Although Chicago’s rental market may not be quite as cut-throat as cities like New York or San Francisco, finding the right apartment is still an intimidating experience, especially if you are new to the city. Even with the power of technology at your fingertips, it’s hard to know where to start—particularly when some property managers flood Craigslist and other sites with multiple units backed by the same nondescript images.
Sure, you might get lucky by spotting a “for rent” sign in a neighborhood you love, or hit the jackpot on Facebook Marketplace, but we recommend beginning with websites that are popular with Chicagoans and, of course, setting aside time to see the listings in person.
Curious about the landlord or management company? Do your homework by looking up those businesses on Yelp, Rate My Landlord, and Review My Landlord. If the landlord is a homeowner renting out their second property, which is common in the city, you’ll want to check their credibility and ask for evidence of ownership.
Here are six websites to track down the Chicago apartment of your dreams. Happy hunting!
Scroll to the bottom of this Chicago-based website and find handy shortcuts to popular searches such as pet-friendly apartments, studios, lofts, and brand new apartments. Since listings on Domu don’t appear elsewhere on the web and many independent landlords favor this site, the service is definitely worth a try. Not sure which Chicago hood fits your personality and needs? Domu has detailed rental guides with descriptions of popular community. Its rent calculator will even help you determine how much you should spend on housing based on your income and lifestyle.
Hotpads offers a map-based website and app for browsing apartment listings from verified and rated landlords. The color-coded, mapped listings make it easy to see when new apartments are added, which ones you loved, and what places you’ve already clicked on. The service lets you search for sublets or roommates, and can send push notifications to your phone as soon as apartments in your desired area and budget hit the market.
If you’re in the market for a higher-end Chicago rental, consider checking AptAmigo which conveniently groups units by building—including newly completed projects like NEMA and Union West. Click on a property and you’ll see a menu of available floorplans along with a list of things residents love about the building as well as things they “love less.” Answer a few questions about your budget and ideal move-in date, and AptAmigo will connect you with one of its experts for free.
This straightforward website and app offers the option to filter and refine rental listings by location, price, and other factors. You also have the ability to add properties to list of favorites and set up tours with a single click. Tired of searching by yourself? A real human will provide a rundown of vetted properties that meet your needs. If you want, one of Zumper’s associates can even accompany you on your walkthrough, free of charge.
This website and app compiles its listings from other sites (including parent company Zumper) in a simple map. The interface allows you to filter by short- or long-term leases and provides a draw feature to trace the boundaries around an area of your choosing. Want to be close to work, the lake, or a specific dog park? Use the “live by” feature and find results within a given distance. The ability to favorite and hide listings quickly makes it easy to save places that catch your interest and eliminate ones that don’t.
Chicago Apartment Finders
This is the service to use if you can’t dedicate a whole lot of time finding your perfect place. The leasing associates at Chicago Apartment Finder will find properties that meet your needs and drive you to showings. They’ll even help fill out the paperwork once you’re ready to sign a lease. If you’d rather go it alone, the website allows you to filter listings by neighborhood, price range, number of bedrooms, and other factors.