Those looking for move-in quality single family homes under $500,000 should visit the North Park neighborhood. My wife and I owned a condo about a block south of the North Park University campus located at the intersection of West Foster and North Kedzie. I feel just north of the campus across Foster is a terrific setting for quiet single family home living with nearby amenities.
The Encyclopedia of Chicago gives an area description of North Park:
"Community Area 13, 9 miles NW of the Loop. North Park is a stable, quiet, tree-shaded, middleincome community where most homes are owner-occupied. It is located between Cicero Avenue on the west and the North Shore Channel on the east, the city limits and Devon Avenue on the north, and the North Branch of the Chicago River on the south. The presence of the two streams provides a charming and unusual ambience for the area. Chicago's only waterfall (about four feet high) appears where the North Branch of the Chicago River tumbles into the North Shore Channel. "
The amenities are unique with two universities within four blocks of each other, a couple commercial districts on Foster and on Bryn Mawr, huge parks and access to highways.
Last Sunday, I stopped by the Starbucks on Foster then took a walk around the North Park Campus. The campus is a must stop for sight seeing on the North Side of Chicago. Just gorgeous.