Vesta Preferred offers misleading advice to renters

Greg Pekarsky, in a blog post (screen cap) at Vesta Preferred, serves up some of the silliest advice imaginable for renters interested in learning about actual rent prices in Chicago. Pekarsky’s blog identifies him as Vesta’s “Managing Principle” [sic]. He advocates the following.

Step one – start with online research at Zillow and Rentometer.

Step two – contact multiple agents and get their opinions of rent ranges.

Step three – write down the price ranges you’ve heard from the different sources on a sheet of paper.

Bring this paper with you as you begin apartment hunting. If a price seems you [sic] high, you no longer have to second guess yourself. You’ll have a convenient way of comparing the landlord’s asking prices to what people are actually paying.

If Pekarsky doesn’t know full well that steps two and three are so laughably useless that renters will ignore them, he ought to. He may be hoping that they stop at step one – Zillow – where they’ll encounter the nearly 1,000 garbage ads placed by agents from his firm, and 1,000s more garbage ads placed by other rental services.

I’m using the term “garbage ads” as a shorthand way of referring to ads with incorrect rent amounts, misstated features, and links that mislead renters into thinking they’re contacting a property manager rather than a rental agent.

The screen cap above illustrates the problems: available 1-bedrooms at Columbus Plaza rented for at least $70 a month more than the advertised price, and did not include in-unit washer /dryers. Clicking on the “Contact Property Manager” button would take you to the rental agent who provided misleading information rather than to the property manager, who would give you accurate information.

Vesta Preferred is also advertising properties on Zillow without the express written authorization required by the Illinois Real Estate License Act.

Want to know what real rental prices are, and what’s really available for rent? If you’re looking in one of the areas covered by YoChicago’s at-a-glance apartment lists, you’ll find links to near real-time price and availability information for almost all of the larger buildings.

If you’re looking to rent a single-family home or condo, you’ll find virtually all of them listed in the local MLS. Why would anyone, as Pekarsky suggests, contact brokers for rent range estimates when they can get accurate rents and availabilities by doing a rental search for MLS-listing properties at reputable broker sites? You’ll find links to several of those sites, clients of our parent firm, in our at-a-glance lists.

If you appreciate the light we’re shedding on Chicago’s rental services, show your support by liking our Craigslist Apartment Cleanup page at Facebook.

ADDED: I’ve had it with the troll commenters on this post and have closed comments on it. I will publish comments, anonymously if requested, from anyone who emails their comment to yojoe at yochicago dot com with a verifiable identity and phone number.


  • Chris 5 years

    So I guess Chicago Rentals Direct has “garbage ads” too. And you are still featuring them. Talk about laughable.

    • Chris,

      How about offering facts instead of a guess? How about understanding the difference in the types of ads involved?

      Your trolling is what’s laughable.

    • Pelle 5 years

      Very interesting that one of the individuals who works for CRD who you consider so beyond reproach also happens to be spamming craigslist with ads. She appears to be ***GASP*** an apartment locator (I believe the term you use is bedbug). Perhaps next time you should conduct a little research. You’re only making yourself look foolish at this point.

      • Pelle,

        And you’re making yourself look like you’re desperately in need of a remedial reading program.

        Read the ads you linked to. They are placed on behalf of the condo management firm that she works for. But you don’t much care about facts, do you?

        And where have I ever claimed that CRD is beyond reproach?

  • Larry 5 years

    I have dealt with Greg in the past, he is a straight shooter. Very honest guy.

    • Larry,

      We’ll place the same amount of trust in your comment that we do in every comment from an anonymouse with a phony email address.

      Why do you bother wasting people’s time?

      • Ryan 5 years

        I have read enough of your nonsense and felt compelled to comment.

        I do not work at Vesta Preferred, I just have dealt with Greg on a professional level, but I can tell you Greg is one of the most stand up people I ever met.

        You want to bash someone that works with charity organizations. Appears on the cover of Chicago Realtor Magazine and is a top 30 under 30 Realtor in Chicago.

        That’s who I trust, not a Yellow Journalist like Joe.

        Please everybody stop reading you are just adding to his website traffic.

  • Chris 5 years

    Fact: You refer to a “garbage ad” as an ad with incorrect rent amounts
    And here are * FACTS:
    * I just did a one bedroom search on CRD for up to $1600 in the South Loop and it produced one result:
    A “STUDIO” at Astoria Tower is listed for $1295 on CRD
    * Their studio’s are actually starting at $1410.
    * You are promoting a company that has “garbage ads” on your site

    • Chris,

      Either learn to read or go elsewhere.

      If you’d been able to understand what I defined as a “garbage ad” – or if you had any integrity – you wouldn’t try to equate an out-of-date rent in an ad with accurate contact info placed by a landlord with a rental service ad that deliberately misstates a critical feature of the property, pulls a rental amount of of thin air, misleads people into thinking they’re contacting someone they’re not, and is run without legal authority.

      Why are you so desperate to divert attention from the issues here?

  • Chris 5 years

    Please explain to me how Chicago Rentals Direct does NOT have “garbage ads”.

    • It’s time for you to leave, Chris. You’re proving to be nothing but a tedious troll.

      ADDED: Chris’ latest comment has been sent to our spam filter. I have limited patience with people who come here to repeat lies.

  • Chris 5 years

    and I’m not diverting attention here. I am just seeing some hypocrisy on your end so I would just like you to explain how I am seeing it wrong. Or, maybe another reader can explain it to me so I can better understand how and why CRD is different then these “bed bugs”.

    • It’s been explained, Chris, and you either don’t want to understand it or can’t understand it.

      In either case, there’s nothing I can do about that. What I can do is stop a troll from wasting everyone’s time.

      ADDED: I sent Chris’ latest comment to the spam filter, and that’s where his / her further comments will go.

  • Ryan,

    Are you really delusional enough to think that anyone cares what another anonymouse with a phony email address has to say?

    Care to dispute any of the facts I’ve presented?