Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Studio Apartments For Rent In Chicago

July 30, 2012

Susan asks…

How much are living expenses for a student in Chicago?

I’ll be moving to Chicago in a few months and I just want to know how much should I have a month to cover rent, utilities, transport, groceries etc.

I plan to live on my own, either in a studio or 1 bedroom apartment. Also, which neighbourhoods would be nice to live in? Maybe those nearer to the Loop or North Side?


Administrator answers:

You can find studio apartments for about $650 or up in a decent neighborhood like Edgwater. It probably won’t be the greatest apartment around but for a student it will be fine. Most places either offer all utitlies or just one (gas or electric) so expect to pay for something, maybe about $50 a month. Transportation is cheap: the public transportation (bus and elevated train) are $2 a ride but you can get a pass that offers a reduced fair. As far as groceries, you just have to shop around like you do in any city. You can find good deals, you just have to be willing to search it out and maybe travel a bit.

Like I said, try Edgewater, a pretty diverse neighborhood. It’s close to many transportion options and as of right now it’s still relatively inexpensive. And it’s close to the lake, which is always cool.

John asks…

Apartment rental in CHICAGO for only one month?

We are a brazilian tourism agency and one of our customers need to rent a furnished studio for ONLY one month.
I wonder if you could help me on that.
She will be studying at ELS Language Center at Dominican University
7200 West Division Street,River Forest.
We need something either in the neighborhood or within a 30 minute bus ride.
TKS in advance

Administrator answers:

If you’re looking for something 30 minutes from River Forest, don’t look for a place in Chicago. Especially if you’re client plans on taking the bus. Try to find something closer to River Forest. Look for something in Oak Park or Maywood. Both of them are a lot closer.

I found a link to a place that is renting an entire house for $455 a week for a minimum of two weeks. That might be a good starting point.

Helen asks…

When applying for an apartment, what do they look for?

My sister and her boyfriend have put in an application for a studio apartment in Chicago. She is very worried because she isn’t exactly sure what they look for when reviewing her info.

She has great credit, and great rental history, but has not lined up a job in Chicago yet. Her boyfriend has a great job but has no credit or rental history. She is worried that this will effect it somehow.

She also thinks they’ll look in her bank account to see how much money she has. I don’t think they have the right to do that, do they?

So can anyone list the things they look for when you are applying to rent an apartment?

Administrator answers:

Credit history and history of past rented places…
The only thing they really care about is that you pay your rent on time and dont trash the place…so have some references from past landlords stating those facts…

Carol asks…

Safe area & reasonable rent in Chicago,IL?

I live in Los Angeles,CA & I am looking to move out by April 09

I will be attending school downtown ( new orleans st…?) & need to be close by a studio that is located in the Pilsen area. (somewhere off michigan & 18th…?)

I am looking for a one bedroom apartment for now. Price ranging from 500-800.

My two main concerns are finding an area that is safe & an apartment that is equidistant from school & the studio.

Any suggestions…? Thanks in advance!

Administrator answers:

Well first off Michigan & 18th is nowhere near the Pilsen neighborhood…or at least it’s a good 15 blocks west of what is considered Pilsen.

Either way I would suggest looking into McKinley Park or Bridgeport along Archer Avenue where Archer intersects with Ashland or Halsted.
Here’s a few reasons why…

1. Ashland & Halsted both are north/south streets that run directly into Pilsen. Both streets have a major bus route running north & south so it would be no problem for you to get back & forth between home & studio in about ten minutes.

2. Ashland & Halsted are both Orange Line stops (elevated train to downtown) so getting to your school on Orleans is a sinch…if by chance you’re going to the Illinois Institute of Art which has a campus on Orleans, you exit the Orange Line at Clark/Lake. ILLIA also has a Loop campus right under the State/Lake stop.

3. The #62 bus runs along Archer to downtown (north on Dearborn then south on State) 24/7 so even when the Orange Line stops running between I believe 1am-4am you still have the bus to depend on and at night it will get you home just about as fast as the train.

You could just look in Pilsen but you’ll max your rent out easy in the east end of the neighborhood where the art district is because it’s probably the biggest up & coming neighborhood in the city. You can find something for $500 in the west end, but you’ll probably get stabbed to death!
I suggested McKinley Park (specifically as close to Archer as possible) because the neighborhoods are sill okay and the rent is on the cheap end. Unfortunately lots of people new to the city would rather pay more money to live in a box in a Northside neighborhood than live in a nice place on the Southside.

Sharon asks…

We come from a small town and want to move to Chicago..please read if you can help..?

My wife wants to work for Delta Airlines and we want to stay somewhere in a good neighborhood where you can go for walks at night etc. and near O’Hare Int Airport. Couple questions…

Can you stay in Downtown and still be able to get to O’Hare in like 30min or something with the train? Are their any neighborhoods around O’Hare or Downtown for that matter that is safe and not full of gangsters etc? My wife wants to get to work everyday with the train or whatever way and I dont want to worry about her being robbed and stuff.Are the trains safe?
We are a young couple and are looking at a studio apartment or something so we can afford it. We want to spend like $700 or $750 on it for rent. Are there any apartments in good areas for that price close to the public transport?

