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An Upside to a Down market

With the housing market down and the economy in a slump, many real estate agents have turned to the rental market to maintain their presence in the industry. One agent recently told me that nearly a third of his income now comes from doing rental business. So if you happen to be in the market for a new apartment or rental property, whyDowntown chicago apartments for rent not turn to a full time professional Realtor for help?

One advantage renters now have due to the recent housing struggles is that many real estate agents are more willing to take on such business, whereas before, it was mainly up to the consumer to research apartment buildings and the policies each entail. Also in today’s market is the questionable option of using an apartment locating service. Now it’s certainly possible that every apartment finding business in Chicago employs top-notch professionals who are licensed and great at what they do. But in reality--it’s also very possible that many of these apartment finders are not licensed, they aren’t familiar with Illinois real estate laws and Chicago Tenants Ordinance and they certainly aren’t the best option for people seeking a seasoned real estate propfessional to help them in finding a rental property. Also, a leasing license is much cheaper, requires very little time and effort to obtain. Obviously, I’m not saying that all apartment locators are uneducated and lack the required state certification required to legally show and rent apartments;but what I can tell you with certainty is that the majority of these businesses certainly don’t go out of the way to give us a basic background of each “agent” on its website. Most of them have no information at all on their employees while others have a convenient “Bio Coming Soon” tagged to each associate-which has likely been there since the website was first created. Still not sure ?  Use craigslist to find a rental and you will be overwhelmed by the amount of spam. Bait and switch is the name of the game and craigslist has become the place that most every service uses.

One unnamed apartment locating business failed to even acknowledge that potential employees need to have an Illinois Residential Leasing License at the very least to fulfill state requirements. As listed on the website, “The perfect candidate has a background in retail, sales, or the service industry. More importantly, you are charismatic, hardworking and resourceful. You are required to have a clean criminal record and access to a presentable, insured vehicle. In addition, you should be prepared to work weekends, as these are the busiest days.” That’s it. That was all that was listed for anyone wishing to apply for a position with this firm. So let’s think about this for a minute. This company made no mention of needing a leasing license or giving the adequate training needed to pass the state approved license examination; and on top of that, clearly needed to add that a clean criminal record and access to a presentable, insured vehicle is necessary. Now if this doesn’t flash a red light to anyone, I’m not quite sure what will. First of all, a clean criminal record should be a “given” for any position where not only is a state exam required, but the employee would be granted access to dozens of apartment buildings throughout the city. Oh, and forget having real estate experience, knowledge of the market and state regulations, etc…this apartment locating business believes their ideal candidate only needs a background in retail or the service industry (and a clean car) in order to be successful.

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