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A flood of bait-and-switch apartment ads at Craigslist

Craigslist

As winter approaches and the number of apartment-hunting renters drops, Chicago rental services typically ramp up their year-round efforts to flood Craigslist with bait-and-switch ads. This year I’m seeing what appears to be a tidal wave of misleading and unauthorized ads. Many of those ads tout much higher rents than are actually available at the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 13, 2014

Earn $2,500 a week leasing apartments

Thumbnail image for Earn $2,500 a week leasing apartments

If you consistently follow Craigslist help wanted ads for real estate you’ll be struck by the recurring ads for a number of Chicago’s rental services. You might wonder why it’s necessary to advertise continually to fill positions with the high earnings potential touted in the ads. You might wonder why the many thousands of real ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 4, 2014

Leasing agent with criminal record busted again

Bryan Duffy

We’ve repeatedly warned renters and landlords about Chicago leasing agents who have criminal records. If you’re a landlord handing over the keys to an occupied apartment, we think you owe it to your tenants to know who’s getting those keys. Hand them to a rental service, and you’ve lost control of the situation, since rental ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 14, 2014

What do rental service agents really earn at Live Here Chicago?

Live Here ad

We’ve previously written about fraudulent reviews of Live Here Chicago, one of the rental services on our do-not-call list. We’ve also called attention to a former agent at the firm trashing the firm on Yelp. Another former agent has been writing at Google Plus and on the firm’s Facebook page about having been paid to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 23, 2014

The right way to find a Streeterville apartment

Streetervillea partments

Quite a few Chicago renters share the misunderstanding that they’ll save time by using a rental services a/k/a apartment finder a/k/a apartment locator to make appointments to see apartments and drive them from one to the other. In some neighborhoods, Streeterville being a prime example, it’s far easier to walk from one building to the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 10, 2014

A time-saving way to search Craigslist apartment ads

Kardas photo

A few months ago we identified the top 10 apartment ad spammers at Craigslist. As you might expect, they’re all Chicago rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders. Chicago’s sleazy rental services set out to confuse and frustrate you into using their so-called “services” by running many 1,000s of repetitive ads at Craigslist, in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 5, 2014

When Chicago rental services go into thug mode

Lincoln Park aerial view

Dishonest and illegal practices are a daily routine for many of the agents at Chicago’s rental services. We’ve spotlighted some of the things rental services don’t want you to know, and we’ve identified the ten worst rental service ad spammers at Craigslist. Rental service agents are aggressive under normal circumstances, but they go into hyper-drive ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 2, 2014

Rental service lies – the largest database of apartments

Aerial view downtown

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 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 26, 2014

Don’t play rookie roulette with a random rental service

Lakeview

Chicago’s rental services are high-turnover operations. New agents are suckered in by promises of high pay, a fun working environment and a clear career path. Almost all of them quickly learn that the business offers little compensation, is no fun and is a dead-end career that very few persevere in. High turnover means that many ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 19, 2014

Call a time-wasting lawbreaker for your next apartment

Aerial downtown

All of the rental services a/k/a apartment finders a/k/a apartment locators on YoChicago’s do-not-call list have earned a spot on the list by engaging in illegal or abusive behavior. The most common form of law-breaking is advertising properties for rent without the written consent of the owner that’s required by the Illinois Real Estate License ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 12, 2014

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