Our Condo-Buying Story Back To Home
When we began looking to buy a home in Chicagoland, we searched long and hard for a magic blend of attributes that is very difficult to find in the area. First, as we needed easy access to the city as well as the suburbs, we wanted a place that was centrally located in Chicagoland and very near to as many of the major highways as possible. Despite the "easy access" requirement, we also wanted a home that felt safe and fairly quiet, not one that was situated right on a noisy street or in a questionable neighborhood. And the big kicker, we wanted something affordable... the kind of affordable that, since it came with so many other stipulations, caused real estate agents to laugh at us (that really happened once).
After a time of searching to little avail, we came across Northlake, a small city just east of Elmhurst (which is a beautiful suburb that met nearly all our criteria, by the way, but the prices were just too high for the kind of place we were wanting to buy, and it was starting to get just a little far west for us, further from the airport, etc.). Northlake seemed to have the feel of a city that was situated in a great spot: it was west enough to be clear of some of the more questionable areas, and right by lots of the nicer suburbs (Oak Brook, Elmhurst, Lombard...) yet it was not affected by the higher prices of those areas. So, we drove around Northlake and talked to the locals to get a feel for the place. And we did so a second time, but we didn't run into anything that seemed right as far as a future home was concerned; we found some nice houses a bit out of our price range, some homes right on the busy street, and some apartments that weren't what we were looking for.
At last, a lucky lead prompted us to check out King Arthur Court. We'd missed it before because, while it's just a few turns off of the major roads (off of Wolf, between North and Grand), it is situated in such a way that people don't accidentally run across it. After one visit, we were pretty sure that we had found home.
But the process wasn't quite finished yet. We still had to figure out which, if any, of the condo units we were interested in. During conversations with other residents, we began to hear talk of condo fees, numerous condo boards, and a wide range of levels of upkeep between the buildings, not to mention a variety of levels of upkeep between units. Head swimming! In another stroke of luck, we happened upon a retired lady who had been highly involved in the goings on of King Arthur Court for many years. This kind woman provided us with a wealth of information that helped us make our final decision about our purchase. We discovered that all of the condominium buildings were run by condo boards, but not all by the same one. In fact, only a handful of the condos were part of a long-established board that was well-managed and had planned appropriately to build up a financial nest-egg. We didn't want to purchase a unit, discover that the pipes or electrical systems needed to be replaced, and have to pay an exorbitant and unexpected "added assessment" to cover these types of costs; we wanted to be part of a network of responsible home-owners that had a history of keeping things in good shape and planning for financial security. We also discovered that many of the units were recent apartment conversions hastily "upgraded" to look nice at a glance, allowing a landlord to gradually get out of the business and make a quick buck in the process. All of that narrowed down our choices considerably.
Eventually, we discovered the unit that we now own was available for purchase, so we bought it. Finally, we had a home that met all of our criteria. This home has served us well, and during our stay we have taken steps to care for it and put in a number of recent enhancements that we hope you'll enjoy.