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A living room in a loft style building with hardwood floors and two large windows surrounded by bricks. Pearson Realty Group

11 great Chicago starter homes for sale right now

These Windy City pads are perfect for first-time home buyers

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Chicago offers plenty of opportunities for buyers looking to take the sometimes daunting dive into homeownership. Chicago is considerably more affordable than some of its coastal counterparts, and it provides shoppers with a wide array of housing options as diverse as the city’s 77 neighborhoods.

“Starter home” can be a relative term, but for the purpose of this comparison we set out to find properties priced in the low $200,000 to mid $300,000 range. A handful of outlier properties ended higher or lower due to their respective size, condition, or location.

From stylish but cozy downtown one-bedrooms to larger family-friendly neighborhood house, here’s a look at 11 starter homes available around Chicago right now.

Note: Map points are numbered from north to south.

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7641 N, Bosworth Avenue, Unit 2

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In Rogers Park, consider this bright two-bedroom condo located a few blocks from the lake and the Howard CTA station. Listed for $254,900, the second-floor unit has an updated kitchen, in-unit laundry, and a rear porch. The sunny living room features a charming decorative fireplace, crown molding, and built-in shelving.

A white fireplace against a pale wall in a room with a red area rug, wood media console, across from an upholstered chair.  Redfin

4126 N. Kedvale Avenue, Unit 103

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For $145,000, get a one-bedroom in an attractive 1927 courtyard building in Old Irving Park. At 900 square feet in size, the unit is roomy for a one-bedroom and features a formal dining room, an updated bathroom, and a walk-in closet—a rarity among buildings this age. The North Side property is convenient to the Kennedy Expressway as well as the CTA Blue Line.

An all-white living room with an arched doorway leading to dining area. The walls are decorated with various picture frames holding photographs and art. Redfin

2626 N. Lakeview Avenue, Unit 908

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Lincoln Park is known for its multimillion-dollar mansions, but there are some decent options for buyers working within a more modest budget—especially in some of the older high-rises along the park. Listed for $374,900, this updated two-bedroom unit on the ninth floor of a mid-century building offers an open living and dining room, a newer kitchen, and glimpses of Lake Michigan. The views get even better from the building’s rooftop pool deck.

There interior of a high-rise apartment unit with a dining room set and connected living room sitting area. A large body of water is visible out the windows. VHT Studios, Compass

4334 W. Dickens Avenue

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Buyers struggling to find a family-friendly starter home in gentrified Logan Square can still score relatively affordable digs in neighboring Hermosa. This five-bedroom option—one of many vintage brick bungalows found in the area—offers an open living room and dining room that flows into an updated kitchen with new appliances. $318,000 also gets you hardwood floors, crown moldings, a rear deck, and a partially finished basement with a bar.

A living room with a wood fireplace mantle and a row of windows at the far end. There are virtually staged couches and a coffee table. VHT Studios, Century 21 Affiliated

650 N. Central Avenue

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With an asking price of $148,000, this historic three-bedroom single-family home in Austin is one of the more affordable options on the list. That said, the 1891 property—designed with a mix of Victorian and Italianate architectural features—could use some updating. Still, the West Side fixer-upper has good bones and plenty of original touches like hardwood floors, carved wood fireplace, window casings, and pocket doors. It’s also close to the CTA Green line and Austin branch library.

The exterior of a historic two-story home with Victorian and Italianate features and a large front porch. VHT Studios, @properties

300 N. State Street, Unit 4128

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For some first-time buyers, location may be more important than space. If that’s the case, consider this eye-catching architect-owned one-bedroom in downtown Chicago’s iconic Marina City complex. Perched on the 41st floor of the eastern tower, the unit has been thoughtfully restored in a way that celebrates the building’s midcentury modern roots. The property is seeking $290,000 and includes a private northwest-facing balcony.

A condo in a high-rise tower with a curving balcony with a metal railing. The living room has midcentury furniture. VHT Studios, Alto Realty

1224 W. Van Buren Street, Unit 215

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In Chicago’s popular West Loop neighborhood, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a decent two-bedroom for less than $350,000. This bright loft along Van Buren Street, however, can be had for $307,500. The home boasts recently refinished hardwood floors and a newly renovated kitchen and bathroom. Building amenities include a fitness center and roof deck.

