Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Townhouses For Rent In Chicago

December 3, 2012

Jenny asks…

I think my girlfriend got us ripped of renting townhouse? what do i do?

My girlfriend is in chicago area, we are about to rent a townhouse. She is negotiating with the lady while I am up north.

Well, she signed a lease today.. where we prepay 2 months of rent. she paid the first part today of $1050 at signing. Then on november 16th the day we move in, we have to pay another $1050

The lease says the next rent is due January 1st. That is only 45 days.. we prepaid for 2 months!

So what happened to these extra 16 days, did they just magically disappear? Not only that, but at 6 months we have to pay a $1000 security deposit.

I am so mad at her right now. She says there is still a part of the lease that wasn’t signed yet. The lady just need the first part to close her mortgage on her new house. What do we do?
to poster below, the lease says nothing about damage deposit. It says we will pay 2 months of rent starting nov 16th, next payment due Jan 1st. Also Jan 1st $500 due for first half of security deposit. Then in may additional $500 due for second half of security.

Administrator answers:

No, no, no. Your “repaid rent” serves as a damage deposit. It’s normal and you didn’t get ripped off.

(You get it back when you move out. Use it toward your next townhouse.)

Sandra asks…

looking to move to chicago!!!!!!!?

my husband and i are wanting to move to a nice part of chicago. we currently live in saint louis mo in south county and its really nice here but we are not rich. i want to move somewhere in downtown chicago(if its nice) to get a taste of city living. is there any where you know of thats live like where im at now but not outragesly priced. if so please reply. and buy the way my husband is looking for a job down there as well he is in the satelite business and would like to stay in it if it pays well. does ne one know of any good jobs in that field. i know this is a like and a little off the wall but i would be very happy for a little direction from someone. this is our first move out of state and we dont want to get in over our heads.

Administrator answers:

It depends. There are lots of nice neighborhoods in the city.
Technically, downtown is just the area around the business district. But there are lots of other neighborhoods outside of downtown that are equally (if not more) vibrant and urban.

I’m not sure what you consider outrageously priced and if you are looking to rent or buy, but that may determine where you end up.

If you’re looking for a true city experience in an area with high-rise condo buildings and little green space, you might like the South Loop or West Loop neighborhoods. These areas are pretty pricey though. They have a lot of loft buildings and a good number of townhouses.

If you’re looking for a more residential area in the city then you’ll probably want to look on the North Side of the city. There are lots of nice neighborhoods where you can walk to shops and restaurants and live on tree-lined streets.

For the most part, the North Side of the city is expensive. Houses typically start at $800k in the decent neighborhoods. A typical 2 br/2ba condo will probably set you back about $350k or more. There are some pockets that are more affordable but they may not be as desirable from a transportation or amenities perspective.

In Chicago, the most affordable areas tend to be west of the city and south of the city. There are some nice neighborhoods south (ie. Hyde Park) and west of the city, but there some not-so-nice areas as well so you just have to keep that in mind.

Also, demographics play a big part in where people choose to live in Chicago. Some neighborhoods appeal to a younger crowd (Lakeview, Lincoln Park), others appeal to people who are a little more trendy (Bucktown, Wicker Park). There are so many different neighborhoods, it’s just a matter of finding the one where you feel like you fit in. Good luck!

Joseph asks…

Is it a good idea to buy a town house in Chicago, IL?

At this moment we live in an apartment, paying $1000 in rent. I think that money is going to waste since its renting. If we go for town house at least we will be investing our money in something instead of wasting it. Also, I live with a single parent who is a cashier and I make 250 per week and my other sibling makes about 350. And we are college students in debt. Hopefully, I will be leaving for professional school soon and a year later my sibling will be leaving for professional school too. So, the single parent will be all alone dealing with all the payments. However, I was thinking that when we do take out loan for school we can take out enough to give our single parent enough money to pay the monthly fee of the town house. Is that a good idea? I really want my single parent and other young siblings to have their own place to live and there is no way to do that at this stage of my life without this plan.

My question is is it a good idea to get a town house in this economy? What other factors will I have to worry about? and what’s your opinion on this?

Administrator answers:

If you bought the townhouse in August, 2008, you would have lost $50,000 since townhouses dropped that much in the last 6 months. Maybe they have stopped dropping; then your timing would be perfect. But if you bought and it dropped another $50,000, you would feel foolish for rushing. Only you can decide. Once the economy improves, your townhouse will go up a lot.
You can not use a student loan to help mom pay her bills. That is not ok. You will sign papers promising that you won’t do this. Don’t sign the papers and then break the rules..

Betty asks…

Is Chicago right for me?

