The time has come to leave the dorm rooms behind and say hello to your own bedroom. You’re in your twenties and the thought process is like: “I’ll just find an apartment this year.. they’re everywhere”… and yes.. they are.. but, it is a little harder then that. With Fall quickly approaching, know what to remember and look for while on the hunt:
1. You Want the IKEA magazine apartment on a student loan budget
The easiest way to sum this struggle up is that you probably have exceptional taste and standards.. which is normally awesome. But, unfortunately your Logan Square apartment might not be exactly what you have envisioned. I mean come on, what do you expect for $700 a month. It’s all about how you decorate and hide the imperfections. Sorry, but unless you have the money you will not be living on the Gold Coast… and that is OKAY.. you are broke probably.
2. You Find the Perfect One! (or So You Thought)
“A 2-bedroom, 1 Bath place in the middle of Wicker Park for $900 a month? The pictures look sooo nice.” I think we have all been here. You have found a great deal and it looks like what you want (and there’s even exposed brick). You schedule a viewing, you walk in AND WHAT THE HELL IS THIS. It’s not hard to take make a place look okay through pictures. Just know that going in you may not see exactly what you’re expecting. Again, going back to #1, if you don’t have a lot of money.. don’t expect the best in Chicago.
This pretty much speaks for itself. Water, gas, electric, cable, and internet: AND NO YOU CANNOT LIVE BY CANDLELIGHT AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BOTTLED WATER WHILE WATCHING NETFLIX OFF YOUR LAPTOP. I mean you can, but who really wants to do that. Just remember while looking for apartments you will want to factor in the extra $100-$150 bucks a month and don’t think just because you didn’t use any that the roommates will cover you… they will kill you.
4. Access To The CTA
Unless you are that one kid, you don’t have your car in the city (PARKING AND GAS DOWNTOWN ARE BOTH CRAZY OVERPRICED) and you rely heavily on the Chicago Transit buses and train lines. Most colleges now provide the Ventra Student Pass which allows unlimited usage for one low fee included in the tuition.. which is super nice. So, while looking for your new place, pay attention to where the closest transit is located. If you are on Craigslist and it says “close to transit” that could be BLOCKS away. Unless you want to waste your spending money on Uber rides.. plan ahead.
5. Know What Neighborhood You’d Like To Be In
Do not blindly go into apartment searching and wind up in Englewood (sorry Englewood). Do your research online and ask fellow students and Chicagoans where they live. Chicago can be a threatening place if you don’t know where to be. Places like Wicker Park, Logan Square, University Village and Lincoln Park are good spots to be if you can find a deal.
6. Finding The Right Place Could Take Weeks
Don’t just jump into the first place you look at (unless you waited til the very last minute). Try at least 3 places and make the decision then. Scrolling through Craigslist and other apartment searching websites can be super annoying and tedious, but if you want the apartment of your undergrad dreams then recruit your roommates and start a hunt.
Don’t get discouraged, keep looking and you will find a decent place to live. We are in this together, College Kids.