More Suburbanites Moving Back to the City
When Ann and Ed Barranco’s twins graduated high school and left the house, the couple decided it was time for a move.
But unlike so many people nearing retirement age, the Highland Park couple wasn’t looking at Florida or Arizona – they decided they were moving back to the city.
They joined a growing wave of people hungering for the energy of the city. As the nation’s urban centers revived with upscale condos and walkable neighborhoods in the late 1990s, cities became desirable once again.
In fact, many of the best and brightest of the suburbs are moving back to the city. As a result, the suburban poor rose 25% from 2000 – 2010. But the Barrancos are of a smaller segment – the rare couple that moves to the city later in life. Ann is retired, while her husband owns a security company.
“We wanted to experience life in the city after 25 years in the suburbs,” Ann told us. They targeted the South Loop, near Soldier Field, and soon moved into an apartment on Michigan Avenue. Unfortunately it was May of 2009 and the real estate market was quickly crashing.
“When real estate was booming they just kept building condo after condo,” she says. “Then the crash came and the buildings were empty. Ours was 30 percent full. So they started charging people double assessments.”
They lived in their new city home – which they loved – for only a month before they received notice they would have to leave. The landlord had not paid her mortgage and the building was being foreclosed on. It was a setback, but they weren’t giving up on the city life. They found a place on Prairie Ave., but that didn’t work either.
“Then we found a condo on Calumet, the 29th floor in a highrise,” Ann says. “We thought it would be perfect.”
Perfection was short-lived. They were there two months when building shortcuts became apparent. A gap in the windows allowed ice to accumulate and water to leak. Soon the apartment developed a mold problem and the couple would have to move again.
When you run a moving company, you truly hope you’re part of helping people get started in their dream home, or at least an apartment or home that will serve them well for years, if not the rest of their life.
The Barrancos’ story was tough. We helped them on two of their moves within a span of months. You hate to have to do that, but if you do, you hope you can at least relieve some of their stress.
“We were so excited about moving to the city,” Ann told us. “For our first move we hired a local company. They were very sloppy, and when we moved they couldn’t get the truck out of the alley because the truck broke down. Then they wanted to charge me for the hours it was broken down. The charges just started to escalate.”
We know how stressful moving is (believe us, we help hundreds of people do it every year!) and the last thing you need at that time is to worry about us. Ann advises people to choose their moving company carefully, and to factor in more than price when making your choice.
“You don’t want to deal with moving problems when you have so much else to worry about,” Ann says. “At Bernard, it was just easy. They were true to their contract, the movers were nice guys, and they really helped me out, every time something happened, they were there for me.”
The Barrancos’ move to the city for an exciting life wasn’t all for naught. Ann says they had a great time, but found it takes a lot more money to live downtown then they thought. Their experience wasn’t helped by moving four times in three years.
In 2012, they decided to head back to the suburbs, moving out to Linconlnshire, their city experiment over. Have you had a crazy moving experience? Drop us a note or connect with us on Twitter @MovingChicago to tell us your story.
Written by Lynn Bernard. Find Lynn on Google+.