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Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Old Jun 29th 2019, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Thank you both!

Having worked out areas to look at rental rates I've now moved on to taxes. This is driving me mad! I'm looking at income tax widgets and it seems like you would 'need' to earn 200 - 250k as a household income for the chicago area to rent a house and sustain a middle class lifestyle (ugh, I have never sounded so British in my life) this seems incredibly high? Or normal?
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Old Jun 29th 2019, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Maste View Post
My in-laws moved from Park Ridge to Des Plaines, and honestly the groceries there are insanely cheap. We always fill up a cooler of meat to bring back to st louis with us when we visit them because it's at LEAST half the price of what we pay here.

If you have a dog, I highly recommend the Des Plaines/Park Ridge areas, there's some pretty cool 'hiking dog parks' where you can go hiking with your dog, but the whole trail is fenced in so you can let your dog off leash without a worry. We have done this with our dog and she loved it. Also is the trail which runs all the way up into Wisconsin. I can't remember the name of the trail, maybe LIW knows it!
Don't remember the name of the trail, but now I think I need to go to Des Plaines fo meat!

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Old Jun 29th 2019, 12:19 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Thank you both!

Having worked out areas to look at rental rates I've now moved on to taxes. This is driving me mad! I'm looking at income tax widgets and it seems like you would 'need' to earn 200 - 250k as a household income for the chicago area to rent a house and sustain a middle class lifestyle (ugh, I have never sounded so British in my life) this seems incredibly high? Or normal?
That does sound high to me, but then I have lived pretty modesttlly for years. Are you talking about income taxes only? You won't pay any property tax as a renter. Can I ask how much you plugged in for rent?

Also, will your husband's work be putting him on a group insurance plan and if so have you factored in your monthly premium and any deducitble costs? You need to get to your net income, and that would be one part of it.

Chicago in general isn't a cheap place to live, although not insanely expensive like San Francisco or new York. But a Des Plaines or Park Ridge ought to run you a lot less than Evanston or even Oak Park I would think. Rightly or wrongly, in the US "they" say to budget about a third of your net for housing rental, and no more. Mortgages are a much better deal in terms of your monthly cost, especially with income tax deductions for interest.

Last edited by Lion in Winter; Jun 29th 2019 at 12:38 pm.
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Old Jun 30th 2019, 12:30 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Don't remember the name of the trail, but now I think I need to go to Des Plaines fo meat!
Try shop n save, and butera! There's a lot of other grocery stores in Des Plaines driving distance of one another! I don't know how they compare to where you live in Chicago, but they're super cheap compared to St Louis. Check out the deli meat and Polish sausage too, get amazing deals on those usually!


Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Thank you both!

Having worked out areas to look at rental rates I've now moved on to taxes. This is driving me mad! I'm looking at income tax widgets and it seems like you would 'need' to earn 200 - 250k as a household income for the chicago area to rent a house and sustain a middle class lifestyle (ugh, I have never sounded so British in my life) this seems incredibly high? Or normal?
That seems high to me, especially if you lived out in Park Ridge or Des Plaines, or one of those suburbs far enough from the city that the cost of living actually drops.
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Old Jul 1st 2019, 9:41 am
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

It does sound ridiculously high I know. Its mainly due to the rent i.e. if landlords want your rent to be about 25% of your salary (I'm assuming this is net not gross but please correct me if I've got it wrong!) then renting a normalish 3 bed house at 3-4000 a month means your monthly take home should be 4 times this? My head may soon explode.

I've also had a look at Evanston schools and they don't seem quite as good as other areas so that will be my next job. The good thing is that the more I look the more I think it would be a brilliant move for a few years.

An E2 visa has been offered which I know a lot of people aren't fans of - if there are other alternatives in this scenario then any advice welcome as I have a feeling we won't want to leave once we're settled..
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Old Jul 1st 2019, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
It does sound ridiculously high I know. Its mainly due to the rent i.e. if landlords want your rent to be about 25% of your salary (I'm assuming this is net not gross but please correct me if I've got it wrong!) then renting a normalish 3 bed house at 3-4000 a month means your monthly take home should be 4 times this? My head may soon explode.

