How to tell a Chicago rental service you’re an easy mark

There are lots of ways to signal Chicago rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders that you’re an easy mark.

The best way to communicate that you’re an easily-played sucker is to walk into a rental service office, accept whatever agent you’re assigned to, describe your requirements and visit apartments the same day expecting to see suitable ones.

Merely by walking into a rental service without an appointment you’ve created an expectation that you’re terribly naïve, incredibly lazy or don’t much care where you live.

When you meet your assigned agent, exchange pleasantries and begin describing your requirements you’ve reinforced that impression. The agent might be a know-nothing rookie who started yesterday, a veteran con artist with a horrible record and reputation – or a convicted criminal who’s just made bail on his most recent arrest.

If you head for the car with an agent you haven’t carefully vetted for properties whose addresses and landlords you haven’t researched, you’ve made it clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you’re a slow-flying pigeon just begging to be had.

I have a habit of asking landlords and management companies for the names of good rental services. Their unanimous response has been that there are no good firms, and only a very few rental service agents who behave professionally.

Black letter law: don’t ever walk into a rental service without knowing who you’ll be meeting and exactly where you’ll be going.