how long your husband wants to be on a train: Geneva, St Charles, Batavia, Elburn, Naperville. You should (being the operative word) be able to find something in your range. Also, Wheaton & Glen Ellyn are nice/good schools, but price may be an issue. I live in Oswego, which is lovely & has the hometown feel, but no train stations in town. Good luck on your search and potential move!

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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hey there,

Good luck with your decision it's not going to be an easy one.

We moved here about 4 years ago, we first lived in Naperville for 3 years and a year ago we moved to Oswego. We did look at a lot of houses in Naperville but couldn't get anything at that stage for more or less for the same as your budget that didn't need a lot of work. We wanted space and 4 bedrooms. We only live 10 min away from the train station on Rt 59 which is the station after Naperville. My husband doesn't go to the office downtown every day but when he does he leaves around 7am and there's still parking available. There's a station that's coming up in this area that's approved, that will help with the commute.

We live in the subdivision of Churchill Club which is great. It's a clubhouse community with pools, tennis courts ext. There's also 2 schools on the premises. It's family friendly with a ton of kids(in our street at least 35)! There's still lots available with new floor plans starting at $190 000, from Town and Country.

The closer you get to the city the older the neighbourhoods and the more expensive the houses. My husband gave up the short commute so we can have more space, since the winters are so long! Make sure you look at all the different neighborhoods before you make a decision. There's pro's and cons on any neighborhood. Whether it's schools, commute or price there's always something(we all can't be Bill Gates)!

Once again good luck!

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L.B.

answers from Chicago on

You have a lot of great suggestions. However:
Plainfield is in tornado alley.
Parts of Aurora have enormous gang problems. As do lots of other areas-try to find the local newspapers online, and read the police blotters. If shoplifting is the most common complaint, that's not so bad.
We live in Lombard. There's a train station right in town; there's ready access to all the tollways right here, so commuting any direction takes 45 minutes or less to get anywhere; and the people here are terrific!
Good luck in your search

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E.P.

answers from Chicago on

Love the downtown Frankfort, IL area and also Mokena, IL. Even check out New Lenox (my town), IL but that is the farthest of the three, on that line. Very wonderful school systems. Also, check out Downer's Grove, IL and Woodridge too. Lovely communities, excellent train schedule there and follow that line east into Chicago, and you may be able to find home values there, in your price range, in neighboring suburbs.

Yes, so sorry someone said "snootiness" in Naperville. I totally agree that you can find that ANYWHERE. Don't let that dissuade you. Naperville is lovely but it may be challenging to find home prices in your range. You will probably do better in a neighboring suburb.

Good luck.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

It would be tough to find a house that size in Naperville for that amount normally. However, there are alot of foreclosures and short sales right now so you may be able to find something. There are other nice towns with good schools nearby but you won't necessarily have the train right there, Plainfield, Oswego, Montgomery are a few.

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S.F.

answers from Chicago on

I would try looking in Downers Grove or Westmont. Fairly cheep homes - but great schools!!

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A.D.

answers from Chicago on

Those are all good towns mentioned, maybe Orland Park too. What I highly suggest is finding out about the parking situation at all the train stations in the towns that are possibilities. For example, when looking 3 years ago, I found a 15 year wait for a parking spot in Naperville, 5 years in Downers Grove and Lisle. Yes there are buses you can take from a lot of neighborhoods, but that does add alot more time onto the commute. There are also pay each day spots but those fill up very early in the morning most places. I believe you can find all the phone numbers you need on www.metrarail.com, just go to each train line and click on each station

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P.L.

answers from Chicago on

Bolingbrook, right next to Naperville, is an awesome community. The schools are great, park district is fabulous and its a good value for your money. Augusta Village is a really nice sub-division, with a really good school, Pioneer Elementary. My daughter will be going there for Kindergarten this year, and my twin sons will be going into second grade. We moved here from Chicago five years ago, and have not regretted it at all. I'm a teacher in the Bolingbrook school system as well, and am very proud to be a member of this community.
Good luck with your search and decision!

