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How fast your agent gets paid may bias which apartments you see

Aerial Grant Park

A recent comment at YoChicago: I am hearing thru the grapevine that some agents are actually quietly boycotting some buildings and management companies. The management companies that have been boycotted have been super late on paying out commissions and have clearly made demands about advertising and marketing that clearly makes agents feel that it’s a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 24, 2014

Should you respond to a blind real estate employment ad?

Hancock

You’ll see quite a few ads at Craigslist for apartment leasing openings with leasing and management companies that go unnamed in the ad. You’ll also see ads from unnamed brokerage firms seeking to hire brokers. The Illinois Real Estate License Act requires licensed rental services and brokers to disclose their name in that type of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 17, 2014

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

Save on rent by referring a friend

Grant Park

Many of Chicago’s managed apartment buildings offer “resident referral programs.” The concept is simple: refer a friend who rents an apartment in your building, and receive a discount on your rent. The amount of the discount varies by company and building. The most lucrative we’ve seen is $1,000. The Illinois Real Estate License Act makes ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 11, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Back to the future for River North boundaries

Aerial view of River North

About twenty years ago we began reporting the boundaries of Chicago’s River North neighborhood as follows: The River North neighborhood is bounded by the Chicago River on the south, Oak St (1000 N) on the north, from Michigan Ave (100 E) west to the Chicago River. River North is part of the Near North Side ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 4, 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
News & trendsNeighborhoods

Follow YoChicago on Flickr

Lakeshore East park

We’ve visited virtually every corner of Chicago and its far-flung suburbs, and we’ve generally take pictures on our travels. The result: our network archives have more than 400,000 images. A relatively small sample of those images, more than 13,700, can be viewed at YoChicago’s Flickr account, which recently passed the more than 4,000,000 view mark. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 8, 2014
ChicagoNorth Side

Video – Tour twenty Lincoln Park apartment buildings

Lincoln Park

You can sit for half an hour at an apartment rental service waiting to repeat the information you’ve already given over the phone to a rookie agent who will put you in a car and show you to rundown, hard-to-rent apartments that may or may not be in Lincoln Park. Or you can spend half ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 2, 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

CAR panel says it’s ethical to violate Illinois law

Last Thursday an Ethics Hearing Panel of the Professional Standards Committee of the Chicago Association of Realtors (“CAR”) heard my complaint that a Realtor had violated Standard of Practice 12-4 of the Realtor Code of Ethics by advertising a property for rent without authority. My complaint had been filed on April 13 and related to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 8, 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

What do you consider a penthouse?

1500 LSD

It’s common for real estate agents to refer to the top floor of any residential building as a penthouse. It may be even more common for real estate buyers and renters to sneer at referring to the top floor of a 2- or 3-story building as a penthouse. Fifteen years ago, real estate agent Janet ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 27, 2014

Will luxury high-rise dwellers be shivering in September?

100 E Huron

Chicagoans experienced cooler than normal temperatures in July, and the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold winter. Anyone who’s lived in Chicago for any length of time is keenly aware of how volatile temperatures can be. New residents of “luxury” high-rises, however, are often unaware that may not be able turn on the heat when ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 26, 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
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The distinct sub-neighborhoods of River North

River North

River North is bounded by Michigan Ave, Chicago Ave and the Chicago River. It’s a sub-neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. Unlike most neighborhoods its size, River North has no sub-neighborhoods of its own. One possible exception, recognized by some, is the Cathedral District – the area bounded by Michigan Ave, Ontario St, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 25, 2014

Has condo pricing gone off the rails again?

Shoemaker Lofts

Lately I’ve been seeing nearly identical new condominiums – in some cases from the same developer – selling for similar prices in locations that I consider to differ widely in value. It’s possible, of course, that I’m misjudging the appeal and underlying value of the locations I’m comparing. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 20, 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