Moving from New York? Chicago will put you in a New York frame of mind.

Nov 16, 2021Buying Basics, First-Time Home Buyers, Homebuying Process, Real Estate Tips

The decision to move has been made, maybe for a job transfer, family obligation or something in between…Whether a native or transplant, you have grown to love the neighborhood and all the city has to offer, so even getting to this point might not be easy. Finding an area similar to your current home is key. If it is Brooklyn, then Jefferson or Albany Park are good places to start to look; if Tribeca, then take a closer look at Streeterville or Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The Gold Coast will make you feel right at home if you hail from Midtown.

The Neighborhood

Websites like Block by Block, or Best Blocks will help narrow down the search. Connect with an Exclusive Buyer Agent who knows the city and what makes each neighborhood unique.

The Process

Create a checklist to keep the transition on track. Here are a few to details:

Real Estate Agent | In New York, connect with Elika Real Estate. Gea Elika has built a hugely successful buyer agency company, who’s transactions focus on buyers exclusively. Although Elika only works with buyers, they have a great network of New York agents to help with selling or subleasing. In Chicago, Harty Realty Group is has a proven track record to help find the next condo or home.

Movers | Full service companies like Two Men and a Truck will pack and unpack and handle all the details in between.

Utilities | Be sure to schedule a transfer of services, disconnect in New York and reconnect in Chicago. Your actual needs will vary based on the building: Natural gas – Peoples Energy; Electric – ComEd; Cable and Internet – RCN or Comcast; Water and garbage – City of Chicago.

Merchant services | What services are you currently using in New York? Create a separate check list with these details to make this transition much simpler in the long run and help to narrow down the best area in a particular neighborhood. Dry cleaning, florist, local banking, pharmacy, grocer, gas station.

The Windy City

What does Chicago offer? Every year thousands move from the Big Apple and head for the Windy City, trading the bright lights of Broadway for the friendly confines of Wrigley, home of the 2016 World Series Cubs. Chicago tends to be more livable, easier to transit through, possessing a calmer vibe with wide open park spaces that rival Central Park. Instead of five boroughs, Chicago has nine sides, each with its own personality. The result of Daniel Burnham’s “guiding vision”, Chicago’s layout makes sense, resetting after the great fire of 1871. Burnham’s goal included every citizen being walking distance from the park – today there are plenty.
Just like New York, decide what drives you…food, theater, music, recreation and set about it…there is something for everyone –
When it comes to food Chicago has no shortage of exceptional restaurants pushing the limits of culinary techniques and ingredients. The West Loop was named one of the top 18 food neighborhoods by Food and Drink, home to Elske selected as the number two restaurant in the U.S. by Bon Appetit for its “clean and modern approach.” From Top Chef’s Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat, to burgers at Au Cheval, and the joyful execution of Next’s Ancient Rome menu, there are endless options for every palate.

If theatre is for you, the bright lights of Broadway have stiff competition in Chicago. You’ll experience the same level of artistic talent and passion as your favorite Broadway show. From Les Miserables at the Cadillac, to Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre. Theatre in Chicago is transformative, and beyond the iconic theatre district are over two hundred underground stages producing one of a kind, first rate shows.

For those into the music scene and missing Summer Stage in Central Park, Northerly Island on Chicago’s lake front for summer concerts offers favorite artists in an outdoor venue. Originally an executive airport known as Mieg’s Field, Northerly was the result of dismantling the airport in 2003. If a jazz performance like the one’s experienced at New York’s Birdland, check out Green Mill in Uptown, you will be taken back to a time when Al Capone and his gang ran the city. Live jazz performed in a small stage setting until 4:00 am most nights. Chicago cannot claim to be the birth place of Jazz, but it is undeniably a city where the genre is thriving and evolving. Thalia Hall and Schubas’ Tavern are known showcase artists like shows of New York’s Rockwood Music Hall. The Ghost of Paul Revere, Ryan Joseph and Fay Ray to name a few.

If you want to get-away from it all, just like a weekend getaway to upstate New York or small sea side town along the ocean, Chicago offers a vast array of destinations. An easy drive around lake Michigan puts you in New Buffalo, Michigan within an hour. New Buffalo with its sandy beaches, shopping, quaint restaurants and great night life at the Four Winds Casino is a weekend paradise. From there, Saugatuck is just a mere two hours along the majestic coast line, perfect for strawberry and blueberry picking during the summer season. North of Chicago is Lake Geneva, WI, inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

There is no denying New York is a one-of-a-kind city, with an international audience unlike any other in the world. New York absolutely puts you in a unique frame of mind. Chicago though, is culturally rich, with a fun yet unpretentious night scene, offering its residents a world class lifestyle rich in diversity and experience. Chicago will not disappoint, and no matter what you are looking for, has something for all.

Welcome to Chicago!


Be sure to choose an Exclusive Buyer Agent to help you through all of the intricacies of buying a home. Find an agent here.


Rich Harty is the President of NAEBA’s Board of Directors; and a licensed Realtor, Managing Broker and Exclusive Buyer Agent with Harty Realty Group in Highland Park, Illinois.

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