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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Cost of Living in Chicago

I often tell visitors to Chicago, go up to the 96th floor of the Hancock on Michigan Avenue or take in a summer night on the rooftop of the London Hotel.  It is the BEST VIEWS, but you have pay $17 for a cocktail. Nothing is free. But you get a cocktail AND  a view. You don’t get that at the Willis Tower Skydeck or the Observatory of the Hancock.

I moved here from the Detroit suburbs. So Chicago was not “sticker shock”. Sure you pay a little more,  but look at ALL THAT GET! Nothing is free.

Chicago: The Windy City. Famous for its architecture and its deep-dish pizza, Chicago has a lot to offer. The third-largest city in the US is known as a city of neighborhoods. But before you make a move to the “Jewel of the Midwest” you should understand the true cost of living in Chicago. We’ve got you covered with our guide to the ins and outs of paying for life in America’s “Second City.”

Renting Costs in Chicago

Chicago may rival New York in terms of architectural splendor but the Windy City falls behind when it comes to rent prices. And that’s a good thing for the cost of living in Chicago.

According to, the average rent for a Chicago apartment stands at $1,078 for a studio and $1,341 for a one-bedroom place. Upgrade to a two-bedroom and you can expect to pay around $1,744. A three-bedroom will run you $2,158.

These aren’t exactly bargains, but they’re well below the prices in New York. Take a look at how Chicago rental prices compare to the rest of America’s 10 largest cities.


Whether you rent or buy you’ll have to pay utilities. According to, a basic utilities package of electricity, heating, water and garbage costs $121.16 in Chicago. If you add internet you’ll pay around $40.14. That’s below the national average of $47.83 and cheaper than internet in the rest of the country’s 10 largest cities.

Chicago Transportation Costs

Chicagoans who don’t have cars rely on a combination of bus and subway service. An unlimited monthly pass from the Chicago Transit Authority costs $100. That’s on par with LA and $16.50 less than in New York.

If you decide you can’t get by without a car you’ll have to pay for one of Chicago’s City Vehicle Stickers. This annual expense ensures your compliance with the city’s Wheel Tax. For a regular-sized passenger car the sticker will cost you $85.97.  GAS PRICES might make you faint!  30% above the national average!  Thanks to ALL OF THE TAXES!


What about taxes? Groceries in Chicago are subject to a 2.25% sales tax on food. That’s rare in the US. Then there’s the restaurant tax to worry about.  And sales tax in Cook County is  10.25%.

Plus, Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation. The statewide average effective property tax rate is 2.13%. That’s almost twice the national average. When it comes to income taxes, Chicago keeps things simple, though. Illinois has a flat income tax of 5%.


Chicago isn’t lacking in entertainment options.  This does not make the city more expensive. Maybe it’s your lifestyle. You can live in Indiana cheap and have NOTHING to do.  OR live in Chicago.

Bottom Line

Chicago has plenty of free attractions to recommend it. How about a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, a picnic in Millennium Park or a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo? When you get tired you can check out the campus of the University of Chicago or take a stroll through Wicker Park. Just make sure you bring a warm coat if you visit in winter. Although the origin of the nickname “Windy City” has nothing to do with the weather, Chicago is in fact a windy city.


What $1350 Rent Gets You in Chicago

Curbed Comparisons, is a great regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Let’s find out. Today we are looking at apartments at or under $1,350 per month on Chicago’s northwest side.


Right now – you can get a  three-bedroom in a vintage Humboldt Park building  for  about $1,300.

$1,300 per month can also rent a two-bedroom apartment in Avondale. Located near the Kennedy Expressway and popular spots like Kuma’s Corner, this one is both transit and amenity rich.

If you’re a fan of the Lincoln Square area, you can rent a  two-bedroom  for $1,325. While it’s a garden unit, it appears to be quite spacious and has plenty of windows.

A two-bedroom apartment in Pilsen is renting for $1,350. It’s a fairly open floor plan with some newer finishes. There’s even views of the skyline from this one.

Up in Avondale, you’ll find that a two-bedroom apartment in a brick three-flat is also seeking the same $1,350 rent.

