Relocating Complicates Everything

Hi everyone. Thanks for reading. My apartment hunt officially begins this weekend, though I’ve been planning and researching online for months. I’ll be moving to Chicago on July 1st to begin medical school, but I’m currently living in Maryland (with my parents… joy). I’ve only visited the city twice (once for my interview, once for a revisit), and I’ve only got 2 days this weekend to find the best apartment possible. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m also looking forward to having my own place.

My first task has been to research the different Chicago neighborhoods. Based on the location of my school and my budget, I’ve decided to target the Lincoln Park and Lakeview/Wrigleyville areas. I would like to be within a 10 minute walk of the red line El, and ideally in a neighborhood with some coffee shops and restaurants.

In terms of space and budget, I’ve been mentally debating between saving money on a studio or splurging a little on a one-bedroom. I also just discovered that many landlords might require a co-signer if I don’t make 40x the rent. Since I don’t have a cosigner, this limits me to the $650-750/month range, which will likely only get me a studio. I’d actually be perfectly happy if I could find a convertible studio with a separate little nook where I could partition off a sleeping space. But I also want to be able to entertain guests, and as silly as it sounds, I have my color scheme worked out and I’d like to decorate my living room and bedroom differently, thus the appeal of the one bedroom.

So, the must-haves are a good location, convenient to the El, with sufficient space. Also, laundry in the building, and NO ROACHES. Plusses would include hardwood floors, proximity to the Lake and its beaches, and an elevator.

My best internet tools so far have been craigslist and apartmentratings.com I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a promising listing only to read a review that the management is terrible, or the place is infested with bugs. The good thing is that I now have an idea of what rent is reasonable for each area, and I have a few buildings and rental companies in mind to avoid.

My older sister is accompanying me on my trip to Chicago this weekend, and I’ve got appointments with 2 different free apartment-finding services, one on Friday, and one on Saturday. With my remaining free time, I’ll be visiting a few promising listings from craigslist. I’ll report back on my trip next week!

Author My First Apartment

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