I’m currently going into my 4th (of 5) year of Landscape Architecture. I want to go to Illinois Institute of Technology for my masters (Structural Architecture), or try to find a good job in the area. I’m curious to know if Chicago would make a good choice for me.

I want to live in a city that has:
All four seasons
Good mass transportation system
Pedestrian Friendly
Lots of culture (night life[everything doesn't close @ 9pm], museums, concerts of all genres, great arc., parks, )
I’m from the south, so it’d be nice to be surrounded by “friendly folk” lol
Near water
Nice apts/houses with affordable rent
Safe (relatively)
Decent cost of living

I’m originally from Raleigh NC, go to school in Tallahassee, Fl, and have spent the summer working as an intern in Washington DC.

Tallahassee is slow and boring and extremely hot in the summer so no dice.

Raleigh is nice, but I’ve lived there forever, and seriously need a change of scenery.

Although I work in Washington, I commute(rail) from the suburb of Columbia MD. I like Washington, but crime there is ridiculous.

I could never live somewhere like NYC, b/c it’s just TOO many people, and we all know how New Yorkers can be.

For those who live there, have moved there, or once lived there, what was/is your experience like? How does it compare to most other cities??

Administrator answers:

Four seasons, check, but winter can be VERY cold. Especially considering what you are used to in the South.

The transportation system is adequate. Trains and buses can pretty much get you anywhere you need to go. With the new streamlined Chicago Card Plus you can make transfers automatically and easily so that helps.

It is pedestrian friendly as well. I own a car but almost never use it unless I leave town. I would definitely recommend getting a bike for transportation. For most destinations you are able to plan a route that only uses paths and streets with designated bike lanes.

Chicago has plenty in the cultural department. There are communities with where you can get a taste for many specific cultures. Chinatown, Greektown, Ukrainian Village, just to name a few.

I would say Chicagoans are the most friendly of the big cities I have been to (New York, Boston, Toronto, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam).

Here comes the problem. Affordable is a very relative term. My friends just moved into a 3 bedroom townhouse for $3000 per month in Lincoln Park. This includes a 2 car garage. My studio in Wrigleyville is $1000 per month with a parking spot. These prices are neighborhood specific. In Wicker Park rent is still expensive, but you can find some good deals there. Logan Square is an up and coming neighborhood with many recent college grads moving there. You can find a good deal there, but some of the areas around Logan can still be a little dangerous.

For the size I would say the city is safe. There are some parts you do not want to go. One of my friends went to IIT so I have been on the campus numerous times. Some of the areas around IIT are not so hot. Much of the crime around IIT was from the Robert Taylor Homes (one of the largest housing projects in the US). They have since been demolished. I have not been there for a while so I cant say how this effected the area. While on the campus I always felt safe and never threatened.

Also it must be said that Chicago has VERY strict gun laws (handgun ban, no concealed carry, ridiculous licensing requirements, etc.). It also has the highest sales tax in the US, 10.50%, and Illinois state income taxes of about 6% (I think).

Overall Chicago is a great city. It still has big city problems such as crime, but nothing that I consider out of control. Come check it out and stay for a week or two. I think the city would really grow on you.

Charles asks…

Anyone live in Chicago/or Chicago suburbs? Thinking of moving there- looking for info!?

So, my boyfriend and I are thinking of moving out to Chicago next year. He lived there for nearly a year in 2006 and really fell in love with the city. He assures me I will like it but I was just wondering if there is any advice or information that anyone who has lived there can tell me.

I’ve done some internet searching but was hoping for some more personal statements on here… Please let me know, I’m interested in the apartment complexes/townhouses, restaurants, diversity, crime, schools (both university and public elementary/middle/high), public transportation and just the over all feel…
I’ve lived in South Jersey my whole life, so I have a feeling this will be a HUGE move for me…

Thanks in advance

Administrator answers:

Chicago is huge, that’s a lot of info to cover. I mean a lot.

My advice would be to come out to Chicago. Rent an apartment here for two years on the Northside of the city…that will give you a year to get used to your surrounding and another year to see if you really would like to live here.

One user touched on it, but the best way to describe Chicago is a more compact NYC. The biggest difference is that Chicago has a pretty large downtown, skyscraper business district…but then the rest of the city is neighborhoods with multifamily apartments/homes. Oh and Chicago is way more clean than NYC, but has just as much going on even during our dreaded winter.

