Updated: Oct 6, 2020
The ins and outs of moving into your first apartment in Chicago!
Whether you're new to the city or a Chicago area native, renting your first apartment can be overwhelming. There are a lot of moving parts to organize and set up once you've signed a lease, and then the real hard work begins after picking up the keys! The outlined necessities below should help map out your move to make the process as easy as possible!
Utilities First, I want to start by pointing out a little known fact. In the city of Chicago, in most scenarios the landlord covers the cost of water and it's already factored into monthly rent!
What a relief, that just means there are 3 other things that need to be covered: electricity (ComEd), gas (People's Gas), and internet/cable (some apartments are prewired for a specific provider).
Since we're in the day and age of technology, the utility set up is easy and can be done online or over the phone.
When setting up your utilities I recommend doing so a few days to a week before you move in. This way, there are no surprises and you can have some peace of mind knowing it's done instead of realizing utilities were forgotten at the last minute!
Many clients moving to Chicago for the first time from out of state or out of the country decide to purchase furniture once they arrive. One of the most common questions I get is, you guessed it, "Where is the closest Ikea?". Lucky for us, we have two nearby and it really just depends on which highway has more traffic that day to see which one is closest.
Another great way to get furniture delivered to your door is by purchasing from sites like Amazon and Target. I know it seems like a no brainer but many times they're overlooked when searching for products like dressers, mattresses, and bed frames. A well known brand that has the mentioned products listed on Amazon is Zinus.
Another place to look for discount furniture that's already assembled is Consignment Shops! Not all of them offer furniture options so I would call ahead and do some research before making the trip. A good one in Lakeview that has furniture options is Mt Sinai!
A Ventra card is a necessity when living in Chicago. Everyone is familiar with the CTA but not everyone knows what is needed to start riding. A Ventra Card can commonly be purchased for $5 at a local Walgreens, Jewel, or Walmart (click here to find a full list of locations near you). To easily register the card, download the Ventra App! Once the card is registered, the $5 used for the purchase is loaded as fare money so it's win-win.
I highly recommend downloading the app since it's easier to have everything in one place! You can link your debit/credit card for automatic reloads, track CTA trains and busses, and even "favorite" your frequent stops to quickly track and help plan your commute. If the CTA is the main mode of transit used to get to/from work, I recommend purchasing the monthly pass for $105.