inside scoop on renting chicago apartments
December 29, 2005 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Needing the inside scoop on apartment renting in Chicago. I've read the previous threads about apartment hunting in Chicago and have looked into the suggestions that were offered, but what I think I need are some one-off apartments that are being rented out directly by the owners/ landlords. Are there any resources that list such vacancies? As I imagine it, the resource would be a bit quieter than Craigslist or the Reader.

More specifically, what I'd like to find is a one bedroom that is very close to the red line, brown line, or bus that covers 900 N to 0 N./ 0 S. Michigan Avenue. I currently have a nice rehabbed studio that includes all utilites for $625 (I have renewed a couple of times and am always offered a discount because I have never been late with rent and take good care of the apt.), but I'm pining for more space. I am an ideal tenant, and employee for that matter. I'm ultra clean, quiet, have a job, have a master's degree, and am a conscientious, good-natured person. I don't have any pets due to allergies and don't have a car. So... can you think of any resources that might list what I'm looking for, or do you know of any fitting neighborhoods that have been sporting "for rent" signs in their windows? Are there any landlords and or specific buildings that you have heard of or had direct experience with yourself that you would recommend? Feel free to email me -- just click on my profile. Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge!
posted by auntbee to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Reader's housing section of their website (aka Spacefinder) lets you set pretty specific search parameters, if you have only seen a hard copy of the paper.

However, since Craigslist is free, it's probably the easiest place to find owner-rentals. Short of that, walking up and down the streets in residential areas looking at for-rent signs is the next best bet I know of.
posted by MrZero at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2005

I found my very nice (2 bedroom) through Craigslist, and it was listed through Vintage Realty. I can't find a website, but here's the Google listing with phone number. Although it was initially through an agency, we rent directly from the landlord, who lives upstairs (we were shown another apartment that was a similar situation). I think our landlord is just too lazy/spacey to deal with the paperwork himself. I'm pretty sure they specialize in the Ukranian Village/Bucktown area, however, which is not directly on a train line, but I commute to the Loop daily on the bus/Blue line and it's not a big deal.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2005

Have you considered moving to Ukrainian Village? You can find a decent-sized one-bedroom apartment for $700 easily. You can usually tell from the ads on Craigslist which apartments are listed by rental agencies and which are rented directly by landlords.
Anyway, if you live between Grand and Augusta, you can easily get a bus that'll take you to where you want to be on Michigan Ave.
posted by smich at 1:46 PM on December 29, 2005

What's your timeline for moving?

I'm condo hunting in Chicago, and have considered looking at Duplexes / 2-Flats (which would mean I would have a separate apartment to offer you, we would not have to be "roommates"). I will need to purchase within the next few months, and move in before June '06 (my lease in my apartment expires then), so if I were to end up going the duplex / 2-flat route, that'd be my timeline...
posted by twiggy at 4:00 PM on December 29, 2005

Don't forget about the regular ol' Chicago Tribune classifieds. After combing Craigslist and the Reader I checked out a place my folks spotted in their paper. Found a great place with a nice elderly landlord who was looking for someone nice and trustworthy more than they were looking for $$. There are probably a number of "old school" landlords that aren't necessarily web savvy and would love a tenant like you.
posted by awegz at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2005

It might be worth checking out "Whole Foods" bulletin boards (the one near Lincoln Sq usually has at least one posting), or other local cafes/grocery stores if the area you're looking at. There's generally more shares posted, but the occasional studio/one-bedroom.
posted by ejaned8 at 5:13 PM on December 29, 2005

The reason these places aren't listed anywhere is because the landlords in question don't particularly want people to know about the apartment. They'd much prefer that a local see a sign in a window than deal with the traffic generated by a classified ad.

There's a one bedroom available in my apartment building in Andersonville. Relatively close to the Berwyn red line station and busses on Clark and Broadway. The only evidence of its availability is a tiny little handwritten sign hung on the lobby door.

If you'd like more info, send me an email via the address in my profile. Good luck with your search!
posted by aladfar at 7:17 PM on December 29, 2005

Regarding what aladfar said -- I found my last place in Chicago (before I had to move away, sigh) by walking around the neighborhood I wanted to live in and calling every single number on every single door sign I saw. It took a while, but it was worth it, I found a great apartment on the exact block I wanted to live on.
posted by echo0720 at 9:21 PM on December 29, 2005

I know they've got a mixed rep, but I had tons of luck with the Apartment People in finding my apartment (owner-rented in a condo building on North Marine; right near the #146/Marine Express buses that take you downtown in 15 min). There are always ads in our laundry room for apartments for rent. Send an email if you're interested in more info.
posted by cajo at 12:16 PM on December 30, 2005

Response by poster: mefites never cease to amaze me. thanks for your generosity! if another idea comes to you, you know where to reach me. (that's a lot of rhyming) thanks again!
posted by auntbee at 12:34 AM on January 2, 2006

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