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Monkey2RatsandRabbit Aug 13th 2011 4:05 pm

Moving to Chicago
 
Hi,

I'm relocating with my family (wife, 3yr son, 3mnth daughter) to Chicago in October, date still to be confirmed. It's a company transfer and we're currently in Singapore, but I'm a Brit (Scottish) and my wife is Turkish, we're in our late thirties, early forties.

We're very excited by the move. As a Scot, I'm actually looking forward to enjoying the seasons again, and don't even mind the winter weather that awaits us! I'm sure it can't be any worse than the W.Coast of Scotland!

I have a few questions, if anyone could help I'd really appreciate it.

We're struggling to work our where to live. I'll be working downtown (60654), and would like no more than a 45 mins commute door to door (public transport). We've been told Lincoln Park is the gold standard for families looking for a safe city neighbourhood, but I'm not sure we'll get what we want for what we want to pay. We really want a large outdoor space for ourselves and the kids - it can be a big deck or yard. We'd need 4 bedrooms, or 3 with some extra space like basement family room or study. We'd like to feel we're in the city and able to walk to places like parks, restaurants, shops etc. Or a very short drive. I was also hoping to get something for under $3K per month. Has anyone any recommendations on good rental search sites? I've searched high and low and can't find many that provide good info with lots of photos.

I also heard that there are no pre-schools in the US, with Kindergarten starting at age 5. Our 3 yr old has been at pre-school for more than a year in Singapore, and really needs the daily stimulus otherwise he gets very bored.

What sort of options will we have - are there playgroups that he can attend at least every morning, or are we looking at childcare?

Many thanks in advance for any advice.

MG

JAJ Aug 13th 2011 4:37 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 
Is this intended to be a permanent move, or temporary? Your company will probably get you a temporary visa (L-1) but you need to think about green card options if you will want to stay.

Also, even with company support, a green card may take some time - depends on the circumstances.

Permanent settlement is perhaps more important in your situation because you should be aware that if something happens to you, your wife and children can't stay in the USA (unless you have green cards first) and as it appears she isn't a British citizen, she can't go to the United Kingdom either.

Bob Aug 13th 2011 5:21 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Monkey2RatsandRabbit (Post 9557180)
I also heard that there are no pre-schools in the US, with Kindergarten starting at age 5. Our 3 yr old has been at pre-school for more than a year in Singapore, and really needs the daily stimulus otherwise he gets very bored.

There are all kinds of stuff....it's all private. No idea of Chicago, but Boston, you can see 3 half day a week, per kid, running you $1500 a month....heading out into the far, far burbs will see that money stretching to full time.

Can't help on areas to live, but there are plenty of threads on Chicago you could search out as a starting point. Also city-data.com is a good place for ideas too :)

Welcome to BE and good luck!

Monkey2RatsandRabbit Aug 15th 2011 7:24 am

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by JAJ (Post 9557220)
Is this intended to be a permanent move, or temporary? Your company will probably get you a temporary visa (L-1) but you need to think about green card options if you will want to stay.

Also, even with company support, a green card may take some time - depends on the circumstances.

Permanent settlement is perhaps more important in your situation because you should be aware that if something happens to you, your wife and children can't stay in the USA (unless you have green cards first) and as it appears she isn't a British citizen, she can't go to the United Kingdom either.

Thanks for the advice JAJ, I have now asked the company about helping me to apply for a green card.

Monkey2RatsandRabbit Aug 15th 2011 7:27 am

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 9557297)
There are all kinds of stuff....it's all private. No idea of Chicago, but Boston, you can see 3 half day a week, per kid, running you $1500 a month....heading out into the far, far burbs will see that money stretching to full time.

Can't help on areas to live, but there are plenty of threads on Chicago you could search out as a starting point. Also city-data.com is a good place for ideas too :)

Welcome to BE and good luck!

Thanks Bob, it's looking pricey, especially in Chicago, and from what i'm learning, there are waiting lists for everywhere, taking from 9-12 months and longer. Yikes!!! What are we going to do? I have no idea.

Michael Aug 15th 2011 8:19 am

Re: Moving to Chicago
 
Zillow has all the photos available for rentals. There may be no photos or 30 photos.

http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_rent...991_rect/8_zm/

Hiro11 Aug 15th 2011 2:41 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Monkey2RatsandRabbit (Post 9557180)
...don't even mind the winter weather that awaits us! I'm sure it can't be any worse than the W.Coast of Scotland!

Uh... Plan a February week in Florida now. Trust me.


We've been told Lincoln Park is the gold standard for families looking for a safe city neighbourhood, but I'm not sure we'll get what we want for what we want to pay. We really want a large outdoor space for ourselves and the kids - it can be a big deck or yard. We'd need 4 bedrooms, or 3 with some extra space like basement family room or study. We'd like to feel we're in the city and able to walk to places like parks, restaurants, shops etc. Or a very short drive. I was also hoping to get something for under $3K per month. Has anyone any recommendations on good rental search sites? I've searched high and low and can't find many that provide good info with lots of photos.
Lincoln Park is very urban and expensive and will probably not meet the majority of your requirements, certainly not at $3K. There's tons of other worthy neighborhoods, though. Anything north side should be fine, I know lots of families in Andersonville and surrounding areas. Also, consider a nearby suburb like Evanston or Oak Park / River Forest. There's good public transportation so being a bit further out isn't really a problem. I'd recommend spending a week here and taking the time to look around, check out the neighborhoods and amenities. It's going to be really hard to get a sense for the city over the internet. I'm not sure if you've been here, but it's a lot bigger than Singapore and obviously a world away culturally.


