I'll always remember 2010 as the year of moves. I lived in three different apartments throughout the city of Chicago. From a crowded pricey high rise to a bug infested budget apartment — I've seen it all. Thank goodness I eventually landed on a near-perfect abode. Throughout my trials and tribulations I've acquired a lot of advice for the everyday apartment hunter.
My first apartment was located in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. A traditionally ritzy and expensive part of town. I moved into this two bedroom with my boyfriend and another couple. That totaled four people living in a 1,000 square foot apartment. Space was cramped and tensions were high. My boyfriend and I built a bunker in our bedroom and really never left the room. The photographed living room was well put together, but soon became trashed and full of overnight guests.
Advice: Think long and hard before setting up camp with roommates. Even if they're your best friends (like mine were), you never know what will come out until you're 6 months into a lease. Also, think about what is more important to you — neighborhood convenience or price?
See more of apartment #1 in Making the Most of a Small Space for Couples
We moved into our second apartment as soon as our lease was up. Excited to finally have a place of our own, we were too anxious to care about specifics. We jumped on a ridiculously cheap apartment in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. We were so jazzed about the low price and the convenient location! However, a week after our move we noticed the horrible centipede infestation. After an extermination, nothing improved! Our generous landlord allowed us to break our lease and we were out after only three months.
Advice: When apartment shopping, be thorough! We jumped the gun because of exciting incentives like convenience and price. Make sure to look at a lot of apartments before making a final decision. It helps to make a checklist of qualities that are important to you as you're shopping for apartments.
After our horrific experience, we made sure to be extremely thorough in our next apartment search. Lucky for us it payed off! After weeks of searching we were able to find the perfect apartment. Per my advice above I made a checklist that helped us narrow down each apartment until we found the right one. I can happily say that we've hit the jackpot. This apartment is in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood and has all of the qualities we were looking for. Unfortunately we are paying more than we'd like, but we decided it would be worth it in the long run.
Advice: Find an apartment with an amazing landlord. We are so lucky to finally have a fantastic guy managing our place. It's made all the difference. Being able to call him and get anything fixed ASAP is extremely helpful.
Images: Meg Lewis