Buying a Single-Family Home

A Selection of Chicago Single-Family Homes

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 10/21/2021)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.


What to Look for When Buying a Single-Family Home in Chicago

Beginning your search for a Chicago home can be a daunting one, and you may not know where to start. A good first step is to create a list of features and characteristics that you’re hoping to find for the price you want. The type of home, location, size and features can vary so widely from home to home, that it’s a good idea to consider each component and what you’re looking for. Below is a guide to help you think about what you want in your single-family home in Chicago:

Style: Your home should reflect your design taste, whether it’s sleek and modern or traditional and elegant. Another factor that plays into style is your current lifestyle—if you have children, or an art collection, or even just if you love to entertain.

Type: A single-family home isn’t simply a single-family home. There are number of different types of single-family properties, including row homes, stand-alone buildings, greystones and vintage homes.

Location: It’s the silver bullet in real estate, right? Where a home is located plays a major role in whether a buyer is interested, and it also have a huge impact on its resale value down the line. Typically, single-family homes are better suited on a quiet side street, though some homes in Chicago are found on busier streets.
A great example is Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park, which is a busy road, but it is lined with trees and vintage, turn-of-the-century homes that have a certain cache.

Lot size: You can always see the value of an oversized lot when looking at recently sold homes in Chicago—those built on a extra-wide lot almost always spend very little time on the market. A home’s lot dictates the room sizes (especially the living room) and the layout of the home. A standard Chicago lot is 25 x 125 feet, but home can also be found on 30 x 125-foot lots, 37.5 x 125-foot lots or even a double lot at 50 x 125 feet. Homes built on larger lots are bigger, and therefore more expensive on the higher end of the luxury scale.

Bedrooms per floor: An ideal setup for a Chicago home is at least three bedrooms to a first-floor master bedroom, plus two additional rooms. If you have small children, it may be important to have the additional bedrooms of the same floor as the master bedroom, and many buyers even want bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. In luxury homes priced around $2.5 million and up, it’s not unheard of for the master suite to take up an entire floor.

Flooring: Most buyers want hardwood flooring, and it is important to ask what type of hardwood is in a home. Prefabricated flooring is often found in less expensive homes, whereas luxury properties will feature five-inch wide plank flooring that makes a sophisticated statement. Darker floors in stains like American walnut also mark an upscale property.

Building façade: More than just curb appeal, the façade of a single-family home can be made from many different materials. A home built with the best brick, stone, wood trim and lighting indicate a high level of elegance, which an important factor in the luxury home market.

Ceiling height: If you’re purchasing a luxury home, look for a property with at least 9-foot ceilings. Anything lower can make a home feel cramped, and a high ceiling really sets a luxury home apart from the rest. In fact, many upscale homes have ceilings stretching as high as 12 feet, and may be vaulted, coffered or showcase other architectural details.

Millwork: Millwork is the woodwork, cabinets, doors, window casings, moldings and baseboards throughout a home, and it is an important detail that sets a builder apart from an architectural artist. When shopping for a Chicago home, the millwork should be noticeable elegant, as it provides a high-end home with that perfect finishing touch.

Kitchen: A simple well-fitted kitchen probably won’t cut it on the luxury market these days. Buyers want stainless steel, brand-name appliances, 42-inch high-end cabinetry and high-tech features throughout their meal prep space.

Appliances: In a standard home, you’ll probably find appliances by General Electric. But a luxury home means appliances need to be on another level for that extra “wow” factor. Things like a Wolf gas range and a Sub-Zero refrigerator are staples in an upscale kitchen and a must-have for luxury buyers.

READ MORE: Chicago Luxury Real Estate Resource Center

Extras to Consider for a Luxury Chicago Home

Those were just the basics. If you’re looking for a high-end property in Chicago, consider these additional features that really take a property to the next level:

High-tech bathrooms: From steam showers to massage sprays to his-and-her suites, the bathroom is one room to really let loose on the luxury front.

Wine cellar: Whether you’re a wine aficionado or not, the wine cellar is a critical component of a true luxury home. Think brick walls, floor-to-ceiling mahogany racking and stone countertops for a European-inspired aesthetic.

Library: For homes priced over $4 million, a library is an important element in the luxury home, detailed with the finest custom-stained shelving, cabinetry and moldings.

Movie theater: A rear projection theater fitted with large, comfortable seating and a wet bar is the ultimate luxury addition and perfect for entertaining friends and family.

Outdoor features: Since land space is limited in Chicago, many luxury home owners are creating green spaces where they can—on top of a garage roof! Throw in seating, lighting, and a fireplace and you have an inviting outdoor space that rivals a suburban backyard.

Want to learn more about single-family homes in Chicago? For more information or to see them in person, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at