Real Estate: How to Buy Houses in Chicago

Kreg Bale
Kreg Bale February 10, 2022
Updated 2022/02/10 at 7:05 AM
How to Buy Houses in Chicago

Is it about time to pack up your things and move on to the next adventure? The average American moves as many as twelve different times in their lifetime, and often these moves can be across state lines.

If you’ve got a move in your future, you could certainly land in worse places than Chicago. One of the most beloved cities in the country, Chicago has a lot to offer and many benefits to provide to new residents. However, you’ll need to determine where to live and how to buy houses in Chicago before making the leap.

What do you need to know about navigating the real estate reality in the windy city? What are some of the best Chicago neighborhoods? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.

Start With a Proper Plan

Before looking into what Chicago real estate has to offer, you’ll want to get your own situation sorted and determine what you need. That means starting with a budget, which helps determine what is and isn’t possible for your future home.

One of the many benefits of Chicago is that it’s a true thriving city, but it comes at a lower cost than many other cities of comparable sizes. The rents and home costs in Chicago are much more affordable than in cities like New York, Boston, or Los Angeles.

In fact, the median real estate price in Chicago is a cool $225,200, much better than in other similar areas around the country.

Of course, the kind of deal you’ll find in Chicago will depend on the budget range in which you are able to look. It’s best to make two kinds of lists before even beginning to look at any kind of listing.

You should first make a list of all the things you’d like in your ideal home. How many bedrooms, how many baths? How close to public transport, what kind of space, do you want a yard? And so on.

As you list these things out, try to rank them in order of priority. While you might get lucky, the truth is that it’s going to be hard to find the perfect home, and it’s better to know ahead of time what you’re willing to drop off of your list.

The All-Important Budget

Your second exercise should be writing out your proper budget for the month.

How much do you think you can afford? Write a high-end, a safe end, and a low-end. What’s the low-end for – if you find a deal that feels impossible to pass up, even if it means crossing off a good chunk of your priority list.

Getting these elements straight ahead of time can help you go into your Chicago house hunt with a better sense of what’s possible. A clearer focus too.

The Best Chicago Neighborhoods

Of course, if you’re moving to Chicago from another city or state, you’ll have a lot to learn about and get used to. Your first education will be in getting to know the various neighborhoods of the city.

You’ll need to get a sense of each one to make an informed decision.

Looking at livability ratings is one good way in which to determine how a neighborhood might fit your needs. Livability ratings generally take into consideration housing, access, to transportation, community engagement, and opportunity, among other elements.

In Chicago, the different areas have different personalities. One part of town might be quite different than another. Downtown, you’ll find plenty of sky rises and an environment where people live to near where they work.

Much of the west side, including the very hip Logan Square, are higher in price but also offer some of the best cultural opportunities anywhere in the city. The art scene is alive here, as well as some great places to eat, drink, and hang out.

Speaking of hip and arty areas, Wicker Park and Bucktown are artier neighborhoods as well, with some of the coolest bars and eateries anywhere in Chicago. The neighborhoods are located off of the 606, a cool repurposed rail line, which gives an amazing elevated view of the area.

River North is another popular area, one that leans a bit more affluent and high-priced. The neighborhood has the city’s House of Blues and Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as more fantastic places to eat and drink.

There are also some housing options on the south side that are more affordable and well worth looking into. You can check it out and see if it makes sense for you.

Best Time to Buy a House

If you’re looking to buy a house in Chicago, what time of year might be the best? The housing market tends to get much hotter in the summer months when Chicago’s famously cruel winters fade away.

If you’re willing to brave the frigid months, you might be able to land yourself a better deal. There’s less competition for housing during these months, and prices tend to decrease as a result.

However, you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the trouble of moving in possibly below-zero temperatures.

Learning to Buy Houses in Chicago

If you’re planning a big move to the Windy City in the near future, you’ll want to get as familiar with possible what real estate in Chicago is like. The above information can help you understand how to buy houses in Chicago and various considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Need more real estate advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more.


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