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I hear it all the time: “I’m moving in two months and I want to see as many apartments as I can so I can make an informed decision.” Intuitively, it makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to see every option that’s right for them? But in a world gone mad with overwhelming choices, it’s hard to know when you are seeing the right stuff vs just seeing more stuff.

If you’ve ever been dragged through hours of apartment tours that didn’t meet your needs, or think that seeing lots of apartments is the best, or only, solution so you don’t miss anything, hear me out on these 5 reasons why you’re probably seeing too many Chicago apartments!

1) There are A LOT of apartments available in Chicago.

This is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because there are currently over 3,200 available apartments just in the main downtown neighborhoods where we work: you have options. No, because you only need one of them—the one that is right for you.

What’s the solution? Well, the easiest, albeit not very sexy way, is to ask you a few questions, listen closely, and use our experience to translate that into matching options. It’s both an art and a science, and if you think you’re that person who can live anywhere, you’re probably more selective about your needs than you may think… really, ask your friends :). But seriously, after a few years of helping folks find Chicago apartments, I have found that most people don’t benefit by seeing more than 3-5 places, and with good upfront communication, even that might be too many.

2) Time

Time is NOT on your side, primarily for two reasons. First, you don’t have three weeks to search for an apartment. Let’s face it, most people want to be living in their apartment, not searching for it. Second, most units don’t stay on the Chicago rental market very long. If a unit is well priced, has a well-liked floor plan and a great location (both within the city and within the building) it will rent quickly.

Here’s a little insider info: if you need to move in less than 30 days, your options will only decrease. The reason? Current tenants are required to renew their leases no later than 30 days before their lease expires. That means if today is January 1, and you need to move by January 30th, those sweet one bedroom apartments available for your move date will rent, but no new apartments will come on the market. As units rent, inventory shrinks and prices for existing units tend to go up… sometimes above your budget (there’s probably some handy chart I could have drawn that would illustrate this, but you get the point)!

3) Specials

Now, on the flip-side, if an apartment stays vacant for too long, a property will run a special for it, meaning “move that inventory”, and in these cases, time IS on your side… sort of. The fact that the apartment hasn’t rented quickly means you probably have time to decide, but now that it has an incentive attached to it, so the unit is more likely to rent.

Specials are pretty compelling, such as one-month free rent, a move-in credit, or waived fees or parking costs (check out our Insiders Look Into Chicago Apartment Specials). These often come with a time limit (within 24 or 48 hours of your showing), one more reason why you want to see a limited number of your “best units” rather than “lots of units”.

4) Roommates

This is a tough one. I work with a lot of roommates (and couples) looking for 2 bedroom apartments and while you may be compatible living together, you may prioritize things differently in your search. Finding multiple options both parties like isn’t usually the problem—getting agreement on “the one” sometimes is! I get this.

A big part of my job is help you find your shared priorities, talk through the items that are best to compromise on, and help you eliminate options that appear incompatible with your needs. Making the right choice can be stressful…adding more options to your Chicago apartment hunt typically doesn’t reduce the stress.

5) We are human

I, for one, believe that it would be a much better world if my microwave had two buttons. It’s impressive that I can program six different cooking levels to stop and start at certain times, but really, I just want the fastest way to heat my slice of pizza. It’s funny…I think I want more options until I actually have to deal with them. Some of my best buying decisions seemed to involved one of two things: either I knew a little less (and therefore didn’t have buyer’s remorse over what I gave up) or I had a really helpful resource make me comfortable in my selection.

You don’t have time to sift through every Chicago apartment for rent. You have a job, and a family and a life to worry about. Becoming an expert on Chicago apartments is probably not high on your list of goals, but, luckily for you, it was high on mine (hold back the chuckling)! So, what are you waiting for? Contact me at randy@hotspotrentals.com, or check out our listings, tell me what you’re looking for and let me find your next apartment home!

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