Finding an apartment in Chicago doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Sure, the market’s competitive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great unit out there, waiting to become your new home. The key is strategy — knowing when to look for apartments in Chicago and using a systematic plan to find one. To guide you in your quest for the perfect next place, here are our top tips for finding an apartment in Chicago:
- Know what you want. Do you need two bedrooms? Are you only interested in a building with a gym? Is parking an issue? What about on-site laundry facilities? The sooner you can nail down your must-haves, the better. This can expedite your search simply because it eliminates many apartments from your list, so you don’t need to waste time viewing them.
- Shop in the slow season. Like a lot of industries, real estate tends to work seasonally, with peak prices during the months when there’s peak interest. That’s why, if possible, you should try to hunt between December and March. These colder, drearier months may not put you in the mood for shopping, but they’re often the time to find better deals.
- Search a month before you want to move. While you may think the earlier you hunt, the better, the truth is that most rentals won’t be posted until about a month before they’re available. Because of this, you’ll see the bulk of possibilities when you time your hunt accordingly. Another pro tip is to search on Tuesdays when some buildings will have lower rates.
- Find a good broker. Hunting on your own puts you at a disadvantage, especially when other renters are using established real estate agents to help them spot the best buildings, neighborhoods and rates. Shop around, compare what different brokers offer and make full use of their help.
- Ask lots of questions. If you’re feeling at all stressed about how to find an apartment in Chicago — perhaps because of an upcoming deadline — you may be tempted to skip asking questions. Don’t make this mistake. Now is the time to inquire about how a building is heated or cooled, rules for security deposits and/or promotions that might benefit you. Also, be sure to ask whether utilities are included, as this can make a major difference to your budget.
- Be ready to act. Finally, when you find the right place, you have to act fast. You can prepare yourself by having your ID, references and financial details with you. Plan to bring at least enough money for the application or processing fee, as well as proof of income with three recent pay stubs. If you get the unit, you may also have to pay a security deposit and/or the first month’s rent right away.
Whether you’re looking for an apartment now or will be soon, nothing helps like having the team at Mo2 Properties on your side. We’re an award-winning property management company that’s big on service and convenience. We know Chicago neighborhoods, and we offer a full array of services, from apartment rentals to condo management.