Are you looking for a contemporary spot with character and convenience? Well, look no further.
Living in Chicago’s West Loop, you’ll get all of the above with a unique contrast between old and new. Over the years this neighborhood has evolved from an industrial manufacturing hub to Chicago’s residential hot spot and restaurant haven.
Situated between Ashland Avenue and the Chicago River, the West Loop is saturated with old manufacturing warehouses converted into contemporary lofts, trendy restaurants, and hip new office spaces, offering a new look to Chicago neighborhoods.
While the revitalized urban area is full of energy, the West Loop is far less chaotic than living right downtown.
So you’re interested in learning more about this city’s booming neighborhood? Here’s some insight into all the hype over Chicago’s West Loop.
The South Loop boundary is described by the Lake to the east, Canal Street to the west, Congress Parkway to the north and the highway to the south around 25th Street and Chinatown. The South Loop has exploded with residential and commercial development along Michigan Avenue and around Museum Campus. Aside from being Chicago Bear country, the South Loop has a seen a culinary explosion with high end restaurants and craft brewery taverns. South Loop's location is ideal access to the lake front running path for avid outdoor enthusiasts who take advantage of the 13 miles of uninterrupted path.
The River North neighborhood has grown into a vibrant neighborhood with a unique identity. River North has put Chicago on the map as a US Tech Start-up hotbed. In 2017 Chicago ranked 7th for the city with the largest venture capital deals by value. Companies like Groupon, Uptake, Morningstar and Salesforce have driven demand for jobs and for residential living. Our local River North real estate agent know the market best.
Streeterville is an exciting and unique neighborhood of downtown Chicago. Residents that choose Streeterville take advantage of the access to 13 miles of Lakefront running path, Navy Pier, Oak Street Beach and Millennium Park. Directly off of the Mag Mile their are an abundance of restaurants, shopping and transportation options. Streeterville residents often commute to work on the Chicago Water Taxi which is a completely unique experience in a city like Chicago. Our real estate agents have a combined 20 years living in Streeterville and can show you the gems.
The Gold Coast is Chicago's first who's who neighborhood. Lined with luxury brownstone single family homes and situated on the north side of Mag Mile, the Gold Coast offers a unique neighborhood experience. Aside from the shopping the night life offers a variety of options for bars and restaurants along Rush Street, State Street and Oak Street.
Lakeshore East is a master-planned mixed use urban development built by the Magellan Development Group in the Loop just off Lakeshore Drive and Randolph Street. Lakeshore East features several of the tallest buildings in Chicago and may include a few of the tallest buildings in the United States. The overall planned development, the park, and several of the individual buildings have won awards for architecture and/or urban planning. The buildings are planned for various types of residential use (condominiums, apartments, or hotels).
Old Town is home to comedy star-maker The Second City, which introduced the world to Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Key & Peele, John Belushi, Jane Lynch, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and…well, you get the picture. You can catch a live show every night of the week, featuring the city’s top up-and-coming talent.
But Second City isn’t the only reason to explore here. This historic neighborhood is a picture-perfect place to shop on-trend boutiques, dine at historic restaurants, and admire homes in one of Chicago’s most luxurious residential districts. Wells Street is the main drag where you’ll find tons of buzzing spots to eat and drink — it’s a popular spot for bar hopping. Let our real estate agents show you around and help you understand what fits your lifestyle.
Home to the largest Chicago park, one of the best museums in Chicago and a zoo that you can visit without paying a dime, you don't have to look hard to find worthwhile attractions in Lincoln Park. Stroll through the campus of DePaul University before you head for the neighborhood's namesake green space, where you'll find a conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, beaches, a lily pool and a pavilion designed by Jeanne Gang. In the evening, stop by the Second City to see improvisers at work or see the latest premiere at the Steppenwolf Theatre before a meal at on of the best Chicago restaurants. Have some fun in one of Chicago's most popular neighborhoods by making your way to these Lincoln Park attractions.
The neighborhood of Bucktown forms the eastern-most boundary of the Logan Square community, and is defined by the North Branch of the Chicago River to its east, Bloomingdale Avenue to the south, Diversey Parkway to its north, and Western Avenue to its west.
In addition, the Kennedy Expressway (I-94) runs right through the middle of the neighborhood, thus giving residents easy access by car to the Chicagoland area and beyond. Though Damen Avenue is considered the main artery in Bucktown, there are a number of popular areas along Diversey Parkway, Fullerton, and Armitage Avenues (east-west) and Elston as well as a slice of Milwaukee Avenues (north-south). This gives the neighborhood numerous pockets for shopping, dining, and entertainment, all walking distance from wherever one resides. Add to this the Bloomington Trail – also popularly known as “The 606” – at the southern boundary, and you’ll find that you’ll never be without something to do, indoors or out.
Looking to buy a home in the Chicago area? You’ve come to the right place. West Loop Living are the most trusted West Loop real estate agents, built on the unrivaled local experience of our licensed REALTORS®. Buying a home is a journey, from search to showing and negotiation to closing, we are with you every step of the way. Our team of professional REALTORS® bring experience, cutting edge technology, and unparalleled knowledge of the Chicago real estate market to every client we serve.
