What Are The Key Things To Consider When Buying A Chicago High Rise Condo?

September 08, 2013

A reader asks,”I want to live in a high rise Chicago condo. Other than price and location,what are some things I should consider?” We asked Best Chicago Properties Broker Associate, Jessica Schimpff to comment:

Jessica Schimpff, Broker AssociateMany Chicago buyers love the idea of buying a condo in a high rise and really getting that “city living” feel, having the view, the amenities, etc. Your real estate team (broker, attorney, inspector, lender) can be very helpful in ensuring you ask the right questions to ensure it’s the right building for you AND to ensure that you’re able to resell down the road. Questions like…whats the percentage of rental units in the building? Or…is there any ongoing litigation that will result in financing issues for me and/or future buyers?

A few very basic, but key things to consider when buying a Chicago condo in high rise (other than price and location, of course) are 1) assessments; 2) reserve funds, and 3) amenities.


Assessments are monthly fees that are paid by each owner to cover ongoing maintenance of the building, staff salaries, and necessary building repairs, and to build up reserve funds intended to pay for larger repairs/maintenance. These can tend to be higher in high rise buildings compared to smaller buildings because, in addition to being in locations that tend to be more expensive, high rise buildings also often offer more amenities and have a larger staff than is required by a smaller building.

Reserve Funds

Reserve Funds are used to pay for larger maintenance projects and other large “1-off” costs. I generally look for $2000-$3000 per unit for reserves, depending on the age and size of the building. It’s also a good idea to ask about work that has been recently completed on the building, so you can get a feel for what projects might be coming down the road, especially if you’re buying into a little older high rise.


Aside from location, amenities tend to be a huge draw for buyers interested in high rise buildings. These can include exercise rooms, pools, doormen, sundecks, etc. I always advise buyers to really think about what amenities are a “must have” versus a “nice to have,” because, regardless of what amenities you use…you’re paying for them all.

Living in a Chicago high rise condo can be a wonderful experience for the right person, as long as you ask all of the right questions up front and have the right team to help you ask those questions.

If you found this helpful and would like to talk one on one with Jessica, follow the link .

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