Things To Consider When Buying A Home In River North In Chicago

Buying a Home In River North

It’s time to open the door to a new chapter in your life—literally. Turning that knob signifies a fresh beginning, with the opportunity to build a community in a new neighborhood and make some wonderful memories. When you’re buying a home in River North in Chicago, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for.

Having a set checklist will simplify the process and help you find your dream home as quickly as possible. Here’s what you should know before embarking upon your search.


When it comes to commuting in Chicago, transportation should be a major priority. Think of that bitter, winter chill and Chicago windstorms—having direct access to a transit line or bus can make a real difference each day. Fortunately, River North is incredibly convenient, as there are train stops abound, and it’s in immediate walking distance to the Loop.

Still, mapping out your morning commute to work ahead of time could help you narrow down your options within the River North area. Are you looking for the Chicago Brown Line, the Merchandise Brown Line, the Chicago Red Line, or the Grand Red Line? Figure out your easiest path, and find a home in River North that’s in close proximity. There are also multiple east-west and north-south bus lines available. Of course, if transportation isn’t a priority (perhaps you work from home), this won’t be as large a factor.


Can’t move without Snickers—a Maltese and designated roommate for life? It shouldn’t be a problem, as most condo buildings in River North allow pets. However, some definitely don’t, so discussing your needs with your broker ahead of time can prevent you from falling in love with a home, to only then find out that Snickers has got to go.  Some buildings will also have restrictions on number of pets, weight limits and even certain breeds for dogs.

Once you’ve found your ideal buildings, consider your surroundings. There are several dog parks in River North. Plus, if your dog isn’t trained and you’d like to avoid an indoor accident as much as possible, it might be worth finding a building that’s a few steps from the park. You can choose from Ohio Street Dog Park,  Montgomery A Ward Park, or Fulton River Park, all of which are beautiful.

Level Of Amenities

Like most neighborhoods, River North can vary in amenities, and there are certain living standards that newer buildings offer that older establishments simply don’t. This is a good thing—no matter your budget, you can find something that fits within your price range and still meets your expectations.

For instance, if you’re looking for the trendy, loft vibe, you can easily find it in River North, and many of these lofts are spacious, safe, and conveniently centralized to hip restaurants and nightlife. What’s more—they’re often cheaper, too. The drawback is that some of these buildings in River North might have limited gym and recreational facilities (or maybe even none at all).

If you have a gym membership in River North, it shouldn’t matter too much; yet, if you’re looking for an abode with direct resources within reach, you might want to look into more modern, luxury-style apartment buildings. Several offer 24-hour door person services, equipped fitness centers, and even rooftop chaise and pool facilities.

Building Type

With a wide variety of buildings in River North (mid-rise, lofts, townhomes, and highrises), it’s important to pick the building type that will suit your lifestyle. For example, if you are a light sleeper then living in a timber loft may not be the best idea for you as sound can travel more easily in those buildings.  If you require a door person for the added convenience of receiving packages and additional security, then a highrise or mid-rise makes more sense than a townhome.  Deciding on a building type will help in narrowing your search.


Will you be having a car in the city?  If so, be prepared to pay an additional $30k – $50k in many buildings where parking is deeded separately.  Additionally, you will have a monthly assessment and property taxes for deeded parking spaces as well.

Outdoor Space

Despite our Spring and Summer seasons being relatively short, residents of Chicago do enjoy their outdoor space.  What kind of outdoor space you can get will be impacted by your budget, but many buildings do offer balconies and some units in River North can also have large terraces or private decks.

In-Unit Laundry

Having in-unit laundry will certainly save you a trip to the building’s common laundry room.  In some buildings, laundry is not permitted given the building’s old plumbing that is not adequate for adding washer / dryers in the unit.  If this is a requirement, certainly let your agent know upfront to help narrow the search.

Budget & Financing

River North offers a wide variety or homes ranging from small studios to multi-million dollar penthouses.  When beginning your search, it’s important to take into consideration the “all-in” cost of home ownership.  With high rise and condo living, a big chunk of your monthly payment will be condo assessments.  You should definitely take into account:  mortgage, assessments, property taxes, and utilities (that are not covered in assessments) to figure out an appropriate budget that can help determine what price range you should consider.

Discussing your preferences with your broker will help in preparing showings and saving time and effort. When it comes down to it, it’s best to go with your heart. If you’re set on River North, you can’t really go wrong.