Chicago has a lot to offer in the way of beautiful landscape, cultured atmosphere, and a lively and interesting populace. Living close to these attractive elements can come with a cost. The overall cost of living in Chicago is about 40% above the national average. Luckily, there are many different options available which can lower your cost of living, like living in the many suburbs that surround Chicago. For a rough estimate of housing costs, consider that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Chicago is just under $1,000 a month, with utilities costing an average of $90 per month. Sharing your apartment can bring you rental cost down to about $600-650.
To calculate these expenses, there are many cost of living calculators available:
To get the area you want for a price you can live with a simple formula may be employed. Divide your monthly income (after tax) income by three. Not much more then a third of your income should go to rent to insure that you can pay for the cost of living. If this figure doesn't net you the desired lifestyle you still have options. Make more money, consider a different neighborhood, or consider a different living arrangement by taking a roommate.
There are many different apartments and many different ways to search and rent one. Here are a couple of options:
BROKER: If you are arranging a rental from out-of-town, or have more money then time, using a real estate broker can be a pain-free way of getting the job done. A broker is responsible for finding apartments that fit your criteria and making appointments to fit your schedule. This convenience has a price, usually one can expect to pay about a half month's rent as a fee, but this varies and it is recommended to shop around before selecting a broker. Some recommended brokers are: the Habitat Company
or www.homes-condos.com/. If you are employed with a company they may have a broker they work with and you may be able to use them by contacting your human resources department to use the broker your company uses. Pay attention to reviews by former customers to make sure you get your money's worth. There are also several professionals that offer their services free of charge with the sellers paying their services. For example:
ON-LINE LISTING: There are a variety of on-line forums and community listings in which people will list their places or larger companies offer their apartments. Some examples are :
CHICAGO READER: Local publication with articles on art, music, and culture in the city. Classified's appear on-line and in hard copy. Reader's For Rent.
COLLEGE NEWSPAPER: Large campus newspapers frequently have well-priced listings and are usually free on campus. Some examples:
BULLETIN BOARDS: On college campuses, churches, grocery stores, schools, bus stops and outside community centers there are often boards available for posting local ads. This gives you an idea of the neighborhood as well as some useful leads on apartments.
DRIVING AROUND: Many places are listed by simply placing a sign in front of the apartment. Sometimes only a number is listed so it can be helpful to write notes about the place and call the number on your cell phone.
An important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems should the worst happen, try to arrange it so that your roommates co-sign the lease. This makes all the roommates responsible for whatever happens to the property. If the worst was to happen, such as your roommate losing their job and not being able to pay rent, they will be held financially responsible- not you.
Here are some others websites to find a roommate:
Looking for cheap accommodation in Chicago isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.