How to Budget for An Apartment in Chicago in 2024

December 22, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 4 Minutes
how to budget for an apartment

With inflation and the cost of living on many minds, apartment-related budgeting is crucial to being proactive and protective of your finances. In this guide, we will highlight why budgeting is critical, especially now, and walk you through ways to save and spend strategically.

The Effects of Inflation

Over the past years, people nationwide have felt the impact of inflation. We have seen the cost of living drastically increase, with food, labor, rent, gasoline, food and more rising.

Towards the end of 2023, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago was $1,385, up almost 24% compared to the same time last year and 10% higher than the national median. The CoStar Risk Analytics national forecast suggests that Chicago apartment rental prices can expect significant hikes in early 2024. 

To compensate for these higher prices, renters should be extra mindful of their spending. Setting a budget is one of the first ways to set yourself up for financial success.

Calculate Rent

Before beginning the apartment hunt, know what monthly rent you can swing. A common budgeting standard for rent is the 30% rule, which advises not spending more than 30% of your monthly income before taxes (your gross income) on rent.

Let’s say your monthly paycheck is $6,000. The 30% rule would mean that you should scope out apartment listings for $1,800 or less a month.

Cover Moving Costs

As you budget money to cover the move to a new apartment, keep these costs in mind:

  • Move-in fees: These are non-refundable charges associated with the leasing process and can include application and administrative costs. The typical move-in fee in Chicago ranges between $425 to $700. Be sure to discuss these costs with the property manager or landlord before signing your lease.
  • Security deposit: This is a form of insurance for landlords against potential damages that are paid before moving in and returned if the apartment is in sufficient condition at the end of the lease. A security deposit is usually equivalent to one month’s rent.
  • Moving services: Whether you are traveling cross country or across the street, the moving process may come at a cost if you end up paying for professional movers or renting a truck.
  • Furnishing: Chances are you will need to spend some cash making your space livable and sprucing it up. This may include furniture, bedding and linens, kitchen accessories, decor, and more.

Maintain Utilities 

Beyond rent, it’s also crucial to account for utilities. You can expect to pay around $161.88 per month for the utilities for a 915-square-foot apartment in Chicago.

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of standard Chicago apartment utilities:

  • Electricity: Note that the average Chicago renter currently spends about $158 monthly. 
  • Water: The average water bill every month is close to $40. Keep in mind, though, that landlords typically cover this cost.
  • Gas: Tenants can expect to pay around $100 monthly, the average apartment gas bill. However, this number fluctuates significantly depending on the season. Your gas bill will rise as the temperature falls, and vice versa.
  • Internet: The average internet bill for one person (60Mbps) in Chicago is $61.15. The internet speed and provider both impact this final number. Regardless, renters often are responsible for paying for this service.

Account for Additional Living Expenses

As you work to budget adequately, prepare your wallet for these additional costs associated with apartment and city living:

  • Parking: Apartment parking almost always comes at a cost in the Windy City, and many renters can end up paying a premium for a secure spot for their vehicle. So, if you’ve pondered “how much does it cost to park at an apartment,” anticipate anywhere between $150 to $300 monthly. The price often depends on the type of parking (covered parking, reserved spot, metered parking, etc.).
  • Renters insurance: While renters insurance isn’t mandated by Illinois law, your landlord or management company may require a renters policy. Regardless, renters insurance is a wise move and provides coverage for personal property, liability protection, and additional living expenses. This coverage runs about $10 per month in Chicago.
  • Pet fees: If you have a furry friend moving in with you, expect to pay extra to have them in the apartment (as long as your building is pet-friendly). Pet owners should budget an additional $300-$600 one-time, non-refundable pet fee or $30-$60 monthly per animal.

Take Advantage of Budgeting Tools

Digital resources have made budgeting more manageable and mindless than ever. 

Plenty of apps can help you keep track of your expenses, ensuring that you stay within your budget. Apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), or PocketGuard allow you to monitor your spending, set financial goals, and receive alerts for upcoming bills. Implementing these tools into your routine can provide peace of mind and financial stability.

Keep Up With Payments

Along with budgeting, staying on top of your bills is crucial. Late fees can quickly add up and strain your budget. 

Consider setting up automatic payments or creating calendar reminders to ensure you never miss a due date. By staying on top of your bills, you avoid extra expenses and establish a responsible and reliable reputation with your landlord, management company or utility providers.

Team Up With An Expert

Knowing how to budget for an apartment can feel overwhelming, especially at a time when costs continue to rise.

Partner with an experienced and licensed real estate professional for more expertise and peace of mind. Our compassionate team can walk you through every step of the process, from preparing your finances to exploring new neighborhoods to signing your lease with confidence.

