Finding A Rental In Chicago’s Competitive Market

Finding a rental in Chicago’s competitive market can feel stressful for sure. Higher rent prices, more people out looking and limited market knowledge can make your search feel overwhelming.

No worries! This article will help you understand the competitive Chicago rental market. Plus, provide you with tips on how to smoothly secure your ideal rental.

“The highest inflation rate in decades coupled with high demand for rentals are fueling Chicago’s incredibly competitive rental market.”

High mortgage rates for buyers are causing them to decide on renting instead of buying. Plus the influx of renters who were living with parents in the ‘burbs over the past few years during the height of Covid and are now clamoring for their own place! :-)

Given these factors, to “win” your ideal rental, you really need to prepare.

Let’s get started…

What to expect in today’s competitive Chicago rental market

  • Multiple applications on a property
  • Newly listed rentals moving within to 3-10 days
  • Listing agents calling for “best and final rent offers”
  • Property owners being more selective
  • Property owners holding out for multiple applicants

8 tips for success

  1. Know your credit score. Yes! your Credit Score is important for renting property!  650 or higher is good. 700 and higher is great. If you know your credit score is on the lower end you MUST have a qualified co-signer lined up and ready to support you. Owners look at credit scores!
  2. Act fast. This is not the time to spend weeks reviewing properties, if you have already identified the one you love. Most likely there is not going to be a better property. If you can get your application in first and get your agent to start the conversation and advocate for you to the owner, then you have more chance of eliminating the competition.
  3. Expect multiple applications. Be prepared to submit multiple applications for your top 3 rentals. You may spend $40-$75 on rental application fees but you are giving yourself more options for success with getting the rental you want.
  4. Be flexible on the move-in date. If the property is available now, the owner wants a tenant that can start paying rent sooner than later. Try to be flexible with an earlier move-in date.
  5. Consider increasing your rent offer. Owners know it’s a competitive market and with multiple applications on a rental property, it may be a good idea to “sweeten” the rental price by going up $100-$500. If you love the unit and are maybe only planning on leasing 1yr and the rent covers gas, wi-fi, basic cable and parking then it may be worth it to increase the rent amount to knock out the competition.
  6. Consider offering a longer lease term. Some owners prefer not to go through the rental process every year and want a great long term tenant. Offer a 2 year lease.
  7. Explore ALL your options. If you want a 2 bed/ 2bath, maybe a 1bed +den will still work. It all depends on the floor plan. Don’t get hung up on sq footage, you need to physically be in the space and experience the layout. 800 sq feet has many different possibilities.
  8. Consider various neighborhoods. Chicago is a big city of many diverse and wonderful neighborhoods. Be open to different neighborhoods. In a competitive market it’s wise to be flexible. Best Chicago Properties has information on all Chicago neighborhoods and we serve them all.

Tap here to explore Chicago neighborhoods!

Janeen Hayes, Chicago Realtor®

Talk with me about your Chicago rental needs!

My very best tip…

No matter whether you’re moving from abroad, from another state or just another Chicago neighborhood, the very best thing to do is contact an experienced local real estate agent for assistance.

“A knowledgeable and experienced local agent will be your secret weapon!”

Your agent will set up your search, email you instantly with new listings and set up showings.

Moreover, they will have trustworthy relationships with other local agents. These relationships could help you find an off-market rental. Plus, they can give you the edge over the competition when bidding.

In addition, if you’re out of town they’ll organizing virtual tours. Plus, advocate for you with the owner’s agent, help organize the lease and give you all you need to get happily settled into your new place. Renter’s agents are paid by the listing broker, landlord or apartment complex after the lease is signed. So you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

After reading this you might be unsure if you should buy or rent. No worries, you’re not alone!

Tap here to see if buying or renting is best for you.


To conclude, we hope this article has given you all the tips you need for finding a rental in Chicago’s competitive market. Search rentals here or contact me, Janeen Hayes for help successfully finding your ideal Chicago rental.