Help... Evanston-Deerfield-Northbrook-Glenview-ish - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 05-07-2010, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay... so I'm so "over" this whole relocation thing. We need to be out there by late July-ish. We've been focusing on Rockford/Belvidere/Poplar Grove-ish area since January because the housing was less expensive and there were way more great resources for our son than I really imagined in Rockford (great Y, instrumental music program for kids run through the local college, etc.) but finding a place for us just is NOT working out.

So we're now considering moving to the Evanston-Deerfield-Northbrook-Glenview area. We'd RATHER be in Evanston, but I don't know if we can afford it. We're going to buy a multifamily to help (we've been landlords before, so this isn't a big deal for us) but I don't want to wind up in a bad area (defined as "a place I can't take an evening stroll with dh, ds6yo & ds1yo").

Can someone help me? The relo company assigns a realtor and based on the realtors they handed us out here for the home sale (I sell real estate here--I know some of them personally) there is NO. EFFING. WAY I'm trusting them to know these areas. So I need to really direct that relationship.

Help... because I am absolutely fried and losing my mind. My family just wants to be out of our house (we close on 6/21, but can rent for 2 months--after that, the storage fees for our stuff are OUTRAGEOUS because it's in the relo company movers storage) and just settled to begin life again.

Cannot thank you enough. Seriously.

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#2 of 25 Old 05-08-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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There are areas of Deerfield, Glenview, Northbrook that you wouldn't feel safe in???? I think Evanston can be spotty, especially after the bursted bubble, but the other burbs are pretty low on the crime side. I also think Evanston has way more personality! Good Luck!
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#3 of 25 Old 05-10-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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I grew up in Evanston.. Loved living there, with lots of culture and personality. However, of the towns mentioned it is the most expensive and spotty, crime wise. I would avoid anywhere near Howard st. and some areas near the high school.

I would give my right arm to still live there, but unfortunately there's no effing way we could afford it.

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#4 of 25 Old 05-10-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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I'm glad you are now looking in the Evanston+ areas. Rockford is a poor area and the crime rate is going up. They have a problem with Meth there. This could be why you were finding cheaper housing. I don't know enough about any of the towns you are now looking in, but my Uncle used to live in Evanston and I loved visiting him there. I love the houses there and the downtown area.

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#5 of 25 Old 05-10-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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I've never lived on the 'North Shore' but I'm inclined to agree with the others. I don't think you can go wrong in Deerfield/Northbrook/Glenview - it's extremely nice and I don't think you can go wrong if you can afford it. I think I commented on your previous post, but IMO walking distance to Metra stations is highly desirable! Evanston is quite nice too, but just from passing through, there is a more varied population.

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#6 of 25 Old 05-10-2010, 04:30 PM
 
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I think the easiest way to narrow down is how much space do you need and how much can you spend? Northbrook and Deerfield can be really expensive, with houses in the multimillions. I do not think there are too many "multifamily" type dwellings in either, unlike Chicago where it's pretty typical to own a two or three flat and rent out the other units. You may find some in Evanston. Evanston is a lot more "urban" than the other burbs you mentioned, and it is a good 40 minute drive from Northbrook to downtown Evanston, so it's really not at all in the same area as the other three.
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#7 of 25 Old 05-11-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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I live in Deerfield and it is a very safe place. I can't picture a part of it that you would not feel safe taking a stroll in the evening. However, there aren't very many multifamily places here either.
There are lots of places that are walking distance to the metra, the library, parks and shopping but it is very suburban, with mostly singe family homes, townhouses and condos.
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#8 of 25 Old 05-11-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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I grew up in Deerfield. You can't go wrong with Deerfield/Northbrook/Glenview/Highland Park/ Riverwoods area. Buffalo Grove would be good, too.

Evanston would make me nervous. There are good parts and not so great parts. I had family in Evanston growing up and it was different then, very upscale. But now, there are parts that aren't so great. My dh works there sometimes and it's spotty.