Connect with one of our knowledgeable brokers today!

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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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Utilities and Bills: Budgeting Beyond Rent in Chicago

November 30, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 3 Minutes
cost of utilities in chicago

Finding the perfect apartment in the vibrant city of Chicago is just the first step in your housing journey. As you settle into your new home, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of budgeting beyond your monthly rent. 

In this post, we’ll explore the cost of utilities in Chicago and address common questions like, “Are utilities included in apartment rent?” and “What’s the average electric bill in Chicago?”

Estimating the Cost of Utilities in Chicago

Let’s begin by breaking down the most common utility bills for renters in the Windy City:

  • Electricity: If you’ve asked, “How much is electricity per month for an apartment?” note that the average Chicago renter currently spends about $158 monthly
  • Water: The average water bill every month is close to $40. Keep in mind, though, that landlords typically cover this cost.
  • Gas: Tenants can expect to pay around $100 monthly, the average apartment gas bill. However, this number fluctuates significantly depending on the season. Your gas bill will rise as the temperature falls, and vice versa.
  • Internet: The average internet bill for one person (60Mbps) in Chicago is $61.15. The internet speed and provider both impact this final number. Regardless, renters often are responsible for paying for this service.

Keep in mind the cost of utilities in Chicago varies drastically from renter to renter and is also based on the lease agreement. Some apartments offer pre-bundled utility deals, so just be sure to know what you’re expected to cover before signing the lease.

Considering Additional Costs

Beyond the basic costs of utilities in Chicago, here’s a look at other fees that can fall on renters:

  • Parking: Apartment parking almost always comes at a cost in the Windy City, and many renters can end up paying a premium to a secure spot for their vehicle. So, if you’ve pondered “how much does it cost to park at an apartment,” anticipate anywhere between $150 to $300 monthly. The price often depends on the type of parking (covered parking, reserved spot, metered parking, etc.).
  • Renters insurance: While renters insurance isn’t mandated by Illinois law, your landlord or management company may require a renters policy. Regardless, renters insurance is a wise move and provides coverage for personal property, liability protection, and additional living expenses. This coverage runs about $10 per month in Chicago.
  • Pet fees: If you have a furry friend moving in with you, expect to pay extra to have them in the apartment (as long as your building is pet-friendly). Pet owners should budget an additional $300-$600 one-time, non-refundable pet fee or $30-$60 monthly per animal.

Implementing Budgeting Strategies

To stay on top of utility costs, consider adopting a budgeting strategy. 

Numerous apps can help you keep track of your expenses, ensuring that you stay within your budget. Apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), or PocketGuard allow you to monitor your spending, set financial goals, and receive alerts for upcoming bills. Implementing these tools into your routine can provide peace of mind and financial stability.

Along with budgeting, timely payments of bills are essential to maintaining a healthy financial profile. Late fees can quickly add up and strain your budget. Set up automatic payments or create calendar reminders to ensure you never miss a due date. By staying on top of your bills, you avoid extra expenses and establish a responsible and reliable reputation with your utility providers.

Understanding the cost of utilities in Chicago and responsibly managing your budget beyond rent is key to a stress-free living experience. 

Partnering with an experienced real estate professional when seeking answers and hunting for your dream apartment is also beneficial. Connect with Luxury Living today!

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How Much Should I Save For An Apartment in Chicago in 2024

November 22, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 3 Minutes
how much should I save for an apartment

If you’ve asked yourself, “How much should I save for an apartment?” you’ve come to the right place. Preparing financially is essential before taking the plunge and beginning the apartment hunt. In this post, we’ll examine vital considerations so that you can set yourself up for success and secure your dream apartment.

How Much to Save for an Apartment

Prior to signing an apartment lease, it’s crucial to have enough for rent, savings, and additional costs.

Rent can vary drastically depending on many factors, including your apartment’s location, size, and construction. Right now, the average monthly cost for a Chicago apartment is $2,309, and the average apartment size is 750 square feet.

When it comes to having enough in your savings account, the general recommendation is to have three to six months’ worth of expenses.

