Safety Tips When Finding a New Roommate | ApartmentSearch

Two smiling and shoeless women facing each other and sitting on couch comfortably.Moving can be an exciting process! This is especially true if you’re looking forward to meeting new people and making new connections. To ensure a purely positive experience, we suggest erring on the side of safety when choosing a potential cohabitor. Before you split your bills with just anyone, do your due diligence when learning how to find a roommate safely by leveraging these four safety tips.

1. Stay Off the Internet (If You Can)

Are you asking yourself the question, “where can I find a roommate?” If so, your search may be shorter than you think. The safest way to find a new roommate is through a mutual friend or trusted connection. It’s reassuring to know that your roomie is vetted by a reliable source!

If real-world pairings don’t pan out, proceed online — with caution. Craigslist roommate finder is a commonly used tool for meeting your match. However, this method depends solely on surface-level interaction and intuition. Furthermore, scammers love to surf the waters of the World Wide Web, so make sure to never share bank information, passwords, or personal data to an alias on the internet.

2. Implement an Interview Process

If an internet search is your only option, implementing a roommate interview process will help to ease your mind. Before meeting up with a potential cohabitator, take the time to compile a list of thoughtful questions.

These can and should cover a wide range of topics, from practical questions to personal inquiries. The goal is to get a better sense of who your future roomie is as a person, as well as how they interact with other people and exist within their space.

P.S: Don’t forget your manners! To start on an even playing field, invite your interviewee to pose their own questions as well.

3. Hire a Professional

Using a professional service can be another way to ensure roommate safety. Conduct a quick online search, and you’ll find several roommate finder websites and agencies that take the guesswork out of this daunting task.

Some of these services even require background checks and provide matchmakers to facilitate first meetings. The caveat is that the more professional the service, the higher the price tag — a small price to pay for feeling safe in your home!

4. Make Nice Before You Move In

In addition to wondering how to find a good roommate, make sure you’re setting a good example as well! Meeting up before moving in accomplishes two things. One, it will help you and your roomie establish a friendly and respectful relationship before inevitable issues arise. Two, it will give you a last-minute opportunity to feel at peace with your move towards the future! We highly suggest this cautionary step.

ApartmentSearch May Provide an Alternative

You can count on ApartmentSearch.com to be a trustworthy companion throughout your moving experience. With its smart searching capabilities, you may even be able to find an affordable studio or one-bedroom that lets you skip a roommate situation altogether!

Get a broader sense of your options by checking out ApartmentSearch.com. Through browsing all of your new home possibilities, you’ll feel confident in the safety and certainty of your decision.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

6 Floating Homes We’re Ready to Buy This Summer

Live Life on the Water in One of these Floating Homes This Summer

In an age where minimalist living continues to be on trend, houseboats are gaining traction as desirable places to call home. Once deemed to be fair-weather, summer living situations, houseboats are now considered as more favorable, year-round residences.

That said, moving into a floating home in the summer is ideal. After all, it gives homeowners the chance to take full advantage of their new waterfront lifestyle. If you’re considering making the leap to living that houseboat lifestyle, check out these 6 floating homes we’re ready to buy this summer.

floating homesfloating homes

Luxury Lake Union Houseboat

Located in the heart of Seattle’s Lake Union, this brand new houseboat instantly brings nostalgic images of watching Sleepless in Seattle. While the home doesn’t necessarily boast of the same stunning views of Tom Hanks’ houseboat in the 1990s rom-com, this houseboat does feature lots of natural light, an open concept kitchen, and modern architectural design.

This luxury houseboat offers three balconies and a spacious rooftop deck, making it the perfect place to enjoy seasonal fireworks and celebrations on Lake Union. Located within walking distance to Fremont and South Lake Union, this million-dollar home has everything you could need.