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S.

answers from Chicago on

At a normal time, you may have difficulty finding a home that size for the price you are wanting to pay....however, with the housing market the way it is, you may be able to. You might even contact a realtor and just talk to them about your requirements and see what they might suggest. I would recommend a lady named Sue Pearce with JW Reedy in Lombard. My friend used Sue and highly recommends her to everyone.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi, Cara...I am a realtor with Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn. (B & W is #1 in our area, though you haven't heard of us as we are "Chicagoland") Anyway, Naperville is a great choice, and practically anywhere in DuPage County you will find great schools. Glen Ellyn and Wheaton are particularly great as well, and the train goes through them, as well as Naperville. If you'd like to contact me, I can e-mail you some listings, just so you know what you can get for your money in these areas. 4 bedrooms might be a stretch for $300 but we'll see what we can find. K.
My e-mail is [email protected]____.com

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D.B.

answers from Chicago on

I just want to weigh in on the parking at the train stations. As people have said, there are sometimes really long waits for parking spaces at some of the train stations in the western suburbs. But, if you call the individual villages, they can give you numbers of other lots that sell parking spaces...a lot of churches rent their spots to commuters. I live in Downers Grove but take the train from Westmont and park in a church parking lot.

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T.E.

answers from Atlanta on

You can probably get a list of foreclosed and short sales to get more for your money. I know of one realtor in Dupage county who deals with these. Her name is Mia Micaletti and her phone number is ###-###-####.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

Cara,
The Plainfield area where we live is a great area also and more reasonable than Naperville. You will get more house for your money. You could even get new if you want. Naperville homes in your price range are going to be older homes. There was a huge surge before the economy hit of people moving here. There are many new subdivisions with empty homes. There are also a lot of foreclosures that you could scoop up for even better $. In terms of taxes. Plainfield are lower than Naperville. South Plainfield is less than North Plainfield. The school district is great in my own opinion. I have 3 kids in the system. There are many parks whether you got to Naperville or Plainfield. IN terms of the train, there is a Joliet station near Plainfield and Naperville has one too. The Naperville one seems to have a more frequent less stop service. Hope this helps.

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

Warrenville is just north of naperville. It is a smaller city. Bower's elementary school is suppose to be great. We live in a three bedroom attached home, about $180-190,000 range. It's not far from the train, but I think it's hard to get a parking spot at the station. If you want more info let me know.

Just saw some of the other posts. Wanted to mention to really check the taxes before you buy. Some of the areas mentioned are newer and the taxes are crazy. My friend's taxes are higher than my morgage. This is because they are building schools, ect. to keep up with the growth.

Also, I have a great realtor, Lori Whiting, to recommend if you need one.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi. I live in Naperville and love it. I would ignore the comment about a "snooty town." There are snooty people everywhere!

Both school districts 203 and 204 are great. A few other towns feed into these two school districts. You can look at the school district web sites for this info.

There are tons of family things to do in Naperville, too. Check out the city, park distric and chamber of commerce sites to give you an idea of the activities.

There are other great towns around the area, like others have mentioned. One thing to keep in mind is your distance from a train station or highway. Also, if you move closer to Chicago, the prices really shoot up! $300,000 will get you a little fixer with one bath. The western suburbs are much more affordable (but futher out, that's the trade out.)

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C.B.

answers from Chicago on

As others have said Plainfield and Oswego are nice communities to live in, but not commuter friendly. We lived in Lombard and Elmhurst before moving to Plainfield. Elmhurst is pricey, as much or more so, than Naperville. Lombard is very nice, great schools, a midsize town with great small town appeal. They have a very nice downtown area, a mall, restaurants, great parks, Prairie Path, their famous Lilac Parade, etc... My family still lives there and I wish I did too. It was named as one of Americas top 100 places to live. The median home price in 2008 was 254,000.

