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Old 04-14-2013, 04:37 PM
 
988 posts, read 1,564,041 times
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Hey all! Could use some badly needed advice for a move to Chicago.
The wife has a great job offer that we're going to take; looks like we'd be moving for June 1st/15th or July 1st, depending on when how much time she needs to wind down her current position.
We'd be moving from NYC and looking to rent; from what I've been able to ascertain, renting in Chicago is somewhat different than NYC.

In this vein, couple of questions regarding finding a place in Chi:

It seems that heat/hot water, which is included in 99% of rentals in NYC, is not necessarily a given in Chicago. What are typical heating costs, especially in the winter? Also, what are typical electricity costs? ConEd is very expensive over here, so hoping to catch a break!

My wife really wants to live in Andersonville. Our budget is up to $2000 and we're looking for a pet-friendly (2 adorable cocker spaniels) 2BR place; is that a reasonable budget for something nice? We definitely need to be in a safe area that's reasonably close to the El. I've also been looking at Ravenswood, Roscoe Village, Southport Corridor & Lincoln Square. What is the general take on those areas? Clean, quiet, safe with amenities nearby?

How is street parking in Chicago? We'll have a car and would love to not have to pay for [parking if we can help it.

For any dog lovers out there, how is the dog-friendliness of the city? Are there good dog runs in any of those neighborhoods?

Transit-wise, how reliable is the CTA?

I'd really appreciate any info/advice/etc. Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:54 PM
 
3,338 posts, read 4,354,683 times
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The big issue is where does the wife work and when....We are assuming she works in the loop during office hours cause if it is elsewhere it makes a huge difference and if it is elsewhere it probably makes more sense to drive. In addition do you have a workplace or other place you need to get to? Chicago maybe smaller than New York but you can still get a bad commute here if you live too distant or in a bad location to where you need to be (i.e. You probably want to spend an hour or less commuting if possible).

Street parking will vary by area some areas like Lincoln Park and parts of Lakeview will have little parking others more.

CTA is reasonably reliable. The busses can be a bit slow/late due to traffic but a bus will usually arrive around the scheduled time. That being said it is public transit and you need to allow some time for delay(i.e. 20-30 mins).

The amount you spend on utilities will vary a lot. Depends on how much power do you use how high you set your heat and how well insulated the building is. However with a budget of up to $2000 a month for rent, I wouldn’t worry about that cause for that much you can rent just about anywhere in the city. You could rent a very decent place for $1000 to a little over that and still have plenty left over for utilities.

Here is a recent thread that might help:
Should I rent apartment that provides heat?
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:16 PM
 
988 posts, read 1,564,041 times
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Thanks for the response!
Wife will be working in the Loop on N LaSalle, so pretty much any line on the El would work from what I've seen.

Re: street parking, I didn't know if it was common or not. In NYC it's pretty near impossible!

Re: heat; she really likes the idea of living in a vintage courtyard building. From the apartment listings I've seen online, a lot of those types of buildings don't include any utilities, hence my trying to gauge how much extra I'd have to factor in on a monthly basis.

On that note... how exactly does one find an apartment in Chicago? From what I've read, the apartment finder services should be steered clear of. Is it just Craigslist and walking around the neighborhood? How prevalent is the For rent sign in the window by landlord?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
The big issue is where does the wife work and when....We are assuming she works in the loop during office hours cause if it is elsewhere it makes a huge difference and if it is elsewhere it probably makes more sense to drive. In addition do you have a workplace or other place you need to get to? Chicago maybe smaller than New York but you can still get a bad commute here if you live too distant or in a bad location to where you need to be (i.e. You probably want to spend an hour or less commuting if possible).

Street parking will vary by area some areas like Lincoln Park and parts of Lakeview will have little parking others more.

CTA is reasonably reliable. The busses can be a bit slow/late due to traffic but a bus will usually arrive around the scheduled time. That being said it is public transit and you need to allow some time for delay(i.e. 20-30 mins).

The amount you spend on utilities will vary a lot. Depends on how much power do you use how high you set your heat and how well insulated the building is. However with a budget of up to $2000 a month for rent, I wouldn’t worry about that cause for that much you can rent just about anywhere in the city. You could rent a very decent place for $1000 to a little over that and still have plenty left over for utilities.

Here is a recent thread that might help:
Should I rent apartment that provides heat?
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:32 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 78,194,018 times
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Default Finding apartments ...

There are an abundance of owner occupied three flats in Chicago and smaller apartments that are not professional managed nor widely advertised. The apartment finder services tend to get the larger buildings and harder to rent buildings that often are higher priced and not as conveniently located -- good apartments close to public transit have lots of free advertising and are quickly rented out when the price is right...

Utility prices are rarely a reason not to rent a place -- the better landlords will have records of what the historical costs typically have been.





Quote:
Originally Posted by berniekosar19 View Post
Thanks for the response!
Wife will be working in the Loop on N LaSalle, so pretty much any line on the El would work from what I've seen.

Re: street parking, I didn't know if it was common or not. In NYC it's pretty near impossible!

Re: heat; she really likes the idea of living in a vintage courtyard building. From the apartment listings I've seen online, a lot of those types of buildings don't include any utilities, hence my trying to gauge how much extra I'd have to factor in on a monthly basis.

