Maybe we're kind of lower-middle-class now?
March 30, 2014 7:37 PM Subscribe
Is 30% of gross income a good guideline for semi-recent-graduates paying rent in Chicago?
posted by stoneandstar to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My boyfriend and I are both in our mid-twenties in Chicago. We both got new jobs this year which are going well, and together we make about ~$73,000. We currently live in a one-bedroom in a neighborhood south of the Loop for $1200/mo + electric. It's an old building and so far we've had cockroaches and mice, both ongoing issues. I hate cockroaches, boyfriend is ultra-skeeved by mice. Pest control/building maintenance have been bad at taking care of these problems and discourage us from doing it ourselves, though we have anyway because fuck them (e.g., sealing holes and cracks that are probable points-of-entry). The laundry is in the really nasty basement and you have to run the dryer three times to get your clothes dry. There's no hot water pressure and they can't do anything about it, and the drains are always clogging. If it weren't for pests, we'd deal, BUT. tired of pests.
We recently toured a new high-rise "luxury" style building that just finished construction in our neighborhood. The one-bedroom units are nice and fairly spacious, have in-unit washer/dryer (loooove this), there's a workout room in the building, it's LEED-certified, utilities max at $110/mo., gigabit internet is included in rent, and since it was just gutted there are no pest problems, and there aren't cracks and gaps (or giant holes in the closets, for example!) to deal with in the event of pests. The building is right on two of our most-used bus stops, and really close to beach and the trails I like to run. The rent for us would be ~$1550 before utilities, ~$1650-1700 afterward.
Technically this meets the 30% of gross income rule, but is it smart? We both make about equal money and each pay about $400/mo. in student debt + CCs. We've been making a lot of headway on our debt in our shitty "cheap" apartment, and paying off debt is our major goal right now, but we're also tired of living in a terrarium? We're also both kind of prissy (anxiety-prone!) and also prone to throwing money at a problem, but we're trying to spend smarter, so we don't know if this is a good idea or if we should try to find something possibly less convenient and more economical.
(Please keep in mind that rent has been rising in Chicago, so if you got a two-bedroom apartment dirt-cheap in 2010, that might not be useful information anymore in 2014-- or it might, idk!)
All our friends are either 1) living like students with 2-3 roommates and paying dirt cheap rent in similarly yechh apartments (hello mice, everywhere) or 2) making more money than us and we don't ask about their financial situations generally. Otherwise our friends live in rural/suburban areas and like have cars, and/or wives/husbands/children, and other unknowable things that make our comparisons useless. Neither of us has ever made this kind of money before so we really don't know if this is a reasonable, adult amount to spend, or if we're being kind of too-extravagant? Especially when-- this being another thing?-- we have vague, sort-of plans to leave Chicago next summer, possibly for grad school.
Most of my past Asks are about my bad luck renting in Chicago, so I am pretty fatigued when it comes to pests, at least. Sorry for the 10 million apartment questions, you guys have been really helpful in the past and I have yet to develop wisdom in this area.