Enjoy the Florida Keys From Your Front Porch

Rockland Key offers some of Florida’s best waterfront property, including this stunning houseboat. Designed as a tropical oasis that offers amazing sunrise and sunset views, this houseboat is unique in that it officers manicured grounds with fruit-bearing trees, fountains, and a large dock on its 7,000 square foot lot. If you’re looking to start a beach-front community, this might be the perfect floating home for you.

floating homesfloating homes

Paradise in Sausalito

Situated in the Bay Area, this picturesque houseboat checks all our boxes. Looking for enormous decks, craftsmen finishes, big water views, and updated appliances? Check, check, check, and check. This houseboat even comes with a basement — a rarity in the world of floating homes — giving the owner ample investment opportunity.

The home provides kayak, paddleboard and boat access to the San Francisco Bay, making this a perfect place to explore all the area has to offer.

Hayden Bay Waterfront Home

Located in Portland’s exclusive, gated Hayden Bay Community, you’ll find this stunning marina property. While this home blurs the line between houseboat and elevated living, the grand views of the marina bay from the huge windows and the large patio and deck make you feel like you’re experiencing the best of waterfront living.

If you’re looking to find a floating home that values entertainment, we think you’ll love this home’s granite slab cooktop bar, wine cooler, wet bar, and easy access to the marina.

floating homefloating home

Fennel Residence Portland

This houseboat is off the market, but we can’t help but fall for its whimsical organic forms. Constructed in Portland on the Willamette River, “the project is focused on the poetry of the ripples and contours of the river, it’s never-ending flow, the view, and the interrelationship concerning the play of the sun and moon as it courses through the days of the year.”

Laminated beams run throughout the floating home, highlighting the organic materials of nature and the sense of water flowing nearby. The home is a calming, natural retreat, and an inspiration for other floating homes.

Sample an International Houseboat Adventure

If you’re feeling like you want to sample what it’s like to live on a houseboat before you truly commit to the ups and downs of waterfront living, try visiting this houseboat in Prague first.

Located in the city’s trendy Holešovice neighborhood, this floating houseboat is a clean, modern clean design that’s symbolic of the city’s emerging design influence. Designed by famous Czech architects and designers, this home will surely inspire your houseboat living for years to come.


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

Holiday Spending Causes Spike in Household Debt

Saving Money on Holiday ShoppingSaving Money on Holiday ShoppingIt’s no secret that Americans spend a lot during the winter holidays. In fact, the average American expects to spend $633 on Christmas in 2018. This is partly due to all the holiday specials and sales and partly due to the fact that more happiness comes from giving than receiving or even earning something. Gift giving is great; however, the sales and holiday spirit can oftentimes entice us to overspend.

In the U.S. households add over $900 in debt on average during the holidays and most people will take over 5 months to pay it off. In a report by lendedu.com, 22% of respondents are expecting to take on debt due to Christmas shopping; over $500 worth of debt.

Buying gifts for friends and loved ones is great, until it leads to financial problems, resulting in terrible credit. One of the easiest ways to damage your credit is by overspending or maxing out credit cards.

How Credit Card Debt Can Impact Your Credit Score

It’s not uncommon, while shopping for Black Friday deals or Christmas shopping, that consumers tend to use credit cards. Many of us will reason with ourselves that it’s worth it because we’re getting such a great deal and, by extension, saving a lot of money. So we max out our credit cards on purchases we can’t afford because if we don’t we’ll lose out on these great deals which only come once a year.

Unfortunately, credit cards can have a major impact on our credit scores, causing financial distress down the road. Since credit cards aren’t tied to any assets, they usually come with high interest rates, fees, overage charges and more. This can lead to unexpected problems later in the year and could also make them difficult to pay off. This can lead to any of the following:

  • Maxed out cards
  • Late payments
  • Delinquencies
  • High debt to limit ratio
  • And poor credit history

All of these things can seriously damage your credit score, causing it to drop over 100 points. They can also lead to higher interest rates which just make it even harder to get out of that debt. Once your credit score drops, any loans, mortgages, credit cards or other lines of credit you open later on will have a much higher interest rate, assuming you are even approved.

