Curbed vs YoChicago re Luxury Living Chicago

On Friday Curbed Chicago featured Luxury Living Chicago’s Aaron Galvin as downtown Chicago’s “top rental broker,” touted his “expertise” and invited its readers to submit questions to Galvin.

At Curbed Galvin hypes rental service brokers as “an invaluable resource and your advocate when working with a landlord and/or property management company.” YoChicago readers are familiar with our view that rental services are worthless or worse, and that most of their claims are bogus.

Let’s take a closer look at the value that Luxury Living Chicago (LLC) offers renters by comparing the quality of information you’ll find in a Streeterville search at LLC’s site and via YoChicago’s at-a-glance list of Streeterville apartments.

There are 11 apartment complexes in Streeterville, and all of them currently have units available for rent. All of the buildings have websites with accurate information, photos and floor plans, and most offer near real-time information about availability and prices. It’s a relatively trivial task to compare the buildings, determine which fit your criteria, and walk from one to another. A YoChicago post summarizes building information, with links to the websites, and video tours of some of the buildings.

A search for Streeterville Apartments at Luxury Living Chicago (LLC) returns only 14 results, 13 of which are in rental buildings and one in a condo building. The 13 apartments in LLC’s search results are in only 4 buildings: 3 at Cityfront Place, 2 at Onterie Center, 6 at Streeter Place and 2 at The Streeter. A search for MLS-listed condo rentals at a reputable brokerage site will surface more than 100 available units.

LLC lists 2 apartments at the Streeter, a 1-bedroom at $2,125 and a 2-bedroom at $2,990. Both units are listed as “Dogs OK.” The availability search at The Streeter’s site shows 6 1-bedrooms available for $2,181 to $2,647 and 5 2-bedrooms from $3,290 to $3,610. The Streeter has no 2-bedrooms available on its dog floors.

Here’s what LLC’s Galvin had to say about The Streeter in a comment on a YoChicago post in July of 2010 – a time when The Streeter was paying rental services only a half-month’s commission while Streeter Place next door was paying a full month:

Thanks for the post about Streeter and Streeter Place. Just to clarify, The Streeter is no longer owned nor managed by Golub and Co. It was bought by a REIT and is now managed by Village Green. The reviews of The Streeter speak for themselves; a poorly constructed building with terrible management. With a 43% rating, I will not even take my clients there.

According to LLC’s listings, The Streeter, built in 2007, is now “an elegant and new high rise building” that “can not be beat.” Ask Galvin what’s changed in the interim, apart from its commission rate.

The 3 apartments LLC lists at Cityfront Place are a convertible renting for $1,865, a 1-bedroom for $1,970 and a 2-bedroom for $2,875. The availability search at Cityfront Place’s site lists 3 units: a studio renting for $1,637, a 1-bedroom for $1,760 and a 2-bedroom for $2,880.

LLC lists a 1,300 square foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath loft at Onterie Center for $3,100. According to Onterie Center’s site, 1,300 square foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath lofts range in price from $3,560 to $4,300.

The takeaway: If you want the best deal on a Streeterville apartment, take a few minutes to do your own search and go directly to the properties.

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