I've also had a look at Evanston schools and they don't seem quite as good as other areas so that will be my next job. The good thing is that the more I look the more I think it would be a brilliant move for a few years.

An E2 visa has been offered which I know a lot of people aren't fans of - if there are other alternatives in this scenario then any advice welcome as I have a feeling we won't want to leave once we're settled..
That's quite a lot of rent. But then you are looking at a whole house.

As far as Evanston schools go, it depends what you mean by "good" I suppose. It is a mixed area, so you get all income levels in the system plus people for whom English is not their first language so if you just look at overall scores you don't get the complete picture - some children do very well indeed, others, facing more obstacles at home, not so well.

Here are some overall rankings for the high school (a ways off for you yet).

https://patch.com/illinois/evanston/...kes-elite-list

Evanston schools are well-funded, and the teachers well-paid (over six figures with any kind of length of service, especially at the high school). You also have the advantage of an international, multi-cultural, multi-social community, where the kids learn to see each other as people whatever their background and they learn a lot that way that is never on a school curriculum. My son attended in Evanston and is now at uni in the UK doing Engineering, with school friends some of whom are now at elite US universities, some doing minimum-wage jobs, and some in between. Imo, that is a far richer experience than a mono-cultural, typical suburban experience, but that's just me.

Houses in Evanston may cost you an arm and a leg though in the more well-off areas. Any figures landlords give will be off gross income, since net will vary widely based on personal choices. It isn't just what they want though, it's what you will need to meet your other expenses plus save.



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Old Jul 2nd 2019, 4:51 am
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Hello! Apologies for any duplication in existing threads..

My husband has been offered a chance to relocate with his existing company to their Chicago office early next year and we are currently trying to establish costs and feasibility.
His office will be on N Canal St and he would want to commute in by train and be able to walk/cycle to the station at the home end - we will be looking to rent a minimum 3 bed house near a good elementary school for our 2 daughters (aged 6 and 7).

We are in a chicken and egg situation trying to work out rental costs and therefore negotiate his package. My issue is that I'm looking at North Shore suburbs as think that if we are going to Chicago we should be close to the lake. Is this completely naive? Do people go to beaches/walk dogs by the water that much? If we lived in these suburbs would be able to walk there? I am driving myself insane..! Essentially I want to know if I've become unreasonably fixated on the Northern suburbs and should consider the western areas such as Downers Grove which is where a lot of his Chicago colleagues seem to recommend.

Thank you if you have read this far and any help gratefully received!
Evanston is either very poor or very wealthy. Same for Oak Park. As someone who is not familiar with the city I wouldn't go there. You might end up in the wrong part of town. If you want the North Shore I wouldn't go South of Wilmette.

Northwest side of Chicago proper is very nice and reasonable. Chicago neighborhoods of Sauganash, Edgebrook, Forest Glen. Park Ridge borders these neighborhoods home of Hillary Clinton and is a bit more expensive. Des Plaines, Mt Prospect and Palatine are next in line. They all have easy access to Ohare and the Metra line to Downtown.

If your husband would like an easy commute to work Lincoln Park would fit the bill. By far the most interesting area. But it may not be a good fit for your daughters (but it might be).

Stay out of the South and West sides (mean streets USA).

You can find these neighborhoods described on Wikepedia.

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Old Jul 2nd 2019, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
Evanston is either very poor or very wealthy. Same for Oak Park. As someone who is not familiar with the city I wouldn't go there. You might end up in the wrong part of town. If you want the North Shore I wouldn't go South of Wilmette.

Northwest side of Chicago proper is very nice and reasonable. Chicago neighborhoods of Sauganash, Edgebrook, Forest Glen. Park Ridge borders these neighborhoods home of Hillary Clinton and is a bit more expensive. Des Plaines, Mt Prospect and Palatine are next in line. They all have easy access to Ohare and the Metra line to Downtown.

If your husband would like an easy commute to work Lincoln Park would fit the bill. By far the most interesting area. But it may not be a good fit for your daughters (but it might be).

Stay out of the South and West sides (mean streets USA).

