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Old 06-01-2010, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Kingfield
54 posts, read 150,751 times
Reputation: 33

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I've posted previously in my attempts to narrow down neighborhoods and you were all of much help, thank you.

I'm finally on the hunt for an apartment and will be in town this week, hoping to fill as much free time as possible with appointments for a possible new home. But, the process of searching is frustrating me beyond belief.

I've given myself a decent budget, I think (preferably $900-1100, but can push it to 1400 for the right place). I don't want a high-rise, I don't want anything snazzy and uppity. I like vintage, hardwood floors, old school. I'm having a hard time finding listings in the "safe" areas I've narrowed my search to. I've been centering my search on: Ukranian Village and Wicker Park (and a tiny bit in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, though I don't really like the idea of living in either of those neighborhoods...too yuppie/homogeneous for me, no offense). I need easy access to public transportation, a safe area to walk my dog at night, someplace that isn't complete hell to park in (bringing my car, but won't be using it much), and not far from necessities like groceries, etc.

Part of my problem is that I'm searching through Craigslist and because I'm completely 100% unfamiliar with Chicago, I don't understand locations. So, if something is listed by cross-streets, I'm lost. Unless it says "Wicker Park" or "Ukranian Village", I don't know what to look for...and, it turns out that lots of people list apartments as being in one area when it's really in another area - though this is mostly lost on me.

I had set an appointment up for a place on W. Cortez & Rockwell. But, a friend has been pushing me away from it...he says there's "a massive change in character" once you cross Western and that I'd be going from "safe" UK Village to "unsafe" Humboldt Park - mutterings about gangs, etc. I've already been steered away from Logan Square and Pilsen by several women in my future grad program at UIC, so those are out.

Could you please chime in on this Cortez spot...in regard to safety/public transportation/etc? Is there really that distinct a change from UK Village to Humboldt Park from crossing Western?

Grrrr.

Lastly, if anyone has any HONEST and favorable advice on a broker to work with, I would so so love the referral. Everyone at UIC told me that I didn't need a broker, but this just isn't going so well. However, I'm very skeptical of brokers...figure they don't much care about my safety/coordinates/standards...and really just wanna push me into the most I can afford so they make more. If there are any trustworthy brokers out there with a decent heart, I'd love a name.

Thanks.

Last edited by linicx; 06-02-2010 at 03:55 PM..
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:07 AM
 
23 posts, read 38,461 times
Reputation: 10
I recently went through what you are going through. What size place were you looking for? 1 bed, 2 bed, more? Are you going to be primarily using public transportation to and from school? I had a budget of 1000-1300, though that is more than I've payed to live somewhere of anywhere that I've lived. I ended up finding a place in Old Irving Park. It seems to be a safe area, I have a garage spot, and the Blue Line is only a few blocks away.

And yes, from my experiences driving around, west of Western is not a good area around Ukrainian Village.

I spent 3 days and looked at 30 places. I looked at some places with a leasing agent, some with a realtor, and some that I found just on my own. I don't think you need a realtor or broker to find a reasonable place. The place I ended up with was one I found on my own via Craigslist.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 97,464,200 times
Reputation: 29849
West of Western definitely does get sketchy pretty rapidly down in that area.

Save yourself a whole lot of aggravation: set yourself an appointment with a few rental agencies. They already have keys and right of entry so they can show you a bunch of apartments in just a few hours.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:18 AM
 
36 posts, read 237,322 times
Reputation: 34
You might want to try a neighborhood newspaper in the areas you are looking at. Sometimes landlords will place ads in the area newspaper to better target the "type of tenant" they are looking for rather than placing it on Craig's list for anyone to see. Just a suggestion. Also, I agree that Old Irving is a nice area. Close to the Kennedy and the Blue Line. It's got a lot of vintage buildings (built around 1920's) and isn't too expensive. I would feel safe around there at night walking a dog.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Kingfield
54 posts, read 150,751 times
Reputation: 33
Looking for a 1BR.

Thanks for the suggestions on Old Irving Park, I'll check it out! And, I'll pass on the Cortez spot, thank you.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Chicago
4,681 posts, read 9,601,427 times
Reputation: 3177
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3three3 View Post
Looking for a 1BR.

Thanks for the suggestions on Old Irving Park, I'll check it out! And, I'll pass on the Cortez spot, thank you.
You really need to just go through craigs list posts with yahoo/bing/google maps up to verify each intersection. Particularly in neighborhoods like Ukranian Village and Wicker Park, craigslist postings that list only that neighborhood, but not the cross streets, are likely not legitimately in UV or WP.

If they provide an exterior picture and the intersection, you can at least verify the location is legit by looking at google or bing's streetview.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:27 PM
 
1,044 posts, read 2,221,108 times
Reputation: 718
Yes, part of the problem with CraigsList is that oftentimes, the realtor or landlord will try to tell you that the location is something like "West Bucktown" (which is actually Humboldt Park) or "North Lakeview" (which is really called Uptown). The realtors KNOW that those areas are not as desired by apartments seekers, so when they have a property, they lie about the neighborhood in order to get your attention. I know a realtor who told me privately, that "we ARE trying to get the names of those not-as-desirable neighborhoods changed. We know that they have a bad name, so we are working to change the names and the identities of those areas". For me, I know that neighborhoods can change (improve or decline) accross the span of many, many years, but I do not believe in outright changing a neighborhood's name, just to sell real estate there, ESPECIALLY if you do not actually live there! Boy, I would be mad as hell if a realtor started trying to change the name of my neighborhood, without the permission of my neighbors and I, just to try to sell more property there.

So, just be aware of these "realtor tricks".

The answer to this, is to get familiar with the "official" neighborhood boundaries, and like others said, use Google Maps, Bing, etc to "google" the location and see if the property in question is actually within the boundaries of the areas that you want to live in.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:40 PM
 
23 posts, read 38,461 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartGXL View Post
Yes, part of the problem with CraigsList is that oftentimes, the realtor or landlord will try to tell you that the location is something like "West Bucktown" (which is actually Humboldt Park) or "North Lakeview" (which is really called Uptown). The realtors KNOW that those areas are not as desired by apartments seekers, so when they have a property, they lie about the neighborhood in order to get your attention. I know a realtor who told me privately, that "we ARE trying to get the names of those not-as-desirable neighborhoods changed. We know that they have a bad name, so we are working to change the names and the identities of those areas". For me, I know that neighborhoods can change (improve or decline) accross the span of many, many years, but I do not believe in outright changing a neighborhood's name, just to sell real estate there, ESPECIALLY if you do not actually live there! Boy, I would be mad as hell if a realtor started trying to change the name of my neighborhood, without the permission of my neighbors and I, just to try to sell more property there.

So, just be aware of these "realtor tricks".

The answer to this, is to get familiar with the "official" neighborhood boundaries, and like others said, use Google Maps, Bing, etc to "google" the location and see if the property in question is actually within the boundaries of the areas that you want to live in.
I saw that so many times when I was looking through Craigslist. Sometimes they would include two areas (ex. Bucktown/Humboldt Park) in the description. Every single time when you would see the cross-streets, they would be in the worse neighborhood of the two (Humboldt Park in this example).
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:00 PM
 
6 posts, read 30,661 times
Reputation: 12
Here's a neighborhood you might want to consider: Edgewater. It's pretty far north, but it has everything you mentioned that you want: easy access to public transit, older buildings with nice hardwood floors, and it's not a yuppie haven like Lakeview. I've lived in Edgewater, on and off, for almost 20 years and never had any problems with safety. I'd suggest you look between Broadway and Clark, south of Devon. Lots of beautiful places. $1200-1400 would probably get you a huge two bedroom in a vintage three flat. Try a search for "Edgewater" on Craig's List, and see what you think.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Ukrainian Village
367 posts, read 865,004 times
Reputation: 113
As a landlord, I would also recommend describing what you are looking for (hood, price, bdrms, etc) and maybe a little about yourself in Craigslist under the housing wanted section.

city of chicago all housing wanted classifieds - craigslist

I start there before posting. I also like being able to browse and pick tenants.
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