It’s all about location.  If  you want  to be near the lake, like  Lincoln Park or Lakeview, expect to get a LOT LESS  space.

Let me help you with your search! I have access to thousands of listings every month. You tell me your needs and your wants and the computer  gives me list of possibilities.  Using my knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods,  I can provide you with honest unbiased feedback.  YOU are my client.  Not  the apartment owners.

Spaces has been in business since 2010. We pride ourselves on GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE and strive for excellence! And we have an amazing support team there to help with the application process  and submitting it to the landlord. We have awesome follow up as well and will keep you updated through the process.

When you are ready to move, call me!  I will help you find a perfect space to love!





CELL: 773.206.8359 | OFFICE: 773.525.6570



Renters Rights in Chicago Illinois

According to the city of Chicago’s website, more than 60 percent of the city’s residents are renters. Just as certain responsibilities are required of them, they are also afforded certain rights under Illinois and Chicago laws and can hold landlords and building/unit owners responsible for their duties. Chicago renters’ rights and responsibilities are subject to national, Illinois state and city laws.

In Chicago, the Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO) governs the relationship between the two parties, a summary of which must be attached to every lease to which it applies signed within the city. (The ordinance does not cover hotels, school dorms or units in owner-occupied buildings with six or fewer units, though it does cover oral agreements.)

The CRLTO states that tenants must buy and install batteries to keep smoke detectors working properly, keep the unit safe and clean and avoid disturbing other residents. A resident must also allow a landlord access to a unit after two days’ notice.

The attorney general’s office also says that tenants must pay rent on time, keep the unit “clean and undamaged” (and pay for any damages beyond “normal wear and tear” for which a tenant is responsible) and give a written 30-day notice if you intend to leave at the end of your lease in order to get your security deposit back.

Chicago landlords also have responsibilities according to the CRLTO and the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which first includes keeping the unit fit to live in. They must also make necessary repairs to buildings and units in compliance with health codes and cannot cut off access to water, heat or electricity.\

See more  at Huffington Post By Reboot Illinois





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Best Pizza in Chicago? Deep Dish or Stuffed?

Chicago-style pizza refers to several different styles of pizza developed in Chicago. Arguably, the most famous of these is known as deep-dish pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge and a deep surface for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizza may be prepared in deep-dish style and as a stuffed pizza.

According to Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural historian,there is not enough documentation to determine with certainty who invented Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It is often reported that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, in 1943, by Uno’s founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno’s original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe.

Deep-dish pizza is baked in a round, steel pan that is more similar to a cake or pie pan than a typical pizza pan. The pan is oiled in order to allow for easy removal as well as to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. The dough is pressed up onto the sides of the pan, forming a bowl for a very thick layer of toppings.

The thick layer of toppings used in deep-dish pizza requires a longer baking time, which could burn cheese or other toppings if they were used as the top layer of the pizza. Because of this, the toppings are assembled “upside-down” from their usual order on a pizza. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozzarella), followed by various meat options such as pepperoni or sausage, the latter of which is sometimes in a solid patty-like layer.


STUFFED PIZZA – By the mid-1970s, two Chicago chains, Nancy’s Pizza, founded by Rocco Palese, and Giordano’s Pizzeria, operated by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio, began experimenting with deep-dish pizza and created the stuffed pizza. Palese based his creation on his mother’s recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza.Chicago Magazine articles featuring Nancy’s Pizza and Giordano’s stuffed pizza popularized the dish.

Stuffed pizzas are often even deeper than deep-dish pizzas, but otherwise, it can be hard to see the difference until it is cut into. A stuffed pizza generally has much deeper topping density than any other type of pizza. As with deep-dish pizza, a deep layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added. Then, an additional layer of dough goes on top and is pressed to the sides of the crust.
At this stage, the thin dough top has a rounded, domed appearance. Pizza makers often poke a small hole in the top of the “lid” to allow air and steam to escape while cooking, so that the pizza does not explode. Usually, but not always, tomato sauce is ladled over the top crust before the pizza is baked.

SO, WHO HAS THE BEST PIZZA? Depends on who you ask! Taste is very subjective. Not everyone likes the same thing.

