Hello World! Welcome Friends! This one is for all of my dear readers who live in Chicago or for those who might be considering a move to the windy city. Chicago’s blend of culture, opportunity, and national prominence has led it to be one of the most desirable cities in the U.S. to live in. If you don’t believe this, just look at what people are paying for rent. Chicago is currently #10 on the list of the country’s most expensive rental properties, a relative bargain compared to rental nightmares like San Francisco, but still costing a pretty penny.
However, let’s do something a bit crazy and take money out of the equation. This seems absurd, but there’s a reason for this. If you plan on relocating to a city for a long period of time, you may go with the cheapest option out of necessity but will plan to upgrade later on to establish permanent roots. As a result, let’s look at some of the things besides price that will influence your decision—outside of the price tag.
What Type Of Home Should I Be Living In?
When we pose the question of apartment vs. condo vs. house, the answer generally boils down to price, but this shouldn’t always be the case. For example, if you are going to Chicago for a job that you’re not certain of the future of, or aren’t super familiar with Chicago to begin with, an apartment allows for flexibility that will help if you end up leaving (provided you sign a lease that allows for this.) Of course, at the other spectrum, you have the permanence and autonomy of a house. This can be a double-edged sword though, as the maintenance and upkeep a home requires costs time as well as money. If you don’t have the experience with items like home repair, a condo may be a happy medium.
In some cases, such as the Montgomery in Chicago, the building itself is an attractive reason to choose as a location. For example, originally designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, whose credits also include the World Trade Center, this tower began life as the world headquarters for Montgomery Ward. With condos customized to match the needs of former residents, including designer fixtures and finishes, upscale kitchens and more, this could be one of the premier options for luxury living in the city. If you may have pinned down the neighborhood, but aren’t ready to make that detailed a decision, you may want to step back a bit and consider some of the other factors involved in picking your final location and making the move itself.
What Parts of Town Should I Be Looking At?
For example, Chicago has a grand total of 78 unique neighborhoods, some of which have smaller communities within them. Asking which one is the best is a flawed question. Instead, you should be asking which is the best for you. A real estate professional will be a valuable asset here, as their job is matching people to the homes and areas that will best meet their needs. However, in order for them to do their jobs, you need to be able to provide the right information. Here are some of the things you should consider:
Proximity: Despite being 237 square miles, Chicago has one of the U.S.’s better public transportation systems. As a result, don’t feel that you need a car to get around. With this said, considering Chicago weather, you will want to pick a home that is relatively close to the amenities you need and attractions that interest you.
Culture/Vibe: This is a difficult thing to pin down, and oftentimes, the only way to determine a “vibe” is to explore a neighborhood yourself. Do you prefer the affluent feel of the North Side, Wrigleyville’s youthful vibe, or the hipster neighborhoods like Logan Square? These will often govern your local businesses, entertainment, and most importantly, your neighbors. Choose wisely.
Fun: Fun for people means many different things. Perhaps you spend your free time perusing boutique stores, or maybe you want to be close to the exciting events thrown during the summer. The South Loop has become popular due to its easy access to many different types of recreation, from the lake to the Museum Campus to Grant Park and its outdoor summer festivals.
Family: When it comes to finding a good place in Chicago to bring up a family, schools often are a major factor (and rightfully so). While you are scouting schools, be sure to keep in mind other things that a family will want to have nearby, like parks and kid-friendly attractions. In addition, safety will be a major concern. When Chicago Magazine looked up census data in important family-friendly areas, neighborhoods like Edgewater, Edison Park, and Beverly came out on top—but there are also many more options.
A move anywhere is a decision with a lot of moving parts, from a smooth exit from your own home to choosing somewhere that is a match for both your current lifestyle and future plans. However, when you apply that to a city with as much to offer as Chicago, the decision can become even harder. Be sure to do plenty of planning, keep your priorities straight, and consult with industry professionals for a smooth entry into this new phase of your life.
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