Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trade Chicago for Wilmette?

With my second mouth to feed showing up a few weeks ago (my wife, being the fourth mouth behind me, is capable of feeding herself), I ask that you forgive my momentary dad freak out here.

Wilmette sounds nice.

My wife doesn't want to move... I don't want to move. We swear by our duplex-down lifestyle in Ravenswood. But, there are some pretty attractive short sales and straight up re-sale single family homes that look good from $400,000 to $450,000. The schools, man... the schools.

Can anybody tell me what it's like living in the western part of Wilmette a little northeast of Centennial Park? How is it driving to the north side of Chicago? Where would we hang out most with the kids as they get older? I'm pretty familiar with the lakefront... but how's it out west?


Adam said...

I don't have any data to add, but I'm also interested to hear people's comments. I noticed YoChicago picked up this article so hopefully you'll get some traffic.

Eric Rojas said...

Thanks Adam, I was baiting Joe Zekas of a bit on Wilmette. He's one of the few with any current writing on the place.

That said, I have the data... looking for the nuance.


Anonymous said...

No night life, good people, central avenue coffee house with live music, shuts down at 8 pm. Traffic on Sheridan and Ridge not bad.

Eric Rojas said...

I've seen a couple affordable homes just northeast of Centennial Park. Any other retail/restaurants within a mile walk east?

We'll be visiting the area soon.

Joe Zekas said...

Sorry I'm late to this party, Eric.

I've lived both east and west (current) in Wilmette. I'd be happy to show you and your wife (and kids) around and go into detail on the nuances of various areas – and where you can find a walkable lifestyle with some traces of urban living.

My current commute from west Wilmette (leaving after 9, headed to River North) takes anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes most days, but can stretch to an hour.

The decision to move to Wilmette, for me, came down to four things: 1) an environment where my kids could leave the house and just go without being watched every second, 2) great schools, 3) somewhat of an economic mix and no (well, almost no) snobbishness about affluence, and 4) a sense of permanence. Wilmette has met expectations on all counts. Wilmette exceeded expectatons on all counts and provided some surprises.

I'll share one story that speaks volumes about what kind of place Wilmette is. My 26 year old daughter has a circle of about 8 very close girl friends who've been close friends since second grade despite having scattered around the country for college (from Santa Barbara to Dayton to Princeton to Tufts) and work. One now lives in DC and spent last weekend with her in New York. Two are visiting her in NY this weekend one from Chicago, one from Rochester. Another lives in NY and they see each other frequently. Another visits back and forth from Houston. Etc. The girls come from varied ethnic backgrounds and economic circumstances that varoed from having barely hung on in Wilmette to extreme affluence. They all want to return to Wilmete when it comes time to raise their families – and they'd all like to live on the same block.

My daughter's experience is, I believe, typical of many kids here. It's an experience that's increasingly difficult to find and, in my mind, extremely valuable.

Eric Rojas said...

Thanks Joe.
I told my wife you will be the first guy we contact for a tour of the neighborhood.

Check out some of my latter posts. I came very close to pulling the trigger on a ranch house tucked away in a great sub-division on 529 Pinecrest. It shows better than the photos and I was dropping my furniture right in. I've rarely seen a better conditioned home. Kitchen was rough, but improvable, great lot location and terrific master bedroom addition.

However, it's just one too many things right now to put the condo on the market with the two young kids.

I just get this sick feeling I'm missing an opportunity right now, but I'm a little over dramatic.

Another tough thing is leaving the community we are growing with right here. We're finally getting a nice little network of parents and like the school and church etc...

But it would be great to have garage, yard and have the kids running all over the block. We loved what we saw and I've frequently visited the beach on Michigan as a teen.

Commute is a little tough on me because of showings (on buy-side and listing), but with my partners it's very doable. I'd lose some flexibility for sure.

As many things, it's up to my wife and she likes where we are.... even in a (gulp) condo.