Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Scott Fergus…, Home Buyer in Clifton, NJ

Moving to Chicago; working in the loop; partner and I need 2 br under $140k with easy commute. Where should we be looking?

Asked by Scott Ferguson, Clifton, NJ Thu Jan 6, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Some of the hot neighborhoods with a great nightlife and easy access to public transportation that would fit your price range are Wicker Park/ Bucktown, Uptown, and Lakeview. You may be able to find something in Lincoln Park, which is one of the best neighborhoods of Chicago, but a nice two bedroom for 140 would be tough. Research these neighborhoods, and visit Chicago for a week or so to check all of them out before even making the trip to focus on a search. Chicago has so many great neighborhoods, all with so much to offer, that as long as your agent puts you close to the train and in one of the safe ones, you won't be disappointed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 11, 2011
Everybody is giving you great advice and asking you the right questions Scott. It seems you could pick any of the agents here and be very well taken care of. I'm not an agent, I come from the development side of real estate. However I am in the process of forming a brokerage in Chicago and if I had all these brokers and agents on my team, I'd have a real estate Superstar Dream-Team it seems. One of the advantages I also have is growing up in Chicago gives me deep insight into the roots of all the neighborhoods on the northside, and most on the southside. But it's pretty clear that everybody that responsed here to you is more than qualified to step you thru the renting or buying process easily. So good luck in landing that job that sounds like a "slam dunk" and you'll love Chicago. More so I think when we get past this freezing winter, but there's plenty of local spots to stay warm in and still have a lot of fun.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 7, 2011
I agree with the agents who suggested renting first. The reason that I'm framing it in terms of "buying a property" is that I want to start living in the community where I would eventually be buying a home; and believe that my purchase price would be around $140,000 when I'm ready to buy.

Haven't got the job offer yet. When it comes (highly likely), I will have very little time to move and become established. I won't have time to do a proper house search, so I'm relying on the collective knowledge of agents to steer me to the neighborhoods where I'm most likely to be happy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 7, 2011
Hi Scott,

Everyone here is on their "A game", I love it!

I think it apropo to ask YOU what type of surrounding are you use to living in/around and what would you prefer?

Depending on your response I can better determine an area. Chicago is a very diverse city and all the areas mentioned previously each have their own unique characteristics.

The transportation system here, CTA/Metra is great. You can pretty much get around anywhere by either train or bus, and of course, cab/taxi.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 7, 2011
Hi Scott- many, many choices for you and your partner right now. Do you know anyone here? if so, start with them, asking about neighborhoods and take some time to put together a list that encompasses your priorities in terms of both amenities in the home and needs related to location.
Much content on line about neighborhoods, but you need to go out and look around and see for yourself.
You definitely would benefit from considering renting, but with the current rate environment, I would give a purchase some careful consideration, especially if you know you are going to be here for more than a year or two.
As with any client, I suggest you talk to a mortgage professional and a Realtor to start making your way through the process.
Many of the best right here on Trulia, take a look at our profiles, ask a friend for a referral and and make a choice. It is a great city to live and work in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 7, 2011
Thats a tough question. I would suggest renting short term first. If your new to the city, and dont know much about it, it may be a good option. This way you can have a chance to view all the different areas and see which one really fits your needs. Wouldnt you hate to buy a place, only to find a part of the city you wish you moved to had you known about it prior? Its an option that may be worth exploring.

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Hi Scott,

You've been given a lot of answers with some great advice - I would just simply add that if you're wanting to get a glimpse of some of the neighborhoods mentioned online, before you go driving around (many of the suggestions are in widely varying locations and have different feels to them) you could visit http://www.dreamtown.com/neighborhoods/chicago-neighborhoods.html From there, just select the neighborhood/suburb you want to know more about and you will find a ton of very helpful information.

I also think, as some have suggested, that it would be helpful to speak to an agent over the phone because answers to certain questions might help in guiding you toward the right place. I always conduct an in person consultation wherein I ask a lot of questions to help determine what might be best for you and then I explain how the process works.

Lastly, do your research on each agent; speak to at least three different people and make sure you work with someone who you feel comfortable with. You will be working with this person for several weeks and you should feel confident that there is trust and communication. Ask questions, read testimonials or call references.

My bio and testimonials can be found directly on my website, listed below

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have!

Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Hi Scott,

Congratulations on your upcoming move!!!!! Chicago is an awesome city with so much to offer!!! Along with the awesome diverse population; Chicago also offers a multitude of various neighborhoods within and just outside the city, Find a great Realtor and be brutally honest about what you are looking for. Type of home, neighborhood and yes price. A good Realtor can discuss neighborhood options with you. It will be important for you to visit neighborhoods so you and your partner can witness the look and feel up close and personal.

