IHS’s State of Rental Housing in Cook County: What Chicago Renters Need to Know

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As stated in last week’s article about EvictionLab, the month of April has seen two big releases of data from housing focused think tanks around the country. Last week we covered one, and as promised, this week we will look at the second, the “2018 State of Rental Housing in Cook County” released by DePaul University’s Institute of Housing Studies (IHS). Unlike the EvictionLab website which provides mostly data with little commentary, the IHS report provides mostly text-based analysis with some charts and maps as side illustrations. However, as it is focused entirely on Cook County it may be more relevant to the interests of Chicago renters.

We stated last week that we would look at both data releases using the same article structure. Below you will find that we have indeed viewed the IHS release through the same lens that we used for EvictionLab.

Who is the Institute for Housing Studies?

Based out of the DePaul University School of Business’s Real Estate Center, the IHS is a combination of think tank and graduate/doctorate level research facility focused on housing and real estate including residential and commercial property, both purchased and rented. The staff of IHS is a combination of full-time administrators and students of the Business School. A glance at their original 2009 site on archive.org shows that out of the original staff, only Research Director Jin Man Lee remains. The rest have been replaced by new experts and students, as can be expected for an academic group.

While the newer EvictionLab is based out of the department of sociology at Princeton’s grad schools and therefore approaches research from the perspective of sociology and public policy, IHS is more established and rooted in economics, real estate and finance. The difference between the two groups can be clearly seen in their respective websites. EvictionLab is flashy and modern, full of sliding panels and animated maps, designed for mobile access and easy consumption by media outlets. IHS has a more conservative and traditional website although their data is still quite valid. Continue reading IHS’s State of Rental Housing in Cook County: What Chicago Renters Need to Know

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Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Eviction Lab: What Chicago Renters Need To Know

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Hey folks! We’re back! Sorry about the lack of article last week. When my computer failed on Tuesday the 10th I figured that I would be able to have it back up and running by the weekend, with enough time to create an article for Monday the 16th. Unfortunately a missed FedEx delivery meant that I was, in fact, offline until Tuesday the 17th, at which point I had to start working on this article here. C’est la vie.

While I was away, not one but two major housing research organizations dropped some pretty major reports on us and my mailbox exploded with people linking me to either the New York Times article on Eviction Lab or the 2018 State of Rental Housing in Cook County from DePaul’s Institute of Housing Studies. We’re going to be looking at both of them over the next two weeks, starting with Eviction Lab. In fact, since they arrived so close together we will be using the exact same format to examine each.

Who is Eviction Lab?

Way back in 2014 I received an email from Matthew Desmond when he was at Harvard University working on a thesis about evictions in America. He asked me for some data I had purchased from the Cook County Courts for an article in my old, dearly departed real estate blog. I provided it to him. His thesis went on to become the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” Desmond is now helming the Princeton University team behind Eviction Lab. They’ve got a heck of a lot of funding and some very smart statisticians and housing research gurus on the team. Continue reading Eviction Lab: What Chicago Renters Need To Know

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

No Article Today, Back Soon!

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Friday the 13th has struck with a vengeance here at RentConfident. We’re dealing with some pretty major technical issues and are down to just our phones and  a decade old 9-inch netbook.

We should be able to have an article for you on Monday, so please bear with us until then. Thanks for your patience!

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Calculating the True Cost of Moving

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It’s the month of itemized deductions! Since I’ve been working on my income taxes I’m in a mood for thinking about nickels, dimes, and unanticipated costs. We’re also in the run up to May 1, Chicago’s busiest moving day of the year, so I figured we could extend that financial focus to the blog and talk about moving expenses.

Some renters undertake moving on a whim, switching apartments for a change of pace. Others move because the landlord has raised the rent above the actual worth of the apartment. The rest move for more obvious necessities: changes in income, lifestyle or occupation. No matter the reason, few stop to consider how much a move will actually cost them, relying instead on imagined ballpark numbers.

When I worked as an agent I would counsel my clients to set aside the equivalent of three months’ rent for moving expenses, a high figure that surprised many of them. For those with weak credit scores or problems in their rental history I would up that total to as high as nine months of rent. But even that is an arbitrary figure that does not apply to every move. Today we’ll look at all the questions you should consider when deciding whether or not a new apartment is something you can really afford. As always, this list is not exhaustive, but I did try to be pretty thorough.

The Search

  • Are you moving to a new town? What will it cost to get there for showings? Transit costs, hotel costs.
  • Are you moving to a town where tenants have to pay broker fees?
  • Will you be doing long days of back-to-back apartment tours? Will you need to buy food?
  • How will you be getting from apartment to apartment? Will you need public transit fare? Taxi/Uber fare? Parking meter fees? Will you need to rent a car?

Continue reading Calculating the True Cost of Moving

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.