There has been a trend in city living in the Chicago area for a number of years now. Essentially the urban flight of the past years has gone through the kind of reversal most scientists had thought the universe might do when the Big Bang reached the end of its bang. More people than ever are moving into downtown and inner-city residences. Suddenly when you are walking in downtown Chicago are you not just walking amongst the shops and restaurants, but in front of people’s condos and apartment. This can make finding a reasonably priced place to live in Chicago a challenge.
First thing you need to do is decide where you want to live. If you have an urge to live downtown you had better have an urge to pay a lot of money. If you can even find a rental unit you had better be ready to spend thousands a month in rent. Most buildings in Chicago are turning condo. It’s like some kind of condo virus. Every available space is becoming condo. I think they are going to start building them on top of cemeteries that are full in the near future.
Depending on where you want to live can determine how much you pay. If you do a little digging you can find reasonably priced apartments. However, if you are looking to be within walking distance of the Lake or Magnificent Mile the old adage, if you have to ask then you can’t afford it is probably very true here.
I recently sold my townhome in the far western suburbs and moved into a one bedroom apartment in the city. The key for me was that I had no desire to live downtown. You see the city of Chicago tends to be rather large, with a lot of neighborhoods. I picked a neighborhood known as Norwood Park which is near where I grew up. It is a part of Chicago wedged between two suburbs like some kind of sandwich meat this place gives you great access to the city while being far enough from downtown to allow you live without going broke.
There are a lot of apartment finding services. I was going to use one called, appropriately enough, Chicago Apartment Finders. I even went down to their offices and filled out paperwork and met with an agent. Look, if you have the time, I suggest you visit these people. They are very nice, have great beverages and their offices are about as plush as any you are going to find anywhere. Really, it would be worth the visit just to sit there and watch the plasma screen televisions, especially during football season.
I ended up using that internet phenomenon called Craigslist. What I personally hate most about using newspapers is making the phone calls. I hate calling people and asking a bunch of questions. Craigslist allows you to e-mail people, which is awesome. I handled my entire transaction in finding a place via e-mail which is how I think everyone should communicate these days anyway.
I found a sweet one bedroom at a reasonable price with a really nice landlord in a great neighborhood. It has a nice huge park where my dog can run and act like a dog and friendly neighbors.
I have other friends who recommend using Craiglist. I would suggest this route as well. Of course, the apartment finders take a lot of the work out of your hands as well, but then you have to worry about the fees and such. Craigslist gets rid of a lot of that.
So, good luck with the hunt. Keep your mind open. All of the neighborhoods here are changing overnight anyway. Places that you would only have been caught dead in a few years ago now have houses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re really lucky you can get into a neighborhood that is changing over into something better. It’s kind of fun actually.
Now moving? That sucks.