Tag Archives: Chicago

Chicago Real Estate Statistics: Extra Bedroom vs Extra Bathroom in Apartments

Photo of a Chicago Bathroom (via Apartmenttherapy.com/Bungalowtile.com)

The most expensive room in the house?

One of the awesome things about writing a real estate blog is that I have an excuse to look up all kinds of awesome statistics and play around with charting software. You guys seem to like it too – my surveys of Bedroom sizes in Chicago Apartments and Pet Rent Rates in Chicago Apartments  are the most popular posts in this blog to date.

Towards the end of last year I was getting a lot of questions from landlords about how to best renovate their rental properties to maximize their income. So I did a bunch of research. (They didn’t have to twist my arm too hard.) I’ve expanded the results for you here.

The difference in price when you add a bedroom was – pretty much as expected – rent went up at a consistent rate for each additional bedroom.

It was when I went to investigate the difference in price for extra bathrooms that my jaw hit the floor. (more…)

Rent Bacon: February 2012

Average change in Rent rates & Market times, Feb 2011 vs Feb 2012, Chicago (corrected July 2012)

Details for February 2012

Average RentAverage Market TimeTotal Rented
Zone 1
February 2011$220270 days135
February 2012$236245 days156
Zone 2
February 2011$174765 days49
February 2012$181446 days73
Zone 3
February 2011$124264 days13
February 2012$138958 days23

Stats reflect pricing and activity for 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartments rented by Realtors and listed in ConnectMLS.

What is Rent Bacon?

Rent Bacon is a quick visual summary of what’s happening in the rental market this month compared with this time last year. It breaks the city down into three zones. For each zone, it takes the change in average rent rates and the change in average market times as percentages, and then averages the two percentages together.

Zone 1 covers central Chicago from South Loop through Lincoln Park. (Actual coordinates: 2000 South to 2000 North, from Western Ave to the Lake).

Zone 2 covers the near North side of Chicago, including Lakeview, Bucktown, Uptown, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village and NorthCenter. (Actual coordinates: 2000 North to 5200 North, from Western Ave to the Lake.)

Zone 3 covers the Far North and Near South side of Chicago, including Edgewater, Andersonville, Rogers Park, West Ridge, Chinatown, Bridgeport and Douglas. (Actual coordinates: 5200-7600 North plus 2000-4500 South, from Western Ave to the Lake.)

Want more Bacon? Here’s last month’s update.

Chicago Real Estate Statistics: Pet-friendly apartments

Chart of rent rates based on pet policies in Chicago from 2009-2011 in the MLS.

Is it better to allow pets? The results may surprise you.

Towards the end of last year I did a some research into the things that affect rent rates in Chicago. I used the MLS for my research. Some of this info has already been shared on my Facebook page but I want to share all of it with you along with some in-depth analysis.

Today I’ll be talking about the effect of a landlord’s pet policy on rent rates. The chart to the left shows the rent rates obtained for apartments that allowed both dogs & cats, cats only, and no pets at all in the downtown, near north and far north areas of Chicago from 2009 to 2011. (You can click on the chart to view it full size.)

You’ll notice that the rates for cat-only apartments are much lower. Read on for my thoughts about the reasons for this. (more…)

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Name Brand vs Generic Chicago Neighborhoods

We all know that we can save money in stores by buying the generic or store brand instead of always buying name brand products. In Chicago, you can also save a lot on rent by moving into what I like to call a “generic neighborhood” instead of its nearby trendy and well-known areas, or “name brand neighborhoods.”

Switching to a generic Chicago neighborhood can save you a bunch of cash!

For folks moving to Chicago from elsewhere, and those who want to be able to acquire a certain social status by name-dropping their ‘hood, it’s certainly easy to choose a section of the city that’s recognizable. Areas like Wrigleyville, Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lincoln Park have been used in major movies and on TV and have gained quite a bit of prestige. However, these name-brand neighborhoods have their costs. The rent is higher and the competition can be fierce.

