Free Chicago rental services and great apartment deals

Chicago’s piratical rental services would like renters to believe that their services are free. There are renters gullible enough to believe that, just as there are renters who are naïve enough to believe the claim that rental services will negotiate the best deal for them.

Chicago’s rental services aren’t that naïve. They’re fully aware that smaller landlords often charge a higher rent to a renter who is working with a rental service. And they often pitch their services to landlords on that basis. What a wonderful world – rental brokers get paid but no one is paying them. Their services are free to renters and landlords alike.

At large apartment complexes the rent is the same for renters who work with a rental service and those who don’t. The reality is that all renters wind up absorbing the cost of rental services whether they use one or not.

Quite a few apartment owners and management companies offer discounts to renters who make appointments online and are not represented by rental service brokers. If you take a pass on the discount, work with a rental service and believe that you didn’t pay for it, your education has failed you.

Do rental services negotiate great deals for renters? They don’t negotiate anything at the large apartment buildings where broker agreements explicitly bar them from attempting to negotiate, or with the many large management companies and smaller landlords who make no attempt to conceal their contempt for the rental services they employ.

Do rental services find great apartments for renters? In the real world, many landlords and management companies only cooperate with brokers on their difficult-to-rent apartments and their best apartments are snapped up by renters who deal directly with them.

There are many things that Chicago rental services don’t want renters to know about how they operate. We’ve listed twenty-five of them.


  • jake 4 years

    Joe – so for newer buildings like AMLI River North and Hubbard Place, etc, rent wouldn’t be “less” if you don’t use a leasing agent/broker? Do they pay commission to the buyer representation? Thanks.

    • These two buildings have different arrangements with brokers, but they will quote you the same rent whether or not you use a broker. That’s the case at almost all of the large managed buildings.

      You can work with a broker and negotiate a rebate of part of the commission.

  • Hello 4 years

    Why do we need realtors to find apartments for us, there’s this magical thing called the internet and the phone that you can use and guess what it doesn’t cost a precious month’s rent to use either of those ‘tools’. Blood suckers!