Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, May 21

Gapers Block

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brian / September 2, 2003 11:40 AM

NO V C NCY, fizzling, in neon orange.

brian / September 2, 2003 11:41 AM

Hmm, ok, seriously, the prices seem to be low and there still seems to be a lot of places out there. I wonder when the "Chia-Condo" phenomenon will end though - the prices for what you get are quite insane I find.

Craig / September 2, 2003 11:52 AM

I'll be looking for a new place opening up April 1 2004, any tips on when/how to start looking?

Naz / September 2, 2003 12:02 PM

I'm on a May schedule. I like this awkward time since not many people are hunting and what is available, landlords are trying to get filled up fast.

Craig: My only suggestion is that you look at a LOT of apartments. People are all too easy to look at a few and then settle for less. Usually when I look at apartments I look at about 50 or so, usually about 10 a day for a week. If you look long and hard enough, you'll come across THE ONE.

Alice / September 2, 2003 12:21 PM

As someone who just moved to a new place, I recommend starting early! And, know what you want from your new place before you start looking - you'll be able to eliminate many possiblities without even having to see them. I also like to scope out neighboorhoods I'm interested in before I look at any places in that area. Because I don't have a car, it's important that things like public transportation, grocery stores, and other essentials are within reasonable walking distance of where I want to live. I would hate to sign a lease only to discover afterwards that the nearest decent grocery/market is a mile away. Finally, know your price range - and stick to it!

dce / September 2, 2003 1:27 PM

I've found that the best way to find a new place is to locate a neighborhood you enjoy, and then walk the streets. The best apartments often aren't listed - a sign up on the door is usually enough to sell them.

And this works especially well out of season. My landlord has a month to month relationship with tenants, and people move out at all sorts of odd times. He keeps the place fully rented with nothing more than a small, handwritten sign.

Cinnamon / September 2, 2003 3:59 PM

I would recommend starting to look about two months before you want to move. A month to a month and a half before will get you the "peak" of availability. And, just because you see a price in a newspaper or on a door doesn't mean that you can't say. "Well, it'd be perfect if it had a diswasher, so will you take $25 bucks off a month?" Can't hurt. The market is no longer in the favor of the owner, many neighborhoods have dropped in price,.

Kevin / September 2, 2003 5:02 PM

We just listed our condo for sale and had to install a revolving door to accomodate all the potential buyers. If the economy is having an effect on new buyers, we certainly aren't seeing it.

susan / September 2, 2003 6:29 PM

Huh. I've never had a problem finding a nice apartment on short notice. So I guess my advice to you is be lucky and live in Hyde Park.

shechemist / September 2, 2003 9:45 PM

when I was 2000 miles away and getting ready to move here, I made use of the reader's on-line rental ads. it is somewhat searchable, and is updated tuesday night. between my own search and the apartment people's I was about to see what was out there, and that nothing else was better for me then the place I picked.

I know my current landlord dropped the cost of one apartment in my the building. It is a renter's market right now.

shechemist / September 2, 2003 9:47 PM

ugh. note to self type slower and preview first less you make yourself seem more like a moron than normal.

amyc / September 3, 2003 6:29 AM

Definitely a renter's market these days. Our landlords didn't raise our rent at all this year, which is pretty rare in Chicago. Apartments have been sitting vacant in our neighborhood for months at a time, so our owners wanted to keep us happy. They even finally replaced the broken light fixture we complained about before we moved in in 2000. Such power we have now!

Lisa / September 3, 2003 12:07 PM

Quick, dirty, and lots of great options: Apartment People! I have used them the past two years and been able to see about 8 apartments in a day, with at least 2 or 3 I'd be really happy with, at the price I'd defined as affordable. Going with Apartment People really cuts down on the classified search / walk-about-town labor, you are only charged a fee if you apply for an apartment (and then it is not much over your average credit/criminal check cost that so many landlords seem to want these days), you can often get into the apartment within a week if you need something fast, and you get the helpful (especially if you're new to the city) advice of the agent who drives you around.

lacey / September 3, 2003 1:42 PM

I 100% agree with Dave: find a neighborhood you like and just cruise the streets, jotting down phone numbers. I actually took the first place I saw this year!

Joseph J. Finn / September 4, 2003 9:54 AM

Totally a renter's market; I found a place with no real difficulty for some friends of mine who were moving up from Austin.

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