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Rental costs in Chicago

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Ok, after 6 years in Maine. The hubby and I are toying with the idea of moving back to Chicago, at this point I just want to get a handle on what things cost nowadays. I just did an online search of the Reader and must admit rents seem higher than what I expected and after 4 years of home ownership here in Maine the idea of paying more than our mortgage for substantially less space is scary. However we are 1100 miles from close family and professionally we are stalling out here in Maine, so for our financial future we may need to seriously consider coming back.

All that said, we last lived in Andersonville back in 2002 and paid $1200 a month at the time for a 3 bedroom apartment. I wouldn't mind going back to either Andersonville or Edgewater, but I also used to live in Wicker Park and Bucktown so those are 2 other areas that I would feel cool with.

Can anyone tell me what rent prices are going for these days in any of those areas. Also since I would most likely be going back to work ft rather than freelancing what are daycare/preschool prices averaging these days.

I can't even beleive I am considering this but while Maine is a lovely place it seems with each passing year we are getting broker and with us officially at middle age and my eldest child 2 years away from college, we need to make a change financially.

Any helpful tips/hints would be appreciated. Thanks.

Shay
post #2 of 41
For cheaper rents you might consider looking at west of Wicker Park and Andersonville/Ravenswood to Humbolt Park (admittedly still skectchy), Logan Square, Albany Park, Jefferson Park. You can't get cheap rent in Wicker or East Village or Ukranian Village any long as it's hipster center. Going north to Roger's Park is a viable option too. It seems to me the housing units are larger and still pretty competitively priced.

It's a buyers market again, so that might be worth investigating. Something we've done to help with rent was to buy a 2 flat and live in one unit and rent out the other. Currently we rent out a 2 1/2 bedroom, with free laundry, AC for $1200 plus utilities. The space is 1100 square feet. Another thing you could do it get a condo, which potentially could be the same cost as some rents for the same space.

ETA: Logan Square feels like Wicker 10 -12 years ago.
post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
Sounds like Logan Square has come up, I lived in Wicker Park back in 93-95 and at that time Logan Square was pretty rough. I actually grew up in Rogers Park (25+ years ago) and I know before we left town it had some pretty sketchy pockets especially the closer you got to Howard St. Is Rogers Park less sketchy these days?

Sucks to hear that Ukranian Village and East Village have also gentrified, those used to be 2 great funky and down right cheap areas. I basically don't want to spend more than $1500-1700 a month but we would need 3 bedrooms, also I would want heat included.

Unless I can find some reasonable areas to live in, I might be stuck in the land of lobsters and lighthouses for a tad longer. : I think I am just seriously missing city life right now.

Thanks for the input.
post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Sounds like Logan Square has come up, I lived in Wicker Park back in 93-95 and at that time Logan Square was pretty rough. I actually grew up in Rogers Park (25+ years ago) and I know before we left town it had some pretty sketchy pockets especially the closer you got to Howard St. Is Rogers Park less sketchy these days?

Sucks to hear that Ukranian Village and East Village have also gentrified, those used to be 2 great funky and down right cheap areas. I basically don't want to spend more than $1500-1700 a month but we would need 3 bedrooms, also I would want heat included.

Unless I can find some reasonable areas to live in, I might be stuck in the land of lobsters and lighthouses for a tad longer. : I think I am just seriously missing city life right now.

Thanks for the input.
You definitely will be able to find what you want in that price range. DH and I are looking at two bedrooms and three bedrooms for less than 1400$. To get a better idea of the neighborhoods in their current form, check out www.dreamtown.com They have loads of information on all of the city neighborhoods.
post #5 of 41
You might want to check out East Pilsen/UIC/Tri-Taylor. You can still get "decent" rent prices over there and there is a ton more stuff to do now. There's even a Whole Foods!

Also wanted to add that the only places you are going to find heat included are on the north side of the city. I've never seen heat included in the mid to south areas.
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
A Whole Foods? I know the IC area pretty well, at least I did since when I was in HS I had friends who went to Ignatius. Definitely will consider that area as well, though looking at the additional costs of living compared to Maine is making me have second thoughts. Our income will go up but with the costs of preschool and then school all extra money earned will end up in schooling costs. I think I need to come home for a visit soon before I make a decision, its been 4 years.
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
A Whole Foods? I know the IC area pretty well, at least I did since when I was in HS I had friends who went to Ignatius. Definitely will consider that area as well, though looking at the additional costs of living compared to Maine is making me have second thoughts. Our income will go up but with the costs of preschool and then school all extra money earned will end up in schooling costs. I think I need to come home for a visit soon before I make a decision, its been 4 years.
The south loop, U of I, and even bridgeport are good options and the whole foods, target, and other big box retailers have been opening up over the last few years. South loop is new architecture while Bridgeport is still classic chicago architecture with new town houses thrown in. Maxwell street open market has just moved for a second time because of gentrification and lack of space and many of the housing projects are being/have been disbanned.

