If you’ve been searching for a new apartment in Chicago’s West Loop / Fulton River District, the odds are that you’ve been exposed to one or both of the above ads. The ads invite you to click through for help in finding your “perfect” West Loop apartment.
Clicking on the ads takes you to a rental service a/k/a apartment finder a/k/a apartment locator website where you’ll see ads for less than half of the buildings in the West Loop and adjacent Fulton River District.
One of the ads is for a studio in a new West Loop building that leased up all its studios well over a month ago. Look carefully at the ad and you’ll see an availability date of August 7, 2016. What’s up with that other than a bald bait and switch? The ad states “No” for parking, but the building does have a parking garage.
If you do a keyword search on Craigslist for “West Loop” apartments you’ll get 1,000s of results, including ads from other brokers for the unavailable studio apartments.
Failure to update ads on a timely basis is a violation of state law but, in our experience, compliance with state law isn’t exactly a priority for Chicago’s rental services. Generating “leads,” i.e., getting renters to contact them, is a priority.
If you want to find your best West Loop / Fulton River District apartment, start with YoChicago’s at-a-glance list of downtown apartments, where you’ll find links to YoChicago’s structured reviews of all of the buildings in the area, and links to near real-time rent and availability checks at all but one of them. Identify the buildings you’re interested in and that have available units in your price range and contact them directly.
Not all of the buildings cooperate with rental service brokers, and most cooperate only with a limited group of brokers. Chicago rental services routinely advertise properties that they can’t or won’t show you. If you’re determined to work with a broker to find your next apartment, you need to be keenly aware of the fact that doing so may be kissing away the opportunity to find your best apartment deal. That’s just one of the things that rental services won’t tell you.