By looking to the areas next door to a name-brand neighborhood, you can save quite a bit of cash while keeping your commute close to the same length and not sacrificing too much in terms of safety and convenience.  So, next time you’re looking for an apartment and want to save some money, if you are not the kind of person who needs to name-drop their neighborhood in order to be cool consider the following “generic” alternatives:

  • Instead of Wrigleyville, consider the nearby areas of Buena Park, Graceland West and NorthCenter.
  • Instead of Bucktown, look at Avondale, Logan Square and Irving Park.
  • Instead of Lincoln Park, look into River West.
  • Instead of Wicker Park, check out Ukrainian Village and Noble Square, or even the West Loop.

As an added bonus, maybe you’ll be able to do that hipster thing and say you lived in a neighborhood before it was cool.

The StrawStickStone rent index (coming towards the end of this month) will compare the luxury apartments in the downtown Chicago area with name brand and generic north side neighborhoods on a regular basis. Make sure to stop by and check out to see how you could save some money on your next apartment.

What do you think? Am I crazy for suggesting that generic neighborhoods are just as good as their nearby name-brand areas? Sound off in the comments.

Association Rentals: What tenants need to know

Cheeky eviction notice

What happens when a condo owner falls behind on their assessments?

One of the reasons renters give for wanting to become homeowners is that they never want to risk being thrown out of their home again. Once you own a piece of property, nobody can throw you out of it without reason, right? When a Condominium Board is involved, this is not always the case.

You see, when you buy a condo in Illinois, you buy air space. You are entitled to the air space in your condo plus the surface of your walls and floor, and a percentage of the rest of the building. Everyone is jointly responsible, through their condo assessments and participation in the association, for the upkeep of the common areas, and building exterior.  It’s a very socialist kind of system when you think about it.

When a condo owner falls behind on their assessments, the board can wind up falling short on their accounts, making them unable to pay for shared items like the water bill, the landscaping bill, or even the building’s insurance policy. The state of a condo association’s finances can affect the ability of buyers to get loans to buy into the building. Therefore, if an owner gets very far behind, the condo board has the right to take them to court and evict them.

Once the owner is out, the board can rent out the condo to a tenant, whose rent will go in part towards the payment of the evicted owner’s back assessments.

Illinois Legal Aid has a great article about this for condo owners. But what does it mean for tenants?

(more…)

Rent Bacon: January 2012

Average change in Rent rates & Market times, Jan 2011 vs Jan 2012, Chicago (corrected July 2012)

Details for January 2012

Average Rent Average Market Time Total Rented
Zone 1
January 2011 $2206 64 days 146
January 2012 $2497 54 days 157
Zone 2
January 2011 $1722 69 days 96
January 2012 $1913 62 days 93
Zone 3
January 2011 $1246 47 days 21
January 2012 $1292 61 days 24

Stats reflect pricing and activity for 2 bedroom apartments rented by Realtors and listed in ConnectMLS.

What is Rent Bacon?

Rent Bacon is a quick visual summary of what’s happening in the rental market this month compared with this time last year. It breaks the city down into three zones. For each zone, it takes the change in average rent rates and the change in average market times as percentages, and then averages the two percentages together.

Zone 1 covers central Chicago from South Loop through Lincoln Park. (Actual coordinates: 2000 South to 2000 North, from Western Ave to the Lake).

Zone 2 covers the near North side of Chicago, including Lakeview, Bucktown, Uptown, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village and NorthCenter. (Actual coordinates: 2000 North to 5200 North, from Western Ave to the Lake.)

Zone 3 covers the Far North and Near South side of Chicago, including Edgewater, Andersonville, Rogers Park, West Ridge, Chinatown, Bridgeport and Douglas. (Actual coordinates: 5200-7600 North plus 2000-4500 South, from Western Ave to the Lake.)

There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Neighborhood

When I start working with a new renter or home buyer to find them a new place to live in Chicago I have a certain list of questions that I review with them. It helps me to figure out what they’re looking for and refine the search criteria that I will use in the MLS. Included in this list are things like their price range, the names of the decision makers, their timeframe for moving, whether or not they have pets, whether or not they smoke… all of these are very basic questions that most folks can easily answer.

Then comes the big one. “What neighborhood would you like to live in?”

Many at this point will have a list of areas that they’d consider acceptable. Some even have street coordinates beyond which they do not wish to live. I love clients like that. But at least half of the time there will be this comment: “I want to live in a safe neighborhood.”

And I wince inside. (more…)