When I first began house hunting in Chicago, I’d only lived in four neighborhoods (Rogers Park, North Center, Roscoe Village and Lakeview, in that order) in the city. Though work and play had taken me to the far edges of the city on all sides, I didn’t know what it was like to live anywhere but a select area on the North Side. I was residentially cloistered.
Thankfully, the broker we worked with took the time to get to know my husband and me. Over a homebrew in the living room of our tiny Southport Corridor apartment, he came to understand not only what was on our wish list, but why we’d put it there. He started matching our needs, wants and abilities with a real place.
Then he sent us on a mission: Get on the CTA Brown Line and take it to the end. Walk around and see how it feels. Get to know this new-to-you but clearly well-established and self-aware neighborhood known as Albany Park. Sure, he sent us there because the housing stock better matched our needs and price range. But he also understood what we were looking for in an area: Something walkable, with a strong sense of place and unabashed pride in its diversity. A place to call home.
Nearly five years in, I can say that we’re proud Albany Parkers and that I can’t think of a better place for us to have landed. But also, I can’t say enough about our broker, who pushed us to explore the city and figure out what would be right for us. This is the broker I hope you’re striving to be: Someone who understands your clients and your area well enough to be a celebrated matchmaker.
Our cover story dives deep into three other brokers and neighborhoods that fit this bill, and I hope you’ll have as much fun exploring them as I did. And be sure to share what’s special about your ’hood with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.