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By Robert Pratt | Broker in Chicago, IL
  • Micro-Apartments to Attract a Young Crowd

    Posted Under: Curb Appeal in Chicago, Rental Basics in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  January 21, 2014 1:08 PM  |  465 views  |  1 comment

    Would you like to supersize that?  Americans like more than just big French fry portions.  We have an affinity for all things ballooned in size.  We prefer big cars, big closets, big diamonds and more.  We ourselves are even bigger – with recent studies exposing the American obesity epidemic. 

    So then, how is the idea of something so small growing in popularity?  The mini-size trend referenced is micro-apartments.  Micro-apartments have been around for decades and were first presented as a solution in the nation’s most expensive housing markets like New York, Seattle, and Washington DC.  The rooms are about the size of a hotel room (300 square feet or less) and often lack a separate kitchen or defined bedroom.  The pint-size apartments offer less space in exchange for lower rent.

    Nationwide, rent prices have soared.   Consequently, renters are embracing the “micro-apartment” as a less expensive alternative that commonly offer large lobbies and general communal space.  Real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc. disclosed to the Wall Street Journal that 26 micro-apartment projects are in the works totaling 2,000 units built or under development since 2011 across San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Seattle.

    Some real estate experts find the concept flawed.  Most critics feel micro-apartments only work in large metro cities.  In smaller or less expensive cities, rents aren't high enough for renters to give up space.  Another potential problem cited in the WSJ article by Kelly Saito, president of Gerding Edlen, the developer Boston micro apartments, is that cities must offer enough of a draw to live downtown. 

    Chicago apartment rentals definitely aren’t cheap, and most renters would gladly pay less and the city’s neighborhoods offer plenty of nightlife, restaurants, and easy commuting options.  So with all the general needs to be successful, do you see micro-apartments as the next wave of Chicago homes? 

  • Insurance: A Must-Have for Chicago Renters

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  July 28, 2011 2:31 PM  |  1,400 views  |  No comments
    Once considered an optional luxury, renters’ insurance has grown in importance in light of the developing rental market in Chicago. As more and more former Chicago homeowners enter the apartment rental market, the demographic of renters is slowly changing—as is the number of people investing in renters’ insurance.

    Just five years ago, a study by the Insurance Research Council reported that only 43 percent of renters had insurance on their apartment, despite its relatively low-cost at around $8 or $9 a month on average. At the time, the majority of renters were younger people with less secure financial situations who were willing to the take risk of not having insurance.

    The recent state of the housing market, however, has shifted the demographic of renters from young graduates to young well-off professionals or older wage earners. This grade of renters who are choosing to stay longer in apartments or are coming from owning their own home before, is more likely to possess valuable objects in need of insurance. In addition, a larger percentage of apartment companies are requiring their renters to get insurance than during the years prior to the recession.

    While most apartment building owners invest in insurance that covers building repair such as roof damage, their insurance often does not account for loss of a tenant’s personal belongings (in the case of a robbery) or damaging mistakes made by tenants such as kitchen fires or wall damage. Instead, these issues are the responsibility of the tenant. In order to avoid the possibility of messy litigation and argumentation, apartment owners simply mandate that their tenants purchase insurance before being allowed to move in. This arrangement benefits both the owner and the tenant.

    Single-family homeowners who temporarily rent their property can benefit from rental insurance as well. These homeowners often rent out their homes only until they can secure a sale on it, so they have an obvious interest in maintaining the quality and appearance of said property. Renters insurance can protect a rented home from disasters like water damage until it is ready for a sale.

    Overall, renters insurance can prove a worthwhile investment for everyone involved in a rental situation. Chicago renters should consider investing in this relatively inexpensive insurance to ensure they do not end up with any unexpected costs or surprises that would otherwise be covered by renters’ insurance.

    Post by: Dream Town real estate in Chicago
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