Watching Your Spending During the Holidays

As mentioned previously, giving gifts is great and we don’t all have the talents needed to craft our own gifts from scratch, so we have to spend money to purchase them. Ideally, though, you’ll want to make sure that you just don’t overspend and hurt your credit. One of the best ways to do this is by simply budgeting out how much you can afford to spend and only bring cash with you when shopping. This can help prevent you from spending more than you expected due to impulse buys.

If you do use a credit card for your holiday shopping, make sure that you maintain a safe debt to limit ratio. Debt to credit limit ratio is the amount that you owe on your credit card compared to what your credit limit is. For instance, if your credit limit is $1,000 and your balance is at $500, then you are at a 50% ratio. The ideal ratio to have for improved credit is 30%, however, you can usually get up to 50% without negatively impacting your credit score.

For more financial help and information, please visit our financial resource center by clicking here.

If you are in need of credit counseling or want to improve your credit score, contact us today by calling (480) 478-4304

Source: creditabsolute.com

Fear Grows About Luxury Condo Real Estate Bubble

With great fanfare, construction started in 2014 on the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, a luxury condominium project in Miami. Designed by famed Italian architect Piero Lissoni, it is expected to contain 111 high-end condominiums residences and 15 stand-alone villas, but the project has been mired in construction delays and controversy. Three lawsuits have been filed against the project. The plaintiffs claim that they placed a down payment for a luxury condo, and the contract said the work would be completed by June 30, 2017. Work still continues on the project.

Condo BuildingCondo Building

The Glut of Luxury Condos

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach project is one of many projects that entered the luxury condominium market after the real estate crash. Fueled by a growing demand, Miami, New York, Chicago and other large cities have seen a boom in the construction of inner-city residential towers, especially in the high-end market. New York City saw nearly 30,000 units constructed in 2017. Construction is at a level not seen since the 1980s. Miami has over three years worth of inventory on the market as 70 condo towers with 7,112 units have been completed in Miami-Dade County since 2011.

The huge increase in the number of luxury condominiums has formed a glut in the market and created an oversupply.

“The high-end condo market, such as 432 Park (in New York City), is not selling as well and as fast as the developers wish,” said Maria Wall, a realtor at the Corcoran Group.

The same is true for San Francisco. The high-tech boom super-charged the real estate market, and developers have broken ground on numerous luxury condominiums projects. But the market is saturated with new units.

“The luxury condo market segment is now the weakest segment of the San Francisco market,” Paragon Chief Market Analyst and Vice President of Business Development Patrick Carlisle said. “If more new projects continue to come on the market before existing inventory is sold and without a corresponding increase in demand, the market can only become softer.”

Reduced Demand

Adding to the troubled market is the decline in demand. International buyers have been a key segment for the luxury condo market, but the high value of the dollar is hurting the buying power of international clients. The drop in oil prices has also reduced the demand for luxury residences among wealthy people from Russia and the Middle East, who had been buying many of the high-end units.

“In the wake of some extremely high-ticket purchases that took place with Russian buyers, there was an anticipation that it would be a deeper market for us,” said Frederick Peters, chief executive at a Manhattan real estate company.

Besides the decline in international buyers, places like New York are dealing with the repercussions of tax reform that passed at the end of 2017. The new tax laws limits deduction for state property taxes. That has made some buyers, especially in the high-end market, skittish.

Financing has also become a problem. The Miami Association of Realtors reported that only a small fraction of condo buildings in Miami have been able to get access to Federal Housing Administration loans.

Condo InteriorCondo Interior

Worries About a Bubble

The change in the luxury condominium market has started to raise concerns among economists, and people within the real estate industry. Janet Yellon, former Federal Reserve chair, warned last year that the prices for some commercial projects, which include luxury condominiums, were valued too high.

“Now, is that a bubble or is too high?” she said. “And there it’s very hard to tell. But it is a source of some concern that asset valuations are so high.”

