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Is Kale Realty a rental service scofflaw?

Kale sign

Illinois law bars licensed real estate agents from advertising property without written permission and bans the “use of URL, domain name, metatag, keyword or other device or method intended to deceptively direct, drive or divert internet traffic or mislead consumers.” Kale Realty has been on our rental service do-not-call list for years, and I’ve previously ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 3, 2015

State levies $100,000 fine on Exchange Apartment Finders

Clipart

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation has levied a $100,000 civil penalty (pdf) against The Exchange Apartment Finders (EAF) and ordered it to cease and desist the unlicensed practice of real estate. Four individuals affiliated with EAF were also fined $5,000 each and ordered to cease and desist unlicensed practice: Delight Cherry, RJ ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 14, 2015

Ditch the rental broker if you want a great apartment deal

Aerial view of Loop

Chicago’s rental service brokers would like you to believe that they can help you find a great deal on your next apartment. Don’t believe it. Working with a rental service guarantees that you’ll miss out on many of Chicago’s best apartments and apartment deals For starters, there are many attractive properties that don’t pay commissions ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 13, 2015

Rental services give renters bad advice

South Loop aerial

Chicago’s rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders are a source of almost endless misinformation and bad advice. The worst advice you’ll often get from rental services is on the topic of when to begin your apartment search. Their general rule of thumb: 30 days in advance of your move, sometimes 45 days, almost ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 26, 2015

A safe-bet start for your luxury Chicago apartment search

K2

If you’re relocating to a luxury apartment in Chicago and unsure of where you want to live, leasing professionals at properties managed by major companies can prove a surprising source of helpful advice. The Greystar leasing professionals at K2 in the Fulton River District, LUXE and JeffJack in the West Loop, 1225 Old Town in ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 21, 2015

Rental services: we don’t need no stinking listings

Treasure Sierra Madre screen cap

The websites of some Chicago rental services invite you to “search our listings” and their Craigslist ads solicit you to inquire about “our other listings.” The classic scene from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre comes to my mind when rental services refer to their “listings.” Rental services only rarely have what real estate professionals ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 11, 2015

Start your July 1 apartment search now

Aerial

Savvy Chicago renters know that the best apartments rent quickly and are rarely available to last-minute lookers. Major management companies have already sent out their July 1 renewal notices and know what they’ll have available to rent for that date. If you’re looking to move on July 1, the time to start your search is ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 29, 2015

Want a lucrative career leasing luxury apartments?

Hancock

It’s that time of year again. Chicago’s rental services are advertising heavily at Craigslist, touting six-figure incomes, unlimited earnings potential, the start of a lucrative career leasing luxury apartments, etc. etc. Why aren’t the many licensed, experienced real estate agents who currently earn next-to-nothing flocking to those well-paying positions as the rental season heats up? ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 7, 2015

Many of Lakeview’s best apartments are off-limits to rental services

Lakeview aerial

If you’re looking for an apartment in Lakeview, working with a rental service a/k/a apartment locator a/k/a apartment finder guarantees that you’ll miss out on some of the best-located, most fairly-priced and most nicely-renovated apartments in the neighborhood. A number of Lakeview’s largest landlords don’t cooperate with rental services, and the services will steer renters ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 3, 2015

April Fools’ Day is Chicago Rental Services Day

New East Side aerial

Yesterday’s brief encounter with a career criminal working as a Chicago leasing agent left me in a somber mood. Kenneth W. Arron a/k/a Kenny Yochelson a/k/a Kenny Stine called himself Kenny Jacobson when he was hired as a leasing agent by The Homestead Group, one of the rental services on our do-not-call list. A Tribune ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 1, 2015

Is a career criminal working as a Chicago leasing agent?

Kenneth Arron

A tipster alerted me this morning that an individual with a lengthy criminal record is applying, using an alias, to work as a leasing agent at some of Chicago’s rental services. My rental service tipster became suspicious and determined that the individual who’d applied for a leasing agent position was actually Kenneth W. Arron. You ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 31, 2015

No appointment necessary at most high-rise apartments

Aqua view

Chicago rental services would like you to believe that they have an inside track on scheduling showings at Chicago’s apartment towers. They don’t. The rental services would also like you to believe that they can negotiate a better deal than you’ll get on your own. They can’t. In fact, in almost every case they’ve explicitly ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 30, 2015

Road rage and rental agent roulette

Facebook screen cap

According to an ABC 7 report, Martin Vigil has been charged with misdemeanor assault, leaving the scene of an accident, and criminal damage to property following the incident in the above video. Vigil is a leasing agent / manager with Chicago Real Estate LLC, one of the rental services on YoChicago’s do-not-call list. As of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 27, 2015

Chicago rental service deceptions, net rent edition

Streeterville

Advertising a lower rent than what’s actually available in a building is only one of the many ways that Chicago rental services trawl for renters. Advertising a “net rent” when a building is offering a month or more of free rent is another way to deceive unsophisticated renters into calling or emailing. The typical free ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 24, 2015

Jon Zolecki leads in Craigslist apartment spam race

Zolecki screencap

We’ve written about Chicagoland Property Group (“CPG”) a number of times, and singled the firm out as the most prolific source of spam apartment ads at Craigslist. CPG accounts for nearly 1 in every 10 City of Chicago apartment ads at Craigslist, with 5,750 ads as of yesterday afternoon for a shockingly small number of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 12, 2015

When rental service agents show up unannounced

Hegewisch gargoyle

As the rental season kicks into high gear Chicago tenants can expect to have rental service agents barging into their apartments without prior notice. A recent comment: I just woke up to an agent walking in unannounced. I venture to say they don’t do this in Texas, lol. In an earlier post we outlined your ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 6, 2015

Rental services can’t and won’t show you some of Chicago’s best apartments

Aerial Chicago

Many of Chicago’s rental services won’t show MLS-listed condo rentals even though they’re often priced below apartments in managed buildings. The simple reason is that the rental service would need to split the commission, which is usually a month’s rent, with the listing broker. If you’re willing to spend $3,000 a month renting an apartment, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 2, 2015

Luxury Living Chicago’s new twist on deceptive rental service ads

Curbed screen cap

The Illinois Real Estate License Act prohibits “blind advertisements,” i.e. ads that do not contain the name of the broker licensee that placed the ad. The Act also provides that “Advertising shall be considered misleading or untruthful if, when taken as a whole, there is a distinct and reasonable possibility that it will be misunderstood ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 1, 2015

500 Lake Shore Drive bans Craigslist rental service ads

Park west of 500 LSD

500 Lake Shore Drive sent the following email to rental services / apartment locators / apartment finders last Saturday morning: Subject: Craigslist Postings at 500 Lake Shore Drive Good Afternoon, As you all know, we have recently switched over to the LRO pricing model. With this pricing model, pricing fluctuates daily based on several factors ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 23, 2015

Are Craigslist apartment shoppers brain dead?

Craigslist

There are currently 26 ads on Craigslist with the phone number 312-600-7356. All of those ads are for luxury condos with identified addresses. All of the ads I sampled contained a statement that “We are licensed Illinois Realtors…” That ought to be enough to make you comfortable in picking up the phone and calling, right? ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 19, 2015