Best wishes for a fun search and a pleasant move. And if you are looking for a great Realtor, I'd love to assist you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
As someone else said you have recieved some great answers Scott. You can find options in this price range in all these areas discussed. They offer different styles of living from more of a smaller town feel like Oak Park to inner city living like Rogers Park and all areas will have one of the CTA line close by. There are many options but the main question is what type of life style you are looking for and what are the must haves that you are looking for in a new home. I would like the opportunity to discuss your wish list to help you decide on which area offers you the most. As another said below ---renting for a year to get to know different areas maybe something to think about. Please email me at nealash@atproperties.com if i can assist you with your purchase or rental.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011

I see alot of realtors telling you where to live without first getting to know you as a buyer. I am glad you are moving to Chicago and will be working in the loop and want an easy commute to work but when your not working what are some other things that are important to you and your partner since you both will be living together I am assuming that the decision should be both of yours to make where you want to live.

The real estate market in Chicago is a difficult one right now and you have to be careful and have someone who is experienced to guide you but ultimately it is your decision where and when you want to buy.

Chicago has many neighborhoods to choose from as some of the agents below have highlighted some of them like South Loop, Oak Park, Rogers Park. Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Blvd, Ukranian /East Village, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, just to name a few.

I would be glad to give you a tour and show you around as I love to work with buyers. I am also very experienced with foreclosures.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011

How would you like to walk to work instead of commuting??? That was the salesman in me, my apologies.

It may be hard to believe, but there are actually a handful of 2BR condos available in the loop, Printer's Row and south loop for under $150K. They are mostly distressed properties (short sales or REOs), but they are for sale nonetheless. I would anticipate more to enter the marketplace daily.

If you have never lived in Chicago before, there is nothing like being in the middle of all that the city has to offer. Assuming you are able to find a place to your liking of course. If not, some of the areas previously mentioned by my peers are very good second options.

Happy Hunting!
Web Reference: http://www.GallRealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Mayfair Park District. Look between Lawrence Ave and Irving Park Rd for Condos in that price range. Try and stay north of Pulaski, and you'll be able to easily take the Blue Line downtown at the Irving stop, or the Jefferson Park stop by Lawrence Ave. I know of a bank owned condo available right now at that price, almost 50% off it's original price and possibly we could get it for you for less than $140,000. Give me a call at 248-818-1842 and I'll start generating a list of great investments. This area has low taxes and I know of a few properties that don't have condo association fees included. What about Parking? Any other Amenities? You can also look at places in Albany Park, in certain areas will give you that price range and then you are looking at using the Brown Line to get downtown quickly. Certain areas will have crime risks in Mayfair Park, or Albany Park and for sure in Rogers Park (which some have suggested you look). And its easy enough to show you where you should stay out of, as well as, where you should be looking.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
You've received some excellent answers for your question Scott. I grew up in Oak Park and strongly feel it to be a good starting point for someone from out of town. However, if your use to more of a inner city feel, Rodgers Park can provide the best of both worlds. Chicago is a big place with tons of very nice neighborhoods. You have to consider your expectations when narrowing your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Chicago has pretty good public transportaion so you should have a few choices. If you follow the Red Line North from the Loop you should be able to find some choices in Rogers Park or maybe Evanston.
If you follow the Blue Line NW out to O'hare airport you should be able to find choices from Logan Sq out to Norwood. Anything else takes you out to the suburbs which might be too far a commute, but that is up to you.
I can set up a search or two to give you some ideas as to what you might get, but you also might want to rent for a year and get better acquainted with the city before you take the plunge.
My web site lets you search the MLS to get started also.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
You can get awesome 2br/2ba unit w/parking in a diverse neighborhood with excellent public transportation, close to the Lake/Parks, University and rest/bars in Rogers Park. Metra takes 12 min to downtown! Great area at a great price.

Call/email me and I can send you some listings.


Mark Malave
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Hi Scott,
I would recommend checking out Oak Park and Forest Park. They are suburbs immediately west of the city and have a lot of good housing options for you. There's lots to do around town and they are connected to the CTA via both the blue and green lines -- trains to downtown in about 20 minutes. They are also accessible via I-290 (10 minutes to downtown in no traffic). I'm happy to send you some listings so you can get a better idea of the area. I also encourage you to check out http://www.oakpark.com. Feel free to email me at MyRealtorLaurie@gmail.com if you have additional questions about the area or about the buying process -- I would love to help you find the perfect condo, whether it's in the city or 'burbs.

Laurie Christofano, Realtor
RE/MAX In The Village
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer