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Old 04-24-2010, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default Apartment Hunting Advice

I will be graduating from college in a week and fortunately, I have a job lined up. Right now I am looking for an apartment in the Chicagoland area and there is a ton of information out there for finding/selecting an apartment most of which boils down to, make a budget, select apartment that fits. I was hoping that the vast knowledge of HBT might be able to help me.

My questions fall into 2 main categories, but any advice would be appreciated;

Apartment Search:
1) What are the best places to look for an apartment? There are so many different websites, newspapers, etc. that I am really lost at where to look. I don't want to waste my time looking in the wrong places.

Touring:
1)Assuming I find a place I like, what should I be looking for when I tour an apartment? Basically, what would you say are some key give a ways that an apartment might not be as good as it looks at first glance?
2)What are some of the key questions to ask the management?

I have a budget set up and know how much I can spend on an apartment. What I am trying to do now is find a place to live. I will be working in Lincolnshire and have been looking at the Ravenswood and Edgewater areas in Chicago.

Thanks for any help.

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Old 04-24-2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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Always been in a house, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I'd say make sure you see the actual space that you will be renting. Places like to show you the blinged out nice "model" apt.

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Old 04-24-2010, 06:57 PM   #3
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For anywhere on the Northside, I always used to look through the Reader. The Trib and Times for some reason were never that good. An equally good option is to take a day and drive around the neighborhoods. A lot of people won't list their apartments, but just put signs in their windows or front doors.
As far as what to look for, you obviousy want to look for a place that's clean and well-maintained. Parking ANYWHERE around there should not be a deciding factor, as it's always hit-and-miss.
You shouldn't have to drop more than a month's rent equivilant for your security deposit.
Honestly, it's been a LONG time since I've had to look for an apartment, so I can't tell you much more, but I do remember that the buildings that were owned by the older, Europeans (around there, you'll find a lot of Germans, Swedes, Swiss...).

BTW, in Andersonville is the HopLeaf, a GREAT bar for Belgian Beers!!! If you go a little further south, Lincoln Square (my old stomping grounds!) has a lot of good German places, too.

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Old 04-24-2010, 06:58 PM   #4
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There are also a lot of rental agents, that will do the looking for you, and take you around, but I don't know if I'd recomend them. Personally, I never had good luck with them...although the women were HOT!!!






Usually.

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Old 04-24-2010, 08:16 PM   #5
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close to work or transit system. Commuting sucks. I have an 8 minute drive to work and the people that spend 45 minutes getting there hate me for it.

Make sure it is also a safe neighborhood. I was housesitting for a friend for a couple years and had to move out because the neighborhood took a quick dive (university built some nice apartments and the students moved to them and welfare moved in). He was a little pissed but after I sent him some police blotters (drive by shootings, etc.) the for sale sign went up pretty quick.

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Old 04-24-2010, 08:20 PM   #6
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Yeah, I have been looking the reader currently and seems to be the best thing I have found yet.

Accessibility to the city and the different beer bars/restaurants is the main reasons I want to live closer to the city. I am trying to stay away from rental agents since I don't have a lot of money to begin with.

Another question:
What is the best way to find out about a management company? Every company that I have looked up online has gotten terrible reviews. In fact, I am not sure I have found one yet with a good review.

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Old 04-25-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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Most rental agents don't charge you...or at least they didn't USE to. They get paid from the building owner or management company.
As far as checking out the management company, can't help you there, but keep in mind that most of the reviews are probably done by former tenents that had a beef, whether justified or not...many NOT. It's the old adage of working in retail. People are willing to write a letter of complaint in a heartbeat, but rarely write one of compliment. You might want to check with neighborhood chambers of commerce, or the BBB.

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Old 04-25-2010, 02:55 PM   #8
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ALWAYS take picture of the apartment if there is any damage. I would also make note of any damages on the lease. also make sure you get a copy of said lease. just m 2 cents.

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Old 04-25-2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friarjohn View Post
ALWAYS take picture of the apartment if there is any damage. I would also make note of any damages on the lease. also make sure you get a copy of said lease. just m 2 cents.
Good point! Take pics before you move in, and the day you move out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friarjohn View Post
ALWAYS take picture of the apartment if there is any damage. I would also make note of any damages on the lease. also make sure you get a copy of said lease. just m 2 cents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjung View Post
Good point! Take pics before you move in, and the day you move out.
+3. I was about to recommend this. You can't be too through either.

I lost half a deposit ($300) moving out of my last house because of some damage to the hardwood floors that was there when we moved in. Couldn't prove it...
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