How to Find the Perfect Apartment in Chicago

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Wrigleyville Chicago Typical Person Infographic

People normally fall into two categories when hunting for a Windy City apartment–they’re either in a position to move, while others are on the constant prowl for a bigger and better place. Whether you fall in one category or the other, you may need some advice on how to find the perfect apartment in Chicago, so here are our recommendations to make apartment shopping as fast and painless for you as possible:

Understand your needs

Know your requirements for square footage, desired amenities, budget and preferred location before you start your search. Make a list of things that separate your must-haves and the deal breakers. Be honest with yourself , and don’t allow yourself to be talked into an apartment that won’t meet your needs. You will only set yourself up for failure with an unhappy living situation. For an easy way to calculate your rent budget, check out free ‘Affordability Calculator‘ from Housing Connections.

Put in the groundwork:

The perfect apartment isn’t going to fall into your lap, so you will need to research and ask for recommendations from your friends, family or work colleagues. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods you prefer, and be aware of the average rental rates for the area. If you are on a strict budget, don’t waste time looking at an expensive apartment in River North, when there’s an affordable place available in Lincoln Square, and it’s close to your job.

To help you decide the best neighborhood, check out these awesome infographics from They’ll tell you everything you need to know about Chicago neighborhoods. Looking for an apartment in Wrigleyville?

Wrigleyville Chicago Typical Person Infographic

Consider your timeline

If you wait until the last minute, there are fewer places that need to be rented on or before your desired move-in date. With limited options, you might have to settle for a subpar apartment. Give yourself ample time–no less than four weeks before you need to move. Make appointments for the newest listings before someone else can sign a lease.

Keep your options open

Utilize a mix of resources who know how to find the perfect apartment in Chicago, like locators, realtors and online apartment rental websites. Landlords and apartment complexes are not contracted exclusively with one service. Make multiple appointments in the same day to give yourself a chance to see everything available on the market.

The apartment search can be a tricky game, but once you know how to find the perfect apartment in Chicago and you stay assertive, you can definitely find a place that meets all your criteria! Before you know it, your application will be approved! The next step will be the actual move, which is another animal in itself.