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Apartments Management Group racks up negative reviews at Yelp

Uptown aerial

It’s not unusual for property management companies to receive negative reviews at Yelp. Apartments Management Group, a successor to Beal Properties, stands out for the near-unanimity of its negative reviews. Yelpers who claim to have rented from the company have panned it in great detail. A five-star reviewer amusingly reports being “always so beyond well ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 17, 2014

Should you take your home off the market for the holidays?

Joanne Nemerovski

If you have your home listed for sale you might have a variety of personal or family reasons for sitting out the holiday season and returning to market after the first of the year. Berkshire Hathaway’s Joanne Nemerovski has been one of the top-tier Chicago agents for several decades, and has presided over nearly $1 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 8, 2014

Sign a longer lease and save on rent

Aerial view of Gold Coast

The Chicago apartment market typically slows down in the winter season, one reason why local landlords don’t like to have leases expiring during the winter months. Some landlords offer incentives to winter renters who are willing to sign a lease that expires during the more active spring and summer seasons. One building, for example, is ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 8, 2014

Is Flats Chicago a vacation rental scofflaw?

Flats Chicago

Chicago’s Vacation Rental Ordinance (“Ordinance”) has been on the books for several years, but a quick scan of Airbnb provides evidence that it’s being routinely ignored. Back in July we questioned whether Flats Chicago had the licenses required by the Ordinance for its Airbnb listings at 4875 N Magnolia. We also questioned whether Flats Chicago ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 5, 2014

Is Jerome Bressler Chicago’s sleaziest rental agent?

Jerome Bressler

A year ago in October we questioned whether Jerome Bressert was Chicago’s sleaziest rental agent. We didn’t receive any nominations for that award, but we did just receive a comment on our post wondering whether Bressert was doing business under the name of Jerome Bressler. We checked Bressert’s website and his profile at Exit Strategy ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 5, 2014

Apartment People CEO slams Yelp, slimes self

Yelp screen cap

Ilene Collins, CEO of Apartment People, replied to a hyper-positive Yelp review by suggesting that the review might be taken down from the site “since we are not advertisers.” As I read the review, the first from a new Yelper, I found myself unable to believe that it reflected an actual consumer experience with Apartment ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 3, 2014

How to get an edge on renting the best apartments

Astoria Tower

If you’re working with a rental service, the odds are high that you’re not going to able to rent some of Chicago’s most desirable apartments. Some of the companies that own and manage sought-after apartments either don’t cooperate with rental services or only allow them access to their hard-to-rent units. If you want to rent ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 1, 2014

Prowling Chicago’s alleys with Google

Google alley view

Prowling the alleys can be a great way to learn about a new neighborhood. If a neighborhood’s alleys are strewn with trash and the garage doors and garbage receptacles are covered in gang graffiti, you might have second thoughts about moving there. You might be enamored of the idea of having a car repair shop ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 1, 2014

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