I am a nomad in Chicago and I love it.
In the past 6 months I have lived in 4 different apartments in 4 different neighborhoods. I’ve lived in Bucktown, Wrigleyville, Roscoe Village, and now Lincoln Park. When my lease was up, I didn’t want to be tied down to a contract that stated I was obligated to stay in the same place for a year. I’m lucky to have wonderful and loving parents who would allow me to live at home, but I wanted to stay in the city. (They are also nice enough to let me store belongings there). However, I don’t have a lot of stuff that I actually move around with. I can literally fit everything into the back seat of a car. I can move in and out of a place in less than 20 minutes. No movers necessary. I’m mobile. It feels great.
Save money and live comfortably for ridiculously cheap
Being mobile has allowed me to take advantage of housing opportunities I otherwise would not be able to take advantage of. There is a temporary/sublet housing section of craigslist in most cities. There are 1 month, 2 month, 3 month, etc sublets available. There are all sorts of people in all sorts of situations that need to take on an extra roommate or fill their studio for the rest of their lease. There were college students that wanted to sublet their apartments for summer. There was a girl moving to England who needed to rent her place for 2 months. Someone had decided to travel in Italy for a month and wanted to rent out his room. For extra income an idle room was now available for rent. People had lost or changed their jobs, and were moving to another city. Whatever the situation was, people needed to rent out their place for a temporary amount of time so they would not be “out” the money and pay for a place when they weren’t living there.
Many were willing to accept much lower than what they were paying because if they didn’t get someone to sublease, they would get zero and be out the full amount. They signed a lease and were obligated to pay for the full year whether they lived there or not. This is where I get to swoop in and get that awesome deal in a good part of town.
Apartment Rental Hacking
There are also apartments that have remained empty for months. This means the landlord has been paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and upkeep costs while receiving no revenue from the property. If an apartment is normally rented for $800 a month, I will offer $400 on the grounds that I will temporarily occupy the apartment and can be given 48 hours notice to leave and find someplace else. This might sound ridiculous or crazy, but it’s actually not. Some landlords have balked at this offer. They can’t come to terms with accepting less than their asking price. They think accepting this offer is admitting defeat and accepting failure. However, each month that the place goes unrented is a failure, because they receive zero. My unconventional offer allows the landlord to receive some income while still being able to look for someone to pay the full price. Since I am mobile, once they find a tenant willing to sign a lease, I can move out on a short notice. I am a landlord myself and I would accept this offer from someone if I was having trouble renting the place. Everyone’s situation is different. This doesn’t work in every case. Both parties have to come to an understanding, and this usually will only work out if discussed in person.
Flexibility = Freedom: The Roommate Update
The great benefit here is flexibility. Whether you are looking for a 6 month, 9 month or 1 month lease, there is usually someone in the opposite situation looking for a way out. My current roommate has a lease that ends in April. We have discussed subletting the place so we can find one closer to his favorite internet café. (He is studying for the GMAT and loves that 24 hour internet café with the comfortable couches). Sounds ridiculous to move for such a reason, but when you’re mobile, it’s not. Can he find someone willing to sublet his place here for 6 months in addition to finding a place near that internet café to sublease for 6 months? Don’t know for sure, but we have the flexibility to try.
I have never felt such an exhilarating sense of freedom in my entire life. I can move about as I please, and pick up on the shortest of notice. This constant movement might sound nauseating to some. I understand that. This is why I don’t recommend it to everyone. However, if you have some flexibility and would like to embark on a nomadic adventure in your own city while saving some cash, you know how to do it. This has been the Mark Lawrence Nomadic Update. Stay tuned…