Budgeting to Move in Chicago: Move-in Fees to Be Aware Of

December 21, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 2 Minutes
apartment move in fee

Securing a new apartment in the Windy City is an exciting endeavor, but it’s crucial to be financially prepared and know how to answer, “How much would it cost to move to Chicago?” 

One aspect that often catches tenants off guard is the array of move-in fees imposed by landlords and property management companies. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of apartment move-in fees, focusing on fee breakdowns and key considerations.

Common Apartment Move-In Fees

Before we break down apartment move-in fees, let’s clarify the distinction between move-in fees and security deposits. While security deposits serve as a form of insurance for landlords against potential damages, move-in fees are non-refundable charges associated with the leasing process. 

The typical move-in fee in Chicago can range between $425 to $700. Additionally, here are specific types of move-in fees you will likely come across:

  • Application Fees: Typically ranging from $35 to $75, these fees cover the cost of processing your rental application. 
  • Administration Fee: This is the fee you pay the landlord or agent when performing their due diligence on your application, all while holding the apartment off the market. It often runs between $100 to $500. 
  • Pet Fees: If you have furry friends, you must find an apartment building that permits animals. They may be a one-time, flat fee or a monthly cost added to your rent. They cost animal owners about $200-$500 a year.

Key Steps and Considerations

Here are some additional pointers as you prepare to find your dream place and anticipate move-in fees for apartments.

  • Set your budget. Know your monthly cap for rent, and don’t forget to set aside funds for additional expenses, including move-in fees, security deposits, furnishings, and moving costs. Take advantage of existing moving budget templates like this one from Jotform.
  • Know the lease terms. Before committing to an apartment, it’s important to identify the expected fees with your landlord or property manager. Also, it’s worth exploring potential Chicago apartment move-in specials beforehand.
  • Beware of scams. While most landlords and property managers adhere to ethical practices, being aware of potential fee scams is essential. Research your options, read reviews, and be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Scammers often exploit the eagerness of tenants to secure a place.
  • Team up with an expert. Let a licensed and experienced real estate broker help you navigate these steps effectively and efficiently.

By understanding the nature of Chicago move-in fees, budgeting effectively, and staying vigilant against potential scams, you can ensure a smooth transition to your new home. Contact our knowledgeable and compassionate team today if you’re ready to begin the apartment hunt!


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