When you begin to search for an apartment in Chicago you are going to inevitably run into ads that make a place sound ideal, and then when you drive up you will discover that the ad was not accurate. When people list an apartment, they are trying to entice people to move into the place so they can make money. They are not always honest in their advertisements.
Before you can rent an apartment without too many false and misleading trips to look at less than great locations, you have to learn a few tips for apartment hunting.
Learn from the Experts
A Chicago broker who lists an apartment for rent uses certain words and abbreviations to describe the apartment. Most ads in newspapers and print publications charge by the word so the broker uses abbreviations to make the ads less costly. Those abbreviations can often be confusing.
Take the time to learn what the common abbreviations are before you begin the search. Then you’ll know when you see an ad that says 2bd/walk-up/2-pipe/pet friendly it is describing a 2-bedroom apartment, with stairs and no elevator, that has a 2-pipe heating/cooling system, and everyone in the building owns a pet so there is plenty of noise.
Heating and Cooling
Two-pipe systems of heating or cooling are old-style heating systems. In these apartments, you are going to have an entire building that is running ac or heat. You are not going to have an individual thermostat control, and if you like it hotter than most then you are going to suffer when the building switches to ac in spring and then a cold snap lowers the temperatures.
The newer heating and cooling systems are the 4-pipe systems. In buildings with these systems, you have complete control over your thermostat settings.
Move at the Right Time
The majority of people who move to new apartments do so between April and September. That means during these months apartment owners increase rent rates by as much as 20% per month. It is the supply and demand theory. During that time there is a high demand for apartments, and the number of apartments available is limited, so they can charge more.
If you rent an apartment between December and April you will find lower rates. You could pay as little as $1800 dollars for an apartment that in April will cost $2100 dollars. In a years’ time that could save you $3600 dollars.
References and Reviews
Apartment owners do not mind asking you to give them references when you are trying to rent. Do not be afraid to ask them for references. Talk to other people who live in the building and discover how they respond to tenant complaints, or how they treat their tenants.
Google the apartment complex to see if there have been any complaints in the past, or if there have been any controversies surrounding the building or the owners of the building. You can discover if there has been a lot of crime in the area, or if the past tenants have had to file legal complaints.
Never agree to pay a deposit or rent on an apartment that you have not physically seen. This is one of the biggest mistakes that apartment hunters from out of town make. The person renting the apartment gives you a beautiful description, and they may even have photos online that show you the apartment.
Photos can be doctored to make things appear nicer, or cleaner than they actually are. People will also post photos that are not current. You need to see the apartment, the building it is in and the neighborhood surrounding it.
The majority of landlords are honest about the places they have available. They will tell you about any issues the place has because they do not want you to find out after you move in and then demand your deposit back. There are people who are less than honest, and those less than honest people are why you have to be cautious, and skeptical.
This is another great reason for renting through a broker or real estate agency. The broker or agent can go physically to see the apartment, and they can show you anything that might make you uneasy about renting the place.
Apartment owners will list the square footage of an apartment. The larger square footage ads may sound like bigger homes, and then when you go see them you discover that a large portion of the square footage is hallways.
Never visit an apartment alone. Your safety is very important. When you go to see an apartment make certain that you take a friend with you. You also want to make sure another friend knows your whereabouts, whom you are meeting, where you are meeting, and all pertinent information.
Finding Help with Moving Professionals
We hope you found this blog post on Transparency Throughout the Apartment Search Process In Chicago useful. Be sure to check out our post on The Ultimate Checklist: Necessities For Moving into a New Apartment for more great tips!
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