An Apartment Search Checklist for Chicago Renters

Should You Stay or Should You Go

Spring and summer are typically when most apartment leases are signed. Before tenants renew their lease, they should evaluate whether their current apartment is meeting their needs, and if it isn’t, what their priorities will be during their new apartment search. This process should start about 90 days prior to the end of a lease, with most owners/property managers requiring a 60-day notice if a tenant plans on leaving.

For multifamily owners and property managers, spring and summer is also a time of high inventory and rental turnover. Take stock of what updates, amenities, and unit features are most desirable to potential renters– and make sure to make those the centerpieces of your marketing.

Questions To Ask

As a renter, choosing the right apartment can be difficult with all the available options. Here are some questions to ask during an apartment search:

  • What are my work needs?

After 2020 and 2021, many workplaces have a new strategy for employees – some are bringing workers back to downtown offices fulltime or on a hybrid schedule, while others have opted for a permanent work-from-home structure. If you need to commute, you will want an apartment that is near public transportation or has convenient highway access. If you are working from home for the long-term, you may want a dedicated office space or a larger apartment overall. 

  • What life transitions may be ahead?

Are you planning to move in with a significant other, or are you transitioning to living alone? Or are you part of a young family that may be having a new baby and wants to live near childcare options, parks, and schools? Maybe you are an empty nester who wants to be closer to restaurants and theaters. These questions will help highlight what factors matter most to you, such as apartment size and neighborhood location.

  • What building amenities or features are your must-haves or nice-to-haves?

Take stock of your current apartment, and what you could not live without or would like to change. Consider things like: pet-friendly living, parking, in-unit or in-building laundry, central heat and AC, building access and security, utility costs, high-speed wireless internet, lease terms, package delivery and security, elevator access, outdoor space, bike room, additional storage, and other conveniences. Rank which of these are most important to you, and whether they are worth a move, or an increase in rent.

  • What is your relationship with your Chicago rental property management company?

You want to live somewhere that provides efficient and responsive property management services, as well as convenient ways to interact with the management company. For example, you may prefer paying your rent and submitting maintenance requests online or via an app.

Think about how your current property management firm has handled unit issues, building upgrades, and general security and upkeep, and whether you were satisfied with the results. Be sure to seek out locations with reliable apartment management in Chicago, IL.

Raise Your Expectations

You want to be sure your apartment meets your needs before you renew or sign a new lease. Build your checklist around what your life looks like now, and what may be changing in the next year or two. Moving can be a hassle, but it’s a time to start fresh and seek out an apartment space and amenities that will improve your life.

For building owners and leasing agents, as moving season approaches, you will want to measure how your available units stand up against the market. Evaluate what simple upgrades – both physical and technological – could attract new tenants.