EnV apartments offers steep rent discounts

Discount is a dirty word in the world of new rental high-rises, where price-cutting takes the form of “free rent” specials limited to new renters. Discounting is a no-no because you don’t want your investors to focus on a failure to achieve pro forma rents, and you certainly don’t want your existing tenants to ask for the same deal being offered new ones.

Late yesterday afternoon EnV circulated an email “hot sheet” to Chicago’s apartment rental services offering 2 to 2 ½ months’ free rent on selected apartments, an effective discount of 14% to 18% on 14-month leases. The free rent concessions can be taken upfront or amortized over the duration of the lease at the River North tower.

The hot-sheet headline enticed rental services with “1 Month 100% Commissions for ANY move in before June 5, 2012.”

Nominal rents (before discounts) for apartments listed in the hot sheet were $2,003 a month for a 16th floor studio, $2,566 to $2,827 for 1-bedrooms and $3,760 for a 26th floor 2-bedroom, 2-bath.

If you’re using a rental service you should negotiate at least half of its commission back into your pocket – unless you’re enamored of paying $1,000s of dollars for a few cab rides and bad advice.

A month ago we questioned whether EnV’s negative reviews on Yelp singled it out as Chicago’s worst new apartment tower. Since that time EnV has had two glowing reviews from new Yelpers, and another that was filtered as suspicious.

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