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Metra Trains/First Time Home Buyer

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Any other Metra users post on this site? I am currently looking to buy either a condo or townhouse. Currently, I have been looking mostly in the south suburbs (I take the Rock Island currently). I want to expand my search to include towns like Romeoville and Plainfield since just by browsing, I've come across some good, affordable homes out that way. Also, the market is dry right now around Frankfort/Tinley Park/Orland Park/New Lenox. The problem is, it doesn't seem like the Metra lines that are nearby (Plainfield and Romeoville) are consistent. My cousin lives in Plainfield and said that when he worked downtown, he used to have to drive 20 minutes to the closest Metra station (I'm currently within 6 minutes to the one I go to). I can't imagine doing that in the winter making my commute longer. As for Romeoville's Metra station, there are only 3 trains that go to the city in the morning and 4, throughout the day, that go from the city making that difficult on days I may get stuck at the office late unexpectedly.

Does anyone who lives in either town (or a neighboring town for that matter) have any advice on the commute to the city using the Metra from around that way?

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I don't know if you want to hear it or not, but at that point you aren't too much further to Indiana.  There are a ton of great towns just over the state line connecting in via the south shore and the Metra electric line. Your property taxes alone will be insanely cheaper.  On a primary home tax caps are at 1%. So on a 150k house, you'll never pay more than $1500 a year for your property taxes.

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20 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

I don't know if you want to hear it or not, but at that point you aren't too much further to Indiana.  There are a ton of great towns just over the state line connecting in via the south shore and the Metra electric line. Your property taxes alone will be insanely cheaper.  On a primary home tax caps are at 1%. So on a 150k house, you'll never pay more than $1500 a year for your property taxes.

Hey I don't hate to hear that at all. I honestly am unsure how the train line is from Indiana so this helps.

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50 minutes ago, soxfan2014 said:

Hey I don't hate to hear that at all. I honestly am unsure how the train line is from Indiana so this helps.

The South Shore connects into the Metra Electric line just south of 115th street/Kensington.  The Hegewisch stop is 35 minutes to downtown and is in Chicago by about a mile, but right on the state line.  Hammond stop is 40 minutes and East Chicago is 45.  I commuted from an hour and a half away along the same line and while stuff happens, 99% of the time it is on time.  Towns like Highland, St John, and Schereville aren't too far away from those stops. 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

The South Shore connects into the Metra Electric line just south of 115th street/Kensington.  The Hegewisch stop is 35 minutes to downtown and is in Chicago by about a mile, but right on the state line.  Hammond stop is 40 minutes and East Chicago is 45.  I commuted from an hour and a half away along the same line and while stuff happens, 99% of the time it is on time.  Towns like Highland, St John, and Schereville aren't too far away from those stops. 

 

 

Thanks for theinfo.I heard recently that Munster may be getting a Metra stop soon. No idea about how the area is.

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1 minute ago, soxfan2014 said:

Thanks for theinfo.I heard recently that Munster may be getting a Metra stop soon. No idea about how the area is.

Munster is also a great town. I know eventually they are adding a south spur to the line and that may well be one of the towns on it. I think that stuff is like 5 years down the road. 

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On 3/26/2019 at 7:04 PM, southsider2k5 said:

Munster is also a great town. I know eventually they are adding a south spur to the line and that may well be one of the towns on it. I think that stuff is like 5 years down the road. 

I just bought a house in Crown Point right off of 65 a few days ago, and even though actual Munster is fine, the surrounding areas worry me. I don't like what is happening to Highland and Griffith. But, it is closer to Illinois and the expressway, so the location is good for that reason.

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Speaking of home buying, anyone have an opinion of home insurance? I was thinking of using State Farm, since they also do my car insurance, but I am also getting a new car soon and will be shopping around for quotes for my new car too. State Farm quoted me at $110/mo for the new car, but I'm hoping I can do better elsewhere.

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I use State Farm. Had a claim for hail damage and got all new siding and gutters. No hassle. 

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Western suburbs here. I take the BNSF daily. It's a shit show, but for the price and convenience there is not a better choice. My express is 22 minutes and I have 3-4 options each way during rush hour. 

I would say at least once a week the trains are late and once or twice a month there is a massive incident/switch problem that causes trains to be late by 45 minutes or more. But, I think that tends to be par for the course with most Metra lines coming into Union Station, the worst major transit hub in the country probably.

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For insurance USAA has been out go to for everything. Amazing customer service. But you need a military connection. 

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On 4/1/2019 at 2:26 PM, Jenksismyhero said:

Western suburbs here. I take the BNSF daily. It's a shit show, but for the price and convenience there is not a better choice. My express is 22 minutes and I have 3-4 options each way during rush hour. 

I would say at least once a week the trains are late and once or twice a month there is a massive incident/switch problem that causes trains to be late by 45 minutes or more. But, I think that tends to be par for the course with most Metra lines coming into Union Station, the worst major transit hub in the country probably.

Yeah Metra isn't exactly fantastic with reliability, especially during the winter, and Union Station is a mess (and owned by Amtrak so Metra can't do a lot about that part anyway). But in the end, even with the occasional delays or problems, it is WAY better and cheaper than driving downtown. So there it is.

 

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32 minutes ago, NorthSideSox72 said:

Yeah Metra isn't exactly fantastic with reliability, especially during the winter, and Union Station is a mess (and owned by Amtrak so Metra can't do a lot about that part anyway). But in the end, even with the occasional delays or problems, it is WAY better and cheaper than driving downtown. So there it is.

