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Apartment rental services

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

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

Ask American Realty’s Dan Dantuma about his drug arrests

Dan Dantuma

American Realty’s Dan Dantuma had 135 repetitive ads on Craigslist as of mid-morning yesterday. More than 80% of them were for a single apartment, a junior 1-bedroom at Gold Coast Galleria, 111 W Maple. Reading the same ad over and over and over again prompted me to learn more about Dan, and an online search ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 11, 2014

Know your rights when your apartment is being shown

Kardas Photography

Some Chicago landlords would like tenants to believe that a clause in the lease they signed waives or limits their right to 2 days’ advance notice before their apartment is shown to prospective renters. Any such provision in a lease is in violation of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO) and is unenforceable. Landlords ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 11, 2014

State Street Properties’ amazing Craigslist apartment spam

State Street Properties

With just over 2,500 ads, State Street Properties isn’t Craigslist’s most prolific apartment ad spammer, but it ranks among the worst of them and shares some verbal tics with the typical Craigslist rental spammers. Landlords and management companies don’t typically resort to superlatives to describe their apartments. If you see an “amazing” or “awesome” or ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014

Do convicted criminals have keys to your apartment?

Bryan Duffy

A history of criminal convictions, even for felony offenses, isn’t enough to bar someone from getting a real estate license in Illinois. We’ve written a number of times about individual real estate agents with criminal histories, some of them repeat offenders. In order to facilitate showings a number of landlords make apartment keys readily available ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Does Chicagoland Property Group’s Collin Walker deliberately lie on Craigslist?

1225 screen cap

After having looked at many of Collin Walker’s repetitive ads at Craigslist, my considered opinion is that his ads often contain deliberate lies. We posted on what we deemed a Walker lie yesterday, and here’s another … Walker had seven ads active on Craigslist yesterday for “beautiful new” and “beautifully updated” Lincoln Park and Old ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 8, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

River North apartment shootout – Chicagoland Property Group vs YoChicago

View of River North

We like to think that YoChicago is Chicago’s best free rental service. We’re an objective, visually rich website with comprehensive apartment reviews, all-inclusive at-a-glance lists, neighborhood maps and guides, narrated video tours, original aerial photography and a great deal more. One of our goals is to help renters understand what to expect from Chicago’s rental ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 7, 2014

Rental services joining Chicago Rental Apartment Partners

Dublin airport

Dozens of Chicago’s apartment rental services have joined the newly-formed Chicago Rental Apartment Partners, an organization dedicated to raising ethical standards in a notoriously sleazy industry. “Industry leaders are rushing to join CRAP,” according to a spokesperson for the group. “They’ve been sickened by their own behavior and had a come-to-Jesus moment.” CRAP members subscribe ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 1, 2014
ChicagoNorth Side

Get out of Craigslist jail, go direct to Lakeview landlords

Aerial view of Belmont Harbor

If you’re looking to rent in Lakeview you can waste countless hours reading 1,000s of repetitive bait-and-switch rental service ads at Craigslist. The odds are high that your real misery only begins once you’ve connected with a rental service via Craigslist. Hundreds of leasing agents, many of them total rookies, some of them convicted criminals, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 11, 2014

Chicago locators looking for losers

American Realty screen cap

Chicago’s apartment rental services a/k/a finders a/k/a locators are constantly recruiting new leasing agents. Who do the firms hire? They mostly hire the kind of people described in the above Craigslist ad who are gullible enough to believe they can earn “$50K to $250K your first year” and sufficiently lacking in judgment to believe that ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 24, 2014

Suckers wanted for lucrative career leasing apartments

Chicago aerial

It’s that time of year, kiddies. Chicago’s apartment rental services a/k/a finders a/k/a locators are once again beginning to blitz Craigslist with ads touting the opportunity to begin an exciting, lucrative career leasing luxury apartments. You don’t need a real estate license or any prior experience to apply for these positions, and you don’t need ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 8, 2014

Did an iMove Chicago agent use the C word in a Yelp review?

Yelp screen cap

Jose L recently posted a 5-star Yelp review of iMove Chicago in which he used the C word – twice – to describe a Yelper who had negatively reviewed iMove on July 10 of last year. You can see Jose L’s ugly review in the screen cap, along with his deranged Yelp review of YoChicago. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 6, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Take an apartment walk with Stephanie and Katie

Stephanie and Katie videos

Stephanie Konow and Katie Bommarito are former rental services agents who grew frustrated with that business and set out to connect Chicago tenants directly with landlords by founding Chicago Rentals Direct. Eighteen months ago they led me on a tour of the six rental high-rises in the New East Side neighborhood – the area bounded ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 22, 2013

It’s rental service recruiting season – be very wary

Craigslist recruiting screen cap

Chicago’s rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders are looking forward to the annual seasonal uptick in rental activity, and advertising to fill positions with “unlimited earning potential.” All of the firms boast that they have the largest number of listings, lead all the others in technology, offer the best commission split in the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 9, 2013

How you can help kill illegal rental service help wanted ads on Craigslist

Thumbnail image for How you can help kill illegal rental service help wanted ads on Craigslist

The Illinois Real Estate License Act, 225 ILCS 454, makes it illegal for licensed brokers to run blind ads. Section 1-10 of the Act defines a blind ad: “Blind advertisement” means any real estate advertisement that does not include the sponsoring broker’s business name and that is used by any licensee regarding the sale or ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 27, 2012

An updated rental service do-not-call list

Downtown Chicago aerial view

Note: See the 2014 version of the do-not-call list. New renters in Chicago are often confused or misled by Craigslist ads into believing that they’re contacting a landlord or management company when they respond to an ad by one of the many apartment locators / finders / rental services. Many of the rental service ads ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 28, 2012

How to cut your first month’s rent in half

Navy Pier, Kardas Photography

We’ve previously alerted you to twenty-five things apartment rental services won’t tell you. Now we’ll alert you to one they wish you’d never known: you can ask the rental services to rebate a part of their commission, which is typically a full month’s rent although some landlords pay only half a month’s rent as a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2011