Rental services give renters bad advice

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 never longer.

The professional landlords and management companies that rent the majority of apartments in the sought-after lakefront neighborhoods that YoChicago covers typically know what they’ll have available 60 days in advance and often even further in advance. Click on the Check availability links on our at-a-glance apartment lists and you’ll see quite a few August availabilities.

The best apartments rent quickly. Wait until July 1, and most of what you now see available for August will have already been rented. It’s common for landlords to work with rental services only on apartments that are currently vacant or becoming vacant within 30 days. You limit your options when you start your search 30 days in advance.

Rental services want you to wait because they can exercise greater control over you, and you’re more likely to settle for a less desirable apartment after fewer showings. Some landlords have begun paying rental services a lower commission for leases that begin more than 30 days from the date of application.

Start your apartment search at least 60 days in advance, longer if you want to lock up one of the best units in a brand new building. You have absolutely nothing to gain by waiting. Always bear in mind that there are many 1,000s of great apartments that rental services won’t show you because they don’t pay commissions to rental services. You’ll find many more options on our at-a-glance apartment lists than you’ll be exposed to when you work with a rental service.

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