Trip Advisor lists the top 10 popular pizza’s here


3 that are sometimes overlooked, but I REALLY LIKE…

Art of Pizza Voted #1 Deep Dish Pizza by the Chicago Tribune!

Peaquods  25 years in Chicago, many critics  love this pizza!

Gullivers.  Established in 1965 featuring the North Side’s original pan pizza. This Rogers Park area restaurant is chocked full of all kinds of  antiques and Tiffany  lamps. Must See!


You have no doubt seen the ads all over the city, ONE CHICAGO.

One Chicago was established in 2017 to unify all Chicagoans as one city and one voice. Chicago’s past is drawn from the vibrant diversity of its neighborhoods and historic communities. And its future will be met by furthering its legacy as a welcoming city to all who want to make Chicago their home. Created by the “Chicago is With You” Task Force, the One Chicago campaign will facilitate access to resources and support for Chicago’s residents, including its immigrant and refugee communities. Since its founding, people from around the country and throughout the world have made Chicago their home. But all are unified by their common identity as one people, one home, and one Chicago.

One Chicago was founded on a set of values that believes no matter who you are or where you came from, Chicago will always be a welcoming city. And that all Chicago residents, regardless of immigration status, should have access to City services.

Join the Facebook Page

Halloween in Chicago

Redfin rates Chicago #3 Best City for Halloween!

Spooky Score: 9 out of 13
City Walk Score: 78

Chicagoans love when autumn rolls in over Lake Michigan and relieves the city of the summer heat, and it celebrates by throwing a weeks-long Halloween celebration with all kinds of events. Chicagoween at Franken Plaza — known as Daley Plaza the rest of the year — hosts movie nights, live performances and costume contests, and parks across the city are home to pumpkin patches and haunted houses. Land lovers should check out the Northalsted Halloween Parade, and those who aren’t afraid of a haunted sea voyage will love one of Navy Pier’s haunted cruise options.

Things to Do / Places to See: Oriental Theatre, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Pond, 2122 North Clark Street (location of the Valentine’s Day Massacre), Drake Hotel, Haunted Halloween Ball at Congress Plaza Hotel, Old Town Tatu, Halloween Parade on North Halsted, House of Torment, Six Flags Fright Fest, Chicago Hauntings Tour Company, Wateriders Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour, Race of the Dead, Franken Plaza/Chicagoween, Pumpkin Patches and More

Extra Spooky: Few cities on our list have as many haunted locations as Chicago, so if you’re looking for the thrill of a lifetime with a good, old-fashioned ghost hunt, head over to Chi-Town. Explore the Oriental Theatre, where more than 600 victims were engulfed in flames in 1903; stay a night in the Drake Hotel, where the heartbroken spirit of a young woman wanders the halls; or work with the paranormal investigators of Chicago Ghost Investigations to communicate with the other side in a warehouse once occupied by Al Capone.

The Saturday night before Halloween is when all the big parties happen all over  Chicagoland.  Expect it to take longer to get an Uber, Lyft or Taxi!  PLAN  AHEAD!

The Northalsted Halloween Parade is ranked one of the 10 Best Halloweens in the US by Fodor’s Travel Guide. The  Annual event is free for spectators and participants. Enter the costume contest to win great prizes!

A one-of-a-kind event in Chicago, this parade features one of the most iconic costumed populations of all – drag queens! (All in Halloween attire, of course).

Once mainly  an  LGBT celebration, now joining them along the parade route are thousands of adults, as well as  kids and pets, also in costume, and tons of spectators. If you want to join the parade itself, be sure to register. Otherwise, spectating is free!

Getting In: Admission to the Northalsted Halloween Parade is free.

Check a Neighborhoods Walking and Crime Score

WALK SCORE is an extremely useful tool when checking out neighborhoods.

You want to know how far is closet train?

The closet bus?

The closet Sushi restaurant!

Location, Location, Location!

Drive less. Live more. Walk Score helps you enjoy a walkable lifestyle, one of the simplest and best solutions for our environment, health and economy.

Walk Score’s mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health, and our economy.

Their vision is for every property listing to read: Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Walk Score: 84.  They make it easy for people to evaluate walkability and transportation when choosing where to live.  AND  CRIME SCORES!

