Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Townhouses For Rent In Chicago

November 30, 2012

Donna asks…

Can I qualify for another mortgage of a new home if I own a home underwater by 50000?

We need a bigger house, and we would like to rent out our townhouse and get a bigger house. We still owe about 150000 on our townhouse. We have good credit scores over 720 and steady jobs. We both have worked at our jobs for over 10 years. We would like a home in the price range of about 250000-300000 in the area we live in. (Chicago suburbs) Is it possible? What steps should we take?

Administrator answers:

The underwater part does not matter.

You need to have enough income to qualify to borrow 400,000 0 450,000 Your combined income needs to be 150k or more.

Nancy asks…

Restaurants with party rooms in Chicago?

I am getting married this upcoming summer. However, we are on a very tight budget and banquet halls are out if the question. Do any of you know of any restaurant in Chicago or near Chicago that have a party room within?

Thanks in advance!

Administrator answers:

Maggiano’s has private rooms and you can order off Family Style menu.
You may also want to check out the Park District. Many locations have rooms that they rent out. You will have to arrange for food on your own. Glenview Park District has a great location called The Grove very pretty.
Some Churches will rent out Halls. Check the VFW or a Moose Lodge. Do not know if you have to be a member or if they will just rent out the halls.
If you know anyone that lives in a Condo or Townhouse most of them have Community rooms or Party room that they will let residents use.

Lizzie asks…

What’s a good place for a young couple to live in NY, NJ, or CT?

I’m in the publishing industry and he’s planning to go to med school. We’re looking for a nice apartment, townhouse, or condo (not to rent), preferably NOT directly in NYC, but within an hour or so commute. We both grew up in the suburbs of the midwest, so we’d like to come home to a safe, clean, moderately quiet neighborhood. We’re looking for places under $200,000. Does someplace like this exist?
We’d also like someplace that had some trees and greenery. Some places too close to the city are just TOO urban for our taste.

Administrator answers:

You will be lucky to find a place as nice as in the Midwest, an hour from work in downtown New York, for $200,000. The cost of living in the lower Hudson Valley varies from 175% to 225% of the national average. Most commuters travel 90 minutes, each way, to work in major downtowns, and some travel two hours into NYC from Duchess and Orange counties upstate. The safe, quiet, clean suburbs are much farther from NYC than from Chicago, Detroit, or any major Midwestern city.

I suggest the following – look for a commuter rail line that will get one or both of you into The City near where you have to go, and try to find something you can afford a short drive from a station of that rail line. The main reason people choose New Jersey or Connecticut is that New York taxes are higher, but, if you earn money in New York State, you will have to pay NY income taxes on it no matter where you live. Until recently, there were no state income taxes in Connecticut, making it the cheaper choice, but harder to commute from because the train did not go that way. However, Connecticut now has state income taxes, and there may be a commuter train along the coast from as far away as Bridgeport.

Some advice – avoid driving a car into NYC unless you need to travel all around the city all day. Mass transit will get you to work, the density is so high you can walk to lunch and shopping, and there is no place to park a car for a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time. Many New Yorkers do not even own cars, because garage fees cost almost as much as apartment rents. What you need a car for, in the suburbs, is to drive to the commuter train station, where parking is often free, and reasonably safe all day. Best to drive to the train together, and split up when you get into The City, then meet back at the car at the end of the workday.

I grew up in the Bronx, one of the denser parts of the city, with overhead trains, crosstown buses, square miles of adjacent six story apartment buildings, and trees growing out of little square holes in the concrete. If you know downtown Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, or someplace like it, you have seen it. Living in it is another thing.

Do NOT wander around the city on foot, looking around amazed like an out-of-towner. There are predatory people in every part of the city, who will see you as a target if you act that way. Walk briskly and purposefully, avoiding eye contact with strangers, but also watching to not jostle or bump into people. Cross streets carefully – pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way on the streets of New York. Find out where you are going before you go, act nonchalant at all times, and carry small amounts of cash (neither none nor a lot), because everything in New York costs money, but there are also robbers in every dark alley. Try to make a friend who is a native, and get advice from them about how to behave, where to go, what to do.

New York City is the greatest assembly of people, culture, economic activity, and excitement in North America. Watch yourself, then learn to enjoy it.

Linda asks…

Is there a “section 8 for dummies” guide?

I’m getting ready to rent my 2-bedroom townhouse in the western suburbs of chicago and am thinking that section 8 might be a smart move, since it guarantees a certain part of the rent that is charged. I’d like to be ready so I could pass an inspection and set things up so there would be no nonsense with the renter.

Administrator answers:

We just sold our 14 units. Section 8 is a great thing and the inspections are pretty easy to pass the only problem is you need to be prepared for the tenents to TRASH the place. Since they aren’t paying the rent they don’t take care of it. If your going that route I recommend collecting a hefty deposit and adding another hundred bucks to the monthly rent so you can fix the place up after they move out.

Steven asks…

Townhouses for rent in Chicago Suburbs?

My boyfriend and I are looking to rent a townhouse, maybe even a house, after our lease is up in February 2008. We’re trying to get ideas of how much it’ll cost and the areas that have townhouses for rent. Neither of our credits are good enough to get a decent loan right now so we want to rent longer to have time to build our credit up more. We currently live in Downers Grove, IL and are looking to go no more west than West Chicago and no more north than Schaumburg.

Administrator answers:

You can go to my website and register and look at the listings

James asks…

I am From Chicago, been here all my life but was considering relocating Los Angeles?

Where would be a good community to start out at? Looking for a mixture of all things including a mixture of cultures. I would only be making about $40,000 a year out there, what communities would you suggest with a teenage son and what communities are more reasonable in price?

