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Joe Zekas' Blog

By Joe Zekas | Real Estate Pro in 60654

Apartment rental bedbugs have totally trashed Trulia

Bedbugs? That’s my shorthand name for Chicago’s apartment rental services / finders.


It’s appropriate to call them bedbugs because they engage in swarming behavior, and they’re typically bloodsuckers who serve no useful purpose. They steer you to a few, often hard to rent and overpriced buildings, while suckering the gullible into thinking they offer a free and easy path through the apartment hunting maze. Bedbugs bite, costing tenants inflated rents and steering them away from the best rentals.


In order to stay alive, it’s necessary for the apartment rental bedbugs to destroy any Web site that makes it easy for renters to find their next apartment.


It’s been quite a while since the bedbugs made Craigslist almost useless as a way to find an apartment in Chicago. They accomplished that by placing 1,000s of ads a day, many of them fraudulent come-ons, for a very small number of apartment buildings.


And now the bedbugs have totally trashed Trulia. In Lincoln Park alone, for example, you’ll find over 1,000 ads on Trulia for the much smaller number of available apartments.


Here’s a simple rule to avoid being bitten by a bedbug when you’re searching for your next apartment: don’t respond to any ad that doesn’t include the exact address of the property. Legitimate landlords and brokers almost always advertise their address; bedbugs hardly ever do, since they don’t want you to go directly to the landlord and cut them out of their commission of a month’s rent.


If you’re interested in renting a home, townhome or condo, work directly with one of the large established for-sale brokerage firms in Chicago. The bedbugs won’t show you those listings because they’d have to split the commission with the listing broker. Their “free service” may cost you a great deal on a great rental.


If you’re looking to rent in downtown Chicago, check out YoChicago’s rental guides. Those guides give you an overview of a neighborhood, multiple videos, and a list with links to the Web sites of every major apartment complex in the area.


YoChicago Guides are currently available for the South Loop, Loop / New East Side, Near West (West Loop, Fulton River District, University Village, River West), Streeterville and River North. More guides are on the way.


Disclosure: my firm produces ads for a number of Chicago’s established real estate brokerage firms.



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