I also heard that there are no pre-schools in the US, with Kindergarten starting at age 5. Our 3 yr old has been at pre-school for more than a year in Singapore, and really needs the daily stimulus otherwise he gets very bored.
It's all private but there's many, many options. Also, it doesn't have to be expensive: lots of churches, community centers and towns offer a wide variety of programs for very little. The programs in the burbs will generally be more low key and cheaper while the programs in the city will be crowded and expensive but still good. Of all the cities I've lived in in the states, Chicago seems best set up for raising kids.

dave2702 Aug 15th 2011 2:45 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 
For that much space I think you can forget Lincoln Park it's horrendously expensive and the places are pretty small. if you really want to live downtown then consider one of the lesser known neighbourhoods like Ukrainian Village or Logan Square

As you're willing to take Public Transport I'd seriously consider the Western Suburbs. You can get an Express Metra from there which'd have you downtown in about 40 minutes and you can rent a nice big house

If you're looking for Rental Searches the apartmentguide.com is pretty good. Also it's worth checking out apartmentratings.com to see what other people think of the place.

If you do decide to live in Chicago Another useful site is

http://gis.chicagopolice.org/clearmap/startpage.htm

Here you can see the types of crime being reported

-- Edit---

Also consider your childs future educations Chicago Public Schools can be a very mixed bunch and so you need to make sure you're in a decent school district. Niles has recently been voted one of the top towns for Families :)

dave2702 Aug 15th 2011 2:48 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Monkey2RatsandRabbit (Post 9557180)
We're very excited by the move. As a Scot, I'm actually looking forward to enjoying the seasons again, and don't even mind the winter weather that awaits us! I'm sure it can't be any worse than the W.Coast of Scotland!

As Hiro says, The W. Coast of Scotland has nothing on January/February in Chicago :)

Monkey2RatsandRabbit Aug 16th 2011 2:21 am

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by dave2702 (Post 9560802)
As Hiro says, The W. Coast of Scotland has nothing on January/February in Chicago :)

Hi guys,

Many thanks for your excellent advice. I think you've pointed me in the right direction. Last night, my wife and I had a look at Hinsdale and Naperville, both look like I can tick all the boxes within budget and as you say the options for childcare/nursery seem more and less expensive.

40 mins is nothing for me after doing 90 minutes into London for many years.

I'll be coming out to Chicago in September for a look around before the move in October. I just wanted to ensure that I spend my time wisely looking at a couple of areas rather than start at the beginning - trying to cover too much too quickly.

Yes, I can imagine that my quote about Chicago winters v W.Scotland may have been a bit naive :) But, as I said, it doesn't phase me. (another naive statement probably), I'm looking forward to log fires, building snowmen with the kids, even if my ears do go numb and fall off.

Thanks again folks!

dave2702 Aug 16th 2011 3:16 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Monkey2RatsandRabbit (Post 9562007)
Hi guys,

Many thanks for your excellent advice. I think you've pointed me in the right direction. Last night, my wife and I had a look at Hinsdale and Naperville, both look like I can tick all the boxes within budget and as you say the options for childcare/nursery seem more and less expensive.

I can't say too much about Hinsdale because I've only passed by on the Interstate. Naperville is one of the best places for Schools in the US and if you live there they certainly make you pay for it through their taxes :)

On the plus point the Metra Station has an express which goes straight down town with no further stops. If you live a bit further East like Lisle or Downers Grove (both nice places) then their Metras call at every stop in between and add about another half hour to the journey

The only disadvantage is that if you try going down by Car, at midnight it's half an hour, at 7am its at least an hour and the same pain going home. You'll suffer the same woes with Hinsdale too as both have to go through the Hillside Strangler ;)

Hiro11 Aug 17th 2011 4:07 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by Monkey2RatsandRabbit (Post 9562007)
Hi guys,
Many thanks for your excellent advice. I think you've pointed me in the right direction. Last night, my wife and I had a look at Hinsdale and Naperville, both look like I can tick all the boxes within budget and as you say the options for childcare/nursery seem more and less expensive.

If you're willing to consider the burbs, there's lots and lots of options. Chicagoland (yes, that's what people call it) is huge, it takes about two hours to drive across the entire metro area. Both towns you've mentioned are in the Western suburbs which is a great place to commute from. Also look at the northside suburbs, there are many nice towns up there. To be specific about your two towns, Hinsdale is very nice, has excellent schools and nice housing but it is certainly expensive, average house price is about $1M. Naperville is a mini-city itself, close to 200K people there. Lots of good housing options and good schools. There are many other worthy towns in the western suburbs: Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Western Springs are all terrific, for example.

dave2702 Aug 17th 2011 7:06 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 
Actually Apartmentguide doesn't seem to be that good for Houses & Townhomes. www.rentals.com seems to be pretty good

Bob Aug 17th 2011 8:45 pm

Re: Moving to Chicago
 

Originally Posted by dave2702 (Post 9565302)
Actually Apartmentguide doesn't seem to be that good for Houses & Townhomes. www.rentals.com seems to be pretty good

http://www.homes.com is another one, it's geared for sales, but do have a pretty good rental coverage.

omnebonumabalto Aug 19th 2011 4:43 am

Re: Moving to Chicago
 
You will enjoy Chicago it is a great city and it works. Curious fact with Midwesterners they don't have fences in their backyards everybody is open to the next person. Naperville and Hinsdale are both excellent choices for schools, expensive homes, golf clubs,twee lifestyle and a very whitebread community.
Check out where you are going to live and make sure you have some cosmopolitan neighbours. When I lived out there years ago it was a real strain.


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