January 29, 2018
Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Condo in Chicago
Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Condo in Chicago
By LLCR Staff

Luxury Living Chicago Realty has been working with people who want to rent, sell and buy Chicago real estate for over 10 years.

Using our extensive knowledge of the Chicago real estate market, we put together the following tips for buying a condo in Chicago.

These Are the Up and Coming Chicago Neighborhoods in 2018

Chicago is made up of 77 unique neighborhoods. When purchasing real estate, many of our clients are interested in searching in the up and coming Chicago neighborhoods. These neighborhoods still offer a good value on the purchase price, but are definitely on the up and up when it comes to revitalization.


This South Side neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance. As part of a community-driven effort, Bronzeville perfectly balances its historical significance with a modern scene. Blended together with specialty coffee shops and trendy restaurants, you will find Victorian Era architecture.

Across the Bronzeville neighborhood is a growing development scene of gut-rehab greystones and single-family homes. Chicago Real estate buyers will also love the neighborhood’s beautiful boulevards.

Buena Park

Placed between the popular Chicago neighborhoods of Uptown and Lakeview, Buena Park is beginning to make a name for itself. Priced out of Lincoln Park? Buena Park offers well-priced homes and condos in a quaint and charming setting.

Another advantage Buena Park offers is its proximity to Montrose Harbor and Lake Michigan, which becomes Chicago’s playground in the summer.


In October 2017, Lonely Planet put Avondale on their “Top 10 U.S. Neighborhoods to Visit Now” because of the neighborhoods “working-class beat” and the amazing food scene brewing. Avondale’s claim to fame is that it is home to Kuma’s Corner – a heavy metal-themed joint serving massive burgers.

However, these days real estate investors are starting to flock to the area for its well-priced mix of condos, bungalows, and two-flats. This is especially true as real estate along Milwaukee Avenue becomes pricier. While Avondale may be pretty far north of the Chicago Loop, the neighborhood offers plenty of transportation options to get around the city quickly.

The Best Family Neighborhoods in Chicago

Living in the city of Chicago with a family is a big deal. When looking for a new family home, it’s important to take a neighborhood’s safety into consideration.

According to Niche.com, which ranked Chicago’s safest neighborhoods with data from the FBI and U.S. Census, Gold CoastAndersonville and Streeterville made the top 10.

It’s also important to think about where to live in Chicago that offers access to parks, grocery stores, and kid-friendly entertainment. River NorthWest LoopLakeshore East and the South Loop neighborhoods feature great parks, family-friendly restaurants, amazing grocery stores and endless entertainment options for families.

Lincoln Park and Lakeview offer even more for Chicago families to do and see such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Bubbles Academy, and Little Beans Cafe.

Where to Find Chicago’s Best Schools

Nearby schools play a big role in the environment of a neighborhood. Good schools mean better places for families and people making the move to a new home and/or city living.

When it comes to Chicago, there are choices to be made. There are some families who opt to send their children to Chicago’s top private schools like Frances W. Parker School, Latin School of Chicago and the British International School of Chicago. Other parents choose to live in a neighborhood where the top Chicago public schools are located.

Chicago also offers magnet elementary and high schools, which are not neighborhood-based schools. Magnet schools accept children from all throughout the city.

In any case, where a child attends school in Chicago is deeply personal and based on many factors.

Tips for the Chicago First Time Home Buyer

If you’ve been renting in Chicago for the last few years, it may be time to consider buying a Chicago condo. Taking the step up from renting is a big change, but with some planning and the right real estate agent the process can be smooth.

There are a few things to keep in mind as a Chicago first time home buyer.

Check Your Emotions

It’s very easy to become emotionally invested in real estate purchases. Don’t let emotions get in the way. Looking at a home objectively will help you steer clear of what happens when you make an emotional purchase – overspending.

Set a Realistic Budget

Speaking of overspending, it’s important to set a realistic budget. When establishing a price range, remember to include costs of any upgrades you would like to make, utility payments, assessments and property taxes.

Meeting with a Chicago mortgage lender to get pre-approved will help to create a budget.

When You’ve Found a Home Stop Searching

Once you have found a home that meets your needs, it is time to put in an offer and stop searching. Continuing to look at available Chicago real estate will only cause insecurity. Be confident in the decision and happy you have found a new home.

Our Thoughts on the Chicago Housing Market Forecast for 2018

Since the end of the recession, Chicago’s housing market has continued to improve. It’s been a slow and steady increase and in 2018 this trend will continue. Crain’s Chicago Business is calling it a “not so hot, but not ice-cold either” situation.

On a national scale, the impact of tax reform on real estate will take some time to figure out. There will be some would-be buyers who may sit back for a year to see what happens, making the 2018 market less competitive for buyers who are actively looking for a new Chicago condo. However, Chicago has some of the lowest tax bills compared to other cities nationwide so the tax reform might not have as a big of an impact here.

There will be slower price growth than in 2017, with Trulia predicting a 2.5% increase in 2018 versus the 5% from last year. This is good news for those looking to buy a new Chicago condo or home in 2018.

When it comes to brand new construction, in 2018 we’ll see smaller-sized condo developments coming to market with larger-sized units. Gail Lissner, Managing Director for Integra Realty Resources, has data that shows there is a demand for mid-priced new units and townhomes, which Chicago condo developers will be filling with new proposed developments in the West Loop, Wicker ParkBucktownLogan Square, River North and Old Town neighborhoods.

Here’s How to Find a Broker in Chicago

Purchasing a new home takes a lot of work, especially when you are a first time home buyer. There are many steps to take to get ready, but one of the most important things you can do is find the right real estate professional to work with.

Here’s how to find a broker for your condo search in Chicago:

Do a Quick Online Search

You will want to work with a broker who specializes in the area you are interested in living. By using Realtor.com and other internet searches you can quickly find helpful information about a broker’s job experience, the number of homes sold, client reviews, etc.

Ask Friends for a Recommendation

According to the National Association of Realtors, 52% of first-time buyers found their broker from a friend or family member.

Ask Lots of Questions

When you are considering which real estate broker to work with it’s important to ask them questions about their experience and how they are going to work for you. Some sample questions to ask:

  • How long have you been working in real estate?
  • How long have you lived in Chicago?
  • How many homes have you sold?
  • Do you have a team, or do you work alone?
  • What is your schedule?
  • How is the best way to reach you?
  • Are you going out of town anytime soon?

Moving to Chicago? Take Our Advice

Chicago has seen a huge new construction boom in brand new rental apartments for the last few years, but lately brand new Chicago condos have started to hit the market. If you’re moving to Chicago and looking for a brand-new home you must debate the perks of rent vs. buy.

When should you rent a Chicago apartment?

If you are relocating to Chicago, it might be helpful to rent for the first year. Take time to fully explore Chicago and learn which areas you really enjoy.

When should you buy a Chicago condo?

If you’re ready to take the sales plunge ask yourself these two questions:

1. How familiar are you with Chicago neighborhoods and do you know which ones you would want to put down more permanent roots?

2. Where do you see yourself in one year, three years and five years? Buying is a long-term commitment, where renting gives you flexibility.

If you’re ready to buy, we’d love to help. Start searching available listings right now by clicking the button below.

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