So you’ve expanded your beautiful family, but do you now feel like the walls are closing in on you?  It is possible to move on to bigger and better things.  Sometimes we all drive around this gorgeous city and see the multi-million dollar homes and think ‘where do I fit in’…well if it is the single family you’re after but aren’t after the $1M+ price tag, there are other options available.

First, you want to consider your target location (or 2) that fits your families needs.  For many Chicago families schools tops the list when picking out a location.  We specialize on the North Side and the same schools always seem to top clients lists: Bell (North Center), Burley (West Lakeview), Blaine (Southport Corridor), Audubon (Roscoe Village), Drummond (Bucktown), Hawthorne (Lakeview) & Coonley (North Center).  All of these schools are great, but if your kids are really little and not ready for school for a couple of years, I would even consider some up and coming schools like Hamilton (West Lakeview), Waters (Ravenswood/Lincoln Square), Burr (Bucktown), Pritzker (Wicker Park), McPherson (Ravenswood) & Jahn (Roscoe Village).  The top schools are ranked 8-10 where the latter are around 5-6, however many of the 5-6 ranked schools also come with more affordable homes.  Furthermore, once your child is school age that 5-6 could be a 7-8 ranked school and with better schools come higher priced homes and that is both great for your child and your biggest investment, your home!

Take Audubon for example, just a few years ago it was ranked a 5 and now it is an 8.  It definitely helps that neighborhood families are sending their kids there, but if the right principle and neighborhood/parent support is in place it means great things for the school.

If you are dead set on a school like Bell or Burley and you want out of your current home there are many other creative options.

1. A large condo:  If you are renting or in a 1 or 2 bedroom and your family is expanding either by marriage and kids to follow or your kids are already in tow, a large condo is a great option!  The duplex down is a great choice as they usually have 3+ bedrooms, 2 baths and plenty of room to
roam.  This way if you are a budding family or already grown you will have room to continue growing and not feel like you are growing right out of your home.  You can find homes like this ranging, on average, from $350,000 – $599,000.

2. A Townhouse:  If you are already in a condo and ready to move on to something different a town home is a great stepping stone to get more space, less shared walls, attached garage and more outdoor space.  Association fees are typically lower in town home communities.  A typical large townhouse has 3+ bedrooms plus a den or rec area, attached garage and at least 2.5 bathrooms.  The average price range for townhouses in these school districts range from $500,000 – $750,000

3. Small Single Family:  Also known as the starter home, a small house may be a great option when looking to buy.  You may only get 2-3 bedrooms and 1+ bath, but you get land and a huge chunk of value is in the land.  The going rate for land in these areas starts at $350,000 which is the price of many condos!  You can always rehab and expand your home throughout the years, but getting in the location you want, a yard and no HOA fees are very appealing to many buyers.  The average price range for a small house can start at $350,000 and go upwards in the high $700,000s depending on location.

4. A Multi-Unit:  It  may seem unconventional, but a multi-unit or 2-flat may be a wise choice, especially with interest rates so low.  Think about it, you can buy a 2 unit building live in one unit and rent out the other.  The leased unit will probably pay for almost half of your mortgage.  Then when you have enough money saved you take over the whole building and convert it to a huge single family home.   If you find a bargain and want to start renovating it to your liking so you are happy living in it, consider a 203K Rehab Loan.  For example, if you purchase a 2-flat for $450,000 the 203K Rehab loan can factor in an additional $74,850 for renovations.  That way you can fix up the unit you plan on living in, duplex down the first floor and spruce up the rental unit to get top dollar.  If you ever watch Sarah’s House on HGTV you can see how much you can do with IKEA products which would be perfect for this type of this situation.  There is a lot of information on this so just give me a shout if you want more.Typical 2-flats range from $450,000 – $700,000 in these target areas.  However, converted 2-flats to single family homes can start at $900,000 on the very low end and head upwards to $1.3M – a huge investment opportunity for future resale.

5. An old house:  Often known as the rehab or handyman specials, these will require blood sweat and tears, but really pay off in the end.  If you can look past Grandma’s flower wallpaper, green/blue/red carpet, tiny outdated kitchen etc you can turn this old house into your dream home.  If you have the funds to do the reno, and you don’t want to have anyone else living on your property, then this may be the option for you.  Rehab loans cap in the low $400s for single families, so you will need your own personal funds or obtain a private loan from a private lender in order to fix up this kind of property.  An old house can run you anywhere from $350,000 – $600,000 on average, but the end result can put you into the high $800s and up depending on how extensive the rehab is.

Thinking about making or move, or want more information on some of the things I have discussed today, don’t hesitate to call or email.


For your real estate needs and beyond look to your Chicago Real Estate Family, The Yeager Team, every time.

5 thoughts on “Toddlers and Babies and Toys OH MY!”

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