Home Sweet Whatever


While money is the biggest reason I won’t have my so-called “dream house”, so is living in Chicago.

Unless I want to live in the outskirts of 606 in a neighborhood I have only just learned of while house hunting (NO OFFENSE, IRVING WOODS), I will never be able to afford a single family home.

Once I let go of this idea, I started focusing on all of things I wanted in a condo. Things moved from want to would like (living on the top floor) and others remain on the former (second bathroom, re: second toilet).

After dipping my toe in late last year, I already had a somewhat good idea of what all went on during this horrendous process.

And like most things in this country, you need money to make money.

Anyone who says something like “but your mortgage will be less than your rent” can literally jump in a river, because while YES, your MORTGAGE will most likely be less than Chicago rent, the actual amount you pay per month on your home probably won’t, especially if you’re in a condo with an HOA fee.

Not to mention you’ll need a big fat wad of cash, even if you have down payment assistance, even if you don’t have to put more than 3% down, even if your seller is willing to pay most of the closing costs.

$1,000 earnest money. House inspection. Lawyer. Appraisal Fee. Settlement Fee.  A year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance. ESCROW. The move itself.


I just put my initials on like eight documents with multiple pages just to make an OFFER, one that will probably get rejected because it’s a seller’s market (three buyers for every one seller) and I’m asking for the seller to pay closing costs. This house has been on the market for THIRTY FOUR HOURS. And the only reason I knew about it is because I obsessively look at my Redfin app twenty times a day even though I’m not REALLY ready to buy.

As the three of us stood in front of the house I asked my fiance, is there going to be a place that I walk into and say “this is it”?

We agreed that that would probably be a bad thing because then if we didn’t get it it would be that much worse.

This place is NOT my dream condo. But the truth is, I can’t afford a dream condo. I know what I’d settle for and that’s about as good as it’s going to get.

When you’re looking in a place like Chicago WITH A KID, there are things to consider like safety (more so than perhaps normal…like when I was in my 20’s and needed to pay less rent), SCHOOLS, access to public transportation and playgrounds and a grocery store, all of this while thinking about it in a more permanent way. If you pick the wrong apartment maybe you’re stuck with it for a year.

What if the neighbors are horrible? What if the roof caves in (the building is self managed)? What if we fall through the floor? What if. What if. What if.

But I just read in the small print that this offer is only good for two days, so I can probably crawl back into my affordable garden apartment and delete Redfin off my phone by the weekend.

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