The Federal Reserve has been working to tighten credit for commercial projects since 2015 when it issued a warning to banks about commercial real estate bank loans. The central bank was concerned about lax limitations on commercial real estate loans, and it outlined a series of steps it wanted commercial lenders to make. The move has made it more difficult to finance commercial developments.

Buyers Market

The reduced demand and glutted market are having a direct impact on the luxury condominium market. In early 2018, real estate sales declined 25% year-over-year in Manhattan. The decline was especially noticeable in the luxury condominium market. Prices fell 15% and sales were down 24%. Units are staying on the market for an average of a year and a half, a sharp increase.

“The next couple of years will be all about price discovery,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel.

Even while the market has shown signs of weakness, developers are continuing to build. It can take years to build a high-rise tower so many of these projects won’t be completed anytime soon. That means the number of luxury condominium units on the market is only going to increase, fueling the chances of a bubble.

“The onslaught of high-end development in Manhattan and Brooklyn shows no signs of slowing down,” said StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long.

Cash-strapped developers in Miami are now asking for a 50% deposit on some new condo project. That is more than twice the national average. The move puts more pressure on the market.

Buyers are also able to negotiate with sellers and developers on the price of a condominium. The huge glut has created a buyers’ market, and unlike the single-family residential market, buyers are in the driver’s seat.

“For deals to happen, the sellers are traveling a lot further to meet the buyer in price than they were a year ago,” Miller said. “That’s a good thing in the long run. It’s a sign of the market adjusting.”


James Shea is an award-winning journalist and author. He owns Media Lab, a content marketing and search engine optimization company is Richmond, Virginia.

Source: homes.com

Your Go-to Walk-Through Checklist When Touring Your Next Home

Make the Most of Your Next Home Tour With This Handy Checklist

As you embark on your home buying journey, touring potential homes is an exciting step towards finding the perfect property for you and your family. When a house is beautifully staged with attractive interior design, it can be easy to forget about details that feel small now but could turn into a bigger problem after moving in.

In a real estate industry that always seems to move quickly, it’s important to know what to look for when touring a house. Enter the house with a checklist of your priorities and don’t make compromises when it comes to that list. When you walk through the potential home, focus on aspects of the house that you can’t change—this means looking past pretty decorations and things that would be inexpensive to change.

As you enter a home for the first walk-through, focus on this checklist to make sure that you get everything you need from your new house.

moving checklistmoving checklist

Is the Neighborhood a Good Fit?

Before you even pull in the driveway, check out the condition of other houses in the neighborhood. Are the nearby lawns mowed and houses well taken care of? Or do homes have chipped paint and overgrown yards? Keep your eye out for regular street lamps, the amount of traffic on nearby roads, and access to public transportation. If the home doesn’t have a driveway, is there accessible street parking nearby as an alternative?

If you have school-aged children, locate nearby schools in the neighborhood. When you search homes with Homes.com, you’ll find ratings for nearby school districts on the home’s listing page. Be sure to also check out the value of other homes in the neighborhood to get an idea of a the right price for the home.

Home’s Exterior

Once you’ve scoped out the neighborhood, take a moment to focus on the home’s exterior. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the age of the roof, siding, windows, and foundation. Make sure the gutters look relatively new, and like they’re functioning well. If the home is south facing, does it require frequent repainting due to sun exposure?

Pay attention to how the yard is landscaped. If it looks high maintenance with lots of flowers that require regular watering, are you ready to invest in a garden and the equipment required to maintain it? Does the home have enough privacy from the rest of the neighborhood?

Before you start looking at houses, think about how much time and money you’ll be able to invest in the outdoor space of your home. Avoid touring homes that you don’t think you’ll have the time to properly take care of.

The Home’s Interior

The interior of the home is where you’ll presumably be spending most of your time, so take a lot of time to scrutinize the conditions of each room. Take note of the condition of the floors, walls, windows, and ceilings. Ask about warped floor boards and water damage, as these may be signs of leaks and mold.

