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Free Chicago rental services and great apartment deals

Belmont Harbor aerial

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 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 24, 2014
Downtown / LoopTips & adviceRenting

Should renters claim the broker bonus at 73 East Lake?

73 East Lake Chicago

Not all Chicago landlords cooperate with rental service brokers, but the ones that do typically pay a commission equal to a month’s rent. Several of the newer buildings have rented up successfully while paying rental services a flat fee per unit that’s well under a month’s rent. The new Loop apartment tower at 73 East ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 21, 2014

A rental service agent trashes his former rental service

Gold Coast view

Live Here Chicago is a rental service that’s on our our do-not-call list and our list of the top 10 Craigslist apartment ad spammers. We’ve also written about the company in connection with fraudulent reviews at Yelp. A comment was added to that post yesterday from someone representing himself as someone who had worked at ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 24, 2014

If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from Renturway

Renturway

The public relations “profession” is notorious for making shotgun pitches to websites without having even the dimmest awareness of how a particular pitch might be received. Yesterday’s email included a pitch from a PR person on behalf of Renturway, a company touted as having a “remarkable business model which differs distinctly from other rental agents ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 19, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

An up-to-date list of available River North apartments

River North apartments

You can see all of the managed apartment building options in River North on YoChicago’s availability list, below. You can learn more about the buildings and their location in our detailed reviews, and see our take on the best River North buildings on 18 different criteria. We’ve listed all of the River North apartment complexes ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 19, 2014

Oscar Wilde’s take on using a Chicago rental service

Oscar Wilde

What Oscar Wilde said about marriage perfectly sums up the experience of using or working for a Chicago rental service and trying a different one if the first proves unsatisfactory. “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.” Don’t miss our list of the twenty-five things ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 11, 2014

Apartment People CEO admits to shabby business practice

Yelp screen cap

We’ve previously written at length about when a rental service should cash a renter’s deposit check. The short answer: not until the renter’s application has been approved by the landlord or management company. In my opinion, it’s outrageous conduct for a rental service to cash a check without knowing that a lease application has been ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 6, 2014

ApartmentList.com is still a garbage dump

Lincoln Park

Just over a year ago we spotlighted ApartmentList, a website that claims the following mission: As renters and landlords ourselves, we understand the widespread frustration with the current rental landscape. Our mission is to turn the renter/landlord relationship into one of trust and transparency. Finding your next home should be a delightful process, and we’re ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 5, 2014

How to avoid the rental service wait-and-switch

Aerial view Lincoln Park

If you’re working with one of Chicago’s rental services and renting in one of the large, professionally managed apartment buildings on our at-a-glance lists, the on-site leasing staff takes control and shunts your rental service agent off to the periphery of the transaction. You can expect to receive straight answers and timely updates about the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 27, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Slim pickings on an East Village apartment hunt

East Village

I drove part of the East Village neighborhood yesterday looking for FOR RENT signs, and found only three. One was from a known scammer, another had already been rented and I didn’t inquire about the third because I’d seen it advertised at domu for $2,950 a month. The area I surveyed, Chicago Ave (800 N) ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 23, 2014

Craigslist’s top ten Chicago apartment spammers

Craig Newmark

Craigslist doesn’t allow ads to be posted more than once every 48 hours and prohibits keyword spam, i.e. the use of irrelevant terms in ads to draw attention to them. Illinois law prohibits advertising property without written authorization. Over-posted ads, ads stuffed with irrelevant keywords and unauthorized ads are spam. You wouldn’t respond to spam ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 19, 2014

Rental service quote of the day – kill granny

Belmont Harbor

Yesterday I added a new name to our do-not-call list of Chicago rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders. All of the firms have earned a spot on the list by running illegal ads and / or engaging in other clear violations of the Illinois Real Estate License Act. I asked an acquaintance about ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 9, 2014

Lies Chicago rental services tell – nothing in your price range

Aerial view Chicago Loop

There are lots of things Chicago’s rental services don’t want you to know about the way they operate, and we’ve previously posted on twenty-five of them. It’s common for renters to be told that there’s nothing available in their preferred location for what they’re willing to pay. That may well be true, but it’s often ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 6, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The smart way to search for South Loop apartments

South Loop aerial

A search for South Loop apartments on Craigslist will return over 700 new ads each day, almost all of them from Chicago rental services. Many of the ads will be for properties not located in the South Loop. Almost all of the ads for actual South Loop properties will be for one of the 12 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 2, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The smartest way to find a Streeterville apartment

Streeterville aerial

A search for Streeterville apartments on Craigslist will return over 500 new ads each day, almost all of them from Chicago rental services. Many of the ads will be for properties not located in Streeterville. Almost all of the ads for actual Streeterville properties will be for one of the 14 high-rise apartment buildings in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 30, 2014

The smart way to find a River North apartment

River North

A search for River North apartments on Craigslist will return about 1,000 new ads each day, almost all of them from Chicago rental services. Many of the ads will be for properties not located in River North. Almost all of the ads for actual River North properties will be for one of the 14 high-rise ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 29, 2014

Vesta Preferred, where raw rental rookies rate rave reviews

Yelp screen cap

Vesta Preferred bills itself in Craigslist recruiting ads as the “Highest rated Real Estate Company on Yelp.” That statement simply isn’t true, as you can easily determine from a brief scan of the Chicago rental services reviewed on Yelp. Early last year we wondered whether the company’s reviews reflected actual consumer experiences or resulted from ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 24, 2014

Don’t respond to blind real estate help wanted ads

Blind ad

You’ll frequently see help wanted ads on Craigslist from real estate firms seeking to hire leasing agents or experienced brokers. If the ad was placed on behalf of a licensed rental service or real estate broker and doesn’t name the firm, the ad is a violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act. The firm ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 16, 2014

Is Quantum Apartments vandalizing your neighborhood?

Quantum Apartments

Can there really be a business brain-dead enough to document acts of vandalism on its behalf on YouTube? There apparently can, and its name is Quantum Apartments. Last week we saw one of Quantum’s signs tacked to a utility pole in Roscoe Village. A search for information about the company quickly surfaced a number of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 15, 2014

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

CAF

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 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 14, 2014