So, you need to find an apartment in Chicago? Whether you’re a college student or a recent grad, (or neither!) it can be quite the feat. The market is incredibly fast-paced and sometimes over-priced but there are many hidden gems and strategies to help find them.
After experiencing this for the first time this past spring, I decided I wanted to share some tips since I went in blind. Even if you don’t live in the area, these can still prove helpful. Click read more below to learn how to hunt down your own apartment in Chicago!
1. Take advantage of the professionals.
Most college students in particular don’t realize that real estate agents like brokers and realtors are there to help you. It’s literally their job to guide you throughout the process. Typically, the agent is paid for by whomever is selling the property so in most circumstances, that’s not a worry.I also didn’t know this and happened to stumble upon our real estate broker, Bobby, at the Homestead Group only when we were setting up a showing for our current place. He was patient, understanding, and answered any and every question I had about going through the process for the first time.
2. Start watching the market early.
Understand the market before you need to start looking. The sooner you know how to apartment search, the easier the process will be when you truly have to do it. This is definitely something I’m happy I did.
I highly recommend websites like Domu, Trulia, HotPads, and Craigslist. Reach out heavily to the contact of the apartments you’re interested in. Go to showings at places you’re skeptical about and those that you love. You never know what you may end up liking.
3. Make a list of what you want and don’t want.
Write your list and be sure to prioritize it. You’re not likely to get absolutely everything you want in your apartment but some things are easier to give up on. I really wanted an exposed brick wall but it would’ve been silly for me to not consider apartments that didn’t have one. It is just a wall!However, my apartment is an ideal location and price for me. Those things I wanted to stick to. If you’re moving in with someone else, make sure to write your lists together. You’ll want to be on the same page from the get go.
4. Begin your search in a timely matter.
There’s no general rule of thumb when it comes to this but I do suggest looking no sooner than two months prior and no later than a month prior to your desired move-in date. I wanted a June 1st move-in and starting watching the market as early as March but I didn’t start booking showings until late April, early May.
Thankfully, because I got started early, I knew where I’d be living and had my lease signed the second week of May. There is often a lot of paperwork involved so you have to allocate time for that too.
What are your thoughts? How did you find an apartment in the city that you live in? Let me know I’m the comments below!