Selling a house in the Chicago area? From home valuation and staging to price negotiation and closing to everything in between, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Don’t worry — you’ve come to the right place. As the preferred and most trusted real estate agency in the West Loop, West Loop Living is at your service to make this journey an easier one.
West Loop Living partners with Lofty Real Estate Property Management who is the name to remember when you need property management services in Chicago or West Loop. For more than a decade, Lofty's professional property managers have been running some of the most notable properties in Chicago. Recognized many times for quality and integrity, Lofty's licensed real estate agents and property management team is ready to manage and protect your investment efficiently. As an owner you get one stop access to a portal where all your financials are available at your fingertips. As tenants you get a one stop portal for rent payment and maintenance requests.
Angela has been a real estate agent for the last 30 years. She assembled the team when she realized our community needed a one-stop-shop for real estate needs.
As a real estate agent and investor Jake has a keen talent for flipping houses in Chicago. He has a knack for finding the properties whose value has the potential to increase exponentially!
Mara is our financial wizard real estate agent in West Loop Chicago. She will be with you every step of the way, financing and pre-qualifying to getting the best mortgage rates, or making the most out of your asking price.
West Loop bars offer the ideal spot to unwind and enjoy a drink. The surplus of trendy neighborhood bars boasts sophistication, great happy hours and fantastic patios. When the workday ends, the hustle and bustle of the West Loop does not cease.
Bar Siena is always a crowd favorite. Whether it’s the post-work crowd or the late night owls, the bar scene here is alway happening. Not only is the menu complete with an extensive beer list and signature drinks, but each food item is made from scratch and served late. The beautiful two-story space, complete with an outdoor patio and impressive furnishings, delivers the perfect atmosphere.
If you’re looking to enjoy an elegant night on the town, enjoy a nice glass of bubbly at RM Champagne Salon. Of course, champagne is not the only item on the menu. This elegant bar also offers a wide selection of beer, wine ,and handcrafted cocktails. The impressive late night menu also offers mouthwatering flatbreads and small plates just in case you find yourself in need of a bite.
One of West Loop’s newest bars, Punch Bowl Social is the place to go if you want to take winding down and letting lose to a whole new level. With crafted beverages, arcades games, and a bowling alley, this is the perfect spot for any adult to forget about work and unleash their inner kid.
From top-rated spots to small hidden gems, this neighborhood has it all. Strolling down Randolph Street, referred to as ‘restaurant row’, you’ll find some of the hottest West Loop Chicago restaurants.
The infamous Girl and the Goat has gained praise from Chicago residents and tourists alike. Executive chef, Stephanie Izard, opened her acclaimed restaurant after winning Bravo’s hit show ‘Top Chef’.
In the restaurant’s eight years of business, Girl and the Goat has received an impressive list of awards and nominations. So it’s no surprise that reservations should be made extra early if you’re trying to secure a dinner spot here.
Au Cheval, another praised West Loop Chicago restaurant located on Randolph Street, has earned its hype thanks to its infamous burger. You need to try this burger for yourself to understand all the hype..
From the prime beef patty to the thick-cut peppered bacon, and the infamous fried egg on top, this burger is pure perfection.
A couple pieces of advice before heading over to Au Cheval:
Don’t show up to the restaurant completely starving
Come prepared with ways to kill some time before your meal
There’s almost always a guaranteed wait at Au Cheval so it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. Plus, we promise it’ll be worth the wait.
When it’s time to celebrate and splurge for that special occasion, Oriole is the perfect reservation. This fine dining, Michelin-rated restaurant offers much more than a delicious and unique cuisine. The intimate dining room, elegant decor, impeccable service and an extended tasting menu make for an unforgettable dining experience. For 190 dollars per person, you’ll find a meal that really does provide you the bang for your buck.
If you’re on a time crunch in between work, don’t worry because there’s plenty of speedy alternatives. Honeygrow is just one quick and healthy option.
This brand new location right off Lake Street is quickly gaining popularity. The unique restaurant offers customizable stir-fry bowls, salads, cold-pressed juices and a fully honey bar. To save even more time, you can order your meal in advance using the honeygrow app.
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Mortgages that are not insured by the government are conventional loans, some examples include:
Some conventional loans are also called “conforming” mortgages, because they conform to guidelines issued by Governmental Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two governmental sponsors buy mortgages from lenders and sell them to investors.
Other conventional loans are also called “non-conforming” mortgages, because these loans are much larger than the loan limits set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These mortgages are known as “jumbo” loans.
“Portfolio” loans are also considered conventional loans, which are held by private mortgage lenders that issue their own guidelines. Since these lenders do not sell mortgages to investors, they can offer different features that other mortgages do not. For example, a lender may allow a borrower to use stocks or bonds or other investments as security for a mortgage.
