5 Things to Know Moving to Chicago

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Planning a move to Chicago and not familiar with how or where to start? Here are 5 tips from a leasing specialist that'll help you get started!

Moving to a new city can be tough, especially when you don't know how or where to start! As a leasing specialist for several years, a lot of my time spent with new clients moving to the city for the first time is spent educating on the process. I wanted to put together a list of five important questions to answer when starting to look for an apartment that will help make life easier during the search process!

When should you be starting your search?

Type A people beware! Many people like to get a head start on finding an apartment but the truth is, listings don't come up until 45-60 days before the intended move in date. When deciding on a move in date, keep in mind that most if not all leases begin on the 1st of the month. If you're planning a move in the summer, keep in mind that it's the busiest season for leasing. There will be a lot of options on the market, but there will also be more competition among renters. Don't hesitate if you find the best option, if you do it could be gone!

What are your priorities in order?

Every renter has four main priorities; price, location, size, and amenities. It's helpful to rank these four categories in order of importance.


I recommend prioritizing the categories so it's easier to narrow down options. In the Chicago market, it's easy to find an apartment that checks the top 2 boxes, more difficult to find an option that checks off the top 3, and most difficult to find an option that checks all four, unless you're working with a stellar budget. That's why the key is to prioritize, so when you find the apartment that meets your top 3 criteria, don't hesitate and take it!

What are your goals with your commute?

Since most people in Chicago work in the Loop, it's no surprise that as you get closer to downtown, properties get more expensive. Chicago has great public transit so use it to its full potential! That means trains AND buses. Consider your commute in the summer and the winter and don't forget about weekly necessities like grocery shopping!

Will you be bringing a car?

A great advantage to living in the city is that a car isn't a necessity. If you do bring a car, it's easy to purchase a yearly parking permit that covers the entire neighborhood. Apps like Spot Hero provide hourly and monthly parking options and Park Chicago deals with metered parking. Both of these apps will become your best friend in saving time and money when driving around! If you decide that off street parking is a deal breaker, make sure you filter options by parking availability, since that's typically the hardest thing to find.

What is a broker and how does the process work?

A broker is a licensed professional whose job is to help clients find the best apartment or home! Brokers are familiar with different neighborhoods, listings, and tricks of the trade. I like to think of it as a personal shopper for an apartment. Especially for someone new to the city, it will save a ton of time in the entire rental process, and it's 100% free for clients!

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