A high-ceiling loft unit with a gray couch and white kitchen with stainless steel appliances. VHT Studios, @properties

124 W. Polk Street, Unit 605

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Printer’s Row may not be home to any printing companies these days, but the South Loop neighborhood is still a solid option for first-time buyers, given its abundance of historic loft buildings and a prime downtown location. This roomy one-bedroom-plus-den loft condo with exposed brick, 11-foot ceilings, and oversized windows is available for $280,000.

A living room in a loft style building with hardwood floors and two large windows surrounded by bricks. Pearson Realty Group

1646 E. 54th Street, Unit 3D

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Live steps from Promontory Point and the University of Chicago in this East Hyde Park condo, available for $250,000. Located on the third floor of charming vintage building, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom property includes old school touches including a wood-burning fireplace, wood moldings, and recently refinished original hardwood floors.

A sofa sits against a wall in a living room with a fireplace and wood window casing and crown molding trim. VHT Studios, @properties

3721 W. 64th Place

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In Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood, $259,900 buys this large single-family home dating back to 1903. Little about the four-bedroom property’s interior seems outdated thanks to updates to its kitchen and bathrooms and recently replaced windows. The West Side residence stands on a double lot, creating a large back and side yard. The backyard chicken coup isn’t included in the asking price but is “negotiable,” according to the listing.

The exterior of a three-story wood frame home with a large grassy side yard. Coldwell Banker Residential

5607 S. Wabash Avenue

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Renovated in 2018, this classic brick single-family residence dates back to 1915 and sits on an oversized 181-foot-long lot in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The three-bedroom home has a large picture window in the living room, a newer kitchen, a dedicating dining room, and a finished lower level. The South Side property offers convenient access to Washington Park proper as well as stops for both the CTA’s Red and Green lines. It’s asking $232,500.

A large picture window illuminates a front living room with gray walls and a stone-lined fireplace mantel. VHT Studios, @properties

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7641 N, Bosworth Avenue, Unit 2

A white fireplace against a pale wall in a room with a red area rug, wood media console, across from an upholstered chair.  Redfin

In Rogers Park, consider this bright two-bedroom condo located a few blocks from the lake and the Howard CTA station. Listed for $254,900, the second-floor unit has an updated kitchen, in-unit laundry, and a rear porch. The sunny living room features a charming decorative fireplace, crown molding, and built-in shelving.

A white fireplace against a pale wall in a room with a red area rug, wood media console, across from an upholstered chair.  Redfin

4126 N. Kedvale Avenue, Unit 103

An all-white living room with an arched doorway leading to dining area. The walls are decorated with various picture frames holding photographs and art. Redfin

For $145,000, get a one-bedroom in an attractive 1927 courtyard building in Old Irving Park. At 900 square feet in size, the unit is roomy for a one-bedroom and features a formal dining room, an updated bathroom, and a walk-in closet—a rarity among buildings this age. The North Side property is convenient to the Kennedy Expressway as well as the CTA Blue Line.

An all-white living room with an arched doorway leading to dining area. The walls are decorated with various picture frames holding photographs and art. Redfin

2626 N. Lakeview Avenue, Unit 908

There interior of a high-rise apartment unit with a dining room set and connected living room sitting area. A large body of water is visible out the windows. VHT Studios, Compass

Lincoln Park is known for its multimillion-dollar mansions, but there are some decent options for buyers working within a more modest budget—especially in some of the older high-rises along the park. Listed for $374,900, this updated two-bedroom unit on the ninth floor of a mid-century building offers an open living and dining room, a newer kitchen, and glimpses of Lake Michigan. The views get even better from the building’s rooftop pool deck.

There interior of a high-rise apartment unit with a dining room set and connected living room sitting area. A large body of water is visible out the windows. VHT Studios, Compass

4334 W. Dickens Avenue

A living room with a wood fireplace mantle and a row of windows at the far end. There are virtually staged couches and a coffee table. VHT Studios, Century 21 Affiliated

Buyers struggling to find a family-friendly starter home in gentrified Logan Square can still score relatively affordable digs in neighboring Hermosa. This five-bedroom option—one of many vintage brick bungalows found in the area—offers an open living room and dining room that flows into an updated kitchen with new appliances. $318,000 also gets you hardwood floors, crown moldings, a rear deck, and a partially finished basement with a bar.

