When renting in big cities like Chicago, you inevitably experience the task of sifting through thousands of listings. Most of which are unresponsive or no longer available. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon a random gem that is well-priced but doesn’t tick all your boxes. Or maybe you’ll meet a broker by random chance. They will probably rush you through a few properties and then pressures you to make a quick decision. (This is one of the main reasons to avoid Chicago rental brokers).
And once another year has passed, you find yourself in the same position again. This time, debating the lesser of two evils. Commit to another year to your sub-par apartment, or start the dreadful process over again. You might also find yourself thinking: “There has to be a better way!”
This was the dilemma that AptAmigo CEO, Dan Willenborg, had as a renter in Chicago. After wasting countless hours on listing sites, he sought guidance from a Chicago rental broker. But rather than discovering his best living option, he discovered a majorly flawed system. Luckily, what manifested from this was not just another vicious cycle of the renter’s struggle. Instead, it was a determination to create something the rental industry desperately needed.
Building a Better Way to Apartment Hunt
There are plenty of reasons to avoid listing websites such as Zillow or Craigslist. They take way too much time, they’re cluttered and unreliable; and they lack detailed information, to name a few. And although Chicago rental brokers do provide an alternative to these options, there is still a better way.
Working with a locator team like AptAmigo solves every single problem that plagues the apartment hunting process. With access to an entire team, renters get more support than ever before. Whether it’s advice on where to live or where to find two months free rent— renters get one-on-one support from local apartment experts.
Here are the top 6 reasons to avoid Chicago rental brokers, and instead work with a locator team:
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
It is said that “teamwork makes the dream work”, and this holds true at AptAmigo. Conventional brokerages have numerous agents, and each agent is solely responsible for their own clients. Consequently, a lot of things can fall through the cracks.
At AptAmigo, in lieu of having a multiple jack-of-all-trade agents, there is a team. This provides the client with diversely specialized professionals, all contributing their best skill sets. Through collaboration, everyone on the team can truly own their role, hold each other accountable, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
These contrasting business models highlight the difference between brokers and locators. The former is a cut-throat environment for personal gain, and the latter is an empathetic environment with a common goal. Locators will even tour a place for you if you’re relocating to a new city and provide you with personalized videos and information for each apartment building you are interested in.
Click here to read our tips for relocating in 7 days.
Access to Exclusive Technology
We weren’t happy with the other apartment websites, so we built our own from scratch. This is revolutionary in real estate, because the industry has been using the same database (the Multiple Listing System or MLS) for decades. This is problematic because only real estate agents can access it. The original appeal of using a broker was their access to the MLS. But with the internet now at people’s fingertips, websites such as Zillow make accessing the MLS nonessential. Landlords now have the ability to bypass the MLS and list their own properties. Similarly, Chicago rental brokers use these websites as a third-party marketing too to advertise properties that are in the MLS.
Sites like Zillow, Hotpads, and ApartmentList were a great step toward a revolution, but have their own drawbacks. In a space where anyone can post, there is no way to verify a listing’s authenticity.
To combat this, we created a website that would deliver accurate information directly to renters. We do this by downloading availability data directly from apartment communities, and building personal relationships to keep concessions and rent deals up-to-date. Finally, and most importantly, our website provides a portal for clients to interact with apartment experts who care— true pioneer in the industry.
Transparency, Honesty, and Accurate Availability
One of the most frequently used words among the AptAmigo team is “transparency.” This has been one of our core values since the very beginning. We live this value in a few ways. Having exact pricing on specific units leaves little room for confusion, which eliminates one of the major headaches of traditional apartment search sites. This separates us form traditional Chicago rental brokers, who often do not have a reliable way to clearly present information to clients. This leaves room for a lot of important details to be lost in translation or even intentionally withheld. AptAmigo strives to provide a service that allows clients to sign a lease out of confidence and satisfaction, rather than deceit.
Happy Clients are the #1 Goal
Because traditional brokers foot their own expenses and must balance both client-facing tasks and admin tasks, they often end up spread too thin. On top of this, they only get paid if a client leases at a place they showed them— which means they are personally losing money otherwise. So even if a broker is not inherently ill-willed, they are stuck in a poor system that does not allow them to cater to their client. Their top priority is ultimately to make a sale, rather than find a good apartment match for their client.
The team-based system within AptAmigo was formed in order to prioritize client satisfaction above all else. This process removes any friction, issues, roadblocks, etc. Clients collaborate with their representative to hand pick buildings that fit their needs perfectly. Then, the hand-picked list is sent to the operations team, who coordinates with the buildings to schedule all of the tours. Then, the client’s Touring Agent accompanies them to each property, providing paid rides and even lunch on long days. Compensation is distributed among the team, and the entire service is free for clients. This model eliminates any financial incentive for clients to sign at a particular building. By directing the focus to the client instead of the sale, everyone involved is able to collaborate and work honestly on the client’s search.
Support for Leasing Staff
AptAmigo’s model has created a space to build genuine relationships with each property’s leasing team. Because AptAmigo spends so much time getting to know each client’s needs, we are able to bring only interested and qualified clients to each community. This provides relief for busy leasing staff, who no longer have to sort through hundreds of unqualified and uninterested leads. In turn comes a mutually beneficial relationship where both teams are happy to schedule tours and openly communicate on how to best serve clients.
This system breaks down with traditional brokers because they don’t have time to properly service clients, and consequently end up using a leasing agent’s time to grasp at straws. Empathy goes a long way in understanding the major role the leasing staff plays in making sure clients are happy not only on tour, but for their whole lease term.
Rental Market Expertise
Ultimately, there is an unparalleled expertise that AptAmigo holds over what one individual broker is capable of attaining. Clients receive a shared wealth of knowledge from the team and the leasing professionals, combined with an extensive up-to-date website. There simply is not enough time in one day for a single person to provide what a whole team can. The intention is to maintain a proficient and expansive understanding of the market in order to relay it back to clients. Even other real estate professionals turn to AptAmigo to help them find their apartment!
Now you know what sets AptAmigo apart from Chicago rental brokers and the rest of the real estate world. We’d love to help you find your next dream home! Our team is committed to transparency, efficiency, and empathy—so let us take care of finding your next apartment!
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