Here are additional upfront costs that you may need to dish out during the moving process:

  • Moving expenses: Whether you plan on hiring professional movers or renting a U-Haul, you’ll probably need to budget for transporting your goods to your new digs.
  • Furnishings: These costs also vary by situation, but you’ll want to account for what items you need to purchase to ensure your apartment is move-in ready. This might include furniture, appliances, or decor.
  • First and last month’s rent: Landlords or property managers commonly require new tenants to pay the first and last month’s rent before moving in.
  • Security deposit: Often, renters are also asked to put down a deposit as a form of financial protection for the landlord in case the tenant causes damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear or fails to fulfill other financial obligations specified in the lease agreement.
  • Utility bills: When obtaining an apartment, your lease agreement will lay out the utilities that the tenant is expected to pay. This often includes electricity, gas, Internet, water, and sewer/garbage.
  • Other living expenses: As you prepare your budget, don’t forget costs beyond your apartment. These can include groceries, activities, fitness, transportation, and medical expenses.

Rental Market Trends in 2023

In an unprecedented development spanning two decades, Chicago has witnessed the highest growth in apartment rents among major rental markets across the country over the past three quarters, as indicated by CoStar Risk Analytics.

The Windy City has experienced a 3.6 percent increase in rental rates since August 2022, surpassing the national average of 1.2 percent and outpacing the figures observed in more than 20 major metropolitan areas. 

Expectations for 2024

The CoStar Risk Analytics national forecast suggests that Chicago apartment rental prices can expect significant hikes in early 2024. 

With this prediction in mind, consider renting before the new year. Also, while winter may not present ideal moving conditions logistically, this time of year often means lower rental prices.

Now that we’ve helped answer, “How much should I save for an apartment?” we hope you feel equipped to begin the saving journey.

If you’re ready to start exploring apartments, get in touch with our knowledgeable team of brokers today!

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Costs of Living in Chicago for a Single Person with Rent

November 22, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 3 Minutes
cost of living in chicago for a single person with rent

If you’re considering relocating or moving to the Windy City solo, Luxury Living wants to help you prepare financially. In this post, we’ll dive into the costs of living in Chicago for a single person with rent, the average rent increase in Chicago in 2023, other living costs, and how top neighborhoods compare.

Average Rent Prices in Chicago

The cost of living in Chicago for a single person with rent can vary drastically based on various factors, including location, year of construction, and the general market. However, let’s explore the average Chicago rent prices you may be paying today.

If you would rather forfeit some space and save some cash, you can expect to pay around $1,375 for a Chicago studio apartment and $33 per square foot. Those seeking a true one-bedroom will likely pay around $2,000 and $30 per square foot. Renters looking for an extra room for an office or guest room may opt for a 2-bedroom apartment running around $2,500 at $27 per square foot.

Average Rent Increase in Chicago

The reality any renter will face is monthly payments are climbing, and the average rent increase per year can feel steep. 

Currently, the median rent for a one-bedroom in Chicago is up almost 24% compared to last year and 10% higher than the national median.

Regarding Chicago neighborhoods experiencing the most significant rent hikes in the past year, Lincoln Park witnessed the steepest increase, surging by 10.6%. This elevated the average rent from $2,176 per month to $2,406. Similarly, the Wrigleyville and Buena Park areas saw substantial growth, with a 10.3% rise in rent rates, increasing from an average of $1,708 monthly to $1,883.

Factoring Other Living Costs 

When you’re a single person living independently, there are several crucial costs to factor in beyond rent. 

Make sure to budget for utility bills, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and internet. Keep in mind that these costs can add up more quickly without a roommate to share the financial burden. Additionally, remember to account for groceries, transportation, insurance, and personal expenses.

The Cost of Living in Popular Chicago Neighborhoods

Understanding the cost of living in different Chicago neighborhoods is crucial for single individuals planning to move to the city. While the overall rent prices continue to show an upward trend, each community offers unique advantages, catering to different preferences and financial capabilities.

Let’s look at a few popular spots to call home and their respective rent prices:

  • Lincoln Park: Located on Chicago’s North Side, Lincoln Park is known for its beautiful parks, historic architecture, and vibrant community atmosphere. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Park typically hovers around $2,395 per month.
  • Lakeview: Just north of Lincoln Park sits Lakeview, a vibrant and eclectic spot to live. You can find a mix of trendy restaurants, boutiques, and lakefront parks here. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment runs around $1,800 a month.
  • The Loop: Considered the heart of downtown, this area is renowned for its iconic architecture and vibrant urban experience. $2,365 is the median cost of a one-bedroom in this central spot.

With insight into the cost of living in Chicago for a single person with rent, don’t feel overwhelmed by inevitable expenses or the average rent increase in Chicago. Instead, let our experienced team help you navigate the market, understand how much rent you can afford, and ultimately secure your dream apartment!

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The Top 5 Financial Benefits of Downsizing to an Apartment in Chicago

June 28, 2023 | By Luxury Living Chicago Team
Reading Time: 3 Minutes
financial benefits of downsizing

If you find yourself weighing the pros and cons of downsizing to an apartment, the costs associated with this transition is likely a factor you’ve been considering.