“Sub-prime” mortgages are conventional loans that are offered to borrowers with low credit scores. Because these borrowers are considered high-risk, lenders are able to issue higher interest rates and enforce stricter terms.
If homebuyers decide to finance a conventional loan, there are a few requirements potential borrowers must follow in order to qualify. For example:
A conventional loan requires borrowers to put down as little as 3 percent. Because lenders require borrowers to put down under 20 percent of the home’s value, they are able to issue higher interest rates and fees.
In addition, because lenders allow borrowers to put down as little as 3 percent, they also require borrowers to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is a premium lenders issue to borrowers that put down under 20 percent. This premium is an additional monthly fee rolled into borrower’s monthly mortgage payments. The premium only protects lenders if borrowers stop making payments. The way a borrower’s PMI is calculated is based off their credit score. Meaning, the better your credit score, the lower your premiums.
A borrower’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is another factor lenders calculate. Typically, DTI for a conventional loan can be as high as 43 percent. However, some lenders may accept higher ratios, but this depends if the borrower has a higher credit score or sufficient cash reserves. You can calculate your DTI by subtracting your monthly gross income by all of your recurring monthly debts.
When borrowers apply for a conventional loan, most lenders will require borrowers to have at least three months’ worth of cash reserves after closing. Simply, this means borrowers must have three months’ worth of funds to cover monthly mortgage payments in addition to other home-related costs. This will give lenders reassurance borrowers are financially fit to finance the home beyond the closing day.
Like other mortgage loans, lenders will require to see documentation regarding your income, employment history, assets and more. For a general scope, here is what they will require:
This will give lenders a better idea of what rates and terms they can approve borrowers of.
Conventional loans were designed for those who have a credit score as low as 620 and are unable to make a down payment of 20 percent. Because lenders allow borrowers to put down as little as 3 percent, they can issue a higher interest rate due to their credit risk. In addition, require them to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect the lender if the borrower stops making payments.
Depending on the type of home, borrowers will need to have a specific credit score, down payment amount and at least three months of cash reserves after closing in order to qualify.
Your lender can evaluate your financial stability and desired loan amount to determine if you are qualified to finance a conventional loan.
This varies from lender to lender, but most commonly, a lender will allow borrowers to put down as little as 3 percent of the home’s value. However, it is recommended to put down more, so you can qualify for a lower interest rate and better terms. In addition, to avoid paying more or none at all for private mortgage insurance (PMI).
A conventional loan is a type of mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. All this means is that lenders will not be reimbursed for the loan if the borrower stops making payments. Because conventional loans are not guaranteed by the government, lenders can require borrowers to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if they put less than 20 percent down.
Other conventional loans include conforming mortgages. Conforming mortgages must follow guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Again, because there is no governmental insurance for the lender if the borrower defaults on mortgage payments, conventional conforming loans are more difficult to qualify for compared to an FHA mortgage. As a rule of thumb, lenders are more willing to approve potential borrowers for a conventional conforming loan if they have a good credit score, a steady income and can put down 20 percent (if using a conventional loan, as little as 3 percent).
An FHA loan is a mortgage loan that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This means, if a borrower financing an FHA loan fails to repay the loan, the FHA will reimburse the lender for their loss. Because an FHA loan is guaranteed, lenders are able to offer competitive interest rates, terms and low down payment amount.
In addition, borrowers with low credit scores are eligible to qualify, which makes the idea of homeownership still achievable. Similar to a conventional loan, lenders will require FHA borrowers to purchase mortgage insurance if they put less than 20 percent down.
A debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is calculated by taking a borrower’s monthly gross income and subtracting it by their monthly debts, such as credit card bills, student loans, car payments, and other recurring debts. This ratio gives lenders more clarity of how you are left financially, while handling other debts. Because mortgage payments are an additional expense, lenders like to see that borrowers are making more money compared to the amount they owe.
Typically, for a conventional loan, lenders like to see a borrower’s DTI of 43 percent or lower. Some lenders may make exceptions to higher ratios, but borrowers would need to have a higher credit score and a solid amount of cash reserves to compensate.
The West Loop is right next door to the Loop. For many residents, that means a walking commute to work of 15 minutes or so. The West Loop is also becoming a major business hub with offices from huge corporations like Google and McDonald’s. Residents can live and work in the same neighborhood.
When it comes to getting around the neighborhood on foot, bike, or public transit, you could hardly ask for a better place to be. According to Walk Score, the West Loop has a transit score of 100 out of 100, a bike score of 85 out of 100, and it’s the second most walkable neighborhood in the city.
The number of places where you can eat out is a major determining factor in a neighborhood’s popularity. The West Loop scores major points here with Restaurant Row on Randolph Street in Fulton Market. Residents and people from all over the city and suburbs can be seen crowding eateries like Girl and The Goat (and chef Stephanie Izard’s more casual eatery, Little Goat Diner), Au Cheval, Bar Siena, Nando’s, and more.
The same street is also home to Randolph Street Market Festival, an art, antiques, vintage, and fashion festival that runs during select weekends.
West Loop Real Estate Blog