“Why would anyone want to buy an apartment?!”
This question was posed more than three decades ago by someone who’d been raised in suburban Chicago during the 1950s and ’60s; privileged to have lived in a single-family house since the age of two. As a young adult in the early 1970s, she moved to a high-rise rental apartment on Sheridan Road in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, directly across the street from one of the very-first high-rise condominium developments built in the city. In fact, it was from this rental unit that she enjoyed her first-ever residential lake views, sliced between the twin towers of the aforementioned condominium complex.
The condo concept, relatively new in 1974, was completely foreign to the young woman who hailed from Skokie and Lincolnwood. In her sheltered world, people either owned a house or rented an apartment. Period. In all fairness to her, though, the newfangled condominium mind-set heralded more than an innovative lifestyle; it represented no less than a revolutionary route to home ownership at the time. She, not unlike most Chicagoans back then, merely needed to educate herself on the topic. (Those were pre-Internet days when one was without the resources simply to ”google” an unfamiliar word, if you can imagine such an era!)
Fast-forward 35 years. The person described above–yours truly–is about to offer guidance on the fine-points of condo living to a buyer who recently purchased an in-town apartment. This client lives primarily in a single-family house outside the city and is unfamiliar with the nuances of condo protocol.
Having owned an apartment in a high-rise condominium since 1997, I have an abundance of advice to dispense. Indeed! For the past few years, I have owned two studios side-by-side that I recently combined into one residence. Stay tuned for condo-combo and condo-lifestyle tutorials in future posts.
In the meantime, for all you Chicago real estate history buffs, a quiz: Name the two-tower condominium referenced earlier, located on Sheridan Road directly across from the first Chicago apartment where I learned to love lake views. Speaking of which, that rental high-rise converted to condominium within the past few years…