Months Free Mike crushed his search for a 2br apartment for his girlfriend and himself and was rewarded with a good deal on a brand new 2br unit in a River North high-rise. He quickly learned where to find value in the Chicago apartment market and how to effectively use Chicago’s brokerage intermediaries.
Nancy Negotiator (young professional working downtown) did a killer job finding a 1-br apartment in a Gold Coast high-rise. Most interesting about her process is that she negotiated with her landlord for a full kitchen renovation (cabinets, counter tops, and appliances) prior to her move-in at a low additional rent cost. Here’s how she thought about and executed her search process:
I started looking for an apartment in mid-May with a goal of moving in on July 1. In hindsight I should have started in early April because doing so would have allowed me more time to get a feel for the market before the bulk of the July 1 inventory became available.
Why I wish I had started my search earlier than I did
While the bulk of July 1 inventory seemed to post to sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Domu in mid-May, I wish I had begun my search a month earlier so as to develop a sense of fair market value before I started seeing places I could potentially rent. It takes time to get a feel for what’s a decent deal and what’s not, and you really want to be able to walk in and say yes immediately when a good deal comes along for your desired lease start date.