Apartment hunting in Chicago

A high-rise view of downtown Chicago, a busted air conditioner that leaks, endless stairs leading to corridors of grease-stained walls and vegetable gardens on the roof. These are some of the things to think about if you’re trying to figure out where to live next year.

Housing at DePaul

It’s true that DePaul offers a variety of housing options for students, but the decent-looking dormitories come with a price. In Lincoln Park, students are able to experience a traditional campus setting with 30 acres of dormitories for freshmen and sophomores and townhouses for upperclassmen.

The dormitories cater to a safe and inclusive environment for newer students while offering a list of immensities including “feature cable television, wireless Internet and access to a phone line,” according to the hosing website. The average cost to live in an on-campus dorm varies by location, but all residents pay an annual fee of more than $5,000. This price does not cover the cost of food and is only available on campus. In addition, resident advisors monitor the activities of students and enforce dormitory rules.

While unprotected from the university, off campus options are also available for upperclassmen and graduate students. Located at 1237 West student apartments offer loft-style living with a round the clock doorman. The student apartments also include “full in-unit kitchens; coffee and banking,” according to the housing website. The average cost to live in the apartments is more than $10,000 annually.

“I never wanted to live in a dorm because I felt like it would ruin my life,” said Sam Johnson, junior at DePaul. “There’s more rules for the dorms than there is at my mom’s house.”

In fact a major reason why students decide to live off of campus is to experience Chicago and pursue dreams of freedom. While housing associated with DePaul is generally safer, students must adhere to a list of standards that includes checking in all visitors, sobriety and the recognition of Resident Advisors.

Using a website to find housing

If searching for housing beyond DePaul, students can check out the website domu.com. Dubbed as the space where “Landlords and tenants connect,” this website allows potential apartment renters or condo buyers to select criteria for their future home.

When searching for housing through domu, simply click on the neighborhood map for Chicago. It showcases almost every community in the city, from Lincoln Park to Humboldt Park to the neighborhoods on the South Side and beyond.

Craigslist also provides a space for apartment searching. The website categorizes the criteria into sublets, rentals and vacation homes, and prospective renters can scroll through long lists of ads. It’s true that the amount of ads on Craigslist can be confusing and intimidating, but a low monthly renting rate is the ultimate goal.

“When I was looking for apartments I tried to avoid Craigslist because I didn’t want to get ripped off,” said Johnson.

While Craigslist is not the main culprit of apartment fraud, The Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago urges prospective renters that conning or scamming is all too common, and the victims are often college students and the elderly. The website emphasizes the idea that if anyone pressures an individual to sign papers at a rapid pace, it is probably a scam.

Crimes to Consider

According to areavibes.com, Lincoln Park and Lakeview have one of the lowest crime rates on the North Side with a combination of 2,167 crimes against people and property. While the most common crime in these neighborhoods is theft, “there were also 29 burglaries, eight robberies, 20 thefts from motor vehicles and 10 incidents of criminal trespassing,” according to Lincolnparkpatch.com.

Tri-Taylor, a near West Side community, experienced a staggering number of criminal activities, with a combination of 5,287 crimes against people and property.

“By moving from River Forest to Tri-Taylor I was able to see the difference in the way people lived. When I moved to Tri-Taylor I carried mace,” said Phillip Colucci, a senior at DePaul.

When considering an apartment, it’s a good idea to not only compare the prices of rent based on neighborhoods, but it’s almost imperative to check out crime rates. While Logan Square caters to the hippest of city-dwelling denizens, its crime rate sits at an unsettling 3,887 crimes against people and property.

“I like the feel of a place that feels like a suburb, with children playing in the front yard. It’s safe,” said Colucci.

The Cost of Freedom

Whether living on campus or somewhere else in the city, independent living can offer some perks. Without a curfew or the imposition of a parent, the concept of freedom is taken to a whole new level. It’s easier for students to experience something new, but their organic upbringing will always remain.

“Regardless of the area you live in, everyone will kind of go back to the way it was at home, with no boundaries or limits,” said Colucci.