Does the floor plan of the home seem suitable to you and your family’s needs? If you have small children, you’ll probably want all the bedrooms on the same floor. Will you have to carry loads of laundry from the basement all the way to the bedrooms on the third floor? Think about the way you move around and through your home, and make sure this home’s floor plan makes sense for your unique needs.

Are the kitchen and bathroom appliances modern, clean, and well taken care of? Check for mold and mildew in the bathroom in addition to making sure all the fans in the kitchen and bathroom work properly.

moving checklistmoving checklist

Home Systems

Ask about whether the home is energy efficient, how it receives heat and electricity, and what kind of HVAC system is currently in use. If you dream of one day installing solar panels for your home, make sure it gets enough sunlight to make this possible, and that the roof is strong enough to support the addition of panels.

Ask about what the utility bills generally look like each month, and keep your eye out for good insulation as this will save you money on your utility bills all year round. A home inspector will check to make sure the furnace and air conditioner work properly, but you can ask ahead of time to get an idea.

Does the home have a security system that allows you to feel more comfortable in the neighborhood? Check out our article that details new state of the art home security systems to find out what type of security works best for your new home.

Pests

Keep your eye out for signs of pests inside and outside of the house. Open up kitchen cabinets and look for mouse droppings. Let your nose be your guide when checking for pest infestation—cockroaches and mice often leave a recognizable scent.

If you notice something suspicious that might indicate that there is a pest problem, be sure to open up a conversation about it with the owner or real estate agent to learn about the history of the problem and ensure that the problem is being taken care of.

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Focus on Your Priorities

As you tour homes, keep in mind the elements of a home that are most important to you. Are you looking for a four-bedroom home with a huge yard for the kids to play in? Do you need a short commute to work? Once you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be easier to rule out homes that aren’t a fit for you and your family.


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

The Best Schools and School Districts in the Nation

It’s back to school time and across the country, parents are gearing up for after school programs, homework, and packed lunches. Aside from that, parents are preparing for the first day of school by going back-to-school supplies shopping and attending open houses at new schools. For potential homeowners, settling into a neighborhood with a decent school district is a major buying factor. It can often be a deal breaker for many families as high-performing schools tend to raise property value and vice versa. Homes.com has compiled a map of the best schools and school districts in the nation to highlight some of the best areas to live and raise a family.

Blue backpack with school supplies against brick wall.Blue backpack with school supplies against brick wall.

Whether public or private, communities across America are ranked based on the quality of the schools in their area. In fact, the quality of a neighborhood, including its schools, is among the top six home buying factors according to Inman. If you want to know why schools are so essential to the home buying process, then continue reading below.

Schools and Community

The quality of the schools around your home is important for many reasons. Education is an intricate part of the lifeblood that keeps a community thriving. School boards and city officials that regulate school districts interweave a system of support between parents, neighbors, children, and local resources to promote the well-being of the entire community. Engagement and participation from the community also strengthens the quality of the local school ecosystem. Many people, even those without kids, attend Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and school board meetings, help local kids with fundraising, and are committed to schools in their neighborhoods in other ways, but how do school districts effect home values?

Home Values and Schools

Research has shown that homes in close proximity to great school systems sell at higher prices than homes that aren’t in good school systems. With that being said, the demand for these homes also rises. This combination makes for extremely hot markets in areas that have good schools.

Factors like funding also play a role in the quality of school and home value correlation. Neighborhoods in wealthier communities are more likely to spend funding for schools more effectively.

Looking for a home in a perfect neighborhood? Those near these great schools might be just the perfect match!

What Parents are Looking For

Academics isn’t the only thing that makes or breaks a school district, according to Jennifer McMurray of McMurray and Associates Real Estate in Northwest Arkansas, parents are also looking for schools with good athletic programs as well somewhere that can prep their children for their secondary education.

“The two dominating factors for most home buyers are the academic and athletic opportunities available to their children. Parents want to set their children up for success post-high school, so choosing a school that has routinely sees students getting scholarships is important, or a district that trains athletes for college sports, etc. These are all factors that parents consider, and this routinely trumps several other factors in the home buying process.”