 

It sounds like the Rock Island is the best line based on everything that I have heard from when I talk to anyone who goes into either Union or Ogilvie. 

 

Edited by soxfan2014

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9 minutes ago, soxfan2014 said:

It sounds like the Rock Island is the best line based on everything that I have heard from when I talk to who goes into either Union or Ogilvie. 

 

That could be true, I don't know. I ride the Milwaukee North, and have ridden the UP-North and UP-West quite a bit before. I have only minimal experience with any of the lines going South or Southwest.

 

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12 minutes ago, NorthSideSox72 said:

That could be true, I don't know. I ride the Milwaukee North, and have ridden the UP-North and UP-West quite a bit before. I have only minimal experience with any of the lines going South or Southwest.

 

The only bad thing about the Rock Island line is that LaSalle Street station is a dump. But you don't really hang out at the train station anyway I guess so it's not really a big deal.

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13 minutes ago, soxfan2014 said:

The only bad thing about the Rock Island line is that LaSalle Street station is a dump. But you don't really hang out at the train station anyway I guess so it's not really a big deal.

I've never been in LaSalle station (even though I work in that building), but I can't imagine it is worse than the platforms at Union.

 

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10 minutes ago, NorthSideSox72 said:

I've never been in LaSalle station (even though I work in that building), but I can't imagine it is worse than the platforms at Union.

 

Watch out for falling concrete!

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2 minutes ago, Jenksismyhero said:

Watch out for falling concrete!

Seriously. The ceiling has been caving in for a few years now, they do repairs and it keeps happening. Amtrak is hemorrhaging cash and has money to fix it.

 

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I am reviving this thread instead of starting a new one.

My wife will be going to Rush for school next year and hopefully working for them as well so we are looking to move up to the Chicago area. We will have two kids & two dogs and looking for something in the suburbs. We are very familiar with Mount Prospect/Arlington Heights area (we have family there) but I am trying to see if there are any other suburbs or areas closer to the city that would fit with what we are looking for.

Looking to stay under 275K for a home so an affordable area, within 40 minutes or so to downtown (closer the better), a Metra or L station not too far away in case she needs to take a train, area safe for families with good elementary schools. 

We have looked at Schaumburg quite a bit because homes aren't too bad price wise but the public transit isn't ideal in that area.

Also if anyone knows someone who is a nurse at Rush I would love to be able to ask some questions (or my wife will), just send me a message!

Thank you for any advice!

Edited by BigHurt3515

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BNSF is a great line to take in. Check out homes in Woodridge, Lombard, Bolingbrook, Westmont or Downers Grove. It can’t hurt to see what is available with how easy the commute is if she’s taking the train in (there are direct rides to the city in rush hour).

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On 6/20/2020 at 11:49 AM, BigHurt3515 said:

I am reviving this thread instead of starting a new one.

My wife will be going to Rush for school next year and hopefully working for them as well so we are looking to move up to the Chicago area. We will have two kids & two dogs and looking for something in the suburbs. We are very familiar with Mount Prospect/Arlington Heights area (we have family there) but I am trying to see if there are any other suburbs or areas closer to the city that would fit with what we are looking for.

Looking to stay under 275K for a home so an affordable area, within 40 minutes or so to downtown (closer the better), a Metra or L station not too far away in case she needs to take a train, area safe for families with good elementary schools. 

We have looked at Schaumburg quite a bit because homes aren't too bad price wise but the public transit isn't ideal in that area.

Also if anyone knows someone who is a nurse at Rush I would love to be able to ask some questions (or my wife will), just send me a message!

Thank you for any advice!

Does it need to be N or NW suburbs? I ask because those are what you listed.

MP and AH are good, and for your price range I'd also look at Morton Grove. Skokie and Evanston are kinda unusual but could also meet your needs - just keep in mind both towns have a WIDE variety of crime levels and school quality depending on where you are. Much less homogeneous than others on your list. Glenview and Northbrook are also very good choices but might be stretching your price range a bit - still worth a look. Elmhurst and Downers Grove similarly could be very good fits for you, and where both were pretty affordable not long ago, they have become pricier and I don't know if they'd fit in your range. Park Ridge and Des Plaines also some good choices, but like Evanston and Skokie you need to be careful where exactly your house is. Buffalo Grove also worth considering but their Metra line runs far less often.

 

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25 minutes ago, NorthSideSox72 said:

Does it need to be N or NW suburbs? I ask because those are what you listed.

MP and AH are good, and for your price range I'd also look at Morton Grove. Skokie and Evanston are kinda unusual but could also meet your needs - just keep in mind both towns have a WIDE variety of crime levels and school quality depending on where you are. Much less homogeneous than others on your list. Glenview and Northbrook are also very good choices but might be stretching your price range a bit - still worth a look. Elmhurst and Downers Grove similarly could be very good fits for you, and where both were pretty affordable not long ago, they have become pricier and I don't know if they'd fit in your range. Park Ridge and Des Plaines also some good choices, but like Evanston and Skokie you need to be careful where exactly your house is. Buffalo Grove also worth considering but their Metra line runs far less often.

 

It doesn't have to be. We would really like to be within 20-30 min of our family (We will have two kids under 3) in case we need some help. We would obviously like a place as safe as possible but I would assume a realtor will be able to steer us from bad areas. I will check out the others you have listed, thank you! 

I probably should have mentioned we are fine with a condo/townhouses if that is what we can end up affording. 

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