Chicago, Illinois is also known as the Windy City, where the cityscape meets the shoreline of Lake Michigan, and its bustling modern city atmosphere, is home to more than 2.7 million residents, making it the third most populous city in the US. Coming in second only to New York City, it is also popular among tourists as it is the second-most visited city in the United States.
Whether you’re new to Chicago or you’ve been a resident for years, it doesn’t take long to realize that a big portion of the residences here is in fact apartments. Cities like Chicago are notorious for being tight on available space, which makes apartments the accommodation of choice for developers. Statistics show that renters outweigh homeowners in Chicago, which also means apartments can be hard to come by since they are in such high demand.
If you’re new to apartment life in Chicago and are just looking to break into the renter’s market, there are some tips and advice that can make things smoother for you. We’ve gone ahead and put together a guide meant for first-time apartment dwellers in the Windy City that will go ahead and answer the most common questions.
7 Things to Know Before Moving to Chicago
Is Apartment Living Quiet – Will I Have Enough Privacy, Peace, and Quiet?
For anyone moving from a smaller city or town to Chicago, the hustle, bustle, and constant noise of the city can be a lot to take in. It often leaves newcomers wondering if they’ll be able to enjoy peace and quiet in their apartment and have enough privacy in such tight quarters. City living is always going to be louder, so accepting that is a good start. From there, it’s about picking a building that offers good sound-proofing and where neighbors are respectful and mindful of apartment noise.
A common noise complaint in Chicago is dogs barking. No-one wants to be kept up while they listen to the dog next door. Frankly, it can be frustrating any time of the day, not just at night. The good news is that it’s relatively quick and easy to file a noise complaint. You can find information on noise complaints here. There is no reason you have to tolerate it, no matter where you live in the city as the Blueprint by Blueground blog points out.
Blueprint by Blueground is actually an excellent source for first-time apartment dwellers as their site is dedicated to providing all kinds of helpful information about moving and relocating. They even offer furnished apartments for long-stays that start at 30 days to a year. This is ideal for those who are looking for a well-appointed apartment in a hurry and don’t want to have to search all around.
Understand It’s a Competitive Market
As discussed above, because renters outweigh homeowners, you have to expect a very competitive rental market here. This means when you find an apartment that you like, you don’t have the luxury of time to sit on the decision and take your time mulling it over. While you never want to rush into a decision you don’t feel confident in, you will find that you need to move pretty quickly in the Chicago market.
Base Your Search on the Neighborhood
Just like with most big cities, it’s a good idea to base the search on a particular neighborhood, or neighborhoods, rather than an actual apartment unit. Because the city has so many different neighborhoods, each with its own personality, pros, and cons, you want to be sure you pick the one that will match best with your lifestyle. A great apartment isn’t going to make up for an unsafe neighborhood, or one that is lacking in amenities.
Always View the Apartment in Person Before Signing a Deal
It’s also quite common to find listings that insist on people signing a rental agreement before seeing the apartment unit in person. This should be a massive red flag, as you never want to say yes without checking it out in person. You never know what could be hiding in there, or how unrealistic the pictures were that you saw of the unit.
Work with a Real Estate Agent – or Don’t
Chicago is one of those markets where renters have the option to work with a real estate agent or go about the search on their own. The big advantage of working with an agent is that they may know about rental opportunities that you couldn’t find on your own, and they can help advise you on the best neighborhoods and landlords.
Expect to Sacrifice on Space
Finally, it’s a good idea to be realistic when it comes to space. Even if you have the money to spend on a high-end apartment, the fact is that Chicago is a big city, so apartments will be smaller than those in a small city or town.
Ready to Jump into the Market
By keeping these tips and considerations in mind, you’ll be much better prepared to jump into the Chicago apartment market and find something that fits your needs.