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How to get paid for using a rental service

Navy Pier, Kardas Photography

Chicago’s rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders advertise that they’re “free” to renters since the landlords pay their commissions – typically a month’s rent. It doesn’t take much reflection to realize that renters are paying for that “free” service over the course of their lease. If you’re spending $2,000 a month on rent ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 10, 2013

Are apartment finders playing you for a sucker?

Kardas Photography

If you’re using one of Chicago’s apartment finders a/k/a locators a/k/a rental services to look for an apartment, the odds are high that you’re not going to find the best apartment deal. There are lots of things that the finders won’t tell you about how they really operate. The most important is that they can’t ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 5, 2013

Start your May 1st apartment search now

DePaul, Chicago

It’s only the first week of February, but Chicago landlords are already beginning to post May 1 vacancies on their websites. Early next month landlords will know how many additional apartments they’ll have available for May 1 occupancy. The most desirable apartments typically rent quickly, and renters who wait until the last minute to look ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 6, 2013
ChicagoNorth Side

Find Lincoln Park apartments the fast, safe and easy way

Aerial of Lincoln Park, Chicago

Chicago’s piratical rental services / apartment locators / apartment finders would like you to believe that finding an apartment in Lincoln Park is a daunting task. It isn’t. If you buy the rental service line, and work with one of them, you’re a complete sucker and you won’t be shown some of Lincoln Park’s best ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 4, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

More student housing headed for the Loop

Aerial downtown Chicago

The Pickwick Stable, 22 E Jackson, is architecture blogger Wayne Lorentz’s “all-time favorite most unusual Chicago building.” You can learn some of the building’s history at Chicago Architecture Info. The Pickwick Stable, together with the adjoining Gibbons and Steger buildings, are being converted into 160 student housing units by Campus Acquisitions LLC, whose website also ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 28, 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
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

An at-a-glance list of what’s actually for rent in the South Loop

Aerial view of near South Loop

The past week has seen a modest increase in the number of lower-priced one-bedrooms available in the South Loop. We’ve also seen the number of buildings with 3-bedroom apartments available for rent shrink to one during the past week. If you want to rent in the South Loop, you can see all of your managed ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 17, 2013

Urban Lux – the dumbest Yelp reviews ever?

Yelp screen cap

Reading positive reviews of rental services on Yelp invariably reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said of a Dickens’ short story. “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.” If you’ve frittered away some time scanning Yelp to check out a rental service, you’re familiar with the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 11, 2013

An at-a-glance list of current South Loop apartment rents

View from Astoria Tower

The most noticeable trend this past week was a modest upward drift in South Loop rents almost across the board, tracking a slight downtick in the number of units available in several buildings. Last week the lowest-priced studio at Astoria Tower, one of our sponsors, was $1,520. One became available this week for $1,360. Two-bedroom ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 10, 2013

Rent an unavailable apartment from an unlicensed agent

Craigslist ad for Alta at K Station

This Craigslist ad is a classic of the Chicago apartment rental service genre, illustrating several of the time-wasting traps that anyone foolish enough to search for a high-rise rental on Craigslist will encounter. The ad describes an apartment at Alta at K Station and is illustrated with pictures from that complex. Alta has an online ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 3, 2012

Craigslist is an apartment liars’ list

View from 2850 Sheridan Chicago

As of 9:30 last night, 17,511 ads had been posted yesterday in the Chicago > housing > apts/housing for rent section of Craigslist, almost all of them by Chicago’s sleazy apartment rental services. Scores of rental services are repeatedly advertising the same apartments in an attempt to frustrate you or mislead you into calling them. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 17, 2012
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Searching for a River North 2-bedroom with an indoor pool

Craigslist screen cap

If you were searching for a River North 2-bedroom with an indoor pool you might start by filtering Craigslist on 2+ BR apartments and typing the following keywords: River North indoor pool. That search, performed late yesterday, returned a flood of bait-and-switch ads – 1,000 of them, all placed yesterday! Refine your Craigslist search by ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 15, 2012