The Savvy Renter’s Guide to Chicago Apartment Season 2023

Are you ready for another apartment rental season in Chicago? Apartments for rent are popping up on Domu every day. Some of the coolest places we’ve seen could be yours to rent! On the other hand, many other renters are also looking for a new place. Don’t underestimate the competition. 

If you want the apartment of your dreams, head into your apartment search with the right toolkit. We’re here to equip you with the best strategies to successfully score the perfect place for you. 

Grab your emotional support water bottle; rent prices are still pretty high. 

Since 2021, national apartment rent has grown as much as 17 percent in the U.S. according to some national sources. Here’s the good news: Chicago didn't experience as much growth as some big cities. While rent growth continued to outpace pre-pandemic norms over the past year, many analysts estimate it has slowed down this fall.

Right now, median rent in the popular Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago is $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,700 for a two-bedroom apartment. See more median rents below and averages on Domu’s neighborhood pages.

Chart showing the median rent for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in Chicago

How much rent can you afford? 

First things first, set a realistic budget. The general rule is that your apartment rent should not exceed more than 30% of your monthly income. Sure, the 3,000-square-foot penthouse with 360-degree views of Lake Michigan and the city looks amazing, but you’re probably not Beyoncé. Find out how much rent you can actually afford by using Domu’s nifty rent calculator. 

Be the first to see new apartments on Domu’s Instagram. 

Find the perfect apartment by getting ahead of the crowd. We post the best new listings every weekday on Instagram Stories. Follow us or subscribe to our notifications to see curated listings in real-time. 

If you see something you like, don’t sleep on it. Promptly contact the landlord or leasing agent on Domu to schedule a tour.

Colorful apartment living room and kitchen in Chicago

Here’s how to cope with the rising rents in Chicago. 

Have you received notice that your rent’s going up? Do you feel like you’ve been priced out of your favorite neighborhood? We’ve all been there. With these tips, you can become a savvy renter and live your best life in a sweet Chicago apartment. 

1. Look for deals. 

Free rent is no joke. Many buildings and landlords will offer half a month off or even up to two months free to attract new tenants. Here’s the catch: you may have to pay the full rent price the following year if you renew the lease. With a free rent deal, you may also be required to sign a longer lease. However, if two months of free rent sounds good, it could be an easier way to transition to higher rental costs. Check out our post on net effective rent to learn more about different types of free rent deals. 

You can also look for concessions and amenities to offset costs. For example, an apartment may come with free Wi-Fi, streaming services, and other perks. If you’re living in a larger building, you may have access to amenities like a free gym, coffee bar, laundry or cleaning service, and coworking spaces. Additionally, keep your eyes open for waived fees such as security deposits, move-in fees, and pet rent. 

2. Live in the city for less. 

Studios Under $1,000  Who needs extra square footage when the city’s your playground? Chicago offers many studios for rent, and they’re a great choice if you don’t want roommates. 

Guide to Renting With Roommates, living alone can be overrated. After all, who’s going to check for ghosts when things go bump in the night? That’s what roommates are for! Here’s our guide to renting with roommates. 

What Are Co-living Apartments?  They’re shared spaces where you rent a private room. Co-living apartments often have sweet amenities like cleaning services, beautiful common rooms, modern gyms, and coworking spaces. If you don’t have time to find a roommate, co-living communities will find them for you. 

Not interested in these options?  Wait until the colder months. Market conditions change, and there’s less competition. Landlords are also more likely to offer rent deals and concessions. 

3. Check out an underrated neighborhood. 

Explore the rest of the city! Here at Domu, we champion the unsung heroes of the city. If you can’t afford one of these popular locales, check out these other neighborhoods that are often more affordable.

Chart showing neighborhood options in Chicago