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FOR ME,For me


this was especially difficult given that I had been in the same state and


city for the majority of my life. I had helped my partner raise children and had built a great new career in Ohio. And now, toward the end of my career, I’m facing a major life change that calls into question how I would live in a major city in the mid-fifties of my life. One thing I knew for sure, it wasn’t going to include living in another house.


Not knowing anything about how people live in Chicago, and having only lived in apartments and houses, I felt like I was starting from scratch. With the help of a Realtor®


, I


decided to cast a wide net and toured Chicago looking for just the right place for the two of us, two dogs, a cat and two goldfish. At the time, we were both sure we knew what we wanted; a neighborhood with an established identity, close to friends, and very quiet; and, not a high-rise and not close to work.


I set out with one of the most patient Realtors® to find just what I was looking for. After 48 visits of all kinds of places, where did I find my dream condo? Downtown South Loop, close to work and at the top of a high-rise, far away from established neighborhoods and friends, and quite noisy.


The call came in, like it often does for many of us, the call of congratulations that you got the new job. Within minutes the excitement builds as you listen to your future salary  the details about the transition, but your mind starts to wander, and you wonder how  moving to the third largest city in the United States and you haven’t a clue how to start.


I knew this is where I would live when I walked through the door. It had things I wasn’t looking for; a view of the lake, a layout that was perfect, a kitchen with windows with views of the stadium and museum, and east facing windows in the master bedroom to watch fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night. I was home. I convinced my partner this would be our new house and we made an offer they couldn’t refuse.


During closing, the lawyer discussed the condominium rules and regulations. They kept referring to “regs” and I just acted like I understood. They explained that assessments would be due each month, and we discussed how taxes would be paid followed by how I was responsible for the drywall-in. Wanting to get into my place as soon as possible, I signed quickly and just concentrated on building my new life.


It wasn’t long after living in my great new space that I received a bill for $1,300.00 on top of my assessment. I was told this was “special.” I tried to find things on the internet about special assessments which not only made me more confused but also started to scare me that I made a terrible decision. I learned how people lost their condos from not being able to pay an assessment, and how neighbors flooded their condo, but their insurance had to pay for the damages. The horror stories went on for pages and pages. But the one thing that was clear from all of the reading, owners need to attend all meetings. So I did.


www.cai-illinois.org • 847.301.7505 | 39


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