They show over 20 million scores every day and over 30,000 sites use Walk Score services. Walk Score has been featured in hundreds of newspaper articles and TV segments.

The Walk Score advisory board includes urban planning, environmental and technical experts from institutions such as The Sightline Institute and The Brookings Institution.

Walk Score is now a part of Redfin and was originally incubated atFront Seat.

Get the app  on your phone!





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Average Apartment Prices in Chicago, By Neighborhood

As of SUMMER  2017,

 No longer residing in the top 10 markets, Chicago ranked as the 11th most expensive city to rent in the nation. Since last month, the price of one bedroom units grew 4.8% to a median of $1,760, while two bedrooms jumped 5.1% to $2,260.
(The map shows average 1 bedroom pricing).

Bridgeport and Beverly had some of the fastest growing rents since last quarter, both up over 12%.

While Greektown ($2,200) and River North ($2,050) continued to reign as the most expensive neighborhoods to rent this summer, LoopWest Loop, and Near South Side were other notably pricy areas, just under the $2,000 threshold. Mid-range priced rentals, for under $1,500, could be found in BoystownLakeview, and North Center.

On the other end of the cost spectrum, the most affordable areas were Fuller ParkWest PullmanEast Side, and Clearing.

If you want to see how the price of apartments for rent in Chicago compares with the rest of the United States’, view our National Rent Report for June, which analyzes over 1 million active listings available in the prior month.

To keep up to date with rent changes across the country, like or follow Zumper on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. In the market for a new place? Search all apartments for rent in Chicago on Zumper now.

Things to Consider BEFORE Renting an Apartment


Yes, the crown molding and new shower seem amazing now, but in three months when you’re pinching pennies to pay rent those amenities might not look so hot. Make a budget and stick to it. You might not get the perfect place, but you won’t get the one that will send you to the poor house, either. At Spaces, all of the landlords we work with require you must show the equivalent of 3 months rent in income. So if you are looking at an apartment for  $1500, you must be able to show income for  $4500  a month. 

Visit the neighborhood on nights and weekends before signing anything.

What is quiet with ample parking during the day may be loud and crowded at night. Do yourself a favor and scope out your potential hood before you find out that there’s a club next door that hosts all-ages noisecore shows. Unless, of course, you’re really into noisecore.  Also check out the neighborhood on Walk Score. This will also tell you about crime.

Consider their pet policy. Even if you don’t plan on having pets it’s nice to know what the policy is exactly. You know, just in case your neighbor across the way leaves his door open and his pet tiger escapes.

Consider the commute. Is cheaper and farther more appealing than expensive and close? You be the judge.

Go over exactly what utilities are covered. Having utilities included is awesome and another headache you don’t have to deal with, but be crystal clear on what you are getting and what you aren’t. Water, gas, and power? Internet? These can be defining factors when choosing an apartment, so do your due diligence. Also, just because it says, “AC included” it does not mean the power is paid for. It just means you don’t have to provide your own.

Check all the faucets and flush all the toilets. This is something a lot of people never think to do, but trust me and do it. If there is any issue you can bring it up now and hopefully it can be addressed by the landlord. I mean, there is nothing worst than turning on the tap for the first time and being surprised by barely-dripping brown water while the toilet floods.


Source – BuzzFeed





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Moving to Chicago

Chicago is somewhat of a Midwest melting pot. And the jewel of the Midwest!

A lot of people born in small Midwest towns seem to gravitate to the big city. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa….boys and girls looking to escape their small town blues, head to Chicago!

Especially in the Spring. May 1st is the busiest moving week of the year here in Chicago! The Chicago tradition of moving on the first day of May can be traced back to English and Dutch practices that were passed on by immigrants. In 1911  rules were enacted to allow leases to be made at any time of the year – however,  May continues to be the most popular month to move. With an average temperature of 69 degrees, it makes sense that Chicagoans would want to move in May, before the heat of summer sets in.

However, if you are looking for a lower price, the renter’s market is Fall/Winter 11/1-2/28, but there is less supply. Peek lessor’s time is 4/1-9/30, with July 1 occupancy being the busiest time. Any other time you can get a decent price with more of a supply of unit to examine.