It would probably help to know your situation as well because youre asking some questions that sound like you and your boyfriend want to go come to Chicago to go to college and hang out…and then you’re asking about elementary/middle/high school like you may have a kid or are just maybe planning to have kids in the future and settle down in Chicago…
There’s a lot more to consider about Chicago if youalready have a kid or are expecting. Believe me, I’ve lived here forever and you know…sometimes having a kid and living in a trendy Northside neighborhood doesn’t work out too well for a million reasons. When I got married a few years ago all of my friends were living in tiny Northside apartments hanging out while we found a nice big house on the Southwest side in a good school district.

Mary asks…

Is it worth it moving from Pittsburgh to Chicago?

I’m considering moving from a suburb west of Pittsburgh (Robinson Township to be exact) to Chicago, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I’m single, have a good job, Masters degree, townhouse owner, and I’m pretty close to my mom and dad. However, I feel that I’m limiting myself by staying in this area because I do pretty much the same thing everyday and it’s starting to get a little old. I’ve been to Chicago a couple times and I really loved the city, but I don’t know if it’s worth it to move out there. Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Administrator answers:

Well, I have a brother who lives in Chicago and he just loves it… But he moved with his family, not alone..

Any move is a big life changing event… I admire your initiative… But you DO already have a good life…

Why not instead take a long vacation (say two weeks?) and go to chicago and rent a townhouse for two weeks instead of a hotel.. Live there for 2 weeks and psyche yourself up as if you actually live there.. What would you do day to day (besides after finding a job) where would you go, how would you meet people.. Etc.. And just do it..

Try it before you buy it – that’s my motto.

Linda asks…

Why do blacks commit over 50% of the crime while being only 13% of the population?

Statistics are according to charts and records kept on crimes committed nationally. The figures quoted are accurate and can be viewed on the FBI web site.
http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/pov95/povest1.html (This report shows that more Whites live in poverty. Poverty cannot explain the crime disparity.)

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/soo.pdf (Report on Sex Crime Statistics)

http://www.amren.com/color.pdf (Report entitled “The Color of Crime” by the New Century Foundation)

http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/blog/stix/2005/10/color-of-crime.html (New Century Foundation/Nicholas Stix)

Administrator answers:

As an African-American, I can shed some insight to this problem. This is a problem that goes to the root of the problem. It is instability of our culture, living in violent inner-cities, and no good role models. You may not want to hear it but this goes back to slavery when black families were separated with no concern at all. There are actually two classes of black people. After slavery, a lot of blacks were allowed to get an education, vote and even hold public office. When the Jim Crow laws were enacted many of these black people left the south and moved up north. The Jim Crow laws were designed to take away the liberties that the Republican party gave to blacks. Those blacks who got away from them live a peaceful life and value education. Those blacks that stayed in the south were subjected to Jim Crow laws were denied the tools to succeed in our culture. They were herded into all black communities and were given minimal education and social skills. After the depression, a lot of blacks moved up north but they did not have the skills to get good paying jobs so they were placed in Ghettos. They were out of sight and out of mind. They have continued to live in Ghettos where there are no good role models. The men would leave their families because the stress of trying to provide for their families would overwhelm them. This left the mother to provide support for the children. She could not be at home and did not have the time to raise the children and monitor their value system. She was more worried about trying to pay the rent and put food on the table. There is also the problem that when black people do succeed they want to get away from the areas that they grew up in because the memories are too painful. So there are not a lot of good role models in the black community because we view living around white people as safer. When you work hard and get nice amenities, you cherish them more and don’t want to have them taken from you. When you grow up in violence and that is all you see, then that is how you think all problems are solved. Now for those facts and figures; beware. Although there is a high crime rate for blacks, this can be misleading. Most crimes committed by black people are against other black people. Black people who do crimes usually do them in their own living area. There is a big misconception that blacks target white people as a whole. Sure there is black on white crime but it is a very small percentage. Except for the killing of the children in Atlanta in the 80′s and the serial shooters on the I-95 highway a few years ago black people do not committ large scale murders. Also the epidemic of crack in societies has caused a large upswing in violence. This is fast money but it is also a violent drug and causes a lot of problems. However we are seeing a rise in white crime with the invention of meth drugs and the white culture using crack as their preference of drugs. There is also the fact that because black people make less money they do not have the ability to afford good lawyers to defend them. Left to public defenders who juggle many cases they are subjected to substandard legal defenses. This is why some states have put a moratorium on the death penalty because too many innocent people have died. One of the best solutions is to become involved in inner-city projects and let people know that you care. In Chicago, they have torn down the Cabrini Greens projects, which were considered some of the worst in the United States, and are devolping the area into mixed communities. There is a mix of cultures. White people are paying in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for townhouses and their neighbors could be a black family who lived in the projects. The families from the projects are screened vigioriously but it is the white people who are stepping up to the plate and saying fuck that we care. There is over a 90% satisfaction rate among the white people who have moved there. They encourage sleep-overs and interaction with their black neighbors. Crime is so low that some of these people who paid more thatn $600,000 for their townhouses are seeing the value of their home in the upper $900,000. Most of all the black children are being exposed to young white children who value their education and are following in their footsteps. Black adults are living in a nice home without crime and are exposed to the value of keeping up their houses which is one of the main reasons the property value has gone up. The black neighbors can buy their houses but very few of them can afford them. However, because they are exposed to affluent white people they are being groomed for jobs in the workforce that will allow them to one day own their homes. This is a big plus because it is understood that networking is the key to getting a good job. This project has been so successful that it is being copied throughout the country as we speak. I live in Springfield, Ohio and it is being implemented here. However, there are major obstacles in our way. The rise of violent video games which glorify inner-city living such as Grand Theft Auto; the violent culture of rap music which emphasizes making money from selling drugs instead of going to school and getting a job; and the degradation of the standing of women in our society are putting us all in jeopardy. White kids are now the fuel that drives rap music; black people do not have the economic power. Rappers are gearing their music to attract suburban adolescents who have the money to buy their records. They do not care about the black kids because they can’t be sustained by the economic power of black adolescents. In turn, you see white kids displaying characteristics of inner-city kids. This is a major problem and it is causing higher crime rates for young white kids. So this is a problem we all must work together to defeat. So that black kids can continue to climb the ladder of success and white kids to not fall down the ladder. Together we all can make a difference. God Bless