Walden school in Deerfield is great. I went there, and it's still one of the top schools in the area. We live in the far NW suburbs now, and want to move back to Deerfield or Highland Park soon. Just so much MORE there for the kids, for me... everything's in walking distance... just would love it. There are some reasonably priced, if smaller, homes back by Walden school... Cumnor Ct. area. I have the name of a great realtor if you are interested...

ETA that in Highland Park you could find multi family homes. My grandma lived in one over near Sheridan.

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#9 of 25 Old 05-11-2010, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are areas of Deerfield, Glenview, Northbrook that you wouldn't feel safe in????
I said that I didn't want to wind up in a bad area. When you've never been to a place in your life, I think this is a fair concern. If there aren't any, great. This is why I'm posting.

That being said, we stayed at the Baymont Inn-Glenview only to be kept up all night by the PIMP (literally--yelled at one of the girls in the room that she'd "lose all the protection all his girls had" if she didn't do as she was told ) in the next room. Seriously. I was absolutely petrified. It's a national chain and we've stayed there in other places. It's not like a crappy hotel.

Multifamilies are a must, though, because as you all noted, it's not inexpensive. So now I'm not really sure where to look. We have a great realtor but she's not so great with multifamilies nor knowing market rents. We looked into renting a place, but a 3BR place STARTED at $1900/month and although she said "Glenview" for 3 of them, I think one or two were in "Wilmette"? I don't know.

*sigh*

I'm really just so fed up that if my house weren't sold, I'd send my husband out there once/month and just stay here.


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#10 of 25 Old 05-11-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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The suburbs you have mentioned are very affluent - none of them are 'unsafe' with the exception of a few pockets in Evanston. I think the event you described in the hotel room is something more of an anomaly than the norm for Glenview.

IMHO, if I were you I would look in Chicago - in particular West Rogers Park, Lincoln Square or Roscoe Village. These neighborhoods are very diverse without being crime-ridden (I certainly would feel safe being out at night alone or with my children in any of them). The housing in the suburbs you are looking at is comparable in price to the 'nicer' neighborhoods in Chicago that I mentioned and you get the benefits of living in a much more progressive area. You could easily find a multi-unit in Chicago.

Of course, some people like suburban living and if that is the case than the ones you are looking at are some of the 'best' - ie, most expensive, white, professional, 'fancy' in the Chicagoland area. Not my bag, but I can understand the appeal.

My husband is a realtor here so if you have any questions PM me and I can pass them on to him. Good luck with your search!!

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#11 of 25 Old 05-12-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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Wilmette's lovely, too. I don't think you could go wrong there.

And as far as your experience in Glenview... I am shocked and I think as another poster said, that would be a highly unusual occurrence in that area. Are you sure it wasn't kids kidding around? That shocks me and I can understand your hesitation.

Anywhere on the North Shore is going to be really nice. Ask your realtor about Highland Park. It's beautiful and near Deerfield and really nice. Also try Buffalo Grove. You could get more for your money there and it's still really close to everything and a really nice area. Or Northbrook. Love Northbrook and the Whole Foods there is like the Mother Ship! It's awesome.

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#12 of 25 Old 05-17-2010, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wilmette's lovely, too. I don't think you could go wrong there.

And as far as your experience in Glenview... I am shocked and I think as another poster said, that would be a highly unusual occurrence in that area. Are you sure it wasn't kids kidding around? That shocks me and I can understand your hesitation.

Anywhere on the North Shore is going to be really nice. Ask your realtor about Highland Park. It's beautiful and near Deerfield and really nice. Also try Buffalo Grove. You could get more for your money there and it's still really close to everything and a really nice area. Or Northbrook. Love Northbrook and the Whole Foods there is like the Mother Ship! It's awesome.

Absolutely NOT kids kidding around. There were 3 marked and 1 unmarked cop car there when we returned from dinner, but with no lights flashing--we didn't know what to think until the middle of the night (then the subsequent hours I spent awake listening to all the nonsense).

