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Old 06-14-2012, 03:30 PM
 
10 posts, read 29,686 times
Reputation: 15

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Has anyone on here ever used an apartment finder to find a place in Chicago? I was curious about one aspect of how it works. I've read a few reviews and they make it seem like you have to provide 1st month's rent/security at the point you're applying for the apartment rather than when you actually sign the lease. So if/when you don't get accepted, the broker has your money and you basically have to fight them to get it back.

Could this possibly be correct?? If so, that doesn't sound legal or smart as an apartment searcher to be giving brokers money (beyond the fee for credit check) at that point.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:49 PM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,894,178 times
Reputation: 649
I know people have run into issues with this before. If you get denied at the apartment for whatever reason then the company has your money and it can turn into a fight to get it back. They will often try to show you new places and just keep the cash.

Honestly the Chicago Apartment Finders and Apartment People type companies are gimmicky and generally crap. They have bad reviews on yelp and I can say first hand that they suck. They try to push bad apartments on you because they get higher fees for renting them out.

I would try to find a normal real-estate broker that has access to MLS listings. They are generally more professional, have a better understanding of the market and won't ********* over. My guy from Apartment People had lived in Chicago for 3 months...It's a joke.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:00 PM
 
10 posts, read 29,686 times
Reputation: 15
Wow. So I did read the reviews correctly! How in the world is it legal for them to take your money when you're NOT signing a lease???

So regular real estate brokers assist with rentals too?
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
2,186 posts, read 2,730,870 times
Reputation: 1807
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDtoChicago View Post
Has anyone on here ever used an apartment finder to find a place in Chicago? I was curious about one aspect of how it works. I've read a few reviews and they make it seem like you have to provide 1st month's rent/security at the point you're applying for the apartment rather than when you actually sign the lease. So if/when you don't get accepted, the broker has your money and you basically have to fight them to get it back.

Could this possibly be correct?? If so, that doesn't sound legal or smart as an apartment searcher to be giving brokers money (beyond the fee for credit check) at that point.
I've never paid a broker or landlord any rent money without signing a lease, nor would I ever do so! An application fee of $25-35 is standard.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:20 PM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,894,178 times
Reputation: 649
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDtoChicago View Post
Wow. So I did read the reviews correctly! How in the world is it legal for them to take your money when you're NOT signing a lease???

So regular real estate brokers assist with rentals too?
Yep. The rental market here is pretty hot and the brokers that I know actually handle more rentals than regular sales. It's generally quick and easy money for them and there is volume right now. The big commissions are in sales obviously but not a ton of people are buying 500k homes right now.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:32 PM
 
148 posts, read 402,665 times
Reputation: 165
I've lived in Chicago my entire life and my parents chose to live in Chicago apartments and put their money into an investment portfolio rather than putting it all in a house. They came out way ahead. Renting in Chicago is not that hard. Thankfully most "neighborhood" landlords still use signage and many have added advertising via The Reader and Craigslist. I would find an area you like and then search for signs in the neighborhood. The reader was huge until Craig's and now Craig's is filled everyday with ads from both Realtors and landloards.

The "apartment" services like: people, finders, what ever are known as 'bed bugs'. They typically get the junk that landlords can't rent themselves and the apartments often have flaws that make them tough to rent. Looking for an apartment via a local realtor can go either way. The landlords that use the MLS are willing to pay for that service and you will generally get a better quality apartment however, those landlords are also looking for quality tenants and will have the realtor do a credit check, a reference check and will verify employment and income data. As applicants you will pay $35 - $50 per adult for the application processing. If your looking for a home to rent in the suburbs, the realtor/ MLS is the way to go for sure, they get you in , scheduled and have access to many offerings. Remember that the apartment rental busy season typically starts when kids get out of school and is really busy until kids go back to school in August/ September. It's tougher then but you will see the quantity of rental turnovers boom during that time. Always remember it is no fun to move in the snow so from Dec. - March it can be tough to find a place.

Good luck,
T
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:49 PM
 
472 posts, read 1,019,473 times
Reputation: 421
I havent had much luck with Chicago Apartment Finders. I've spoken with one woman who laughed at me when I told her about my large dogs, the other woman was not helpful and had no interest since I wasn't there face to face yet. I've had much more luck with brokers and real estate agents than actual apartment finders. I can use apartments.com to get an idea for free and not deal with a woman laughing at me.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:04 PM
 
14,341 posts, read 15,840,749 times
Reputation: 8637
Quote:
Originally Posted by theresamcallahan View Post
I've lived in Chicago my entire life and my parents chose to live in Chicago apartments and put their money into an investment portfolio rather than putting it all in a house. They came out way ahead. Renting in Chicago is not that hard. Thankfully most "neighborhood" landlords still use signage and many have added advertising via The Reader and Craigslist. I would find an area you like and then search for signs in the neighborhood. The reader was huge until Craig's and now Craig's is filled everyday with ads from both Realtors and landloards.

The "apartment" services like: people, finders, what ever are known as 'bed bugs'. They typically get the junk that landlords can't rent themselves and the apartments often have flaws that make them tough to rent. Looking for an apartment via a local realtor can go either way. The landlords that use the MLS are willing to pay for that service and you will generally get a better quality apartment however, those landlords are also looking for quality tenants and will have the realtor do a credit check, a reference check and will verify employment and income data. As applicants you will pay $35 - $50 per adult for the application processing. If your looking for a home to rent in the suburbs, the realtor/ MLS is the way to go for sure, they get you in , scheduled and have access to many offerings. Remember that the apartment rental busy season typically starts when kids get out of school and is really busy until kids go back to school in August/ September. It's tougher then but you will see the quantity of rental turnovers boom during that time. Always remember it is no fun to move in the snow so from Dec. - March it can be tough to find a place.

Good luck,
T
Im getting old now i havent rented for a while, in my experience the best way to find a good apartment here is to walk around and find for rent signs.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:20 AM
 
44 posts, read 77,917 times
Reputation: 35
I recently found a place to live. I also tried apartment finding services but didn't have a lot of luck with them. The useful thing about apartment finding services is that they have access to the units to view.

What worked for me was I went on Craigslist and online to find places that worked well for my price range and was in a location I liked. I then contacted the property management company that manages the property directly to see if there was any availability. If there was, I would work with a leasing agent from that management company to view and apply for the place.

I also noticed that the apartment finding services charged a higher monthly rent when compared to directly signing with the management company.

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:39 AM
 
91 posts, read 203,880 times
Reputation: 65
We recently used ApartmentFinder's service and are generally positive about the experience. In our case, my son did not have to pay a deposit and first month rent to AF. In fact, he didn't even need to pay a deposit to the apartment either (just a $250 moving fee). It's likely that my son will be using it again in the future as he gets more familiar with the city and where he wants to live, but for a newcomer who does not know much about Chicago and does not have much time to investigate, AP provides a needed service for him.
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