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 paying the broker by losing the discount you would have otherwise received.
A number of major landlords don’t cooperate with brokers. Work with a broker and you won’t be shown some of the best and best-priced apartments along Chicago’s lakefront.
A growing number of large properties pay brokers a flat fee that is less than half of what other properties are paying. Work with a broker, and you’re highly likely to be steered away from those properties.
Some smaller landlords charge higher rent to renters who are represented by a broker to cover the cost of the broker’s commission.
Apartment locators would also like you to believe that they’ll negotiate a better deal for you than you could negotiate on your own. The simple fact is that the brokers have signed agreements with many properties barring them from negotiating rent or lease terms.
If you’re looking for an apartment in Chicago and working with a broker, it’s a major mistake to rely exclusively on the broker. Check YoChicago’s at-a-glance lists and reviews, and other sources, to find your best apartment deal.