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Bedbugs

Supplementing the Trib’s apartment hunting tips

DePaul University, Kardas Photography

Today’s Chicago Tribune has an informative article about apartment-hunting strategies in what’s currently a landlord’s market. It’s generally good advice – as far it goes. As the Trib notes, apartments are renting very quickly. It’s always been the case that rental services could and would show renters only a limited selection of apartments. That selection ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 13, 2012

Thirty or more bedbugs wanted

Bedbug

Help wanted ads for the apartment rental industry – the folks we refer to as bedbugs and place on a do-not-call list – routinely tout high-paying career-potential jobs. Here’s a typical Craigslist ad, trawling for suckers: The Apartment People, Chicago’s leading apartment finding service and winner of the Chicago Reader “Best Of” for 2010 and ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 10, 2012

Chicago’s best apartment rental website

Apartments.com logo

There’s no single website that’s best for Chicago apartment searches of all types. There is, however, one that stands out if you’re limiting your search to larger apartment complexes along the lakefront. You’ll find the most complete coverage of this type of property at Apartments.com, a national site owned by a group of major newspapers. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 9, 2011

Yelp reviews that reek – My Town Realty Group edition

You’re all probably highly aware of this phenomenon by now, but a reminder never hurts. When you’re looking at reviews of apartment rental services – we call them bedbugs – at Yelp, be highly skeptical of positive reviews. The majority of them strike me, quite simply, as unbelievable fiction. Take the reviews of a Lincoln ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 7, 2011

Trader Bill’s experience renting with David Nadler

Chicago renting video

I’ve frequently cautioned renters about the pitfalls of working with the rental services that I call bedbugs based on their toxic behavior toward renters. I met City Ranch Real Estate‘s David Nadler in the course of shooting a sponsored video at a luxury townhome he’d been hired to rent for an employee of a business ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 17, 2011
DealsChicagoDowntown / Loop

River West’s Mondial offers free rent and parking, 125% commission to bedbugs

Mondial, River West

Waterton Residential is stepping up the incentive offerings at Mondial in River West after reaching more than 80% occupancy since it began its rental program. The project currently, according to an email and accompanying pricing sheet sent to rental agents, has 2-bedroom, 2-bath units available, renting from $2,486 to $2,927 per month. A 3-bedroom, 3 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 3, 2011

Chicago Apartment Seekers attracts vitriolic comments

Bedbugs

Chicago Apartment Seekers, one of the rental services that we call bedbugs and place on a do-not-call list, runs fictitious addresses in a number of its ads at Trulia, e.g. 700 N Dearborn when advertising Asbury Plaza, 750 N Dearborn. In the course of researching a post, I chanced upon ugly rants about Jason Liebman ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 1, 2011

Is RentJuice enabling fraud by unlicensed brokers?

RentJuice

We’ve previously wondered about Exchange Apartment Finders (EAF), which appeared to be doing business as a real estate broker / apartment finder without the required state license. An anonymous commenter has suggested that the company is now doing business as Apartment Locators with the same phone number as EAF, and that appears to be the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 30, 2011

Are landlords eliminating the rental service bedbugs?

Bedbug

I’ve recently spoken to landlords who have either cut back on their use of the apartment rental services that we call bedbugs, eliminated them entirely, or cut the commission they’re offering to rental services. That’s good news for renters who, whether they realize it or not, pay substantially more for their apartments due to the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 12, 2011

This Homestead Group leasing agent has a criminal record

Homestead Group screen cap

You never know who you’re getting in the car with when you work with one of the apartment rental services that we call bedbugs. A number of the rental services on our do-not-call list routinely employ unlicensed agents. And others apparently don’t hesitate to employ agents who have prior criminal convictions. The June 2011 disciplinary ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 30, 2011

Rent Smart, lie dumb

Rent Smart screen cap

We’ve written about Rent Smart Chicago several times – calling attention to its owner’s criminal record and its claim to be “Chicago’s largest and most professional apartment and home rental broker.” I focused on the company again after seeing a Craigslist ad from one of its agents saying Rent Smart is “desperately” in need of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 24, 2011

If you’re a felonious stripper, call Crazy Steve

Crazy Steve ad

If you’re not, stay far, far away. The Craigslist ad you see pictured above does not, as Illinois law requires, disclose the name of the broker who placed it. If you Google the phone number in the ad you find the site pictured below, which claims “we strictly follow the law.” Sure. Shaw Real Estate ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 8, 2011
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Trulia rental scam watch and American Realty Pros

Kingsbury Plaza Chicago

We recently wrote about Trulia’s doomed efforts to cut back on apartment rental scams in its listings. The scams continue, as they always will wherever the slimy rental services we routinely refer to as bedbugs are allowed to have a presence. We have yet to find a rental service that operates its business in an ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 3, 2011

Trulia applies a Band-Aid to rental fraud problem; YoChicago offers a solution

Trulia screen cap

A recent post at TruliaBlog boasted that: As online rentals fraud is becoming an industry-wide problem, Trulia is committed to keeping our rental listings scam-free and accurate. While tackling this problem and keeping up with fraudsters is an ongoing task, we have taken a few initial steps to reduce fraud and protect our valued customers. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 31, 2011

An amusing location for a bedbug billboard

South Loop Billboard

Don’t let the bedbugs bite, says the ProtectABed.com billboard at Roosevelt Rd and Clinton St. When YoChicago talks about bedbugs we’re generally referring to a different and potentially more costly kind of parasite – apartment rental services. The Protect a Bed billboard just happens to be positioned directly above one of the companies on our ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 6, 2011

Earn $100K renting apartments

Homeless in Lincoln Park

Six-figure earning potential. No experience required. Great support, training, technology and career-oriented services available from a leading company. Etc. Etc. Etc. That’s the sort of come-on you’ll see in a number of Craigslist ads for the rental services we call bedbugs. They’re stepping up their advertising after the round of young hopefuls who fell for ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 27, 2011

The biggest apartment search mistakes – Number 4, ignoring warning signs

A warning sign

The biggest mistake apartment searchers make is failing to focus on a small number of ideal and affordable neighborhoods. The second biggest mistake is waiting too long to begin searching. The third biggest mistake that apartment hunters make is searching only online and often in the wrong places. The fourth biggest mistake is ignoring warning ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 15, 2011

The biggest apartment search mistakes – Number 3, the online search

Sandburg Village, Chicago

The biggest mistake apartment searchers make is failing to focus on a small number of ideal and affordable neighborhoods. The second biggest mistake is waiting too long to begin searching. The third biggest mistake that apartment hunters make is searching only online and often in the wrong places. When you begin your search you should ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 30, 2011

How unlicensed agents work the system and how to avoid them

View of downtown Chicago

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail exchange forwarded to me last night. I’ve removed identifying information: Ok, it will show up as [name of licensed person] because I am waiting on my MLS application to go through. I just was licensed recently, so if you can just confirm with me that would be ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 27, 2011

RentJuice automates Facebook spam for rental bedbugs

RentJuice Facebook widget

Today’s e-mail brings the following news release from RentJuice : RentJuice, the online platform developed by real estate insiders that connects prospective renters, brokers and property managers to each other in real-time, today unveiled an unparalleled, dynamic social media widget called Lease Locator for Facebook. Lease Locator allows potential renters to search real-time property listings ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 19, 2011