Okay... good to know otherwise, though. Yes--we were told about Buffalo Grove and Deerfield, too. I had never heard of Wilmette... so thanks for that, too.

Driving around, it was a lot more like where I am now (and am very comfortable) with the stores I recognize, etc. in these areas... so of course, I was very interested. Thanks for the additional town/neighborhood names! Very overwhelming!!!

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#13 of 25 Old 05-17-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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We looked into renting a place, but a 3BR place STARTED at $1900/month and although she said "Glenview" for 3 of them, I think one or two were in "Wilmette"? I don't know.
Unfortunately, $1900 sounds about right (even kinda' cheap) for a 3 bedroom in the North Shore. In the 'better' areas of Chicago, it's about average too.

The Chicago area is well known for having a very high cost of living... hence, why I ended up in the sticks near the Wisconsin border.

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#14 of 25 Old 05-18-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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Yes, $1900 is super-cheap for the North Shore. Maybe not cheap but very very reasonable. I know people who live in Chicago for twice that for a studio apartment/condo. You could BUY a home in the far north suburbs for less than that.

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#15 of 25 Old 05-18-2010, 08:23 PM
 
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Where is work going to be? If you or your partner is working in Chicago, you don't want to live in Rockford, etc.

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#16 of 25 Old 05-18-2010, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Where is work going to be? If you or your partner is working in Chicago, you don't want to live in Rockford, etc.
My husband actually works from home full time and has to go into Mettawa about 2-4 times/year. They just don't want employees in NJ anymore. We suspect it has to do with the cost of required health benefits (things they have to cover in NJ by law that aren't required by other states) because they've stripped them back severely every year for the last 3 years.

We had a choice: IL, Buffalo, or Vancouver. My husband's boss & co-workers are actually in the UK. We could probably go there, but it would permanent and I don't know if I'm up for that. If it were a 2-year assignment, heck yeah! But of the alternatives, IL seemed like it had way more options.

The Rockford area is roughly 1-1/2 hours to Mettawa one-way. When you're doing it 4x/year max, it's not a problem. He does something similar here in NJ.

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#17 of 25 Old 05-19-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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Ah then you need to decide if you want to live in the city or the suburbs or "out there" (Rockford is a bit further than the suburbs, the north areas like Evanston and Wilmette are still considered suburbs).

Access to museums? homeschooling? want land? want space? good public or private schools?

We live in the nw suburbs (close to Schaumburg), close enough to take the train or drive to the city for the museums, but far enough away that we're really not close. Rockford is further away from the city than we are.

We have a decent set of homeschooling groups, a fun AP group, pretty decent city services (the rec dept has really affordable and decent kids stuff), and a nfl co-op group.

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#18 of 25 Old 05-19-2010, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah then you need to decide if you want to live in the city or the suburbs or "out there" (Rockford is a bit further than the suburbs, the north areas like Evanston and Wilmette are still considered suburbs).

Access to museums? homeschooling? want land? want space? good public or private schools?

We live in the nw suburbs (close to Schaumburg), close enough to take the train or drive to the city for the museums, but far enough away that we're really not close. Rockford is further away from the city than we are.

We have a decent set of homeschooling groups, a fun AP group, pretty decent city services (the rec dept has really affordable and decent kids stuff), and a nfl co-op group.

You're right. The thing is, once I decide what I really want, it looks like there's a million places to get it. And I can compromise--making it harder.

Ideally? Really active HMN chapter, 30 mins or less to Whole Foods, kick-ass library system (like a great collection, great kids stuff--maybe even activities like they have here, able to reserve online from within the system to pick up at local branch), SOMEthing cool for the kids REALLY close (like here we have a small nature museum for the kids on a "reservation" and they also run very low-cost but awesome classes for the kids and family events, etc.) and then access to the really great stuff that might be further away like the big museums, planetarium, etc. YMCA with well-rounded offerings ideal (I was stunned that Rockford's had so much more than Belvidere).

Homeschool activities (seriously--a weekly park/play gathering is enough for me) would be ideal.