You can find these neighborhoods described on Wikepedia.
That's not a correct description of Evanston. I am not in either one of your categories, for example.. It does have the extremes, of course, but there is a spread. Here is 2016 data. It is racially/ethnically mixed, which does make some people uncomfortable of course, but I have lived here for years with no issues at all and my son now has friends from all sorts of backgrounds, which he thinks is normal - which is a good thing as far as the future is concerned I think. As a displaced Londoner, this business of people being afraid of the low-income or of people who don't look like them seems very odd to me.



Anyway, OP's choice But if she's going to rent a 3/4 bedroom house in Lincoln Park some very serious money indeed is going to be required.

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Old Jul 2nd 2019, 4:14 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Thank you everyone .
Salary has just been confirmed so I'm 99% sure we will be there in there early 2020 and hopefully coming for a scoping visit in August.

Highland Park, Evanston, Downers Grove all looking like possibilities. Any advice on elementary schools always welcome.
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Old Jul 2nd 2019, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Thank you everyone .
Salary has just been confirmed so I'm 99% sure we will be there in there early 2020 and hopefully coming for a scoping visit in August.

Highland Park, Evanston, Downers Grove all looking like possibilities. Any advice on elementary schools always welcome.

Excellent, well done. I'm a bit out of date on the best elementary schools in Evanston, but Dewey consistently does well and has a large intake of Northwestern faculty families as well as other Evanston residents so it's quite international. The one that struggles the most is probably Oakton. My son went to Washington, which was a lovely school, and his teachers who are still there now still recognize him when he visits even though he's now 19. Not sure who is running the show there now though. All the Evanston elementary schools are very strict on boundaries for attendance, so make sure you know exactly where you will be living if you are aiming for a particular school. The dividing lines sometimes run down the middle of a street and you will not be given flexibility. I will be in the UK for the first two weeks of August, but happy to help if I can.

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Old Jul 3rd 2019, 5:46 am
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
That's not a correct description of Evanston. I am not in either one of your categories, for example.. It does have the extremes, of course, but there is a spread. Here is 2016 data. It is racially/ethnically mixed, which does make some people uncomfortable of course, but I have lived here for years with no issues at all and my son now has friends from all sorts of backgrounds, which he thinks is normal - which is a good thing as far as the future is concerned I think. As a displaced Londoner, this business of people being afraid of the low-income or of people who don't look like them seems very odd to me.



Anyway, OP's choice But if she's going to rent a 3/4 bedroom house in Lincoln Park some very serious money indeed is going to be required.
Much of Chicago is as safe as London (if not safer) but the problem isn't how people look or for that matter their income level, it's the attitude that if I'm angry I have a right to be violent. That's why they're segregated.
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Old Jul 3rd 2019, 9:06 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by jeepster View Post
Much of Chicago is as safe as London (if not safer) but the problem isn't how people look or for that matter their income level, it's the attitude that if I'm angry I have a right to be violent. That's why they're segregated.
Sorry, no idea what this means but I don't think this thread is the place for this discussion.
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Old Jul 4th 2019, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Agreed..!

We are going to come over in August so I'm.now hunting for a relocation person who could drive us around and show us areas and then help find us a rental in jan/feb next year. V excited to visit.
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Old Jul 4th 2019, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Agreed..!

We are going to come over in August so I'm.now hunting for a relocation person who could drive us around and show us areas and then help find us a rental in jan/feb next year. V excited to visit.
If you're arriving in Jan/Feb, bring warm clothes!
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Hi there, I haven't read through all the replies so apologies for duplicates. We lived in the North West suburbs of Chicago for 13 years, and I worked predominiantly in the city. We now live back in the UK. PM me if you'd like to chat in detail about anything. We have three daughters.

When we first got married, we lived in Oak Park for about five years. There are a few bad areas you want to avoid, but most of it is really nice. Also GREAT for the El line to get into the city (we lived right opposite the blue line). However we did not have kids at this point, so can't speak to schools. There were a lot of middle class families in Oak Park tho. Oak Park is called "The First Suburb of Chicago" as it is just a few minutes from the city limits.

We then moved to Schaumburg, and this is a place you should look at closely. It has a main metra line into the city with many commuters. It is a nice play to live in terms of parks etc. It has a lot of strip mall type situations, but it's America. Everywhere is like that. The most important thing though is that the school district is excellent - one of the best in the country. Especially at elementary school level.
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