Chris asks…

What do you think about low income housing? What about mixed income?

Are you for mixed income housing or against it?

Are you for section 8 or public housing or against it?

I live in Chicago, IL and the Chicago Housing Authority(CHA) or Housing Urban Development(HUD) is building up all these beautiful yet very expensive houses, apartments, two flat, townhouse and more that can’t nobody afford.

So do you think poor people in the city of Chicago deserve to get section 8 or other government help to help them pay the rent in these high cost area places?

Do you think everybody deserve a change at a good life and be able to rent in these new beautiful neighborhoods?

The city got a plan called building a new Chicago. Like in the area I’m in they building new houses and super Walmart and more. A lot of people believe once they fix up the Pullman area they are going to push the blacks out.

What about gentrification (Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people (“gentry”) acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities.Urban gentrification is associated with migration within a population. In a community undergoing gentrification, the average income increases and average family size decreases. This generally results in the displacement of the poorer, pre-gentrification residents, who are unable to pay increased rents or house prices and property taxes).

Anybody else city or state or country experiencing this also?

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7ttfChtQ40QATf5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0N3IxYm4zBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1FJMDA3XzEzOQ–/SIG=11v4h3q3i/EXP=1343978207/**http%3a//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7nQwCxtQqEsAe6FXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0M2d1NnEzBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1FJMDA3XzEzOQ–/SIG=134o65anh/EXP=1343978416/**http%3a//www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/chicagos-first-walmart-ma_n_974136.html

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7nRxCxtQWnMAGH5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0dHF0bXVsBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1FJMDA3XzEzOQ–/SIG=12pjvth63/EXP=1343978481/**http%3a//www.peoplesworld.org/chicago-gentrification-is-a-global-issue/

Administrator answers:

Section 8 can be a great thing for both the landlord and tenant. The landlord is guaranteed a set amount of money and the tenant can pay affordable rent. It can go bad if the tenant is not compliant to the rules, but if I had an apartment, I think I’d prefer a section 8 tenant, which is backed up by the federal government rather than have deadbeats not paying a dime. It took my grandmother over a year to remove “normal tenants” that decided not to pay their rent after 2 months. I also believe in rent control, which allows many New Yorkers to stay in their apartments at a affordable rate, rather than paying triple rent like their neighbors. Oh well. They shouldn’t charge people crazy rents that most cannot afford.

As for gentification, that’s another story. I dont like it. Wealthier people come into a poor neighborhood, take the cheap apartments and fix them up. The struggling families who need the rent to stay low, are forced out, because the landlords see that they can charge more for rent. The poor families are forced out to allow young single people, into the neighborhood. These people come in for two years, put cafes into the areas, and when they get bored, they’ll abandon a neighborhood, leaving it without culture, substance. The social aspect is robbed out of the neighborhood, and they pushed people out of their homes. Think Lower East Side (Puerto Ricans forced out), Harlem, and its happening in Jersey City, Philadephia, DC, any large city with poor communities, with new trendy neighborhoods (although they won’t say who was there previously – usually poor working class minorities).

Where are the poor moving? They are becoming homeless or force to leave the state or go to the suburbs, which are the new poor areas.

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