Sunday, April 16, 2006

Location and Transportation Vs Size = No Brainer

Size doesn’t matter… at lease not with Chicago condos. Let me explain.

I’m currently working with a very cool couple from Michigan. They are first time buyers this spring, but have rented in the city for two years. They have a pretty big place now-and pay a hefty rent. So, finding themselves established in Chicago, buying makes sense for them considering what they shell out each month for a vintage rental.

However, home shopping has been a little bit of a shock. To meet their transportation, social and price needs they found the available condos a bit small. How would they fit all of their stuff? Would they feel cramped? Could they possibly have their first kid here or there?

Ahhh… the constant conundrum for many of my “suburban young couple turned urban professional” clients.

In these cases I usually suggest we could be in Tokyo or New York City. If that doesn’t do it, I move on to the many values that make living in Chicago great and the need for smaller dwellings necessary. It is a real gut check for young people who have grown up in sizable homes.

I first remind clients how great it is to walk a couple blocks to the Red Line or Brown Line and zip to work. You don’t even have to remember where your car is (if you have one). Secondly, how great is it to walk to the lake, the coffee shop, even the grocery store. This is truly a lifestyle thing… a gift the City gives us. For instance, it is a fact that urban populations are thinner and healthier than their cohorts in the suburbs.

Third, finding a great little condo with majestic mature trees on the block, a terrific outdoor space, and modern amenities will trump giving some landlord all your money for a large vintage dump. A small space is also a chance for a new beginning, free of clutter and unnecessary possessions. Besides, the reason to be in the city is to develop your career, try new things, enjoy the culture, university and social outlets, and re-prioritize your values. Your own home is a comfortable, customized pit stop during your busy week.

So, by staying light, freeing up clutter, choosing a flat that’s close to transportation and offers out- door space, and allowing yourself to enjoy the lifestyle and urban beauty at its best… you won’t sweat the square footage.

Oh, and the Michigan couple… we found a great brand new conversion, two bedroom condo with a large deck and front terrace, near the lake and Red Line for under $225K… oh and it’s a top floor too.

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