Moving to Chicago will be more than moving to another city, it would be an adventure and challenge. Chicago metro area is the third largest in the US and one of the most diverse cities. This means that there is a lot for you to learn and choose from. You will need to familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods and choose the one that suits your lifestyle. You should research about cost of living in Chicago, taxes, schools and everything that would be applicable to your life. Chicago is an international city and you will see that as soon as you set foot there. There are great schools, the Great Lakes, beautiful skyline, career opportunities and more. Thus, if you are planning to relocate to Chicago you should start your research (including choosing Chicago Movers) way in advance.
Chicago Moving Guide – Cost of Living
The cost of living is the first thing most of us consider when looking to relocate to another city. Chicago is not the most expensive, but not the cheapest city as well. If you are moving from New York or Boston to Chicago, looking at the big picture, you may find it more affordable. Yet the economic landscape in Chicago is changing every day so, you have to stay updated. Yesterday on Oct. 12, 2011, for example, the new Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his new city budget proposal that will increase city sticker fees, parking fees and water. Overall, the cost of living in Chicago is 12 percent greater than the national average.
Chicago Housing Market
When moving to a new city is important to research well the housing market. Whether you will be renting or buying, home prices and taxes will have an impact on the area you will move in to. Chicago has great variety of neighborhoods and all of them can offer distinct lifestyle. The north side of Chicago is way more expensive than most of south side and the western neighborhoods. More affordable renting you can find in the suburbs. The western suburbs offer more space for your money, and no additional fees for parking. The areas around O’Hare airport is divided into less expensive and more expensive suburbs (which is weird considering the fact that the planes don’t fly selectively only above some suburbs). Then, everything 50 or more miles away of Chicago is cheaper and quieter. When it comes to neighborhoods, you have to choose wisely. Young and urban people tend to go for the hip Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Wrigleyville. Still hip, but more mature place is the city of Evanston. Evanston is just north of Chicago Gold Coast and it’s a bit pricey. Downtown Chicago has a business district, Theater district and night clubs district. The home prices there are very expensive, but if you can afford it you will be extremely satisfied with the city life. Chicago area average home price varies greatly. It can be somewhere from $100,000 in some suburbs to $600,000 and above in downtown area.
Moving To Chicago – Chicago and Cook County Taxes
The taxes also vary depending on where you live. Chicago has the highest city, property, sales and hotel taxes. Cook County is the largest county in Illinois and since it is the most populated, it’s the most expensive. So, overall the Chicago metro area is more expensive than the rest of the state. Local sales will vary from 10 to 12 percent and 8 in the suburbs. It is one of the highest sales taxes in the country. Cook County property taxes are going up despite that homes values are down 30% – 40%. So, you can expect to pay around $6,000 for two bedroom two baths home.
Gas prices in Chicago are also one of the highest in the country. Now, they have fallen to an average of $3.50 per gallon, but still remain high. In the city of Chicago the average price is $3.75. Therefore, when moving to Chicago you should think of taking an advantage of Chicago public transportation. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has a reasonable web of busses and trains. Chicago has 8 train lines (called “The L” by Chicagoans) and around 200 bus lines. The CTA offer variety of passes and travel cards. If you are a student most colleges cooperate with the CTA to provide full time students with free passes. You can find more transportation about the CTA on their website www.TransitChicago.com. One more asset to the public transportation in Chicago is the Metra Train System. The Metra has 11 rail roads that serve the entire Chicago metro area. It is a great convenience for those living in the more remote suburbs.
Moving Guide Chicago – Traffic and Infrastructure
Having a good knowledge of the public transportation system and schedules will help you get around the city and the metro area. This would help you travel more freely without depending on a car and having to check on the traffic every hour. Yes, if you travel by car you will have to listen to the traffic reports in Chicago in order to move efficiently. Unfortunately, the traffic in Chicago is one of the worst in the country; it is number two according to the Texas Transportation Institute. So, if you love to drive consider that fact if you are moving to Chicago. However, Chicago has a great infrastructure that has been continuously updated and renovated, at a price of course. Most highways in Chicago are tow roads.
Chicago Moving Guide – Career opportunities
After all that information, you are probably thinking that there must be something good about Chicago? Well, yes there is and there are actually many great thing about Chicago. Moving to the Windy City has its many advantages, and hopefully they will outweigh the disadvantages for you. Career opportunities and diverse culture are Chicago’s great assets. Moving to Chicago will give you the chance to excel in your career path, no matter what that is. Chicago offers career opportunities for people of all professions. Are you an artist? Don’t think that only New York or San Francisco have something for you. In Chicago you will rediscover your artistic nature once you get involved with the art people. Most people would say that the unemployment rate is high, but actually the job market is strong. There are many openings for computer and marketing specialists, accountant and teachers. You can check for yourself at the online job portals.
Now, about the culture…it is difficult to describe that hybrid created here. Since Chicago is an international city, most world cultures are represented here. There are many ethnic neighborhoods and with that come a great food variety, restaurants and shops. Of course there is Chinatown, Little Italy, Greek town, but that’s not all. There are Indian, Russian, Koren, Eastern European and many more ethnic communities working and living in Chicago. Another asset for Chicagoans is the nightlife. In Chicago most night cubs are open till 5 a.m. and then there are the 24/7 breakfast places.
Besides all that though, you will find nice shopping plazas and malls, and amazing beaches and parks for relaxing summer weekends.
Moving To Chicago Guide
Moving to Chicago will be life changing and a challenge. No matter where you come from, in Chicago you there is something for everybody. Hence, get ready to move to Chicago and start planning early. Moving is a complex matter, especially is you are coming from a different state or country. Long distance and international moves require great organization and professional moving help. As soon as you know that you are moving to Chicago, start getting ready.
Chicago Moving Tips
You will need to organize many things yourself and prepare the house for the move. Refer to our moving checklist for more information on how to organize your move. There are specifics on how to choose a good moving company, how to wrap and pack things yourself and more. The most important for you would be the moving cost. That is very hard to say because it depends on the type of your move and the size of your house. Chicago is a major commercial and cultural center and strict relocation rules are enforced. A good Chicago moving company will know about them and inform you. For example, you need parking permits for the downtown area and have to reserve an elevator in advance for the moving day. Choose wisely your moving company as this is crucial for a successful move. Obtaining a few free estimates is one of the most important steps. That will give you the chance to compare and contrast the moving services and prices. However, never hire a moving company based only on the given moving quote. Research the moving company carefully and ask for references. You should also read online moving reviews, but take those with a grain of salt, do not always trust the third party entities ranking because they never consider the claims to moves ratio. The more information you have the better decision you will make.
Have fun moving to Chicago and let us know if you have any questions.