When I get together with friends I haven’t seen in a while or if I meet someone new and they ask where I live, and I respond with “Hampshire” they look at me with a definitive blank stare. Then I either have to tell them near Huntley or “just west of Elgin.” This is followed up by the customary “Oh, ok, like by the farms?” Yes, I picked up my family and moved us to a farm in the northwest suburbs of Hampshire, Illinois, exactly! Choosing a neighborhood was no easy task.
Let’s take a few steps back, I was born and raised in the suburbs right next to O’hare airport, where at times the airport seemed as if it was in my backyard, I was that close. Before getting married I moved out to Elgin, and after a few years we moved into a townhouse rental about 4 blocks from the Hoffman Estates border. This was around the time our daughter was turning 4 and we had to decide what we were going to do in terms of education and purchasing a long-term home as a rental wasn’t a viable option. We knew that we were currently living in the U-46 school district and we were not going to put our daughter into that school system. After quickly looking at homes and schools in the Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates area we knew our budget of $250,000 wasn’t going to get us anything that we liked, so what was there to do? We looked west as there was still affordable new construction going up all over the place and newer homes were also for sale as well.
We first began to look around the 301 school district as the schools were all highly rated and newer; the housing was also newer or brand new as well. We really liked the area of far west Elgin, but the prices were still just a touch out of reach as we didn’t want to settle for something smaller and older. We moved just a little farther west to Pingree Grove to try and get a short sale. After this house fell through, we focused in on Hampshire as there was still a new Ryland community being built and district 300 schools were highly rated and mostly brand new. After seeing the prices of homes, we knew we could make this work. The location was still a bit farther west than we thought we would have to go, but right at the 90 and 47 interchange and close to Rt. 20, it couldn’t be in a more convenient area. Ok, great, we had our area picked out and after going through the motions of purchasing our home, we got our house for just about $250,000 on the nose.
Friends and family had to get used to coming out to our house to visit and to this day we still get the jokes of “man, we should have packed a cooler” or “I didn’t know I was driving to Wisconsin.” Listen folks, just because your sheltered lives don’t take you past Woodfield Mall on the 90, doesn’t mean I am in the middle of nowhere. I live 30 minutes from Woodfield and 7 minutes from Randall Road where anything and everything is there. What it comes down to is there are still new construction options for families with a budget of $250,000 or less. Yes, you may have to get a little bit out of your comfort zone, but the new communities and schools will be well worth it in the long run. I am happy where I am, and you can be too!