If you scan help wanted ads for Chicago rental services at Craigslist, or visit their websites, you’ll find a number of them claiming to have the largest database of apartments. For all but one, it’s an untruth.
Almost all of the rental service do have access to the largest database of rentals – the local Multiple Listing Service. And almost all of them won’t show you MLS-listed properties. The reason is simple: unless they have the listing, which they rarely do, they’ll have to split the commission with the listing agent. Managed apartment buildings, on the other hand, typically pay a full month’s rent as a commission, and some pay more when they have a number of vacancies to fill.
Many of the rental agents are also unfamiliar with the process of renting MLS-listed homes and condos and shy away because of the extra work that’s often involved. Given the choice of working harder for less money, or finding a renter the best deal, few rental agents will put a renter’s interest above their own.
MLS-listed homes and condos often offer better value for renters than managed apartment buildings, and they’re infrequently advertised on Craigslist. Contact an agent at one of the large, reputable, full-service brokerage firms if you want exposure to these properties.