ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Take an apartment walk with Stephanie and Katie

by Joe Zekas on 1/22/13

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 by Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, Michigan Ave and the Chicago River. The Lakeshore East development is a newer series of buildings in the neighborhood.

The Coast, the latest apartment tower at Lakeshore East, is slated to begin occupancy next month.

A few weeks prior to that tour Stephanie also led me on a tour of Gold Coast apartments:

The videos help you see how easy it is to find an apartment in downtown Chicago without using one of the many often useless rental services that have contributed to rising rental costs by aggressively confusing renters into using their “services.”

You can see all of your rental options in downtown Chicago, and the Gold Coast and adjacent neighborhoods at our at-a-glance apartment lists and maps.

ADDED: Thanks to commenter Chris for noting that the Chicago Rentals Direct site no longer connects renters directly with landlords.

ADDED 1/28: Landlord connections at CRD appear to be working as billed.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

I Wonder.... January 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

How much money Chicago Rentals Direct pays Joe Zekas, Yo Chicago, or Data Based Ads to not be discriminated against and be featured here.

Looks like just another rental agency to me!

Reply

Joe Zekas January 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

I wonder why you’ve used 3 different screen names and phony email addresses here …

If we’re doing a sponsored / paid post, we disclose it. This was not a paid placement.

CRD may look like another rental agency to people who don’t look – to anyone who does, it’s an advertising website.

Companies that run their business dishonestly and outside the law get discriminated against – get used to it.

ADDED –

I have, as anyone might expect, limited patience with trolls. I’ve deleted your last comment and won’t allow any further ones from you.

On the other hand, if you want to slither out from under your rock and disclose your identity, you’re welcome to comment here under your real name.

Reply

Chris January 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Great site Joe! I just signed up for the site and did a search for a 1 bedroom in streeterville up to $1500. It produced 6 results: 445 East Ohio (Lake Shore Plaza) has the following 1 bedroom units available according to CRD: #1416 for $1329 (convertible), #1917 for $1349 (convertible), #2210 for $1380, #2812 for $1417, #3915 for $1429 and #3908 for $1407.

I then went directly to Lake Shore Plaza’s website and it shows them having 5 one bedrooms available with completely different unit numbers (#2009, #2810, #2912, #3805 and #4008) and completely different prices: from $1475-$1500!

Outside of the completely wrong pricing and unit numbers, I also found it interesting that CRD states that “Each listing is posted by its landlord with their own contact information so you know you are going to the source right from the start”. Yet, on the left side of the page for each listing, Chicago Rentals Direct’s email and phone number are listed under contact information. Wow.

Reply

Joe Zekas January 23, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Chris,

Thanks for the info. Yes, something has changed there – to the point that the phone # on the left side no longer belongs to CRD.

I’m doing some additional checking. In the meantime, I’ve removed the direct link to CRD in the post, and removed it from the video at YouTube. I’ve added a note to my post re the site’s changes.

Reply

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