Buying a Home in the North Shore

North Shore Jena Radnay May 30, 2023

Chicago’s North Shore along Lake Michigan comprises 10 communities: Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Forrest, and Lake Bluff. The North Shore is well known for being among the most highly educated and affluent in the U.S. It is home to first-class museums, ample opportunities for shopping at high-end retailers and unique boutiques, and fabulous restaurants that rival the big cities. In addition, there is the draw of the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, natural green spaces and parks, and less traffic than elsewhere in the city. Read on to explore more about life on the North Shore.

Why should you buy a house on the North Shore?

Beautiful neighborhoods

The North Shore of Chicago communities are well-established and have a strong sense of community, with unique home designs, plenty of character, and streets lined with green, leafy trees. Most have a reasonable commute into Chicago’s city center via the metro trains or I-94. Fantastic parks and nature preserves surround the area, as do private and public golf courses such as Shoreacres, Butler National Golf Club, and the Chicago Golf Club. Of course, access to the breathtaking Lake Michigan shoreline is a tremendous plus for swimming, boating, and fishing. In addition, houses on the North Shore tend to hold their value better than other areas.

Excellent schools

From preschool through high school, the North Shore schools are very highly rated. Some top contenders include Lake Forrest High School, Libertyville High School, and Oak Grove Elementary School.

Charming, vibrant downtown areas

The North Shore has a lot to offer. The serene landscaping of Chicago’s Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, the lakeside views at the Arts Circle of Northwestern University, and the historic home of Nobel prize winner Charles Gates Dawes in Evanston draw thousands of visitors each year. In addition, the upscale shopping of the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center is an experience in retail therapy. Found Kitchen and Social House features a rustic New American menu in a bohemian-inspired 1920s Paris theme. Or enjoy some new Asian fare at Lulu’s Dim Sum and Then Sum and make-from-scratch Mexican favorites at Uno Mas.

The top five neighborhoods on the North Shore

1. Wilmette

Wilmette is a village in Cook County with the perfect balance of small-town charm and big-city attributes. Home to some of the most exclusive real estate in Greater Chicago, this affluent neighborhood was ranked the seventh best neighborhood to raise children by Business Week and one of the top twenty-five earning towns by Money Magazine.

2. Lake Forest

Lake Forest has easy access to the beautiful lakeside beaches and Chicago’s downtown. The schools are highly rated and there is a strong sense of community. This upscale, pristine neighborhood has over 200 acres of open green space, retail shopping, and the famed Market Square shopping experience.

3. Winnetka

The famed “Home Alone” house is located here, along with the natural wildlife in the Skokie Lagoons and the historic Anita Willets Burnham Log House. Winnetka has a strong community feel with a vibrant atmosphere and lively activities.

4. Highland Park

Highland Park has a strong sense of community and fabulous restaurants and shopping. It has a subtle suburban feel with the tranquility of being near Lake Michigan. There are plenty of activities, one-of-a-kind shops for apparel, home décor, and more, and an eclectic collection of restaurants. With shops like Harper + Ash, Beanstalk, and Bluemercury Spa, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

5. Glenview

One of the largest neighborhoods, Glenview has top-rated schools, a warm, friendly community, and the Glenview Town Center. There are plenty of outdoor, cultural, and historical attractions, such as the exciting Kohl Children’s Museum, Historic Wagner Farm, and Flick Park.

What to know about buying a house on the North Shore

Chicago’s North Shore has a distinctive beauty and charm all its own. Many are drawn to its location, proximity to the City of Chicago, and impressive school rankings. House prices vary depending on which neighborhood you are interested in, so researching each community is crucial.

When considering home prices and buying a home on the North Shore, you will also want to calculate closing costs and property taxes, which can make a distinct difference in your choices. To calculate your closing costs, you will need to estimate 2 to 5% of the total cost of your purchase. You can use an online tool or request a loan estimate document from your potential lender. Be sure to research the property tax rates for the North Shore.

Money-saving tips for buying a home on the North Shore

There are several ways to save money when purchasing a home:

  • Get your finances in order and research local lending companies to find the best mortgage rate
  • The bigger your downpayment, the lower your interest rate, so save as much as possible and aim to have 20% to put down before you buy
  • Your credit score matters regarding financing, so check with the three major credit bureaus to monitor and repair your credit score rating


When you’re ready to buy your dream home on the North Shore, reach out to the reputable and knowledgeable Jena Radnay, who knows the area and can help guide you step by step through the real estate process.

Work With Jena

Jena Radnay, and the focus of her real estate business, is all about people. Radnay’s love for real estate, houses, marketing, and people have allowed her business to grow organically, albeit explosively, in large part from referrals from her extensive network of contacts and connections.