"Genie, stay away from those far west streets. You'll get side-swiped by a part-time realtor. Those 'west of Western' (Avenue, that is...) agents communicate by pagers and Supras (electronic lock-boxes for the laziest of Listing Agents) and every property has at least 2 kitchens with aunts and uncles everywhere. There's not a Starbucks to be found, Sushi is a four letter word (to them) and you'll be wearing a gold blazer with a name tag within a month. You'll have to put your picture on your business card. Please be careful son..."
...that voice...has finally subsided. It's safe now. The Northside spill-over has officially begun. My wife and I recently purchased a house in the Forest Glen neighborhood of the city (I saved my beloved spouse just seconds before she became an honorary Trixie, I am certain).
And by 'safe' I mean from an investment standpoint. With basic land values steadily hovering above $750,000 per 25'x125' parcel in Lincoln Park, most single family home buyers have no other choice but to expand their searches outward from the sweetspot of the upwardly mobile speedball of Chicago's Northside, and head west. And for those of you who are not from this topographic region, just believe me when I say that heading east is not an option--big, big lake....And while I suppose there are arguments to be made for meandering north or south, it is my professional opinion that northwest is indeed, the only way to fly. My last five deals have occured in this geographic annex of Greater Chicagoland and if it's good enough for my clients then it's good enough for me. I will soon have a yard to cut and a house to paint every 10 years.
The thing is, if you want a relatively spartan single family home in the neighborhood I presently reside in (Lincoln Park) then you'll have to spend around a mil. If you want it to be real nice then you'll need to spend around 2 mil; exquisite...3 mil. Exquisite and in the best part of Lincoln Park, 5 mil for starters; 30 mil if you want a Pritzker for a neighbor. If all of the above price points are not in your housing budget but you just gotta have the 'hood and all it has to offer, then guess what...? C.O.N.D.O.M.I.N.I.U.M.
Bottom Line: If you want to spend less than seven figures for an actual house--and you don't mind having a Petro for a neighbor--then by all means, sell the Condo, point your vehicle in a westwardly direction, continue 30 or so blocks past the edge of the Earth (California...Avenue, that is), and claim your stake before all the other Trixies and Chads get here first. A Starbucks is sure to follow--I'm betting heavily on it. Sushi, however, might be another story altogether.