No doubt that the cost of childcare, preschool, food, utilities will gooble up much disposable income. I go to mdc's frugal living board for tips and no matter how resourceful and frugal I am, I can't compete.

I agree come for a visit first to check thing out. You could set up a block of time with the apartmentpeople and they will drive you around the city to visit apartments and tell you more about the neighborhoods.

While the cost of living is high, Chicago is a FABULOUS place to live and raise a family! We love it!
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Unless Bridgeport has changed there is no way I would ever live there. I am from Chicago, lived there for the first 29 years of my life and as Black woman, Bridgeport along with Cicero and Mt Greenwood are areas that at least back in the day were not to safe for people of color. I do know Cicero had started to change but again as a native Chicagoan some areas still leave me feeling uneasy.

I know the neighborhoods, I grew up in Rogers Park until HS when my folks moved to the Beverly area, so I know Chicago well as far as the north and south sides. I have never lived further west than Bucktown and Wicker Park.

I know its a great place for family, my eldest who is almost 17 spent his formative years in Chicago. Its so great I want to leave Maine which is cool in its own way. That said moving back will be a huge shift, right now we are self employed and do ok but again dh turned 40 this year and I am not far behind him and freelancing while nice is not getting any money saved for retirement plus I have an almost 17 yo and 3 yo.

For us we have a network in Chicago so it would be easy to tap into that professionally but its going to mean getting back on the roller coaster we got off of 6 years ago to live more simply. Right now I am 10 mins from the ocean and 15 mins from farmland, its like the best of both worlds, 2 hours from Boston and 4.5-5 hours from NYC but its just not Chicago.

I appreciate all the tips since my Dad and brother aren't the most helpful and neither area they live in has a huge appeal to me, my Dad's in Lakeview and my brother's in Hyde Park.

Shay
post #9 of 41
I grew up in Maine and have lived in Chicago for close to 10 years with 12 years between leaving Maine and landing in Chicago. My mom and sister still live in Maine and I go back every year.

Anyway, childcare can definitely be more expensive in Chicago, however you have many more options than in Maine.

As for housing, pp are right. It is a buyers market in Chicago and if you are interested in condo living you can find a lot of spacious condos on the far northside (Rogers Park, Uptown, and Edgewater). If you are looking to rent, Albany Park is a hidden gem with large and relatievly cheap apts. There was a previous post that talked a lot about AP and apparently many MDC women live in AP (myself included). Admittedly, condos are small in AP, so I would look elsewhere.

Chicago is great. Maine is great. Whenever my family visits they all wish they lived here. I wish they would move here since I will never move back to Maine although I do love to vacation there
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Unless Bridgeport has changed there is no way I would ever live there. I am from Chicago, lived there for the first 29 years of my life and as Black woman, Bridgeport along with Cicero and Mt Greenwood are areas that at least back in the day were not to safe for people of color. I do know Cicero had started to change but again as a native Chicagoan some areas still leave me feeling uneasy.


Shay
I think Bridgeport is starting to gentrify... I have a girlfriend that bought and remodeled a bungalo there a few years ago and I will check in with her about about this.

I love the diversity in Chicago but the racism issues are real and a huge downer.

Being near the ocean sounds heavenly.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Unless Bridgeport has changed there is no way I would ever live there. I am from Chicago, lived there for the first 29 years of my life and as Black woman, Bridgeport along with Cicero and Mt Greenwood are areas that at least back in the day were not to safe for people of color. I do know Cicero had started to change but again as a native Chicagoan some areas still leave me feeling uneasy.

I know the neighborhoods, I grew up in Rogers Park until HS when my folks moved to the Beverly area, so I know Chicago well as far as the north and south sides. I have never lived further west than Bucktown and Wicker Park.

I know its a great place for family, my eldest who is almost 17 spent his formative years in Chicago. Its so great I want to leave Maine which is cool in its own way. That said moving back will be a huge shift, right now we are self employed and do ok but again dh turned 40 this year and I am not far behind him and freelancing while nice is not getting any money saved for retirement plus I have an almost 17 yo and 3 yo.

For us we have a network in Chicago so it would be easy to tap into that professionally but its going to mean getting back on the roller coaster we got off of 6 years ago to live more simply. Right now I am 10 mins from the ocean and 15 mins from farmland, its like the best of both worlds, 2 hours from Boston and 4.5-5 hours from NYC but its just not Chicago.

