Chicago kind of town?
July 17, 2017 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Hubby and I will be moving to the Chicago area in about a year for hubby's job. We have no idea where to move to and need help!

So hubby's job is based in Warrenville. We currently live in PA. He primarily works from home, but due to a recent promotion, they would like him to move near corporate. The last time I was in Chicago was about 15 years ago, so I'm not exactly an expert on the area. Obviously we'll be visiting several times before the move and hubby is in the corporate office for a week each month. But we need help focusing on areas to live. We have ruled out Chicago proper. We really want a home in an area with mature trees, probably a walkable area close to restaurants. We don't mind planned communities but we really want to stay away from cookie cutter houses. We've noticed pretty high property taxes on homes. While we get that that's probably the norm being near a major city, are there any pockets where property taxes are lower? We're pretty open to just about anything. No school age kids so school district is not insanely important. Max we'd like to spend is about $450,000, but lower is obviously better. Suggestions on towns you love??
posted by fresh-rn to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Property taxes will continue to increase due to city and state budget woes. Check out nearby suburbs of Oak Park and Evanston that meet a lot of your concerns.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 6:18 AM on July 17

The Village of Lisle looks like it will meet most of the needs you listed.
posted by ajayb at 6:25 AM on July 17

It has moved a bit recently but this article is largely about how Chicago's property tax rate isn't as high as many surrounding areas (property values though...). You get stung more by regressive consumption taxes in Chicago like absurd 911 taxes on mobile phones.

There is a lot of anti-Chicago FUD out there regarding taxes so be sure to actually check the numbers.
posted by srboisvert at 6:28 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

Evanston to Warrenville would be a nightmare commute. Oak Park is a little more doable but still a schlep.

Naperville is very close to Warrenville and has a walkable downtown area, lots of neighborhoods with mature trees, and is on the Metra commuter rail line into the city (if that matters to you). It looks like you might not be able to get as close as you want to downtown for that price, though.

If Naperville is too big I would look at the smaller Fox River towns like Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.

I don't know why we are talking about City of Chicago property taxes in this thread where the OP has said they do not want to live in the city.

(Incidentally, there is some nice cycling in that area if you or your husband are cyclists.)
posted by enn at 6:39 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]

Yes, Warrenville is out near Naperville, Geneva and St. Charles. I like the latter two very much in terms of the things you mention. Property taxes will be highest in Naperville but they won't be actually low anywhere in that area. Also consider whether being near a Metra station is important to you.
posted by BibiRose at 6:44 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

Out of the Fox River towns, Geneva probably has the cutest/most walkable downtown, and also has the Metra line into Chicago. Naperville's downtown is rather generic (lots of national chains, etc.); Geneva has more local businesses and such (including a very good chocolate shop.) Batavia, except for right downtown (which is quite small) is *extremely* cookie-cutter--lots of sprawl and strip malls.
posted by damayanti at 6:46 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

You might try taking a drive out to "the country"-- i.e. Kane County and places like Elburn. You would definitely be looking for that one spot that's right but there's some really beautiful stuff out there.
posted by BibiRose at 6:53 AM on July 17

Wheaton has a very cute downtown that can be walkable (certainly bikeable), and it's about 15 min to Warrenville. In that area is also Glen Ellyn, Lombard, etc. St Charles, Geneva are also great suggestions.

This is a little further out, but I'm going to throw in a plug for Elgin. Low taxes, very very affordable houses, lots of trees, the river and bike path! A casino! A park that has deer, elk, buffalo, AND a little collection of farm animals in the summer! There is a walkable (or bikeable) downtown that has a small selection of restaurants and shops, and has really come a long way in being revitalized over the past 10ish years. Lots of small art galleries and whatnot doing their thing. Oh also, it has an amazing library. (If it's not obvious, I live there and LOVE IT SO MUCH. and evangelize to everyone about how great it is.)
posted by Fig at 6:58 AM on July 17

While St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia are nice towns, you might want to stay within DuPage county. Those river towns are in Kane county, which has one of the largest school districts in Illinois (Elgin).

Take a look at this article from 2015, comparing property taxes.

Wheaton is a nice town. Roselle has some nice older neighborhoods. There's nothing wrong with Naperville. I'd avoid Aurora, personally.

Downers Grove has a nice downtown, as well as some nice older neighborhoods, some have brick-paved streets. That's probably as far east as I'd go, from Warrenville.

Keep an eye on the Metra train map, you can catch it into Chicago for events and nights out.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:02 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]

Thirding Wheaton. The trip to Warrenville would take you about 15 minutes. We have been here for almost 10 years and it's a great town. The areas nearest to downtown definitely meet the walkable/mature trees/close to restaurants/not cookie cutter criteria: our house turns 100 next year. The library and parks and public spaces are great. And the Illinois Prairie Path is a gem of a bike trail that connects you to 100+ miles of pretty, off-road cycling.

Wheaton College is here, which is famously evangelical and right wing. That freaked us out a little bit when we were house shopping, but they have been excellent neighbors and we (peace-loving, rainbow-flag-flying lefties) have never felt out of place. Feel free to MeMail if you want to learn more.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:44 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]

I've lived in Warrenville and Wheaton. Be aware that that part of the metro area is basically car country. You're a short drive from a hundred great restaurants, but there's not many places where you can walk to more than a handful. Downtown Naperville, maybe.

Wheaton is about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago by train, over an hour by car.

I live in Oak Park, which does have walkable neighborhoods, and in fact I reverse-commuted to near Warrenville for some years. So it can be done, but it's a lot easier to give in to the automobile and live closer to work.
posted by zompist at 2:39 AM on July 18

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