On that note... how exactly does one find an apartment in Chicago? From what I've read, the apartment finder services should be steered clear of. Is it just Craigslist and walking around the neighborhood? How prevalent is the For rent sign in the window by landlord?
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,322 posts, read 21,298,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berniekosar19 View Post
On that note... how exactly does one find an apartment in Chicago? From what I've read, the apartment finder services should be steered clear of. Is it just Craigslist and walking around the neighborhood? How prevalent is the For rent sign in the window by landlord?
Craigslist is a quarter full of scams. Look on Rent.com for the larger buildings, and Domu.com, Chicago Reader's website, padmapper (steer clear of most Craigslist ads on there), etc.

For Rent signs are pretty prevalent in Chicago for the non "downtown" neighborhoods and smaller rental places for sure.
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,322 posts, read 21,298,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
The big issue is where does the wife work and when....We are assuming she works in the loop during office hours cause if it is elsewhere it makes a huge difference and if it is elsewhere it probably makes more sense to drive.
I know the OP said the wife will be working in the Loop, but for the record this is not 100% true. There are loads of work places near train lines or major bus routes. My girlfriend's office is only a few hundred feet from the Irving Park Brown Line stop..
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,462,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berniekosar19 View Post
Thanks for the response!
Wife will be working in the Loop on N LaSalle, so pretty much any line on the El would work from what I've seen.

Re: street parking, I didn't know if it was common or not. In NYC it's pretty near impossible!

Re: heat; she really likes the idea of living in a vintage courtyard building. From the apartment listings I've seen online, a lot of those types of buildings don't include any utilities, hence my trying to gauge how much extra I'd have to factor in on a monthly basis.

On that note... how exactly does one find an apartment in Chicago? From what I've read, the apartment finder services should be steered clear of. Is it just Craigslist and walking around the neighborhood? How prevalent is the For rent sign in the window by landlord?
If the wife likes vintage courtyard buildings you should know that those generally DO include heat and hot water. In that case, you're generally just paying for electric to run your lights and appliances and for gas for the stove. With your budget, you'll do just fine in Andersonville, or Ravenswood, or Lincoln Square. So nice to see somebody moving from out of state whose not obsessed with living in just Lincoln Park, Lakeview or the Gold Coast. I would also definitely look into 2 or 3 flats. You may luck into yard access, possibly even garage space. Your budget is more than enough to include parking in those neighborhoods.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
928 posts, read 1,559,994 times
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I love it when people from NY/CA come to Chicago threads with these high-ass budgets wondering if that'll find them something nice. Chicago isn't expensive, and $2,000 will definitely get you a decent place. It'll for damn sure get you a decent place in Andersonville. All of the other areas you're looking into are perfectly fine. Some "cooler" than others, but all nice, safe, good amenities, and with convenient access to the L. The advantage of Andersonville is it's close to 1 of 2 L lines within the city that runs 24 hours/day. The CTA is okay. You're right to want to live along the L, as that'll make getting around easier and less maddening than dealing with buses which can be kind of terrible at times. Another thing to keep in mind is the L here isn't meant to get people from neighborhood to neighborhood. It's to get the in and out of downtown. So for the wife lady's work commute downtown, things will be easy peasy. If she wants to get across town, drive.

Parking will (of course) depend largely on the neighborhood. Yes, Chicago is dog friendly. Ridiculously so. There are dog parks everywhere, and you can't walk down the street without seeing folks with their dogs (which makes it really hard on me, because I want to pet all of them).

The apt searching services aren't all bad; they just take you to the same five neighborhoods over and over again, but from reading your OP, it looks like you're looking into the places they usually show you anyway. Craigslist is rife with scams, but assuming this isn't your first rodeo, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to separate the good stuff from the BS. I found my apartment on CL.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:43 AM
 
3,338 posts, read 4,354,683 times
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Better warn you about street parking in Chicago. The two big things that can cause you to get tickets for street parking are the abandoned vehicle law:

Parking Ticket 101: Move Your Car Weekly | theexpiredmeter.com

City of Chicago :: Report Abandoned Vehicles

and street cleaning:

City of Chicago :: City of Chicago Street Sweeping Schedule Season Begins April 1, 2013

Street cleaning about once a month per side on side streets and more often on major streets. These laws can become a bit of a problem for someone who just takes public transit to work and parks on the street since the car won’t move so much(i.e. It is likely to be parked when street cleaning comes through and you are at work. Or you didn’t move your car ten days because you didn’t need it to get to work. and in Places with bad parking you don't want to move for fear of not getting an spot.) In areas where parking maybe a bit more contested they do report cars that have sat too long.

Also you should clear your car of snow in winter because even snow on the car left for 7 days can trigger the abandoned vehicle law. On the street parking may be cheap but those two might cause some hassle for you. I think New York has a law that requires you to move the car across the street every so often that serves the same purpose.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:44 AM
 
2,918 posts, read 3,820,494 times
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If you call ComEd (for electric) and/or People's Gas (for gas heat), they will tell you the amount of the utility bills for any given unit. Of course, you can't know if the previous tenant had habits similar to yours in terms of energy consumed, but it can give you a rough idea. Be aware that the past two winters have been on the mild side, so heating costs could be higher any given winter.
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