I appreciate all the tips since my Dad and brother aren't the most helpful and neither area they live in has a huge appeal to me, my Dad's in Lakeview and my brother's in Hyde Park.

Shay
I am also black and my husband is white (of polish ancestry), so we have a bi-racial. I will have to agree with you that while a lot of places in the city we have looked at (in our price range) are diverse, there are definitely ethnic enclaves and my husband and I have had hard feeling as though we would be accepted in those areas. So it looks like back towards the 'burbs we go
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madsommer View Post
I am also black and my husband is white (of polish ancestry), so we have a bi-racial. I will have to agree with you that while a lot of places in the city we have looked at (in our price range) are diverse, there are definitely ethnic enclaves and my husband and I have had hard feeling as though we would be accepted in those areas. So it looks like back towards the 'burbs we go
Yep, that's always been the struggle in Chicago. I am married interracially as well which is why I have always gravitated to the northside lakefront communities as they are the most diverse but over the past 2 decades the average Joe has been priced out. Even the most diverse suburbs like Evanston (my dh is a Northwestern alum, so he likes Evanston) and Oak Park are pretty pricey.

I am not surprised to hear that Bridgeport may be starting to gentrify but that neighborhood definitely has a less than stellar past when it comes to race relationships. Its one of the few areas in Chicago I have ever encountred blantant racism, so admittedly that covers my opinions.

Shay
post #13 of 41
hey ladies - id like to jump on this thread and ask what neighborhoods you might recommend for us? we will be renters too, at first, we have a newborn and a large dog.

we would like to spend between 3 and 4 g's a month - which will be less than we spend here in LA. we'd like a single family dwelling but not married to it. we love good food, bookstores, and pretty streets. we're spoiled here because we live in the mountains very near the ocean, so we've got lots of nature and activity at our fingertips.

thanks much.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
hey ladies - id like to jump on this thread and ask what neighborhoods you might recommend for us? we will be renters too, at first, we have a newborn and a large dog.

we would like to spend between 3 and 4 g's a month - which will be less than we spend here in LA. we'd like a single family dwelling but not married to it. we love good food, bookstores, and pretty streets. we're spoiled here because we live in the mountains very near the ocean, so we've got lots of nature and activity at our fingertips.

thanks much.
I metioned this link in an earlier post, but you might want to check out www.dreamtown.com It has tons and tons of information about the city's neighborhoods and it will also give you information about real estate as well. As for seeing what you might be able to get in your price range, I would just check out craigslist...a lot of people post on there so it should be able to give you a good idea.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Yep, that's always been the struggle in Chicago. I am married interracially as well which is why I have always gravitated to the northside lakefront communities as they are the most diverse but over the past 2 decades the average Joe has been priced out. Even the most diverse suburbs like Evanston (my dh is a Northwestern alum, so he likes Evanston) and Oak Park are pretty pricey.

I am not surprised to hear that Bridgeport may be starting to gentrify but that neighborhood definitely has a less than stellar past when it comes to race relationships. Its one of the few areas in Chicago I have ever encountred blantant racism, so admittedly that covers my opinions.

Shay
I figured your husband had to be of another race if you moved to Maine My uncle went to Bowdoin and we visited during Xmas...way too : for me!!! Anywho, I'm glad it wasn't just our imagination. Everyone always talks about how diverse it is, but there's still a lot of segregation out here.
post #16 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madsommer View Post
I figured your husband had to be of another race if you moved to Maine My uncle went to Bowdoin and we visited during Xmas...way too : for me!!! Anywho, I'm glad it wasn't just our imagination. Everyone always talks about how diverse it is, but there's still a lot of segregation out here.
Actually it was because of my family that we are in Maine (way too long to get into online-my dh is a Northern Cali boy). Oddly enough Maine is not colder than Chicago, I am on the coast so it keeps things pretty mild compared to the hawk in Chicago. What is bad here is the snow, my goodness its frickin snows like crazy and you occasionally have snow in April :. We moved here in March so I figured winter would be winding down, like mid April we got smacked with snow... I was going crazy.

Chicago is diverse up until a point, its still a heavily segrated place outside of parts of the northside and certain suburbs. My grandma spent 40 years right outside of Beverly (87th + Ashland) and I knew kids over there who rarely saw white folks and I am not that old. Even down in Beverly proper where there were a ton of white families, they pretty much kept to their area. You would go to the mall up there Evergreen Plaza and it was not at all reflective of actually lived near there. Back in the mid to late 80's a Black girl with punk rock leaning tendencies on the southside was a strange sight, I was the only kid in the hood rocking doc martens hanging down on Belmont St.