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

You might consider "far east" Aurora. It is in the Indian Prairie 204 school district and most (if not all) of the schools are very good. The park district and libraries are great and we're still close enough to downtown Naperville that we can enjoy events there (without having to pay the cost to live in Naperville.) You also have the option of parking at the Route 59 or downtown Aurora train stations.

You can find Illinois School Report Cards on the Illinois State Board of Education website. You'll probably also want to familiarize yourself with Metra (train system) website. If you husband is traveling into the city every day, he'll want to look for "express" trains around the time he'll be commuting. They can cut almost a 1/2 hour off a one-way commute.

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K.P.

answers from Chicago on

Well I hope you come to Chicago, it is a great city. Naperville is a great town with great schools but you really have to pay for it. A four bedroom house within a good school district is going to be closer to $450-500. Chicago is really expensive and it can be discouraging but there are many options. I live in Lombard which is about 25 minutes from Naperville and even here the prices are around $400 for a three bedroom. The western surburbs are great, they all have trains to the city and the schools are good. I have lived in this area my whole life so if you have any more questions just let me know. Good Luck!

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A.D.

answers from Chicago on

We live in Wheaton and love it. However, it takes an hour for my husband to ride the train into work. You will want to consider the length of the train ride while looking.

You may be able to find a small house in the 200-300,000 range, but I don't know about 4 bedrooms.

Good luck with the move!

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F.J.

answers from Chicago on

We live in Bolingbrook and really like it. We have a great park district and library. Some areas you can get a home in Bolingbrook but be in the Naperville school district. We are in the bolingbrook school district and have been very happy so far. The elementary school is pioneer. There are many houses in the area that should fit your price range. The commute can be easy depending on where you are we are close to 55 but if youp lan on taking the train you would go to Naperville or Lisle. ify ou go to www.bolingbrookhomes.net you can find some things.

Good luck!

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M.J.

answers from Chicago on

I'm not sure where you can get a 4 bedroom for 200,000-300,000. That's really low prices for Chicagoland. You get more for your money moving further out, like Oswego, but it will be a longer commute.

An important consideration is how long does your husband want to spend commuting? We live in the Wheaton area and my hubby takes the train and it's pretty much 1 hour from our door to his office. If you move further west, it will take longer.

In Naperville, there are some problems getting a parking spot for the train station, so I would definitely find out about that. They've been building some garages there, so there might be more availble, but they have had some limitations for awhile. He could take a bus, but that will be more time.

Honestly, I don't know any areas for those prices. Sorry. I hope the commuting info helped.

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J.O.

answers from Detroit on

Hi! Please email me at [email protected]____.com if you need more info. We just moved to the Chicago area. I grew up in Hoffman Estates, IL, so I know the area well. I don' think you will find a house in your price range with that many bedrooms, in a good school district. Good school districts are Barrington (one of top in nation; I went there). :) Home prices are not good. Schaumburg is very decent, and the home prices are better. Their high school is a 9/10, so GREAT. There is a metra in Schaumburg, way out at the edge, and one that might be closer in Roselle, IL. There might be a house that needs a little TLC or updating with 4 bedrooms for your price range, possibly.
We have a 3, 2 and newborn. Honestly, if you go closer to the city than Schaumburg, prices go up, school quality goes down, and homes get small for the money...
Elgin is quite cheap, but the commute is an hour. They do have a Metra. The school district is not supposed to be good, but you have to look at individual schools when you buy a house. I don't want to say every school there is rated poorly. Check greatschools.com.

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J.C.

answers from Chicago on

Is your husband working downtown? Naperville is a long train ride to the city. It's a great little city on it's own, but we just had friends that moved there from NY and they wish they were closer to the city. There are so many places to think of, Wheaton, Elmhurst, Western Springs,La Grange, Glen Ellyn, Oak Park, River Forest, Lombard. These are all western suburban towns with good schools. I have 3 little boys but still work a little out here if you need any help? My husbands partners are in Texas and they can't believe the price of houses up here. They are amazed when we drive them around and tell them what things cost. They say we should move down near them!

