When condo shopping, especially on the North Side, there are plenty of options. There are lofts, walk-ups (both new construction and rehabs) and lakefront high-rises. What’s best for you?
If you are looking for space, particularly if you want high ceilings, lofts may be good for you. And there are parts of Lincoln Park and Lakeview that used to house factories which have now been converted into condos. But if you’re shopping on the North or Northwest Sides, you’re mostly likely going to be looking at walk-ups or high-rise buildings.
This author recently went through the same search, before settling on a high-rise unit. As might be expected, the two types of condos are quite different, and you’ll have to find what works best for you. In my case, a need for parking for my car led me to look at high-rises, since most have garages. There are walk-up units with off-street parking, as well, but the numbers are lower.
High-rise buyers will find themselves paying more for assessments, since most high-rise buildings have maintenance staffs and doormen whose salaries need to be paid somehow. Walk-up units can be appealing due to the lower assessments, but during my search, I noticed that the average price of a unit in a walk-up or low-rise multi-unit dwelling seemed to be a bit higher than that of comparable high-rise units.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the community make-up of the building itself. In a walk-up, you’ll have only a few neighbors. On the one hand, the small amount of people could give you a sense of community, on the other, it makes it hard to escape your neighbors should there be a beef. Living in a high-rise is like living in a mini-city, there are plenty of people to meet, and its easier to retreat should you not see eye-to-eye with a neighbor. Also, many high-rise buildings offer perks like a gym, pool, party room, or marketplace.
During my search, I looked at both types of buildings. In the end, I picked a high-rise because of the view, the available parking, and the lower purchase price. But my experience, like every other buyers’, is unique. You’ll need to take some time to go over your own needs and wants, and then make the call.