With more people per square mile than the city of Chicago itself, finding an apartment in Chatham can be a little tricky. The vacancy rate is a minuscule 3.25%, so expect to do a little legwork if you're looking for places to rent. You'll also want to make sure you're well-versed on crime rates in different areas. Arming yourself with the right information will ensure that you find great, safe apartments for rent in the area.
Chatham has a low median rental rate that is less than Chicago proper. The price is right for many, but putting up with some of Chatham's quirks might not be ideal. Lower-quality living, for example, might deter some folks from the cheaper property rentals. Properties are primarily owner-occupied, but you can find a fair amount of rentals (17%) if you have time to search a little. With low rents like these, it's no wonder that people here like to find a place and then stay, so you might have trouble finding open places for rent. The city has seen a rise in foreclosures in the past few years, so it might be worth your while to investigate some of these. The vast majority of properties were built in 1939 or earlier, so you can expect to find some old historical gems peppered in with the newer complexes.
When to Rent
Winter is always the quietest season, and it's no wonder with Chicago's tendency for subzero temperatures! Things can be a bit more bustling in the spring and summer, so make sure to leave a little extra time to look. Finding an apartment here could prove challenging, so make sure you're well prepared for any appointments you have. You might have to write a check that very day for an apartment you like so you don't risk losing it. There's no such thing as taking a night to sleep on it here it will likely be gone by the time you've come around to making your decision.
What You'll Need
Go in with your game face on. The competition is tough for places here and you're going to need all the ammo you can get. Do the grunt work of searching apartments and making appointments and when you go to meet the landlord, show up early. Be friendly, smile and make small talk Chicagoans love a good pleasantry. And have all your documents ready to go. You might not be an organized person, but you better be organized about this apartment hunt. This means having your credit report, rental application, letter of employment or recent pay stubs, references and any info about pets you're planning to bring that proves your dog, cat, lizard, bunny or monkey isn't going to destroy the apartment or any of your neighbors. Obviously you'll need your checkbook too nothing impresses a landlord like putting your money where your mouth is.
Chatham is a tough but strong city. There's no getting around it. At times, the city has battled high crime rates, a struggling economy, and just about every other challenge a community can face. But these folks are darn proud of their city, and the residents have faced up to the struggles and proved to be remarkably resilient. The whole area is relatively inexpensive -- much less so than living in the heart of Chicago proper.
Avalon Park: This eastern portion of Chatham is made up primarily of frame houses and apartments for rent, some dating back to the mid 1880s! Get out your history books and brush up on the Italian stonemasons that settled this part of the town.
Village Center: Not many places available here in Village Center, but if you're lucky you can find an apartment home for rent for less than the average price in Chatham. You'll probably bump into your neighbors on your commute into Chicago quite a bit.
Beamington/ Irwins Park: If you like convenient shopping and parking, this is the spot for you. Expect about a 20-minute jaunt to downtown, if you're driving.
E. Walnut Street/ Gordon Drive: Cozying up to the western edge of Lake Springfield, this is the northernmost neighborhood in Chatham. Rents are a little bit higher and so are vacancy rates, so get to hunting!
Sandwiched between 79th and 95thStreets to the east and west, respectively, and the Illinois Central Railroad and Dan Ryan Expressway to the north and south, Chatham occupies a significant bit of Chicagoan real estate. The area has its roots in the industrial development of the mid-1800s and was in a prime location to serve as an industrial hub. Starting with duck hunting and then becoming home to the Cornell Watch factory and eventually a number of steel mills, Chatham has always been a hard-working town. The city is still home to several of the most successful businesses in the country, such as Johnson Products Company, Seaway National Bank of Chicago, the Independence Bank of Chicago and the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan Association.
- Chathamites drive to and from downtown Chicago all the time. The Chicago Metro train services the area, but many people opt to sit in traffic instead, with average commute times ranging from 15 to 30 minutes.
- The neighborhood has seen a huge revitalization happening over the last year in order to combat the rising crime, property neglect and economic instability. Community leaders and residents are devoting their energy to a number of projects to assure that Chatham remains the jewel of the South Side.
- Chathamites enjoy taking in the culture, adventure and nightlife of downtown Chicago. In summer, swimming at Lake Michigan is a popular activity it's a unique beach with a shore that sits just below the skyscrapers of the Chicago skyline. When winter rolls around, people flock downtown for shopping and holiday festivals. Other activities include the fun and food on Navy Pier, visiting the John Hancock building and St. Patrick's Day, when the city dyes the river green to celebrate!
Living in Chatham offers a real glimpse into the pulse of Chicago. it's a great opportunity to live at much less of a cost than settling down in the city itself while still having quick and easy access to all the glory of downtown and beyond.