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

Dear Cara,

As you already know, there are a lot of ways to approach your decision and a lot of different opinions out there! The suburbs, and the train lines and highways that connect the suburbs to downtown Chicago, are arranged like spokes of a wheel radiating out from the city. Travel along one spoke is pretty easy; shifting from one spoke to another is less so. For example, traveling along the "northern corridor" is easy: Chicago to Evanston to Wilmette, to Winnetka, etc. Switching from one of those northern suburbs to a western suburb like Naperville is much more complicated. Do you have any family or friends who already live in the Chicago area who you hope to see often? You may want to pick a suburb that is close to them for this reason.

How long does your husband want to spend commuting? Does he know what his work schedule will be like? If his schedule is very steady and predictable, and during normal commuting hours, there are a lot of good express commuter trains so you can be farther away from the downtown area and still get there pretty easily. If he won't be traveling during the traditional commuter hours, trains will be slower and stop much more frequently. I would recommend getting a good map of the Chicago area and a good map of the metra rail system (the commuter rail). Also, some train lines are better than others. We live in Naperville in part because of the train line. Naperville is served by BNSF (Burlington Northern.) There are a good number of express trains, and the service is pretty reliable. Don't just pick a place, really work out the time so you know how the commute is going to work out. For example, when we moved to Naperville, we decided that we could not be more than 2-3 miles from the train station. Naperville is huge, and some people have more than a 30 minute commute before they get on the train. There is very limited daily parking at the train at the Washington Street station in Naperville and there is a 6+ year waitlist for an assigned spot. All the daily fee spots fill by 6:05 am, and some of them are a couple of blocks from the station. There are Pace busses which go through some neighborhoods and bring you and from the train station in the morning, but before you choose a house, make sure that this whole option works for your expected commute. For example, my husband was able to get the bus easily in the morning, but often there was no bus to meet the train he took home in the evening. It was a $10 cab ride home, or I would have to load up all the kids and get him at the train. There are closer-in suburbs, like Evanston in the North or Oak Park/River Forest in the West, which have connections to the "el" which is the CHicago elevated subway system. We lived in River Forest for a while. These suburbs are popular because of the easy commutes, but the housing prices are high (much higher on the north shore because of the proximity to the lake), the housing stock is old (homes built circa 1900) and there are some parts of town which have bad reputations in Oak Park. I'm not familiar with all of the train lines, but I remember when we looked into it that the train line that serves Wheaton (not the same line as Naperville) didn't have as many trains. If you google Chicago and metra you should be able to find the train schedules. From our home, about 2.5 miles from the Washington St. station in Naperville, a typical commute is about 1 hour 20 min door to door. This includes a 5 min walk to the bus stop, 15 min on the bus, 40 min to downtown on the express train, and then 15-20 min walk to where ever you want to go downtown from the train station. The Naperville trains come into Union Station which is just west of the Chicago River at Jackson Street. Good luck w/ the move!

P.S. It is true that Plainfield and Oswego are nice communities. However, if you are commuting downtown, you don't want to live there. You might as well just rent a studio apartment for your husband to live in for the weeknights downtown and just have him come home for the weekends.

PPS Sorry, I keep editing my response. I know you have kids, and you would like them to be settled in a school system. However, a big move like this is hard to do from half a country away. You might want to consider renting a home for a year (now is agood time to rent a home since there are a ton of homes for rent where people wanted to sell and couldn't.) Then, you could try out some different commutes and see what you might like. Again, good luck! We love it here!

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N.P.

answers from Chicago on

you won't find a house that size in Naperville for that price. But maybe you could with the market how it is... ALL Naperville schools are great.

Plainfield has nice schools and very affordable. I am VERY happy with the school our kids attend, and you could get a 4 bedroom house walking distance to schools for under 300K. EASILY. The train in Joliet is easy to get to from the Southern end of Naperville. We live in the Caton Ridge subdivision and honestly Ridge Elementary is the best school around, I was a teacher before so I feel I can really say that!

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