Downsizing to an apartment in Chicago offers numerous financial advantages, making it an attractive option for those looking to achieve their financial goals.

Whether you’re aiming to save for retirement or reduce debt, downsizing can provide a favorable financial option.

The Top 5 Financial Benefits of Downsizing

  1. Reduced Housing Costs: One of the most significant financial benefits of downsizing to an apartment is the immediate reduction in housing costs. Apartments typically have lower monthly rents compared to homes when you factor in things like monthly mortgage and HOA dues, interest rates, ongoing maintenance, and property taxes. By choosing in an apartment, you can save a considerable amount on your housing expenses, allowing you to allocate those savings toward other financial priorities.
  2. Lower Utility Bills and Maintenance Expenses: Downsizing to an apartment also means a decrease in utility bills and maintenance expenses. Smaller living spaces generally require less energy to heat or cool, resulting in lower utility costs. Additionally, apartments often include maintenance services provided by the building management, reducing the need for costly repairs and upkeep that homeowners would have to handle themselves. These savings can significantly impact your monthly budget and contribute to your overall financial well-being.
  3. No Property Taxes: Owning a home typically means you have to pay property taxes. By downsizing to an apartment, you can benefit from not having this added cost, as this is generally covered by the building. The savings from this cost can help alleviate financial strain and provide more disposable income to allocate toward savings or other financial goals.
  4. Access to Amenities: Another financial benefit of downsizing to an apartment is the access to amenities that would otherwise not be included or would require additional costs. Many apartment buildings in Chicago offer amenities such as gyms, pools, outdoor spaces, and communal areas for residents to enjoy. By downsizing, you can take advantage of these amenities without incurring the expenses associated with maintaining them in a larger home. This not only enhances your quality of life, but also helps save money on gym memberships or recreational activities outside of your home.
  5. Increased Cash Flow: Downsizing to an apartment can provide a significant boost to your monthly cash flow. With reduced housing and maintenance costs, lower utility bills, and no property taxes, you’ll have more disposable income to allocate towards your financial goals. Whether you’re saving for retirement, paying off debt, or investing in other ventures, the increased cash flow resulting from downsizing can accelerate your progress and provide greater financial freedom.

Downsizing to an apartment in Chicago offers compelling financial benefits for individuals and families looking to achieve their financial goals. Consider the potential financial advantages of downsizing and explore the diverse range of apartments available in Chicago to make a smart and financially rewarding decision for your future.

From tips on decluttering your home before moving to insight on the right time to downsize, Luxury Living is here to help answer any questions you may have about your transition. We are a complimentary apartment-finding service who have helped thousands of downsizers find their new home.

If you’re ready to begin your Chicago apartment hunt, click the link below to explore on your own or contact us today to get started!

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The Cost of Living in Chicago Vs. New York

June 23, 2023 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Are you comparing city lifestyles? Consider the cost of living in Chicago vs. New York.

The Cost of Living in Chicago vs. New York

While the Windy City and the Big Apple both offer a vibrant urban experience, a Chicago lifestyle is less expensive across the board. This means that you will get more for your money here in Chicago.

Overall, Chicago is 42.9% cheaper than New York. While median home cost is the most significant cost factor in the cost of living difference, other variables also account for this difference.

Buying a home in Chicago will run you 66% less in Chicago than New York. Renting an apartment will also take less from your bank account. The median monthly rent for a 1-bedroom is $2,800 in Chicago compared to $4,250 per month in New York.

We’ve compared the price of one-bedroom rental units in similar Chicago and New York neighborhoods:

Not only can you find more affordable rent in Chicago, but your money can also stretch to afford more luxurious living. Residing in Chicago provides more room in your budget for spacious apartments, extra amenities, and upgraded finishes.

Daily life, in general, is more affordable in Chi-town as well. Additional living expenses such as utilities, parking, transportation, and groceries all cost around 15 to 20 percent cheaper here than in New York.

Along with a lower cost of living, Chicago also boasts an impressive selection of free activities for community members throughout the city. 

During the warm months, residents take advantage of the public parks, trails, the Chicago Riverwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo, and lakefront without spending a dime. Year-round locals can also access various indoor museums and conservatories at no cost.

When comparing the cost of living in Chicago vs. New York, you’ll quickly realize that while these cities may offer similar experiences, New York comes at a much steeper price.

If you want to maximize your finances and find a luxury apartment in Chicago, connect with us today! We have experienced team members who are eager and ready to help you find the best home at the best price.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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