Finding a home guide for expats
Newspapers and Websites
Most of the advertising for rental properties is done through the internet but also by signs, i.e. “For Rent”, in front of the buildings. If you know exactly where you want to live, for example very close to the school your children are going to attend, it might be a good idea to walk in the adjacent streets to see if any apartments or houses are available. Not only can you identify potential properties, but it is a good way to check the area (shops, transportation, privacy, noise).
The free weekly newspaper, The Chicago Reader, publishes classifieds. Two sections are dedicated to real estate: “Housing for Sale” and “Housing for Rent”. The main inconvenience is that you don’t have pictures of accommodations whereas websites do post photos and you can get a first feeling of the property. The Chicago Reader also publishes real estate classifieds on its website: http://chicagoreader.com/ . Another good resource is The Chicago Tribune (daily) and, more specifically, its website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/.
For a more modern search and especially before you travel to Chicago, the following websites are useful:
Real Estate Agents
You will pay no commission to the real estate agent. Fees are paid by landlords or the seller for helping them find the right tenant or buyer. Therefore it is possible to use several real estate agents at the same time. If you are purchasing a property, you will notice that there are two kinds of real agents, those who represent the owner and those who represent the prospective tenant. Therefore when visiting an apartment for instance, you will be accompanied by your agent and you will meet the owner agent who leads the amenities’ visit. If you have to negotiate the rental or purchase price or the date you wish to move in, it is your real estate agent who will do it for you directly with the landlord’s/seller’s real estate agent. This situation is the best way to ensure equity between the landlord/seller and the tenant/buyer. Once you will have found the home of your dream, the two agents will share the commission given by the landlord/seller. Nevertheless, sometimes the real agent is the only representative and deals with both the landlord and the prospective tenant.
Nevertheless, a new trend appears on the real estate market for rentals. Some real estate agents ask their customer to pay a deposit (around $1000) before they start to show them houses and apartments to rent. The clients are obviously refunded if they sign a lease agreement with the real estate agent.
In terms of services there are different ways to do:
- The real estate agent gives you an appointment at the rental property and you have to go there on your own. If he/she has several spots to show you, he/she might drive you.
- The largest real estate agencies such as Chicago Apartment Finders will drive you around the city. It is included in their services.
Real estate agents accustomed to dealing with expatriates:
David Reithoffer, Broker
Reithoffer Realty, Inc.
5701 N. Sheridan Rd. #18-A
Chicago, IL 60660
David is an American native speaker and he is fluent in French. He has been working in the real estate field for more than 20 years and is very involved in communities’ activities.
Francoise Pierre, Real Estate Consultant and Contractor
Coldwell Banker Brokerage Lincoln Park
1840 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Francoise is fluent in English, French and proficient in German.
Khadija Yahiabey, Sales Associate
Real Living Infinity
1156 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL 60614