A living room with a wood fireplace mantle and a row of windows at the far end. There are virtually staged couches and a coffee table. VHT Studios, Century 21 Affiliated

650 N. Central Avenue

The exterior of a historic two-story home with Victorian and Italianate features and a large front porch. VHT Studios, @properties

With an asking price of $148,000, this historic three-bedroom single-family home in Austin is one of the more affordable options on the list. That said, the 1891 property—designed with a mix of Victorian and Italianate architectural features—could use some updating. Still, the West Side fixer-upper has good bones and plenty of original touches like hardwood floors, carved wood fireplace, window casings, and pocket doors. It’s also close to the CTA Green line and Austin branch library.

The exterior of a historic two-story home with Victorian and Italianate features and a large front porch. VHT Studios, @properties

300 N. State Street, Unit 4128

A condo in a high-rise tower with a curving balcony with a metal railing. The living room has midcentury furniture. VHT Studios, Alto Realty

For some first-time buyers, location may be more important than space. If that’s the case, consider this eye-catching architect-owned one-bedroom in downtown Chicago’s iconic Marina City complex. Perched on the 41st floor of the eastern tower, the unit has been thoughtfully restored in a way that celebrates the building’s midcentury modern roots. The property is seeking $290,000 and includes a private northwest-facing balcony.

A condo in a high-rise tower with a curving balcony with a metal railing. The living room has midcentury furniture. VHT Studios, Alto Realty

1224 W. Van Buren Street, Unit 215

A high-ceiling loft unit with a gray couch and white kitchen with stainless steel appliances. VHT Studios, @properties

In Chicago’s popular West Loop neighborhood, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a decent two-bedroom for less than $350,000. This bright loft along Van Buren Street, however, can be had for $307,500. The home boasts recently refinished hardwood floors and a newly renovated kitchen and bathroom. Building amenities include a fitness center and roof deck.

A high-ceiling loft unit with a gray couch and white kitchen with stainless steel appliances. VHT Studios, @properties

124 W. Polk Street, Unit 605

A living room in a loft style building with hardwood floors and two large windows surrounded by bricks. Pearson Realty Group

Printer’s Row may not be home to any printing companies these days, but the South Loop neighborhood is still a solid option for first-time buyers, given its abundance of historic loft buildings and a prime downtown location. This roomy one-bedroom-plus-den loft condo with exposed brick, 11-foot ceilings, and oversized windows is available for $280,000.

A living room in a loft style building with hardwood floors and two large windows surrounded by bricks. Pearson Realty Group

1646 E. 54th Street, Unit 3D

A sofa sits against a wall in a living room with a fireplace and wood window casing and crown molding trim. VHT Studios, @properties

Live steps from Promontory Point and the University of Chicago in this East Hyde Park condo, available for $250,000. Located on the third floor of charming vintage building, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom property includes old school touches including a wood-burning fireplace, wood moldings, and recently refinished original hardwood floors.

A sofa sits against a wall in a living room with a fireplace and wood window casing and crown molding trim. VHT Studios, @properties

3721 W. 64th Place

The exterior of a three-story wood frame home with a large grassy side yard. Coldwell Banker Residential

In Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood, $259,900 buys this large single-family home dating back to 1903. Little about the four-bedroom property’s interior seems outdated thanks to updates to its kitchen and bathrooms and recently replaced windows. The West Side residence stands on a double lot, creating a large back and side yard. The backyard chicken coup isn’t included in the asking price but is “negotiable,” according to the listing.

The exterior of a three-story wood frame home with a large grassy side yard. Coldwell Banker Residential

5607 S. Wabash Avenue

A large picture window illuminates a front living room with gray walls and a stone-lined fireplace mantel. VHT Studios, @properties

Renovated in 2018, this classic brick single-family residence dates back to 1915 and sits on an oversized 181-foot-long lot in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood. The three-bedroom home has a large picture window in the living room, a newer kitchen, a dedicating dining room, and a finished lower level. The South Side property offers convenient access to Washington Park proper as well as stops for both the CTA’s Red and Green lines. It’s asking $232,500.

A large picture window illuminates a front living room with gray walls and a stone-lined fireplace mantel. VHT Studios, @properties