Apartment finder and real estate service companies receive a commission (usually equivalent to one month's rent) from owners or management companies for locating and referring potential renters to their properties. These services have been successful in assisting hundreds of students, but before you choose to work with one of these companies, review the pros and cons list at the bottom of the page and read our suggested questions to ask.
Students frequently use the following services:
- Berkshire Hathaway Home Services: Terri Franklin specializes in working with medical students. Contact her at 312-758-0880 or via email.
StudentSpace provides a free service for Feinberg students to help them find housing near the medical school or near public transportation that takes them there. StudentSpace can help secure housing remotely if you’re not able to travel to Chicago for your housing search. Please contact StudentSpace at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pros and Cons
Provides good housing resources.
Finder assistance is restricted to property owners/property management companies in which the apartment finder service has a partnership.
Saves potential renter search time.
Some apartment finder services may encourage renters to select certain places to rent over others. Their motivation to “make the sale” may influence them to guide potential renters toward higher-priced buildings or ones that are not necessarily the best fit for the renter.
Most provide free service to apartment seekers. Many services include housing resource listings, building tours, neighborhood information and assistance with leasing arrangements.
Large group tours may not offer enough individual attention to apartment seekers who have questions.
Rental rebates offered by property management companies usually end during late spring and early summer. Apartment finder services offer users up to $100 off first month's rent all year around.
On occasion, more than one apartment finder service is contracted with the same property management company or landlord. If you choose to work with more than one finder service, you are only eligible to receive rental rebates offered through the first apartment finder service you choose to work with.
Sometimes rental rates are reduced if secured through a finder service.
Property owners/property managers will sometimes run special rental promotions that only apartment seekers not using an apartment finder service qualify to receive upon leasing. Some of these include refer-a-friend rebates or security/first month’s rent waived. Apartment finder service companies are usually not privy to that information, as it reduces their commission opportunities.
Questions to Ask
Here are some sample questions to ask apartment finder representatives:
- What services do you offer to apartment seekers? Are all services free?
- What neighborhood(s) are your specialty areas?
- I am not familiar with the Chicago area. What important information can you provide about relocating to Chicago?
- What is the process of working with you? How do you operate?
- Will you be available when I need you? How hard will you work for me?
- Do I really need an apartment finder service? What is the advantage of using an apartment finder service when I can conduct the search on my own?
- Do you know any tips to getting a great deal on an apartment? How can I get the best rental rate?
- How much money can I save using your service instead of going directly to a property management company?
Other Search Tools
Other apartment search tools that may be helpful include: