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Thread summary:

College student first time relocating to Chicago area, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, shared apartment, time to prepare, roundtrip airfare, rental cars, cheapest priceline hotel, age restrictions car rental

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Old 04-05-2008, 11:12 PM
 
62 posts, read 263,121 times
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I’m a college student who’s going to be graduating and moving to Chicago in early/mid June with a job that starts at the end of June. I’ve never been to Chicago before (or had to find an apartment long distance) but thanks to the wonderful suggestions from members here, I've narrowed my search to places in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

This is a new city for me and I don’t know anyone here so I would like to find a shared apartment on craigslist as that seems to be the best way for me to get to know the area and meet people. Similar threads also suggested apartment looking services / realtors but the impression I got was that they seem to cater more towards renting out entire apartments, whereas I'm looking for an apartment with 2-3 people who are renting out a room.

Since I’m moving in early June, I’m starting my search for a place on craigslist right now but I’ve never done this before so I’m not too sure where to start or what to do. I was planning on e-mailing some people now then flying down to Chicago in the second weekend of May (earliest that I can because of finals) to meet people and take a look around. Is this the right time and steps to go about finding an apartment? Is a May 9-13 trip too early/late for a June 1 lease apartment to meet and sign papers?

I looked on hotwire.com and found some packages for flight + hotel in the $400 range. Do I need to rent a car as well or would any hotel I get be easily accessible via public transportation?

Also, I've never rented a shared room in an apartment from craigslist before so what are some tips or things I should watch out for? I heard that sometimes you have to give out your social security number to landlords for credit checks. Is that absolutely necessary and would they turn you down if you don’t? I’m weary about giving out my SSN. For the past 4 years, I've lived with roommates that I've known so I'm sort of nervous about moving into a new city to live with people from craigslist I've never met before but I'm also looking forward to it from all the great things everyone here says about Chicago. Anyone with some experience in this kind of situation?

I've never had to relocate 800 miles to a new city by myself so this is a big step for me. Any help or advice would be great!
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Old 04-06-2008, 03:26 AM
 
Location: chicago
391 posts, read 1,233,224 times
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That should early enough to find an apt for june. A car is a hassle not a help in chicago in my oppinion.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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weizilla:

What kind of company are you working for? Just about any place that hires new college grads has something in place to help you acclimate to Chicago. I would NOT recommend trying to get some random roommates -- could a HUGE disaster. I would think your employer would also have suggestions about this...

May is traditionally a super active time for rentals in Chicago -- I suspect this year will be no exception. The earlier you can look the better your selection will be. That said there is no shortage of stuff available and you'll find SOMETHING even into June or later, probably studios and 1 bedrooms.
While I agree that owning an apartment in certain neighborhoods is a hassle, to get the MAXIMUM time out of looking it might be very helpful to have a rental car.

You might do better just getting a cheap roundtrip airfare to Midway on Southwest Air (they don't participate in hotwire or other thirdparty online systems) , booking yourself into the cheapest priceline hotel and getting a rental from
Budget, Alamo or Enterprise (better make sure that your are OK , some have age restrictions, might want to consider having a relative come along...)
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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Southwest is rarely the cheapest anymore (probably because their fleet of 637s is getting awfully expensive to gas up) defintely check all options if you're coming for a visit.

Most car rental companies allow 21 and ups to rent a car for a small fee. I've used Enterprise several time with great success and for very cheap.

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:42 PM
 
62 posts, read 263,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
weizilla:

What kind of company are you working for? Just about any place that hires new college grads has something in place to help you acclimate to Chicago. I would NOT recommend trying to get some random roommates -- could a HUGE disaster. I would think your employer would also have suggestions about this...

May is traditionally a super active time for rentals in Chicago -- I suspect this year will be no exception. The earlier you can look the better your selection will be. That said there is no shortage of stuff available and you'll find SOMETHING even into June or later, probably studios and 1 bedrooms.
While I agree that owning an apartment in certain neighborhoods is a hassle, to get the MAXIMUM time out of looking it might be very helpful to have a rental car.

You might do better just getting a cheap roundtrip airfare to Midway on Southwest Air (they don't participate in hotwire or other thirdparty online systems) , booking yourself into the cheapest priceline hotel and getting a rental from
Budget, Alamo or Enterprise (better make sure that your are OK , some have age restrictions, might want to consider having a relative come along...)
I'm going to be working for Bank of America (software developer, not retail bank teller or anything like that) and all they have given me is a list of moving services and phone numbers: Apt. People, Relocation Associates, Chicago Reader Classifieds, Chicago Apartment Finders, Rubloff Real Estate and Baird & Warner. Other than that, they haven't said anything.

I was originally going to get just a flight and hotel because I thought Chicago has a pretty good public transportation. I guess I'll reconsider. I've never been to Chicago before so I have no idea how spread out/close everything is and if areas like lakeview or Lincoln park require cars to get around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aragx6 View Post
Southwest is rarely the cheapest anymore (probably because their fleet of 637s is getting awfully expensive to gas up) defintely check all options if you're coming for a visit.

Most car rental companies allow 21 and ups to rent a car for a small fee. I've used Enterprise several time with great success and for very cheap.

Good luck!
I just checked southwest to midway and got ~$240 which isn't any cheaper than what i was getting on kayak.com for united or some of the other airlines.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:42 PM
 
Location: chicago
391 posts, read 1,233,224 times
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You'll be fine without a car. Couldn't pay me to deal with a car here
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,063 posts, read 29,638,541 times
Reputation: 3783
I definitely don't think you need a car to apartment hunt, but I agree that it would be easier since you'll be zagging this way and that. If you knew one neighborhood you definitely wanted to live in I'd feel differently.

But I wouldn't live here with a car- for most people it just isn't worth it.
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,025 posts, read 14,413,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weizilla View Post
I’m a college student who’s going to be graduating and moving to Chicago in early/mid June with a job that starts at the end of June. I’ve never been to Chicago before (or had to find an apartment long distance) but thanks to the wonderful suggestions from members here, I've narrowed my search to places in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

This is a new city for me and I don’t know anyone here so I would like to find a shared apartment on craigslist as that seems to be the best way for me to get to know the area and meet people. Similar threads also suggested apartment looking services / realtors but the impression I got was that they seem to cater more towards renting out entire apartments, whereas I'm looking for an apartment with 2-3 people who are renting out a room.

Since I’m moving in early June, I’m starting my search for a place on craigslist right now but I’ve never done this before so I’m not too sure where to start or what to do. I was planning on e-mailing some people now then flying down to Chicago in the second weekend of May (earliest that I can because of finals) to meet people and take a look around. Is this the right time and steps to go about finding an apartment? Is a May 9-13 trip too early/late for a June 1 lease apartment to meet and sign papers?

I looked on hotwire.com and found some packages for flight + hotel in the $400 range. Do I need to rent a car as well or would any hotel I get be easily accessible via public transportation?

Also, I've never rented a shared room in an apartment from craigslist before so what are some tips or things I should watch out for? I heard that sometimes you have to give out your social security number to landlords for credit checks. Is that absolutely necessary and would they turn you down if you don’t? I’m weary about giving out my SSN. For the past 4 years, I've lived with roommates that I've known so I'm sort of nervous about moving into a new city to live with people from craigslist I've never met before but I'm also looking forward to it from all the great things everyone here says about Chicago. Anyone with some experience in this kind of situation?

I've never had to relocate 800 miles to a new city by myself so this is a big step for me. Any help or advice would be great!
I relocated from Boston to Chicago last fall and found my roommates through CL. I've found most of my roommates on Craigslist w/o any major issues. my WORST roommate experience by far was living w/ my "best friend", so I've always been loath to room w/ friends again. if you are female, you may feel more comfortable looking for female roommates.

I suggest looking for a sublet room. there should be plenty available around that time of year since students will be leaving, and you'll be able to live w/ the remaining roommates for a few months before fully committing (some sublets offer long-term rent after the sublet period is over. sometimes, the remaining roommates may renew their lease, so, if you liked them, you can sign on too).

some other suggestions I'd make:
-look for places w/ lenient leases, or no lease at all. I've rented month to month and enjoyed the freedom it gave me (I could leave whenever so long as I gave 1 month's notice), but didn't like the idea of not having a lease and none of the protections a lease offers. the next best thing is to look for a lease that allows you to sublet in case you want to move out. that way, if it doesn't work out, you're not bound there by your lease

-look for older roommates. since you're a college grad, I wouldn't bother looking at places w/ undergrads. I know it's a grand assumption to make, but most undergrads (18-22 year olds) can be hard to live w/, either b/c they are immature, not used to independence, throw loud parties, etc. if you are a quiet person, look for older, working professionals.

-set out rules right off the bat. specify what's ok, and what's not (are parties ok? if so when and how many people? if the lease says pets are ok, will your roommates be ok w/ them? what kind? will you get renter's insurance? who will do what chores when? will common items like bread, milk, spices, toiletries, etc be shared, or is it everyone on their own? and so on). it sounds childish, but it may be helpful to set up a chore sheet or a list of who buys what when

-put on bill on everyone's name. if there will be 3 of you living there, put the gas/oil bills in one person's name, the electricity bill in another's, and the cable/internet bill under the third person names. this ensures that if someone becomes flaky and doesn't pay, it won't totally screw over one person (if they don't pay you for the comcast bill, don't pay them for the gas bill, for example). give out receipts and make everyone sign it (this goes for the rent too. a signed receipt will help any disputes of who paid and who didn't)

as for the credit report thing, I've never had any issues w/ this. all the leases I've come across ask for a SSN and I wouldn't worry about a LL going on a credit card spree w/ the number. if this still worries you, ask the LL if you can provide your own credit report (not sure if they will go for this, but it's worth a shot).

the only other advice I can give regarding roommates is to be vocal. don't let them step all over you. if someone's music is too loud, say so, don't let it slide. don't let roommates break house rules or rules on the lease (ie, sneak in pets, do drugs, smoke in a non smoking apartment, etc). most importantly, be vocal about on time payments! I get emergencies come up and people need extensions, but once you start that ball rolling, it's hard to stop. when I lived w/ my former best friend, she was incapable of paying rent, so I let it slide. it got to the point that after 4 months, she hadn't paid a single dime to the LL and got both all kicked out due to the rent (oh, another point to bring up: figure out how to pay the LL. will everyone be sending in their portion separately, will you send in different checks at once, or pool the money into one check? some LLs may only want one check per apartment, so whoever is writing out the check will most likely need the rent a few days upfront before sending in the check so it doesn't bounce. also realize that if one roommates doesn't pay the rent, you will all be responsible for rent and can all get kicked out b/c one person didn't pay their portion)

don't let CL scare you away, I've found some excellent roommates that way. unless you splurge for a studio or one bedroom or know someone living in Chicago now, you can't really get around the living w/ strangers bit. I would just search carefully and make sure you evaluate the roommates as much as the apartment

Last edited by eevee; 04-08-2008 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:44 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 78,578,082 times
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Default BofA in Chicago

WOW! Could I tell you stories... BofA's history in Chicago is very convoluted. They've mostly grown through acquisitions -- about 20 years ago they bought up what was left of Continental Illinois Bank. In Chicago banking circles it is rare to find anyplace that doesn't have at least a few "ex-Cons"...

Recently they acquired LaSalle National Bank in Chicago, many LaSalle bankers have left for other firms.

As you probably know, BofA currently is headquartered in Charlotte NC, but prior to its merger with NationsBank (10 years ago?) it was THE bank in San Fransisco. The reason I'm going through this history is so you know where the various "new hire concentrations" are/were and understand that Chicago is in flux as part of BofA...

OK, how does this impact you? Well, I would not count on having too many other new hires work for BofA in Chicago, even if they do, their traditional "roommate matching" and other BIG CORPORATION type things are probably in transition as BofA digests LaSalle (which at one time DID do a lot of this for their own new college hires and even for the new hires of its OLD corporate parent, ABN Amro...). It MIGHT be worth some phone calls/emails into the HR offices in Chicago to find out if they are still running this and you've just falling through the cracks...