Foreign language classes and music lessons would be nice, but not critical. We had an arts class here, too. But these are definitely things I would live without.

My husband has co-workers in Lakemoor, Tinley Park and Plainfield. Everyone, of course, is lobbying for their areas. It's really frustrating.

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#19 of 25 Old 05-20-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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Ok so I'll just add to your confusion then

I don't know much about the south burbs or the north shore area, but there is a hmn group that is VERY active (big meetings) in Warrenville. There is another in Schaumburg, but I like the Warrenville one better.

For homeschooling lessons - http://www.thelearningvine.org/index.html in naperville and http://www.gifthomeschool.org/ in elgin have excellent reviews, we're going to get involved with GIFT this year for music.

There are homeschool groups just about everywhere here, I've been really impressed with that. some do have a religious lean, but the HOUSE groups don't, and we've started an AP homeschool group in dupage county for the kids who have out-aged the AP playgroups since those are more toddler/prek oriented.

There is a holistic learners homeschool group on the west side of the county (centered in west chicago, but with members as far east as 355 and as far west as farmland) and more.

I'm a recent relocation myself, we were in Ohio until late 2006, spent a year living in the downtown Chicago area, and we live in the west suburbs now. I really love the AP group here and am just getting my toes wet with the homeschooling folks, though I tend to stick to the groups that overlap the AP group, and the only contact we've had with any religious groups are the 2 coops I linked above.

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#20 of 25 Old 05-20-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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Oh and we have a pretty awesome gluten free store out here.

(We're dairy, soy, peanut free, with occasional gluten free stints.)

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#21 of 25 Old 05-20-2010, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that. It IS actually very helpful, but yeah--doesn't narrow things down!

I was trying to get the low-down on which hmn chapters are more active, too--so thanks for that, too.


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#22 of 25 Old 05-21-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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Just my two cents- take it for what it's worth.....

I would avoid Plainfield. That is a suburb that is growing very fast.... too fast, in my opinion. There is not a lot of commercial growth to help carry the residential infrastructure costs, so homeowners are hit really hard with taxes. Their schools are constantly in flux and currently taking a beating with the economy.

I would also avoid Tinley Park. I lived there for a few years and have family there- I also taught in that school district for a year. It's a solidly blue-collar town, I would say. You can do better with the schools, and it can be a little spotty in terms of safety.

The north shore (Glenview, Wilmette, Northbrook, etc) is very nice but soooooooo expensive. Great if you could afford it.

You might want to consider the western suburbs / DuPage County. Honestly, everything about your post screamed "Naperville" to me. Great library and park district, quaint downtown, always so much going on, very family friendly, well-established and quality schools and neighborhoods, well-thought-out forest preserves and green space. Naperville has a fabulous children's museum right in town, as well as Naper Settlement, a pioneer-village-recreation-museum thing. More affordable than the north shore. Train into the city and near expressways.

Not very crunchy, although there are pockets. If you want more crunch, then maybe Oak Park or Evanston.

Orland Park is another option- one town over from Tinley. More strip-mall suburban, though, and even less crunchy than Naperville. I also agree with the PPs who say no to Rockford. Their schools (and Elgin's) are a mess.

It sounds like you're almost in information overload. There are dozens and dozens of suburbs, all with something slightly different to offer. I wonder if you're at the point where you almost need to just close your eyes and leap.


Good luck. I've lived in the area (all over Chicagoland, actually) for my whole life. PM me if you want.

ETA: I just caught that you homeschool. Sorry for all of the school references above. But still, I think the quality of the schools is closely connected to the quality of the community, so you may still find what I wrote valuable.

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#23 of 25 Old 05-21-2010, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like you're almost in information overload. There are dozens and dozens of suburbs, all with something slightly different to offer. I wonder if you're at the point where you almost need to just close your eyes and leap.

