Real estate news & trends

Search posts

Craigslist

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 ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on September 5, 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 ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on August 12, 2014

Bypass 1,000s of Craigslist apartment spam ads with a single click

Kardas aerial

Chicago’s rental services promise to make your apartment search swift and painless. To encourage you to use their services they attempt to make your Craigslist search time-consuming and painful. We’ve singled out the 10 worst Craigslist apartment ad spammers and find it difficult to understand why anyone would work with a company that’s so flagrantly ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on July 1, 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) ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on May 23, 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 ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014
ChicagoNorth Side

Pay a “free” rental service $1,200 to rent in Roscoe Village

3444 N Hoyne

When I ran a search for Roscoe Village apartments at Craigslist yesterday I got 823 results. I scanned many ads that clearly weren’t in Roscoe Village and found only a few that were. I’d driven around much of Roscoe Village earlier in the day and was surprised to see only one FOR RENT sign, on ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on April 9, 2014

Craigslist spammer of the day: Andy Trejo and iQrentals

Facebook Trejo

We haven’t written about Andy Trejo before, but he’s been on our radar for well over a year, and his company names have been on our Chicago rental service do-not-call list. The LinkedIn screen cap on the left, above, dates to January of last year. The one on the right is current. The LinkedIn profiles ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on April 7, 2014

An update on Chicagoland Property Group’s spam-family Walker

SoNo East Walker Craigslist

In the coming months we’ll be continuing our efforts to make it easier for you to identify and avoid some of Craiglist’s worst apartment ad spammers. We’ll call them out by company and individual names and build a reference list. On Monday we questioned whether the more than 4,500 ads placed by Chicagoland Property Group ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2014

Chicagoland Property Group makes Craigslist spam a family affair

Apartments dot com screen cap

We recently spotlighted Chicagoland Property Group’s Collin Walker as one of Craigslist’s worst apartment ad spammers. We also added a business listing for the company at Yelp, knowing we’d be amused by the glowing reviews that we suspected would promptly appear, and did. Were the reviews solicited, in violation of Yelp’s Content Guidelines? Do they ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on April 3, 2014

Is Chicagoland Property Group Craigslist’s worst apartment spammer?

Chicagoan screen cap

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. Over-posted ads stuffed with irrelevant keywords are spam. We haven’t completed our research, so we don’t know whether Chicagoland Property Group is Craigslist’s most prolific ...

11 comments Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on March 31, 2014

Lies Chicago rental services tell – apartment listings

2850 North Sheridan view

Almost every Chicago rental service a/k/a apartment locator a/k/a apartment finder claims to have the largest database of listings in the city. They can’t all be telling the truth, and it’s likely that nary a one of them has any factual basis for making the claim. If you evaluate the rental services’ listings by a ...

4 comments Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on March 3, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The best apartments in River North, Streeterville and the South Loop

River North, Chicago

We’ve completed our selection of the best apartments, rated on eighteen criteria, in the River North, Streeterville and South Loop neighborhoods. Within a day or two we’ll begin selecting the best apartments in Chicago’s near west neighborhoods – the West Loop, Fulton River District and River West. We’re hoping that our best-of selections, along with ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on January 27, 2014

What you can do about rental scams

Division Street

It’s a common story. A renter finds a bargain apartment on Craigslist, Trulia or another online site, communicates with a fraud artist posing as the owner, agrees to rent the place and winds up swindled out of what they’ve paid. I recently received the following email from a real estate broker: Currently I have [a ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on November 19, 2013

Simpleton suckers wanted for leasing agent positions

Rainforest cafe

Check out the real estate jobs section at Craigslist and look at ads for leasing agent positions. One company is touting the ability for new leasing agents to earn “$50,000 to $250,000 your first year!” The company’s recruiting website tells agent prospects that “The typical lease deal takes between 1 and 2 days to complete ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on October 23, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Rental services sneer at 500 LSD ban on Craigslist ads

500 LSD Craigslist

Unlike a number of buildings that don’t allow rental services to advertise their property anywhere, 500 Lake Shore Drive‘s broker agreement (PDF) explicitly authorizes them to advertise on their own websites. Rental services are prohibited from advertising the property on Craigslist or other sites, and are not allowed to use their own photos in any ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on May 6, 2013

Chicago Apartment Hunters, a zombie rental service

Zombies live among us

A tipster emailed us last week, suggesting that “something smells fishy … over at Chicago Apartment Hunters” (CAH). At its website CAH bills itself as “Chicago’s premier locating service.” Well, you’ll need to look at many rental service websites before you’ll find an apartment locator that isn’t number one or the largest or the leading ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on March 25, 2013
ChicagoNorth Side

What’s the best way to find an apartment in Bucktown?

Bucktown video

You can drive yourself bonkers searching for a Bucktown apartment on Craigslist or working with apartment rental services, or you can take a smart approach: just go to Bucktown, and bike or drive the streets looking for FOR RENT signs. Supplement your efforts by searching MLS-listed rentals at a reputable brokerage firm’s website. Joe Askins ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on March 12, 2013

Want to join a real estate slime wave?

Craigslist recruiting screen cap

If you’re not very bright, have no self respect, and don’t mind committing the occasional crime, Schwab Property Solutions has a job for you. You can start out by acquiring multiple gmail accounts and get paid $1 per live ad for spamming Craigslist with repetitive ads. If your ad leads to the sale of a ...

10 comments Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on March 11, 2013

Are landlords to blame for rental services’ deceptive ads?

Aerial view, Lakeshore East

Chicago’s rental services routinely spam Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, hotpads and other websites with high-volume bait-and-switch advertising. They habitually advertise properties without having the written authorization the law requires. They promise renters expert professionals, but many of their agents can barely find their way around the block. One of my correspondents contends that the blame for ...

Comment Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on February 25, 2013

The Silver Gold Apartment short-term housing scam

Silver Gold Apartment scam screen cap

Not long ago I heard from one of Chicago’s newer high-rises that people were arriving at the building believing they had reservations for short-term stays. They presented print-outs of their reservations to the building staff, who informed them that they were the victims of a scam. Several days ago I received an email from an ...

4 comments Read the full article →
Posted by Joe Zekas on February 22, 2013