Administrator answers:

A general rule of thumb for housing is to expect to pay about $1300 a month for a 2 br apartment. It’s higher along the coast, close to downtown LA and in Orange County. There’s public transit, but it’s slow! I live in a fairly nice rental community in a 2 br, 1-1.5 bath townhouse in West Covina and pay $1500/mo rent (with a dog). If you pay much less than that, you’re getting into the ghetto. I paid almost $1700 for a 2 br/2ba flat in Huntington Beach (for contrast), and $1500 for the same in Anaheim.

Good Luck (?) If you want to check rental prices, you might try and snoop around. It has a search engine that is really helpful. Just remember taht the cheaper the rent, the worse the neighborhood. And THAT means gang activity–with a teenaged son, you really don’t want to drop a boy from Chicago into that mess. Not joining can be as dangerous as joining them.

Best bets are “Inland Empire” (San Bernardino, Pomona, Corona, or Riverside are nice), and central and north Orange County (Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia, Buena Park, *La Habra and Brea are more $, Santa Ana is a cesspit). The San Gabriel valley (Covina, W Covina, Hacienda & Rowland Heights, Azusa, Arcadia, etc.) are a crap shoot. If you can’t visit the places there, don’t bother. You don’t want to move in without doing a “visual inspection” b/c some places are great and others are a nightmare, and they ALL cost about the same. Expect to put at least one mo’s rent down for a security deposit, and about $35 per application.

E-mail me if you want a person to check with. I’m from back east and my hubby’s from here, and we’ve lived all over CA…

Helen asks…

Differences between apartment, walkup, and condominium?

Throughout the web I’ve seen ads that sell condominiums, apartments, and walkups.

For example, one site lets you search for condominiums and apartments. In another site you can search for an apartment or apartment/walkup, but no mention of condominiums. And yet another site lets you search only for a condominium, which is part of the category “apartment”.

What are the differences between these three?


Administrator answers:

An apartment is a set of rooms in a building. It may have many sets of rooms, or just one over someone’s garage. You might rent it from the owner, or you might own it. If you own it, it’s called a condominium, or condo.

A condominium is a home in a multiple dwelling building that someone owns. The person who owns it may live there or may rent it to someone else, but he usually doesn’t own the entire building. Most condos have rules about how many units any one owner may have. The owner owns the space within the walls, but not the roof or the yard around it. The Home Owners’ Association owns the common grounds and facilities. The HOA is made up of the owners of the unit.

My condo is a townhouse. I have two floors and a basement and a small private yard. There are similar units in other buildings, and there are also some units like mine that don’t have basements, and some that look like apartments.

There are also places that are called co-ops in some places, mostly around NYC but there are also some in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and a few places in Florida. In this situation, the owner owns shares in a cooperative corporation, equal to the size of his unit. Someone with a 3 bedroom place owns more shares that someone with a studio (basically a one room apartment).

A walk up just means there’s no elevator in the building so you have to walk up the stairs. I lived in a 4th floor walk up in Greenwich Village, and was happy that someone was willing to deliver my groceries. Even doing the laundry was a pain because I had to carry the clothes from the 5th floor to the basement. It was a 2 story apartment, and really cool, but very inconvenient. There are walk up apartments, condos and co-ops.

Richard asks…

Can anyone offer some sugestions?

I would like to sell my house quickly before I am unable to pay the mortgage. What do I need to do to make the process easy. Should i sell the furniture first or should I leave the bare minimum. What type of repairs are necessary for a quick sale. My townhouse is located on the north side of Chicago near two well known universities, has one parking space, is very accessible to public transportation, and is about one block near the lake.

Administrator answers:

A house that is well furnished and decorated (not cluttered) will be much more appealing to buyers than an empty one, so don’t sell all your furniture but make it look like a model.
It’s a buyer’s market right now and buyers want a perfect house at a below market price.
Hire a good Realtor (ask friends and neighbors for recommendations). Interview at least 3 Realtors to list your house. They will give you CMA’s (comparative market analysis) Price the house aggressively – make sure it is the best looking and lowest price in the area and it will go quickly.
If you can’t afford to sell for a bargain price then keep it and rent it out until you can afford to sell it.

Laura asks…

Early 30s couple moving from NYC to Chicago.?

Could someone recommend a few neighborhoods to consider looking at? We prefer a quiet and clean neighborhood where we can rent an apt/townhouse with a few quaint restaurants/cafes, etc. We will likely work in or near the downtown area, so someplace either close to an el line or metrarail.

We would also like to have a car, so preferably an area where parking is not a hassle.

Administrator answers:

You’re a Lincoln Park couple, from the sound of it. It’s pretty quiet (well, some streets are nice, tree-lined areas with single families and DINKs – double-income, no kids). Lots of new apartments, townhouses, condos, etc. It’s close to downtown and has lots of transportation options. And there are a gazillion restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. It’s also home to DePaul University. The only problem would be parking; the area is jammed. But depending on the area you pick, you could purchase permit parking privledges which lets you park anywhere on your street but restricts outsiders without a permit.

If you’re a bit more adventures, more “urban” (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) and less pretentous, you could check out Andersonville. It’s a neighborhood with a Swedish heritage and in the past few years has been BOOMING. There’s a big mix of singles, single couples, gays, lesbians, marrieds, marrieds with kids and older folks. The folks are a little more progressive there (If Lincoln Park were rock and roll, Andersonville would be an indie band). There are LOTS of new restaurants opening there (Mediterreanian, Indian, Asian, Latin and of course Swedish), a bunch of cafes, a few bars (old “dives”, new sprawling cherrywood bars and a “gastropub”) Lots of single famly homes or two-flats, but also a slew of new condo development. It’s got some reasonable transportation options to the Loop (bus and bus-to-rail). And in the winter time, the glogg is flowing!

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