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Renting basics: what you want to know before taking the plunge

Renting in Chicago is relatively easy as opposed to other major hubs like New York or San Francisco. Most management companies or landlords don’t require a lot of paperwork to seal the deal; generally they simply expect prospective renters to make proof of their “good tenant” status by providing a sound credit report, a verification of employment or income and a previous rental history. If you’re new at renting and don’t have references from previous landlords to back you up, you can ask a parent to co-sign on the lease or include a recommendation from your boss in the application form. This is all to re-assure the property owner that you’ll be able to pay the rent on time and that you’ll take good care of the place. Once you’ve got these covered, you just have to find the one apartment that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

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Image via Chicago Traveler

With location, amenities and available budget topping the things to consider list, there are several other details that should be taken into account before signing the lease.

When inspecting the property, look for quality both inside and out. Curb appeal is important as it’s a hint at how things are run over there. Pay attention to general features like exterior lighting, landscaping, how clean the pool is or how the yard is taken care of. Grounds that are tidy and well-maintained generally denote a thoughtful manager that cares about its residents. Always inquire about sensitive matters like building security and access control, as well as the soundproofing of the units. A place where you feel safe and comfortable can easily transform into a great home.

rentals in chicago
Image via Rent Cafe

The quality of service provided by the office staff will have a great impact on the whole renting experience, yet most of the time this feature is rather difficult to evaluate. You cannot really know if you’re going to get good customer service until you actually live there. Apartment ratings and reviews come in really useful in such instances but keep in mind that people have a passion for drama and sometimes they tend to exaggerate. Tenants living in the same community at the same time can have completely opposite opinions about the place so definitely take it with a grain of salt.

Another important aspect that should not be overlooked is the availability of tech solutions to common issues that are associated to renting. Paying the rent online or submitting maintenance requests over an online resident portal could surely save you some time and trouble.

apartment search apps for iPhone
Image via Rent Cafe

What other features are you looking for in a rental apartment?

Amalia Otet
Amalia Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time.

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