Chicago is pretty good place for bank-related IT people -- you might even want to SPECIFICALLY put some messages on Craigs List in Chicago to look for roommates working in FINANCE/BANKING/IT -- that way you'd have very similar commutes and time off as folks who work for Northern Trust/Harris/JPMChase/CME/CBOT/BofA all work within a few block one another in the Loop.

There has been an huge EXPLOSION of condo overbuilding and you may find that you can rent a place in the "South Loop" or even "UIC" area in addition to the other areas you're considering. You can walk, bicycle or take the El to the BofA building from any popular Chicago neighborhood. TONS of options. Paradoxically that is exactly why I recommend getting a rental car -- with so many areas to check out you would not want to waste time on your 'scouting trip' with public transit. Of course once you get a place a car may not be needed at all. It will make it far easier to make appointments all over the city in a non-sequential way. If you are only going to look in LP or Lakeview you can rely on walking and/or public transit, though I'd still recommend a rental car just so you have the flexibility ot other options...

Good Luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by weizilla View Post
I'm going to be working for Bank of America (software developer, not retail bank teller or anything like that) and all they have given me is a list of moving services and phone numbers: Apt. People, Relocation Associates, Chicago Reader Classifieds, Chicago Apartment Finders, Rubloff Real Estate and Baird & Warner. Other than that, they haven't said anything.

I was originally going to get just a flight and hotel because I thought Chicago has a pretty good public transportation. I guess I'll reconsider. I've never been to Chicago before so I have no idea how spread out/close everything is and if areas like lakeview or Lincoln park require cars to get around.



I just checked southwest to midway and got ~$240 which isn't any cheaper than what i was getting on kayak.com for united or some of the other airlines.
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:00 PM
 
62 posts, read 263,121 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
I relocated from Boston to Chicago last fall and found my roommates through CL. I've found most of my roommates on Craigslist w/o any major issues. my WORST roommate experience by far was living w/ my "best friend", so I've always been loath to room w/ friends again. if you are female, you may feel more comfortable looking for female roommates....
I will definitely take a look for some short term leases. The only problem is that I'll be in NYC for training for all of July so with summer subleases, I'll only be there for a few weeks. There's no time between training and when i start working or else I'd get an august lease. What was the process like for your move from Boston to Chicago? Did you take a trip a month before moving or just did everything in one trip? Did you find roommates on CL just by e-mailing them a few weeks before visiting and was it difficult finding an apartment from so far away?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
OK, how does this impact you? Well, I would not count on having too many other new hires work for BofA in Chicago, even if they do, their traditional "roommate matching" and other BIG CORPORATION type things are probably in transition as BofA digests LaSalle (which at one time DID do a lot of this for their own new college hires and even for the new hires of its OLD corporate parent, ABN Amro...). It MIGHT be worth some phone calls/emails into the HR offices in Chicago to find out if they are still running this and you've just falling through the cracks...
The website for new associates has information on relocation. They have one of those company supplied, roommate matching relocation assistance service for people moving to NYC but not for any of the other locations. I spoke with a manager a few levels up from me (who's actually in NYC) and I think I'm the only new hire, at least in my group. But I do like the idea of putting that info in an ad so I can find people with similar commutes and such. I think I will just look in Lincoln Park and Lakeview this time and once I get to know the city better and meet some people, I'll expand and see what else is out there.


Update: I just brought plane tickets + got a hotel at midway for Sat May 10 morning -> Sat May 14 night. I figured it'll give me the whole weekend and 3 week days to set up appointments and see everything.

Now it's time to start e-mailing all the lincoln park and lakeview craigslist ads. I think I'll also take a look at apartment agencies and maybe get a 1 bed studio short term as backup in case all my craigslist prospects fall through.

All this is great advice. I'm really looking forward to coming to chicago next month. I just hope I don't get too distracted by the city and forget to find an apartment.
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