Moving to a new place can be a hassle. Especially if you have a lot of great choices, but you’re not sure which apartment to choose.
We broke down the basics of choosing the right apartment for you, so you can make the right decision for you. Find the best home for you and your family with this guide.
Pick the Right Neighborhood
Probably the first thing you need to do before you choose an apartment is figuring out which neighborhood would suit you the best.
Chicago boasts a diverse range of neighborhoods. Whether you want nightlife or a short walk to the beach, you can find it in the Windy City. Here are a few of our recommendations to narrow down your choice.
- Edgewater: Edgewater is an up-and-coming LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood. You’ll find global cuisine, shops, and lakefront access. Rent a place near North Broadway to walk to area cafes, bakeries, and pubs.
- Bucktown: Bucktown is among the more popular neighborhoods in Chicago. Renters have their choice of mansions turned apartments, brownstones, and new condo developments. It’s also home to The 606; a converted train line turned multi-use trail.
- Logan Square: Logan Square is a popular neighborhood for students and young professionals. It’s got a bohemian vibe and creative energy.
- Roscoe Village: Roscoe Village attracts young professionals and families. This up-and-coming neighborhood embraces a “village within a city” concept with plenty to do.
- Hyde Park: Only seven miles away from the Loop, Hyde Park is a wonderful neighborhood in Chicago. Right by Lake Michigan, it’s home to the University of Chicago. You can find the perfect combination of a youthful vibe with a tranquil atmosphere here.
Learn more about some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago.
Consider Your Rental Budget
Your budget will largely dictate the neighborhood and type of apartment you choose. Make a list of your current expenses and leave room for an emergency fund or other savings.
Some people use the 30% rule, where they spend no more than 30% of their gross monthly income on rent. You can calculate how much you should spend on rent with Brixbid’s Rent Calculator.
Keep in mind some landlords require a baseline for your gross income. For example, they may decline to offer a lease if your gross income is less than 2.5 times the rent.
Prioritize Your Wish List
There are always trade-offs involved when choosing an apartment. One unit might have the amenities you want but fall outside your ideal budget. Another may not have in-unit laundry or views of the city you want.
Make a list of your needs and wants to prioritize your deal-breakers. When you start apartment hunting, you’ll know which units work best for you.
Think About Your Lifestyle
You may know you want to live in a trendy neighborhood with nightlife, but there’s more to consider. Think about your pets or if you would like to adopt one at some point. You may also need to choose an apartment that allows smoking or a short-term lease if you hope to relocate for a promotion.
Some apartments may also face a busy street. If you choose an apartment like that, make sure you’re okay with some noise.
Scour the Listings
Once you know what you’re looking for, the fun part of choosing an apartment begins.
Browse the available listings to find places that fit your criteria. You’ll get a good understanding of what types of apartments you can get in the area you’d like. And you’ll also quickly see what the asking prices for these homes are.
As great as listings are, you should definitely check out the apartments you’re interested in in real life.
Schedule a Showing
You’ll never know how the apartment actually looks without going there in person. We have a couple of tips for you to help with this part of choosing an apartment as well.
Bring along the rental listing to see if the amenities and apartment conditions align. Jot down any questions about the apartment or area to ask during your tour.
Pay attention to things beyond the apartment. Think about the condition of the hallways, whether the area feels safe, and if you can hear neighbors through the wall. Don’t let a landlord or property manager rush you through the process.
Negotiate Your Rent
You found your ideal apartment, viewed it, and are ready to make it your home. Before you send your offer, you should think about the budget.
Remember, the price on the listing is only an asking price. Most people negotiate their rent when they make an offer. This can save you money and give you a better value for your rented apartment.
Look Over the Lease Terms
You may have chosen an apartment, but it’s not yours until you sign the lease. And you definitely need to read your lease carefully before you put your pen to paper.
Read it carefully once. Then read it again to make sure. Then a third time for good measure. Only sign if you absolutely agree to everything in the contract.
And if you have a problem with any part of it, make sure you ask questions or send it back to revise. Then, read the whole document again.
Find Your Next Apartment on Brixbid
Brixbid makes choosing an apartment a breeze. You can browse through our listings of the best apartments in Chicago. But, the fun doesn’t stop there.
We also help you negotiate your rent, so you get the best price possible. Our listings even show what type of credit score and gross monthly income the landlord prefers. You can also use our interactive database and filter listings to narrow your options.
Try Brixbid if you want a platform that shows you amazing apartments, saves you money on rent, and helps you sign the lease, all in one place!