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Apartment rental service misdirection, Luxury Living Chicago edition

Luxury Living screen cap

If you’ve been searching for an apartment in downtown Chicago, the cookies that track your online behavior result in your seeing banner ads for Luxury Living Chicago. The firm is one of dozens that have earned a spot on our rental service do-not-call list. Rental services will always give you a misleading impression of what’s ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 8, 2016

Going Biblical on Live Here Chicago

Live Here Chicago Craigslist ad

“…one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” That’s a first for YoChicago – a quote from the Bible, Luke 16. The quote perfectly sums up my take on Live Here Chicago, one of the rental services on our do-not-call list. The firm and its agents have been engaged in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 5, 2016

Chicago rental services ramp up rookie recruiting

Chicago aerial view

The naïve youngsters who joined Chicago rental services last year in pursuit of a decent living have almost all gone back to tending bar, dreaming of an acting career, or draining their parents’ retirement savings while they look for a real job. They quickly learned that the pay was slow and low, the ethical standards ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 4, 2016

Should you braid hair or be a rental service leasing agent?

Kenny Arron

In Illinois, you’ll need 300 hours of classroom training and practical experience before you can become licensed to braid hair. If you want to be licensed to do nails, the requirement is 350 hours. If you find the educational requirements for hair braiders or nail technicians too daunting, you can always sign on with a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 14, 2015

The 2016 Chicago rental service do-not-call list

Downtown aerial

New renters in Chicago are often confused or misled by Craigslist and other ads into believing that they’re contacting a landlord or management company when they respond to an ad by one of the many apartment locators / finders / rental services. Many of the 10s of 1,000s of rental service ads on Craigslist are ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 13, 2015

Chicagoland Property Group spams Craigslist with 6,000 apartment ads

Craigslist iCPG

Chicagoland Property Group (“CPG”) retains its long-standing rank as Craigslist’s worst apartment ad spammer. As of yesterday the firm had more than 6,000 apartment ads on Craigslist for a very limited number of buildings. You’ll find virtually all of those buildings, and a lot more, on YoChicago’s at-a-glance lists. CPG routinely posts multiple ads in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 13, 2015

Moving to Chicago? Skip the trip and rent short-term or sight-unseen

Gateway view

If you’re relocating to Chicago and looking for a great apartment in a well-managed building, you can spare yourself the expense and hassle of one or more apartment-hunting trips and playing the bait-and-switch game with a rental service broker. Chicago has lots of great apartment communities and there’s always a good selection of apartments available. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 8, 2015

Chicago’s most-Liked apartment management company

Planned, Facebook

We surveyed the Facebook pages of dozens of Chicago’s larger property management firms to determine which one had garnered the most Likes. Planned Property Management had 8,025 likes, giving it a substantial lead over BJB Properties, the second-place finisher at 6,238 Likes. Each of the firms owns and manages dozens of properties in prime near-lakefront ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 7, 2015

A rental service is your worst move when moving to Chicago

Hyde Park to downtown aerial

If you’re moving to New York, you’ll need a rental service broker to gain access to some of that city’s best apartments. If you’re moving to Chicago, working with a rental service is a guarantee that you won’t see some of this city’s best and best-priced apartments. And, at some properties, you’ll be shut out ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 6, 2015

Searching Streeterville apartments on Craigslist is a fool’s errand

Streeterville aerial

A recent Craigslist apartment search for Streeterville returned 2,500 results – Craigslist’s maximum. Further limiting the search by adding “Chicagoland Property Group” (CPG) – Craigslist’s most prolific apartment ad spammer – returned 755 results. Eliminating CPG ads from the Streeterville search returned 2,351 results. Do the math and there were over 3,000 apartment ads on ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on November 24, 2015

How to turn one month’s free rent into two

Chicago aerial view

This morning’s email included the “hot sheet” from a newer high-rise offering renters a month’s free rent and their brokers / finders a month-and-a-half’s rent in commission. If you’re working with a rental service broker / apartment finder, you should always ask what commission is being paid by each of the buildings you visit. Your ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 28, 2015

Rental services will steer you wrong on Lincoln Park apartments

Screen cap Luxury Living

If you’re looking for an apartment in Chicago’s sought-after Lincoln Park neighborhood, the worst place to start is with a Chicago rental service a/k/a apartment locator a/k/a apartment finder. If you’re unfamiliar with neighborhood boundaries, you can’t rely on rental services for accurate information. The above screen cap, for example, illustrates the results of a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on October 5, 2015

A roundup of Yo’s recent rooftop rambles

Hubbard Place view

We love rooftops, and head for one every chance we get. Here’s a brief look at some of what we’ve seen within the past few weeks, starting with the view north and east from Hubbard Place, above. You can click any image to view a much larger version. We rode the construction elevator to the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 28, 2015

How much is your rental service agent being paid?

Millennium Park

In Chicago, unlike New York and some other cities, rental services are typically paid by the property rather than by the renter. That fact might lead renters to believe, mistakenly, that they can safely ignore their agent’s compensation. Assume you’re working with a rental service to find a one-bedroom apartment for up to $2,400 a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 21, 2015

How every high-rise renter can reduce rental service costs

Hyde Park aerial

Despite their wacky protestations to the contrary, rental services aren’t free, and they aren’t paid for by landlords. Every renter in a high-rise that cooperates with brokers pays broker fees as part of their rent. In a typical building that cost can be $500 a year, or more. The cost can double in a high-turnover ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 7, 2015

Start your Chicago apartment hunt at a Habitat community

Thumbnail image for Start your Chicago apartment hunt at a Habitat community

If you’re relocating to Chicago, you can minimize the stress of your apartment hunt by starting with a trusted brand. The Habitat Company has held a spot in the top-tier of Chicago developers and management companies for more than 40 years. Habitat has built and renovated more than 13,000 units and currently manages more than ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 27, 2015

AptAmigo is not a friend of YoChicago

Thumbnail image for AptAmigo is not a friend of YoChicago

Early last week I received a follow-up email pitch from Dan Willenborg, Co-founder and CEO of AptAmigo.com, inquiring about ways we might “work together.” I had ignored his original email. When I visited the AptAmigo site I was shocked to see scores of copyrighted building and neighborhood photos that had been pirated from YoChicago without ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 25, 2015

Chicago rental services’ biggest lie is one word: free

Wolf Point view

Chicago’s rental brokers would desperately like you to believe that their service is free to renters. It’s often not free, and it’s frequently very costly. Some landlords offer “free rent” and other discounts only to renters who are not working with an apartment locator / finder / broker. Rent one of their apartments, and you’re ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on August 3, 2015

In Lincoln Park and Lakeview, a rental service is worse than useless

Lincoln Park aerial

One of the many things that Chicago rental services don’t want you to know is that there are many properties that they can’t or won’t show you. The “can’t show” roster includes the many popular properties that don’t pay brokers a commission and won’t allow them to show renters around. The “won’t show” list comprises ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 21, 2015

Mike Britton moves apartment pool from Uptown to South Loop

Craigslist ad

Want a renovated apartment in the South Loop with a pool and a sun deck? A Craigslist ad from Chicagoland Property Group’s Mike Britton has just what you’re looking for. There’s only one teeny, tiny problem: the building pictured and described in the ad doesn’t have a pool. That’s only a problem if you’re a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 7, 2015