The property management company you rent with can greatly affect how much you enjoy your new apartment. A solid management company with a long track record is probably best suited to meet your maintenance or accounting concerns. It is also very helpful if their offices are geographically close to your new apartment. Not only can you visit them conveniently, but your manager is more likely to pay special attention to the building you live in.
While all landlords and property owners carry insurance on their properties, these policies cover the landlord's property - not yours. To protect yourself in the event of fire, flood, or theft, you should obtain an apartment renter's insurance policy from a reputable insurance company. These policies cover your belongings and are relatively inexpensive. Please see our insurance page for more information.
If you intend to rely on public transportation to get around, ride the bus or train line near your prospective apartment before you rent. This may help you avoid unnecessarily long commutes, and will certainly make your decision process easier.
In Chicago, the general rule of thumb is 35% of your gross income for building heated apartments and 30% of your gross income for tenant heated apartments. While different landlords use different guidelines for qualifying prospective residents, these figures will help you determine the amount of rent you should be allowed to afford.
The good news is that if you have a cat, you should not have trouble finding an apartment. Most Chicago landlords will require an increased security deposit (usually $200) which will have to be paid prior to move in. If you have a dog, your search will be more difficult. We recommend that you start looking for an apartment that accepts dogs at least 60 days in advance of your move in date. Some landlords require increased monthly rental payments, others require increased security deposits. If you have some other kind of pet, ask your landlord if they are acceptable before you sign a lease.
Renting furniture can be a very convenient way to furnish your apartment, especially if you know you will be in Chicago for only one or two years. This option is very helpful for individuals who are frequently transferred by their employer. Many different furniture styles are available and most are affordable.