Rental service agents have been receiving daily email solicitations from the recently-opened 500 Lake Shore Drive apartments during what the building is billing as “broker appreciation week.”
The emails are offering a $250 American Express gift card to rental agents who close a deal at 500 LSD through August 11. That’s in addition to a commission of one month’s net effective rent.
If Related Midwest and the leasing agents are playing by the rules set out in the Illinois Real Estate License Act – and one has to assume that they are – that AmEx gift card has to be paid to the agent’s sponsoring broker rather than directly to the agent, or both parties would be violating the Act’s provisions. The rental service / broker may or may not pass the gift card through to the leasing agent.
Other new buildings have begun paying or are considering paying compensation to rental services / brokers beyond the typical one month’s commission, and a month’s “free rent” appears to be a standard offer to renters at the new buildings.
The spiffs and concessions are a sign of a highly competitive market, with the buildings angling to sign the maximum number of new leases before the traditional slowing of the Chicago market in the late fall.