Although those living in homes in high-ranking school districts seem to have it made, those looking to move to a great area with a strong school system aren’t quite living on Easy Street just yet. Those relocating can often have some difficulty finding homes in areas with great schools. But, keep trying, although the market might be in high demand, research is the key to finding a great home in a great community.

“My advice to anyone would be to do your homework. Research the district where you’re looking to buy. Schools are proud of their accomplishments, so finding information like graduation rate, amount of scholarships awarded, number of state championships won, etc. are usually easily accessible. There are certainly districts that are more in demand than others for whatever reason, and those see quite a bit of interest for home buyers. That interest is good news for sellers,” said McMurray.

The Winner’s list

Jericho Union Free School District is the best school district in the country. Located in Jericho, New York, this district is governed by a five-person Board of Education that is committed to ‘success for every student.’ Five schools make up this district including Jericho Middle and High School, Cantiague Elementary School, Jackson Elementary School, and Robert Seaman Elementary School. The top public school is Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois. The top private school is Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

To find the home of your dreams, begin your simply smarter home search with us today!

This map was compiled using data from Niche.com, findings were created based on overall rating, academic grade, teacher grade, administrator grade, number of students, and student/teacher ratio.


Mahogany is a Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. In her spare time, Mahogany enjoys reading, writing poetry, blogging, traveling, and loves a good southern idiom. Mahogany is also a certified Reiki practitioner and enjoys all things supernatural.

Source: homes.com

Americans Take on Nearly $1,000 in Credit Card Debt After the Holidays

Credit CardsCredit CardsWith the 2018 holiday season behind us, many people are now trying to pay off that debt months after the tree has been taken down. Let’s look at how much credit card debt the average person racked up during the holiday season.

Amongst Consumers That Took on Credit Card Debt, Average Amount Was $998

LendEDU asked 1,000 Americans who took on credit card debt from their holiday spending some questions about their level of debt and what it will take to pay it off.

On average, those surveyed increased their credit card debt by $998.36 and are expecting it to take 10.28 months until that debt is paid off. The increased debt load was expected by the majority of those surveyed, with 70.90 percent saying they anticipated their credit card debt was going to go up because of the holidays.

Some of that debt wasn’t put on general credit cards, but rather on store-branded cards. More than half, 52.60 percent, placed some of that debt on a store-branded credit card. This type of credit card generally carries higher interest rates than general credit cards, although, at times, you may have deferred interest offers.

Not Surprisingly, Credit Card Debt-Induced Stress Common After the Holidays

With greater debt usually comes more stress, and 56.80 percent of the survey respondents said their higher debt load was causing them stress. Another 37.60 percent said they weren’t feeling stress from the increased credit card debt, while 5.60 percent said they weren’t sure.

Sometimes after the glow of the holidays has faded, some people regret spending as much as they did. Out of those surveyed, 42.30 percent said they regretted getting into more credit card debt because of their holiday spending. But a higher percent, at 49.80 percent, said they didn’t regret the extra debt, while another 7.90 percent said they weren’t sure if they regretted it or not.

More Than One-Fifth Intend to Restructure or Refinance That Debt

The majority of those who were surveyed, 59 percent, have no plans to refinance their credit card debt by taking advantage of a balance transfer offer, using a personal loan, or employing any other credit product. A much smaller percentage, 21.50 percent, were planning to refinance their credit card debt using one of those methods or another credit product. Another 19.50 percent weren’t sure if they were going to refinance their debt.

If you are still trying to recover from your holiday spending and you have more credit card debt than you’re comfortable with, here are some ways you can whittle away that balance.

