Do you ever think about something so much, you start to see it everywhere? For many people, it’s probably a food they’re craving, a big project that needs to be finished soon, or someone they have a crush on. For me lately, it’s apartments. Sometimes I’ll be doing something perfectly normal, like grocery shopping, and then suddenly I’m thinking “If this grocery store was an apartment, then there would be a lot of slow old ladies on the lease.” Weird, right?
Well, yes. I’ve decided to put my apartment fixation to good use. However, instead of imagining mundane things like the grocery store apartment, I’ve imagined what it would be like to live in several Chicago landmarks. Try to picture an (admittedly absurd) world where something like The Bean is your apartment. What would be the pros and cons of living there? Read on to find out.
The Bean (aka Cloud Gate)
- close to downtown
- management company keeps the outside very clean
- your bean bag chairs are appropriate and practical
- curved floors require custom furniture
- neighbors constantly changing, but every single one of them spits water at you
- no way to tell if your outfit looks good
- enormous “Windex” budget, no windows.
- located in heart of Wrigleyville
- big yard
- no need for cable subscription to watch Cubs home games
- grounds crew great at landscaping
Continue reading What Would It Be Like To Live in a Tourist Attraction?
Imagine that you have never taken drivers’ education classes or obtained a driver’s license. Now imagine that you decide to take a $600,000 CTA bus filled with passengers on a joyride on the highway. You’ve got limited knowledge of the rules of the road – only what you’ve observed from being a passenger in other peoples’ cars. Oh, and that bus is about 40 years old and in need of some serious maintenance. The AC doesn’t work, the engine makes a horrible grinding noise, and the seats are covered in peculiar biological goo from years of use.
This is not something your average rational person would do. However, it serves as a pretty tight analogy for what many Chicago landlords – and landlords across the country – do every single day. Continue reading 70 MPH in the Wrong Direction
It’s Friday at six in the evening. You’re at a fancy conference table in the landlord’s office waiting to sign your lease. The fluorescent light gives everything an unnatural brightness. There is a cheap print of a Van Gogh painting on the wall, someone is clicking their pen in a cubicle in back, and the office smells like someone had tacos for lunch. You just want to go home.
Then the landlord’s employee hands you a thick stack of paper, and says “Everything in there is pretty standard. I’ll give you some time to look it over.”
You have that moment when you really want to trust that this person is telling the truth, to just shuffle through the pages, sign here, initial there, and be done. A little voice in your head whispers, “Who reads a lease anyway?” Continue reading 23 terms you might find in a lease (and what they really mean)
A couple of months ago, I sat down and looked up every Chicago neighborhood in Google. I made note of how Google portrayed each neighborhood, focusing on loaded keywords and adjectives. This is the final article in a four-part series discussing my findings. I suggest you start at the beginning.
We’ve discussed in the previous articles in this series how Google can affect our perceptions by changing the order of their search results. We’ve also discussed how a Google search results page (SERP) will have both a list of links, and a list of “related searches” at the bottom. In the course of my research I noticed that for some neighborhoods, Google would suggest “homes for sale” as a related search. In some cases it would alternatively suggest “condos for sale” or “lofts for sale.” For others it would only suggest “apartments for rent.” The difference is more important than you’d initially think. Continue reading Is Google Quietly Manipulating Property Values? Chicago Neighborhoods According to Google, Part 4
Landlords get a reputation for being greedy people who will raise the rent at any chance while doing little to maintain their buildings. We think that the ideal landlord cares about the building and the well-being of the people who live in it, and we think that these caring landlords do exist in large numbers. Apartment hunters should be on the lookout for clues that a landlord feels this way. Here are ten things to look for in a building owned by a landlord who cares. Continue reading 10 Signs That Your Landlord Isn’t Just Another Greedy Scumbag