Sorry for the mixed up questions. We come from a small town and want to be sure the first time we move to Chicago we will make an informed decision and stay in a good neighborhood close to public transport for the both of us.

Is it better to stay in Downtown than in the other neighborhoods due to the fact that your closer to all the railroads and nightlife and shopping stores? I hope this akes sense.

PS. Also, we are going to chicago in October to take her little brother to a concert. We want to look around and see what chicago looks like, does anybody know anyone that can maybe meet us there and let us look at apartments and the neighborhoods and how to get around with the trains etc?

Thank you so much.

Administrator answers:

Try Logan Square on Spaulding. You should be able to find a one bedroom with in a block or two of the Logan Square Blue Line stop in your price range. There’s a back door to the station off of Spaulding. The train takes too long all the way from downtown, and you don’t want to live in the burbs. You want to be able to experience the city. There are gangs in every part of Chicago. There are gangs in Logan Square, but there aren’t many random attacks like there are in the “good” areas of Chicago. It’s a pretty low key area with modest hipsters running around. Not a lot of “targets” for criminal activity.

Maybe also consider Jefferson Park. I don’t know it that well, but it’s closer to the airport and supposed to be ok.

The trains are “mostly” safe. You do have to be careful, but you’re really never alone. There’s always groups of people. She can sit in the front car where the driver is. Have her carry Pepper spray. I don’t know if she can going into an airport though.

The Damen blue line stop is one of the hot spots for Chicago night life. Tons of people around at all hours. A little noisy to live around.

There are apartment realty companies that show apartments all over town. One I used when I first came to town was called the Apartment People I think.

You’re not the first young couple to move to Chicago. You’ll be fine.

Chris asks…

Moving to Chicago in September.?

I was looking for some advice on moving to Chicago. I am coming from California. I was looking on things I would need out there, where should I look for apartments: studios want to spend 700 on rent, how iare employment opportunities in the restaurant industry. Also, just some helpful advice.

Administrator answers:

I moved here from California five years ago and have never regretted it!

The right neighborhood for you will depend on what’s important to you. If you’re into the artsy scene, you’ll probably want to move to Wicker Park or Bucktown. You can easily get a studio there for $700.

If you’re looking for more of a young professional area, you’ll want to try an area like Lakeview or Wrigleyville. Lincoln Park will likely be out of your price range.

Another affordable and up and coming area is Andersonville, which has a lot of shops and book stores.

Generally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re near public transportation, preferably the El line.

Employment opportunities in the restaurant industry are much like they are in the rest of the country – not great.

Robert asks…

What % of my monthly income goes for rent and bills?

I’m 25 single and live in Chicago now. I need my own apartment (studio/1bd) but am unsure on what I should spend… If I make $15/hr working 40hrs/wk I will gross $2400 a month, but after taxes its really only $1,868 a month…

I’m wondering what I should spend… I’m sorry but 30% based on what alone? The rent??? Okay, well what if the property has gas, and water paid for? Or what if it includes heat, electric, but no gas? What if it includes all… or all plus free parking/cable/internet…?

I was thinking…
$625 — Tenant pays all utilities (except water)
$725 — Cooking Gas, Heat, Water included (1bd)
$750 — Cooking Gas, Heat, Water, Electric included
$800 — Cooking Gas, Heat, Water, Electric, Cable/Internet, Parking included

Anything less than $685 is practically non-existent…
I don’t really have any bills. I own my car, I have no loans or debt, and don’t really shop anymore. But I’d like to start putting some $ away for a rainy day or something.

Administrator answers:

Ideally you want your rent to be no more than 25 of your take home pay. But if you are good with a budget, many people can make it work if their rent is about 30% of the take home pay.

If you can’t afford to live on your own, consider getting a room mate.

Most apartments make you pay for your own utilities, phone, cable. About the only thing that is included, at least in my area, is water. And more and more apartments are getting away from providing that.

Mandy asks…

Hello!I need some information about rentals for students in Chicago.?

I am going to spend four months in Chicago, and I need to know where to get announcements of rentals for students. I’ll attend the northwestern university, so I need to stay near there (Evanston and districts near there). Can you give me some links? I also would like to know how students in Usa can find home…I mean, does other students publish announcements on internet or newspaper? Is there the possibility to rent a room in the college?I’d rather have a single room (but I also can share one) but not in a studio apartment, I would like to have 2-3 flatmates. Can you help me?

Administrator answers:

I live in chicago, and I found my wonderful roommates through Craigslist. It seems a little weird, but it’s actually amazing, as long as you make sure you’re safe! So check that out. Another way to do it is go to, which is a really great site that can help match you up with apartments (of any size and price range) and/or roommates.
I hope that helps!
P.s. Evanston is a beautiful area and you’ll love it. If you need any tutoring or homework help when you’re at Northwestern, please check out

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