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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

Join a Chicago rental service or become an Uber driver?

Old Ford

You’re a young, unemployed college dropout contemplating your career options. You’ve been reading Craigslist ads from Chicago rental services that promise “unlimited earnings potential” and a “rewarding career.” You’ve also been considering becoming an Uber driver. After researching the rental service vs Uber decision, here are some of the reasons why you decided to become ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 18, 2015

Leasing agents – how to cut your losses at tax time

IRS logo

If you were lured into working at a Chicago rental service last year by the promise of a “lucrative career” and “steady earnings” the odds are you washed out of the business after grossing only a few thousand – or a few hundred – dollars in commissions. Chicago rental services typically treat their new recruits ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 17, 2015

Kill 17,000 Craigslist apartment spam ads with one mouse-click

Craigslist

It’s been a while since we’ve updated our roster of Craigslist’s worst apartment ad spammers. Some of the rental services on our list have mercifully bit the dust, but Chicago’s most vicious Craigslist spammers are still actively wasting renters’ time. Just over an hour ago, two of Craigslist’s worst spammers – Chicagoland Property Group and ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 9, 2015

Zumper has a new design and spam apartment ads

Zumper screen cap

Yesterday’s email brought “news” of “the brand new Zumper web platform.” In its previous incarnation Zumper seemed to be nothing more than a garbage dump of deceptive rental service ads. In its new incarnation Zumper strikes me as nothing more than a garbage dump of deceptive rental service ads with a more sophisticated search engine ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 6, 2015

A list of Chicago’s best landlords

Aerial

The City of Chicago recently published a list of Chicago’s worst landlords, and plans to update it twice a year. The list has no properties in the near-lakefront neighborhoods where YoChicago concentrates its coverage. A list of bad landlords isn’t very helpful to renters, who are typically far more interested in finding a good one ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on February 2, 2015

That apartment was rented before you applied

Kardas photo

Applying for an apartment that’s already been rented – or was never available – is just one of the very many pitfalls you’ll encounter when you work with a Chicago rental service / apartment locator / apartment finder. Many landlords allow multiple rental services to advertise and show their apartments while retaining the right to ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 19, 2015

Short-term furnished rentals in Chicago high-rises

Grand Plaza duplex

Almost all of downtown Chicago’s rental high-rises have furnished apartments available for short-term stays, either directly from the building or from a third-party company. If you’re relocating to Chicago, a furnished rental enables you to “test-drive” a building you’re considering moving into, or take some time finding your permanent home without the pressure of making ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 12, 2015

How fraudulent Yelp reviews help Chicago renters

Yelp

We’ve written previously about apparently fraudulent Yelp reviews for Live Here Chicago, a local rental service / apartment locator / apartment finder. Company agents and former agents have reportedly been encouraged to create positive reviews for themselves at Yelp. Read the recent reviews pictured above from a single Yelper. It’s obvious that both can’t be ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 9, 2015

Will 2015 be a year of apartment deals and discounts?

Aerial view of downtown Chicago

The downtown Chicago apartment market added more than 2,000 new rental apartments in 2014. The rental market showed surprising strength last year, but all of the new units haven’t been filled despite discounts and incentive offers that ranged as high as three free months’ rent. Nearly 4,000 new apartments will be added in downtown Chicago ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on January 5, 2015

Be wary of Evanston apartment hype

Aerial view of AMLI Evanston

Evanston, home to Northwestern University, is an affluent, highly-educated North Shore suburb. It’s the kind of place where you’d expect landlords to avoid making inflated claims about their properties and locations. My conclusion from visiting dozens of Evanston apartment websites is that they’re typically far less factually accurate than you’d expect or like. The eBrochure ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on December 31, 2014

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