Should renters claim the broker bonus at 73 East Lake?

Not all Chicago landlords cooperate with rental service brokers, but the ones that do typically pay a commission equal to a month’s rent. Several of the newer buildings have rented up successfully while paying rental services a flat fee per unit that’s well under a month’s rent.

The new Loop apartment tower at 73 East Lake recently emailed rental services, offering a commission equal to one and a half-month’s rent for leases signed this month. That pencils out to a $5,100 commission for a 2-bedroom apartment renting at $3,400 a month.

The above-average commission may be a sign of weak rental progress at the property, or it may simply be an effort to accelerate rentals in advance of the coming slower months. Whatever the case may be, there can be no doubt that a renter is receiving no additional value from a broker’s receiving bonus compensation. In fact, the offer incentivizes brokers to steer renters away from properties that may be better suited for them.

Most rental services add little or no value in a market like downtown Chicago where all of the rental options can easily be identified. Broker commissions are negotiable. If you’re planning to rent at 73 East Lake, you should seriously consider negotiating at least half of the overall commission as a rebate.

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