Are you wondering how to find apartment rentals in Chicago? In this article, we will show you the best websites for renting an apartment in Chicago and tell you what to look out for in apartment listings.
Best Websites for Apartments
Here are some of the best website to check out when searching for apartments in Chicago:
Domu allows you to select which area or neighborhood you are searching for and gives you exclusive apartment listings you won’t find anywhere else on the web. This is because many independent landlords favor Domu over other web pages. Moreover, Domu has a resource section for users including a rent calculator and renter’s guide. Lastly, it has popular search inquiries listed for you to browse, like “find loft apartments” or “free rent deals.”
Next we have Zumper, which has a new feature called “Instarent” that allows you to reserve and lease on the spot entirely online. They also have a virtual tours section, which could be particularly useful given the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Hotpads is a map-based website and app to help you find the best apartments with verified and rated landlords. The apartment listings are neatly organized to help you navigate, save, and keep track of your favorite choices and search history. The search filters get specific including special restrictions like “student housing” or additional options like “accepting online applications.” In addition, it also lets you view average neighborhood ratings and connect with potential roommates.
What to Look for in Apartment Listings
There are many things to consider when looking at various apartment listings. While going through them, be sure to have a checklist of all the essential renting factors. Here are a few important details to keep in mind:
1. Identify Budget
First and foremost, you want to consider how much your overall budget is (and stick to it!) A very helpful tool to help you determine your budget is a rent calculator. After typing in which area you are moving to, the size you are looking for (studio, 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms), and your household monthly income (before tax), it will generate housing options accordingly.
Also, do not forget the expenses and planning needed for actually moving. You need to consider how much professional movers will cost according to the date you want to move, the distance from your old to new place, and the cost of moving supplies.
In addition, pay attention to initial moving fees. Although these differ according to each apartment, keep in mind application fees and processing fees will typically be between $30 and $50. There may also be a one-time payment if you have a pet.
Most importantly, you will typically have to pay a security deposit. The security deposit is a portion of money kept by the landlord throughout the rental agreement or lease. It is most commonly equivalent to the first month of rent, and in some cases up to three months. Be sure to ask about when you will receive this deposit back and what might cause you to lose it.
2. Parking Availability
For those who have a car, don’t assume that the apartment comes with a parking spot. Be sure to consider the options for parking. Depending on the location, you might be able to park your car on the street. However, this won’t be the most reliable option given that you need to consider the neighborhoods rules and regulations. For instance, is it permissible to park overnight?
Another more popular option is if your apartment building has a designated parking lot for the residents. In some cases, these are assigned spots to each apartment number. You’ll also need to consider how many spots you are allowed to have and if there is guest parking.
3. What are the Amenities?
The truth is, amenities play a huge role in your apartment living experience. To help you navigate what to consider, here are a few exterior features to look out for:
- Kitchen Appliances: These tend to be one of the most expensive features in a house. For some, a dishwasher might be crucial while for others, a microwave is necessary.
- Overall Finishing: This includes the flooring (stone, wood, carpet, etc.), surfaces (granite, marble, etc.), and ceiling (is there any structural damage or leakage?)
- Major Systems: How are the AC/ heating systems? How about the hot water condition?
- Bathroom Appliances: How strong is the shower head? What type of sink is there?
- Homeowner Added Amenities: Overall, check and ask about any upgrades the landlord has done.
- A Pool, Jacuzzi, Courtyard, Garden, Gym or Library Room: Check for accessibility to these facilities.
- On-site Laundry and Storage Spaces: If you are a bicyclist, you might want to check for a bike storage space.
Considering amenities is also important because they will determine whether or not you are willing and able to pay an extra $100 a month over your budget for rent. Let’s say you are currently a member at a gym. Instead of paying the $100 for your gym membership, you might instead put it towards your rent, which might include a fitness room.
4. Pet Policy
Given that most pet owners love and admire their animals, many are not willing to move to a new place without them. So if you’re a pet owner with a puppy or cat and would like to take them with you to your new place, be sure to check the pet policy of the apartment. These policies are not always a simple “yes or no.” Rather, it sometimes depends on the breed and weight of the animal, a pet rent and deposit fee, and possibly even a pet resume or interview (funny right?)
In fact, in some cases, the landlord may be willing to negotiate if you are able to address their concerns related to pet damage. This information is available on the online apartment listing and in the contract.
When working with a professional property management company like SRE Holdings, you can be sure to have all of these considerations addressed. Contact us today to find your next Chicago apartment!