  • Snag a lower interest rate: You can do this in one of two ways – through a balance transfer to another card, which will result in an introductory APR that may last up to a year, or by calling your existing credit card company. While calling your current credit card company won’t necessarily guarantee a better APR, it may result in a small reduction which could save you a fair amount of money as you pay off the balance.
  • Stop using your card: It’s time to stop the bleeding. Avoid using your credit card for any new purchases as you work to pay down that balance.
  • Shop around on your other expenses: Now might be a good time to get quotes on switching insurance companies, cable providers, or cell phone and internet carriers. You can use your savings to pay off your credit card balance faster.

Credit card debt can feel overwhelming, but if you’re motivated to pay it off, you’ll succeed in the long run. And in the meantime, be watchful of your spending and consider putting any cash windfalls you receive toward your balance.

Learn some helpful tips on how to pay off those pesky cards quicker. 

Source: creditabsolute.com

10 Things to Know about the Chicago Metro Area

Chicago has always been a highly sought-after tourist destination and a booming metropolitan area. The city is well-known for its industrial antiquity, from being a meat-packing haven to its world-renowned architecture. While you may know some cool facts about the ‘Windy City’ – Al Capone comes to mind – there’s a lot to love about the Chicago Metro Area. Here are 10 things you need to know about Chicago if you plan on making this ‘Prairie State’ region your next home.

A map highlighting the Chicago Metro Area including Chicago, Elgin and Naperville, IL.A map highlighting the Chicago Metro Area including Chicago, Elgin and Naperville, IL.

The City of Chicago, itself, is the major seat in the metro. Nestled on Lake Michigan, the city is nicknamed the ‘Windy City’ for its icy, cold winters. If you’re a lover of the snow, you’re in luck! Winters in Chicago bring, on average, about 21 snowy days. For those who prefer more moderate temperatures, summertime in the city is beautiful as the high averages 90 degrees at its hottest peak. In the early days of its history, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, this was due in part from the American Industrial Revolution that solidified the city as a manufacturing, retail, and finance epicenter. In addition, steel and meat-packing were major industries that attracted factory workers to this waterfront region. For families, the economic advancements in the city made for great potential for getting ahead and today, people from all over still flourish here.

  • Average home Price in Chicago – $218,000
  • Best neighborhood in Chicago – West Loop and Hyde Park
  • Biggest employer in Chicago – U.S. Government and Chicago Public Schools

Things to do in Chicago

  • Chicago Riverwalk and Navy Pier
  • Visit Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
  • Visit Millennium Park
  • Have a slice of famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s

This Chicago suburb is one of the safest cities in the nation. Naperville also has a great school district and the unemployment rate is low, making it a great city for families. On a good day, the commute from Naperville to Chicago can range from half an hour (by bus) to over an hour (by car, factor in traffic). If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Naperville has plenty of nature reserves and parks, perfect for an afternoon on the lake! There’s also the Centennial Beach, the Naper Settlement, and the Naperville Historic District.

  • Average home price in Naperville – $392,200
  • Best neighborhood in Naperville – Acorn Hill Estates
  • Biggest employer in Naperville – Edward Hospital and Health Services

Things to do in Naperville

  • Walking tours of the Naperville Historic Distric
  • Food tours
  • Visit Cantigny Park
  • Visit the Morton Arboretum
  • Have lunch at the White Chocolate Grill

With a booming housing market and local economy, the City of Elgin is a thriving Chicago suburb that boasts of many amazing characteristics that appeal to its residents and visitors, alike. If you’re looking for the arts and recreation of the big city, but you don’t want to necessarily live in the big city, then you have a winner! Elgin has its own Symphony Orchestra, Riverboat Casino, and Community College (which hosts special performances throughout the year). The city also prides itself with an amazing school district and its Elgin Academy. Elgin is just a little over an hour from Chicago.

  • Average home price in Elgin – $182,800
  • Best neighborhood in Elgin – Almora
  • Biggest employer in Elgin – Sherman Hospital

Things to do in Elgin


Mahogany is a Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. In her spare time, Mahogany enjoys reading, writing poetry, blogging, traveling, and loves a good southern idiom. Mahogany is also a certified Reiki practitioner and enjoys all things supernatural.

Source: homes.com