10 Phrases That Prove The Chicago Apartment Struggle is Real

1. "Walk Up"

Get ready to feel the burn because there aren’t any elevators in this building. At least you’ll get those buns of steel you’ve always wanted sans the expensive gym membership. What’s that? You have some furniture to move in as well? Get ready for a lot of this:

2. "3bd/2ba Unit"

Don’t have 2 other friends whose leases end at the exact time yours does? Get ready to live with a bunch of strangers! You fantasize that you’ll be like Zooey Deschanel in New Girl. Bonding via late night drinking games, wing-manning for each other, and related shenanigans. In reality you end up with roommates who eat your pop-tarts, lie about it, and then hog the TV to watch Fraiser reruns when The Voice is on. Oh and that little thing called privacy you used to have? Poof! it’s gone!

3. "Free Utilities"

Lies! This is a roundabout way of saying that all of the utilities are already added into the monthly rent price you are currently looking at. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes you a little suspicious about what else they might be hiding….

4. "Partially Furnished"

The expectation is you can move in with just your clothes. You don’t even have to buy plates! You’re actually paying a little extra to also rent a couch, a bed, a small table with a stool, and if you're lucky you’ll get a pot with no lid, 5 soup spoons, 12 butter knives, and a random set of chopsticks (not that we’re speaking from experience or anything…).

5. "Garden Apartment"

How many gardens have you actually seen near or around a garden apartment? (enter cricket noises here). These units are really more like basement apartments, but that doesn't sound as enticing as imagining yourself in a secret garden. As for Chicago garden apartments specifically, you may find yourself doing some burrowing during the winter months.

Garden apartments in Chicago got us like:

6. "Jr. 1 Bedroom"

This is a fancy way to say convertible. What’s a convertible? It’s a studio parading around masked as a one bedroom. There is usually a partial wall enclosing a super small area that you’re expected to put your bed in. The upside is you can easily pass off a convertible as a 1 bedroom without the actual one bedroom price. So while all your friends are paying full price for a 1 bedroom, feel free to brag about your Jr 1 bedroom.

7. "Boutique" or "European Style"

“This boutique apartment comes with a European style kitchen.” It must be super elegant and lavish! I mean if anyone knows how to do a kitchen, it would be all of Europe right? In layman's terms "Boutique" means small and expensive, and "European" means tiny.

8. "Vintage Charm"

Old. Like it may still have parking for your horse and buggy old. So old that it was recently updated with indoor plumbing. You're apartment is so old, it’s first listing was written in hieroglyphics!

Yo' apartment building is sooo old, its original address was in Roman Numerals! Yo' building is so old, their pet policy includes weight limits on dogs and pterodactyls!

You get the point...it’s an old building.


9. "Natural Light"

Hey guess what?! This apartment has at least one window! How big is it? Who knows! But you won’t need to buy too many floor lamps! Technically every listing could advertise natural lighting. What you need to look for is one that boasts “TONS” of natural lighting. That could mean beautiful bay windows or, dare we dream, floor-to-ceiling windows!

10. "Gut Rehab"

You saw the listing, but there weren’t any pictures. You show up to an apartment that is LITERALLY gutted! This place actually looks like the next set for American Horror Story: The Murder Apartment. On the bright side, exposed plumbing pipes are kind of like abstract art right?

The BEST way to eliminate the struggle

AptAmigo : A very helpful website complete with a Chicago Neighborhood Guide, and thousands of detailed apartment reviews from real residents that will give you a solid idea of what it will be like to live in an apartment before you ever sign a lease! Instead of guessing which building has great shower pressure, lightning quick wifi, and awesome management, you can hop on AptAmigo.com to know for sure!