Hey all... I just wanted to say THANK YOU again to everyone. We just made a trip to IL (a little delayed due to some issues with the relo) and found a place to live in Rockford. We attended the InHome homeschooling conference in St. Charles and found that there were actually a lot of things we wanted resource-wise in Rockford.
So we found a duplex & assuming the deal actually comes together, we're planning to live in the larger unit. It's ideal because we can get TO IL, live in Rockford, but be free to move somewhere else without the duress of having to sell the duplex (it's currently rented for enough to cover all the costs--we've been landlords before so this isn't daunting for us).
It's walking distance to Sinnissippi Park.
If this falls through, we are also looking in Poplar Grove (which is still drivable to Rockford for the homeschooling resources) or Belvidere.
I have to say that kittywitty's post about how high the COL is in Rockford is absolutely not what we have been finding. We did some looking in Rockford, Belvidere, Naperville, Aurora, the "lakes" (Grayslake, Lake Villa, Round Lake, etc.) and found that Rockford was infinitely cheaper by and large if only in terms of housing cost. Taxes everywhere in IL are ASTOUNDING... and I say this coming from NJ which is usually known for having some of the highest taxes in the country (as a state--second only to Long Island, NY). Your taxes are less than what I pay, but as a percentage of the value of things, they are infinitely higher. So my house in NJ will sell for roughly around $400k with an $11,242 tax bill; but I'll be buying a home for roughly $153k with a $5,300 tax bill. So yeah, my taxes will be lower; but proportionate to the value of the home--they will be much higher in IL (and no, that doesn't include the owner occ exemption on the IL place). And you tax FOOD!!!
In NJ we just increased sales tax from 6% to 7% but we have never taxed "necessities"... so food and clothing (but not accessories--i.e. belts--just actual clothing and I think shoes) are not taxed. I WAS glad to see that at least food is at a lower rate!
So I don't know if we'll stay there but it's ideal because we can move to IL, be relatively comfortable space-wise without having to rent storage, greatly reduce our monthly outgo and figure out where we REALLY want to be for a year or two.
We're due to be out in IL no later than 9/1. Can't wait to meet some of you!