I dream of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom with exposed brick walls, concrete and timber ceilings, central air, an in-unit washer and dryer and a five minute walk from the Blue Line.
I wake up to an Internet browser crammed with tabs: Craigslist, Domu, Hotpads, Redfin--and, of course, a free rent-versus-buy calculator. Repeat. Everything is at least 200 square feet smaller and at least $100 a month more than I thought I could manage, but I schedule a few viewings anyway.
If you get as obsessive about real estate as I do, this guide might answer some questions you didn't even know you had, like which up-and-coming neighborhoods to consider, what apartment services will (and won't) do for you and, once you find that awesome place, how to make it even more awesome (see below).
Last year, I really could've used the help. Two-flats, coach houses, lofts, high-rises, courtyard buildings … the housing choices available in Chicago can be daunting. After viewing nearly 25 apartments in a span of three weeks, my roommate and I settled on a Lincoln Park walk-up--for a monthly rent higher than we had ever paid before. We didn't realize until after our move that we were living next door to a rowdy 5 a.m. bar. (Bottle service? That's what I call it when they take out their trash at 6:30 on a Sunday morning right outside my bedroom window).
Whether you're looking for your very first Chicago apartment or are making a move after living in the city for years, we've been through it and we've got your back. Learn from our hits and misses and you'll be a little bit closer to landing your dream pad. –Rachel Cromidas
IN THIS GUIDE ...
>> Up-and-coming neighborhoods to consider
>> All about apartment-finding services
>> 10 tools you need for your first place
>> Design hacks: Decorate like a pro
>> No closet, no problem: Storage solutions for small spaces
>> Deck out your balcony, stoop or patio
>> Temporary design: Decorate without losing your security deposit
>> Cheers! Time to set up your home bar
>> How to upgrade to grown-up furniture