Choosing the Best Chicago Neighborhood
Choosing the Best Chicago Neighborhood for Your New Home
As a future homeowner, you put a lot of thought into what you want your new home to be. You decide on how many bedrooms, and features like the garage, finished basement, fireplace, master bathroom, etc. Equally important is finding the right Chicago neighborhood to make your house or condo feel like home.
In determining the right Chicago neighborhood, there are several points to consider:
- Availability of homes in your price range
- Amenities in the neighborhood that are important to you, i.e., shopping, parks, stores
- Commute to work
- Proximity to expressways or public transportation
- Crime rate
In today’s home buying world, potential home buyers are not waiting for their real estate agent to send them home listings. They are on the internet searching for homes that catch their interest and taking an active role in finding the homes they want to see. In the suburbs, it’s easy to search by putting the name of the town in and then searching through what’s available in their price range. In the city, it’s helpful to know the zip code in the desired neighborhood. See below for a map of Chicago zip codes.
As you view homes in the neighborhood, you’ll get a “feel” for the neighborhood but a little objective data is sometimes helpful in firming your decision. Here are some helpful tools for your home buying decision making.
Chicago public schools belong to one big district, 299. However, not all schools are created equally. For information on the schools in your neighborhood (whether private or public), a great place to start is online. Here is a helpful website that gives information on the specific schools within your zip code or town. It includes ratings, parent reviews and test scores. Click here for the site.
Neighborhoods vary in Chicago. It’s always great to ask friends, co-workers or family members that may be more familiar with the neighborhood. You can also get a feel for the neighborhood by driving through to see how well the neighbors appear to maintain their property, are there lots of boarded up homes, does the neighborhood appear quiet (or energetic if that’s more your speed). There is also information online about crime activity which may be useful.
As you drill down on your wish list for your new home, hopefully these tools will be helpful. Of course, another critical tool for your home search is a great real estate agent. I hope you will give me the chance to help you find your new home.