Dead. On. I'm so over it. My family has dealt with so much upset, loss and difficulty over the last 14 months that top priority has been to find a place to stay (vs. renting) so we could move in (with our dogs) and just "be" and heal from the last year. It's hit my 6yo very hard and I'm not sure what moving from the only home he's ever known (and we all love and are attached to) and then moving again in a year or whatever will do to him.

I have a friend who lives in Naperville and she went from crunchy to EXTREMELY mainstream. Disturbing. And I don't know what areas of there to stick to or steer clear of, either.

Overwhelmed. I've actually handed it off to dh and figure that if there's pros and cons everywhere, we'll just deal with them where he lands us. Of course, I'm sure that "handing over" thing will last a week.

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#24 of 25 Old 05-21-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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eh, there really aren't any neighborhoods in naperville to be afraid of, the entire suburb is fairly nice. Pretty much everything along 355 and 88 is just fine and safe, there are only a few areas in DuPage where I would opt not to live, and that's mostly due to the school systems. I am carefully looking at those towns again as a homeschooler, because we still need access to decent parks and city services, but the schools aren't so important.

Feel free to PM me for info, I'm also searching for a home to buy out here, we've been renting (fwiw, it's not difficult to rent with dogs, unless you have like 6 of them) for 3.5 yrs. I'm ready to buy, but dh's job is still in too much flux. The area is SO big (8 counties = Chicagoland) that renting is a fairly safe idea.

Heck, the place next door to me is for sale if you want a townhouse in a walkable neighborhood.

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#25 of 25 Old 05-27-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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You're right. The thing is, once I decide what I really want, it looks like there's a million places to get it. And I can compromise--making it harder.

Ideally? Really active HMN chapter, 30 mins or less to Whole Foods, kick-ass library system (like a great collection, great kids stuff--maybe even activities like they have here, able to reserve online from within the system to pick up at local branch), SOMEthing cool for the kids REALLY close (like here we have a small nature museum for the kids on a "reservation" and they also run very low-cost but awesome classes for the kids and family events, etc.) and then access to the really great stuff that might be further away like the big museums, planetarium, etc. YMCA with well-rounded offerings ideal (I was stunned that Rockford's had so much more than Belvidere).

Homeschool activities (seriously--a weekly park/play gathering is enough for me) would be ideal.

Foreign language classes and music lessons would be nice, but not critical. We had an arts class here, too. But these are definitely things I would live without.

My husband has co-workers in Lakemoor, Tinley Park and Plainfield. Everyone, of course, is lobbying for their areas. It's really frustrating.
I live in McHenry County which offers much of what you are speaking of, although unfortunately the North Suburban Library System is coming to an end, which will effect all the libraries in the system. You will still be able to reserve online and pick up at different locations but the delivery service between libraries will be ending unless some new funding comes through.

Where I live, Whole Foods is about 45 min away, but we have lots of buying clubs/co-ops/CSA's in the area that eliminate the need to go there. We do have a Trader Joe's about 15 min from my town (Crystal Lake).

The Mchenry County Conservation District www.MCCDistrict.org offers close-by cheap/free nature programs and camps, and tons of trails and conservation areas. The Trail of History they put on in fall is really amazing. Most towns have a park district, and in CL the park district is well established with several awesome parks and a beach which hosts free concerts and movies in the summer. There is a YMCA here, which I know has a homeschool PE class, but I have not used it in years.

I think there is a HMN since I have heard of it, but I never joined and do not know if it's active. We have 2 HOUSE groups in the county, but I am more involved in the unschooling group. We are planning beach/park days for the summer, will be having a mom's book club and parent support meetings. There are lots of opportunities for homeschoolers, but we are more spread out here than you might be closer to the city.

Several of the towns out here are along the Metra line into the city, but we are a ways off the tollway. It's at least an hour to downtown....

I love it out here because we are still a Chicago suburb, yet we are bordering on farm country and there are still wide-open spaces. The interlibrary loan coming to an end is a huge bummer, but then again there are already people at work trying to change that.

Good luck on your search! You've had soooo much good info. in this thread!
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