@Hollycat, for 3-4G's a month unless you need like 5-6 bedrooms you shouldn't have a problem finding a good area to live in. Anywhere on the Northside like Roscoe Village (more kid friendly) Lakeview, Andersonville could work for you. As for dogs, folks on the northside tend to be into dogs.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
Sounds like Logan Square has come up, I lived in Wicker Park back in 93-95 and at that time Logan Square was pretty rough. I actually grew up in Rogers Park (25+ years ago) and I know before we left town it had some pretty sketchy pockets especially the closer you got to Howard St. Is Rogers Park less sketchy these days?

Sucks to hear that Ukranian Village and East Village have also gentrified, those used to be 2 great funky and down right cheap areas. I basically don't want to spend more than $1500-1700 a month but we would need 3 bedrooms, also I would want heat included.

Unless I can find some reasonable areas to live in, I might be stuck in the land of lobsters and lighthouses for a tad longer. : I think I am just seriously missing city life right now.

Thanks for the input.
Hi - I lived in West Roger's Park from 98 until '05 - we moved to Peterson Park because West Roger's Park was deteriorating. However it is very diverse (IMO). I'm finding that Roger's Park and WRP are in the decline.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
hey ladies - id like to jump on this thread and ask what neighborhoods you might recommend for us? we will be renters too, at first, we have a newborn and a large dog.

we would like to spend between 3 and 4 g's a month - which will be less than we spend here in LA. we'd like a single family dwelling but not married to it. we love good food, bookstores, and pretty streets. we're spoiled here because we live in the mountains very near the ocean, so we've got lots of nature and activity at our fingertips.

thanks much.
I think the best place to get a sense of what's available for renters is the Chicago Reader.
Check out some different neighborhoods, see what they have to offer. In that price range, you should be able to live almost anywhere in the city (Chicago rents and home prices are definitely cheaper than most cities in CA).

Personally, I love being near the lake (I"m in Lakeview), because it's one of the best natural assets the city has to offer, and I love the proximity to all the parks, the zoo, the Nature Museum, good public transit, express buses downtown, etc. Lakeview is also super family-friendly - I'm in the Boystown section of Lakeview (so named because it's Chicago's gay neighborhood) but these days there are probably more young families and kids under the age of 5 than gay couples (not saying that's a good thing, just that it's become a very family-friendly place, and I've met tons of other parents and kids DD's age at the many playgrounds). It's also very walkable, lots of great bookshops and thrift stores and fun restaurants. And there are TONS of dogs here. I like it better than Lincoln Park to the south - a bit more affordable and still has a bit more (not a lot) of a funky edge to it. Not quite as many yuppie college students either.
It is hard to find a single-family home in this neighborhood though - even for buying, it's mostly condos unless you spend big $$, and I doubt there are many, or any, single-family homes for rent.
You can get more for your money - and probably can find a single-family home - in Roscoe Village, though you're farther from the lake. Also a great neighborhood, though. I also really like Andersonville. Farther north, and not quite so close to the lake, but lots of fun, funky shops and restaurants and a very livable neighborhood.

Bucktown and Wicker Park are also great, fun neighborhoods, but they were way too far from the lake for me. Worth exploring, though.

Good luck!
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikva18 View Post
Hi - I lived in West Roger's Park from 98 until '05 - we moved to Peterson Park because West Roger's Park was deteriorating. However it is very diverse (IMO). I'm finding that Roger's Park and WRP are in the decline.
I keep wondering when Rogers Park is going to get better. It has SO MUCH potential.

Is WRP really going down? I used to live there. I remember one of the people in my building saying she got mugged in the entrance way to the apt. building with a knife. (Thank goodness that was all that happened.) Crime-wise it wasn't great, but it seems crime is rising everywhere. Some beautiful homes in that area!

ETA: Rivka, did you by chance ever attend a drop-in playgroup at a Jewish center on Touhy (I think)? I met a Rivka there long ago, and at that time she had one son. It was probably about 5 or 6 years ago.
post #20 of 41
Well, Rivka is a pretty common name . but yes, I used to go there regularly - however I've always gone with at least 2 boys- hmm, could be that I only had one baby with me. Today my kids are 12 1/2, almost 10, 7, and I have 3 yr old twins - a boy and a girl.


IMO, WRP has continually gone downhill - people have been attacked on the streets -groups of kids are going up to Jewish kids and beating them up - a friend couldn't get out of her car one night because a man on drugs came up to her driver's window and started searching her car and wouldn't let her out. She called 911 and they did NOT come. OTOH, I'm not hearing this all of the time, but still. We moved because our next door neighbors were dealing drugs out of the house and we repeated called the police and they wouldn't do anything. I just found out in June that their house was finally raided in May - police came and broke down the door and everyone was arrested - but then they got back out and went right back to it..
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