The best time to search for an apartment in Chicago is in February. By beginning at this time means that hopefully you have something by the time it is warm enough to move in, because winter time is brutal in the windy city, so most people choose to make their housing transitions in the springtime. If you’re moving to Chicago from out of town the best way to look for an apartment is to go through an agency or rental service.
If you’re merely changing neighborhoods then maybe the best way is to go to the area where you want to rent and look for rental signs in the windows. You can get a better this way, sometimes. Bear in mind that finding an apartment no matter how you do it may still take two to three months. One bedroom apartments in Chicago start at about $1200 per month not counting utilities. It is not quite as expensive as say New York, but it is close, and you need to know, before you look, just how much your budget will allow in housing costs and amenities.
Chicago is one of those cities where you don’t really need to own a car unless you live in the outer suburbs. The trains do run there, but less frequently, which may add time onto your commute. However, around the city proper there is always a bus or train every ten minutes or so, around the clock, making it very easy to reach your destination. The closer you live to the heart of the city, the more expensive will be your rent. And on Lake Shore Drive, well, they don’t call it the gold coast for nothing. However, the rents quickly become more reasonable if you just look west of Lakeshore.
Some people have been able to find studio apartments for $750 per month. These studios don’t come with amenities and parking is on the street, meaning it’s at a premium, but it is reasonable when you consider the proximity to Chicago nightlife and vibrant street life outside your window. If you want two bedrooms and parking then expect to pay about $1800-$2000 per month. If you need an extra parking space then expect to pay $150-$300 per month depending on whether or not you have a garage to go with that space.
If you’re willing to move away from the city center, then you will find better rental prices in Oak Park or Evanston where one bedrooms with free parking can be had for about $850 per month.