Buying A Chicago High Rise Condo

Buying a Chicago high rise condo can be a dream come true for many people. And to be sure the reality of living in a Chicago high rise condo matches the dream, here we examine the key questions every buyer should ask when buying a Chicago high rise condo. Know these questions and you’ll search Chicago high rise condos with confidence. And find the right one for you!

Resource: All the latest Chicago Condos in the MLS

Questions When Buying A Chicago High Rise Condo:

Let’s take a look at why each question is important.

What amenities are included?

We begin with one of the more enjoyable aspects of Chicago high rise living – those amazing amenities!

Aside from location and views, amenities tend to be the main attraction for buyers interested in high rise buildings.

Typical high rise amenities can include state of the art exercise rooms, elaborate indoor / outdoor pools, sundecks, dog-runs, as well as 24-hour door personnel, on-site dry cleaning services, secure package receiving rooms and many other attractive features.

That said, some Chicago high rise condo buildings take amenities to a higher level.

For example, the latest condo high rise in Chicago, Vista Tower (pictured above). Vista features spectacular views and an impressive array of amenities. These include a Sky Lounge and Terrace with pool, spa and fire pit. And there’s even a golf lounge and wine tasting room!

Another building with exceptional amenities is The Legacy At Millennium Park. Beyond all the typical premium amenities, it features a very cool skybridge over to the neighboring University Club. This makes it an exceptionally attractive choice for club members.

We always advise buyers to really think about what amenities are a “must have” versus a “nice to have.” Because, regardless of what amenities you use, you’re paying for them all!

Resource: Search Chicago high rise condos with Chicago Home Search.

Is the building pet-friendly?

Next up is the question of pets. If your roommate Boomer is a 250 lb. English Mastiff, it might be challenging to find a Chicago high-rise condo that welcomes him.

Of course, your broker can help you search Chicago high rise condos that are pet-friendly. And Many Chicago high rise condo buildings allow common pets.

But they often have size and / or weight restrictions. Ask about this up front. (btw – if you have a pet snake, high rise living is not in your future.)

And if you’re a dog owner you’ll want to be sure the building has adequate green space nearby. To help with that, here are the best neighborhoods for dogs in Chicago.

If you’re not a fan of pets in the building it’s easy to find buildings that are pet-free.

Is there ongoing litigation?

Is there any ongoing litigation that will result in financing issues for me or future buyers?

Find out before getting too far along in the buying process. Have you broker ask this question up front at the first showing.

And ask your closing attorney to confirm prior to closing.

How much money is in the reserve fund?

Reserve funds are used to pay for larger maintenance projects and other large “one-off” costs.

A good rule of thumb is to look for $2000-$3000 per unit for reserves. This depends on the age and size of the building.

It’s also a good idea to ask about work that has been recently completed on the building. This way you can get a feel for what projects might be coming down the road.

Especially if you’re buying into an older high rise building. Review the condo association financials prior to closing. These are made available during the attorney review period.

Are there any planned special assessments?

Special assessments are often required to pay for large projects when there is not enough money in the reserve fund.

Special assessments can be quite significant in high rise buildings so it pays to determine if the building has any on the horizon.

Your buyers broker will ask about specials during the showing.

One great way to confirm what the listing broker says is to read the condo board minutes. Look for unresolved and ongoing problems. For example, roof leaks or elevator problems. Like the financials, the board minutes are made available to you during the attorney review period.

How much are the monthly assessments?

Monthly assessments or home owner assessments are paid by each owner to cover ongoing maintenance of the building.

They also includes staff salaries and necessary building repairs. Plus money to build up reserve funds intended to pay for larger future repair projects.

Living in a Chicago high rise condo can mean paying higher monthly assessments than you would pay if you lived in a smaller condo building.

This is because, in addition to being in locations that tend to be more expensive, high rise condo buildings often offer many more expensive amenities.

They also have a larger staff than is required by a smaller building.

Are there any rental restrictions?

Before you buy a high rise condo it pays to know the rental restrictions.

Right now you might not anticipate wanting to rent your place out but you should be aware of your options should you decide to rent in the future.

To do this, take a good look at the by-laws before you buy. Your closing attorney can help make sure you see the bylaws and minutes in a timely way.

Related: How to buy a Chicago condo for airbnb

Other factors

Other factors to consider when buying a Chicago high rise condo include storage, noise, parking and rules about renovation. Talk with your broker about these factors.

So now you know the questions to ask when buying a Chicago high rise condo. But you’ll also want to ask yourself these 4 questions before you buy a high rise condo or any condo for that matter.


Living in a Chicago high rise condo can be a wonderful experience for the right person. As long as you ask good questions of yourself and about the building up front. And have the right real estate broker to help you sort out the answers to those questions. For that, we’re here to help!