Luxury by definition means more than what the average person has. The definition of luxury, though, is relative. Does it mean having an additional 500 square feet of living space relative to a cheaper place? Does it equal Corian kitchen counters and marble floors or a chef-grade kitchen in the apartment? And what features matter? What should you look for in a luxury apartment in Chicago? Here are a few recommendations.
You generally pay more for housing based on the size of the unit. However, you’ll generally pay more for more bedrooms, as well. This is why an apartment that officially has three bedrooms may cost more than an apartment with two bedrooms, though they have the same square footage. Determine your minimum bedroom count and square footage. Don’t choose a cramped three bedroom apartment, if your children may be better off sharing a larger second bedroom and having plenty of space in the generous living room to play in.
Don’t assume that the playground or common area in the middle of the apartment complex makes up for the lack of space inside. You don’t know how often it will be available or uncrowded, and your kids can’t use it when things are too wet or cold to play outside.
This is an issue whether you’re looking at affordable apartments or luxury condos. Don’t assume that a luxury apartment building is in a safe location, as the unaddressed violence on the Magic Mile the past few summers demonstrates. How safe is the neighborhood? Look at recent crime statistics as well as historic data. Ask the neighbors and anyone you know who lives in the area. Having shopping bags stolen out of your car is obviously a problem, but it is far less of one than the risk of being held up at gunpoint.
On the other hand, you should research what the unit does to keep its residents safe. After all, luxury apartments are prime pickings for thieves. Do they offer secure, private parking? Do they have a concierge on the premises? Are they willing to accept packages for you and protect them from would-be thieves? Do they have on-site security? For example, can you get someone to walk you to your car if you’re uncomfortable.
A home security system in a luxury apartment building should be more than an intruder alarm. Look for apartment buildings that provide smart doorbells and cameras connected to home automation systems. Only choose an apartment where the system is easy to use and compatible with your current smart device.
Walkability of the Community
Don’t select an apartment based on the views or the concierge service, though these can be factors. Instead, consider how the lifestyle the apartment location provides fits with what you want. For many people, the ability to walk to a metro station or the store is a point in favor of the housing unit. You save time and money if you don’t have to get in the car to go everywhere. If you can’t walk to work, make sure that the apartment is in walking distance of public transit.
What else is in walking distance? If you have children, you may want to be in walking distance of schools and parks. Almost everyone wants to be able to walk to restaurants and shopping.
The amenities offered by Chicago luxury apartments run the entire gamut. In some apartment buildings, the amenities are on a case-by-case basis. For example, they may offer upscale materials like granite countertops and chandelier lights but have nothing of note in the apartment’s common areas. Other apartment buildings have middle class amenities in the apartments but have amazing services. This could include a great on-site gym, a plush clubhouse, heating swimming pool and a concierge front desk that rivals that at a luxury hotel.
You can search for apartments based on their amenities as well as their location and price.
Rules and Other Restrictions
Understand the rules and the other restrictions you have to abide by before you sign the dotted line. For example, not every high-end apartment will allow pets. Those that do may have strict limits on the size of the animal or the number of animals. You could be evicted if they find out you have a 50 pound dog, no matter how well behaved it is. Or you may be forced to pay a stiff fine, if they don’t evict you.
It is easy to ask about the move-in date, and most of us know to ask about the deposit. Ask about additional fees. Pet fees are common. Do you have to pay to reserve the barbecue pit? Is there a fee to rent the clubhouse for parties or a limit to the number of times you can reserve it each week? Is there an office center on the premises? If so, do you have to pay extra to meet a client there instead of in your home?
If you frequently have visitors, there are other rules you need to take into account. For example, are you limited in the number of guests you can have over? And does that limit apply to the number of vehicles they can bring with them? Are you allowed to have visitors spend the night? If so, is there a limit to how long they can stay with you? You may only be allowed to have friends or family stay for a few days, whereas you’ll have to pay a fee or add them to the lease after a week. Do you smoke? That’s not allowed in a growing number of buildings. Do you want to set a grill out on the patio or balcony? A growing number of apartment buildings won’t allow that, either.
Don’t assume you can rent the spare bedroom out for extra money. Read the lease. Subleasing is almost always prohibited. This often includes prohibitions on renting out the apartment when you’re on vacation. Know the rules you’re agreeing to before you commit.