About HotSpot Rentals

We genuinely love working with people, so when we started the company in 2012, our mission was to hire, train and develop people we actually liked and cared about. “Would we want to go do dinner with this person” is a common question we ask when we consider someone for HotSpot. Once we find them, we believe that if we invest in them personally and professionally, they will treat our customers amazingly well.

Today, we have a tremendous family of agents who are dedicated to making your leasing experience the best in the business. We hope we live up to your expectations.

If you’re a customer of ours, thank you. We truly appreciate your business. If you’re considering us for your next rental search (or even next career move), we would love to get to know you. Contact us today to get started or keep reading about HotSpot Rentals below!

Our Philosophy

Let’s start with the basics – how we built our company:

  • We treat our customers with a sense of urgency, recognizing that your time is valuable.
  • We’re self-motivated, goal-oriented individuals who love working with people.
  • We have a work hard, play hard mentality, but always put the customer first.

We’re passionate about the Chicago rental market. We don’t buy, we don’t sell. We do rentals and leasing. It’s what we do every day.

Let HotSpot Rentals help you in your search for the perfect apartment! It just takes a few minutes to get started.

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Your Personal Shopper

Think of us as your “personal shopper” during the apartment search. We do this every day, and with a little bit of information about your needs, likes, dislikes, and goals, we can greatly simplify the process and get you into a place that looks and feels just like home.

We’re a free service to you that should make your experience easier. We’ll follow up with a brief call to answer questions or learn a little more about you… just relevant stuff that helps us spend your time wisely. Overall, we’ve learned that most customers aren’t looking to see tons of places. They’re hoping to see the best places that meet their unique needs. Quality over quantity—that’s our goal.

Let HotSpot Rentals help you in your search for the perfect apartment! It just takes a few minutes to get started.

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How We Add Value

The rental market is surprisingly complicated. Today, there are dozens of sites that offer the same units, and pricing is structured based on supply and demand, much like the airline industry. It can be frustrating and sometimes a little overwhelming, so we can really help out here.

Another advantage we offer is our on-site experience. We’ve worked with the same properties for years, and we’re always adding new ones, so our agents know these buildings. We tour them hundreds of times a year and can provide you real life insight on how each compares to one another. In fact, 76% of our customers end up signing on a different apartment than the one they originally inquired with us about. That means—even if you think you’ve narrowed down your online apartment search—there’s a good chance we can find an even better one out there for you.

Representing your interests with a sense of urgency is another important value we bring. In some cases, this might mean pushing for a sooner appointment on a unit that is likely to rent quickly. In other cases, it may mean scheduling your appointments to take advantage of a building’s limited-time promotion. Operating with some urgency can help you lock down the apartment you love. Heck, it might even help you save a few bucks.

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Why We Work For Free

Apartment buildings love working with us. We bring them extremely targeted customers who are looking for features and amenities that their building provides. It makes the process more efficient for everyone, which is why the apartment buildings are more than happy to compensate us for our services—and why there’s no cost to you. We’re just part of their yearly marketing budget. Simple!

If you’re interested in finding a perfect apartment rental in Chicago, contact us today.

And if you’re not located in the city yet, we’re happy to find a first-class Chicago apartment rental on your behalf. Check our Relocations and Sight Unseen sections for more information.

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When it comes to relocations, timing and inventory is a delicate balance. We’ll communicate frequently throughout the process, making sure you understand the current market and your best options, all while providing clear recommendations.

On the day of the showings, we’ll guide you around to each building and give you insight into each of the neighborhoods we visit and how they fit into your lifestyle.

Be sure to bring a valid driver’s license, credit card or form of payment, and proof of income or an offer letter, especially if you think you will be able to make a decision while you are in town.

If you’re unable to view any apartments in person, we are happy to help with a Sight Unseen.

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Sight Unseen

If you need to rent an apartment in Chicago, but you won’t have a chance to physically step foot inside before signing a lease, we can help. In fact, it’s one of the most important services we offer to our customers who live out of the state, out of the country, or who are just incredibly busy.

Choosing a place to live is a big decision, and an even bigger one if you’re not familiar with the area. We’ll spend more time communicating so we completely understand your needs, knowing we’re your eyes and ears.

Typically, we’ll create a curated list of options that match well with your goals, providing photos, descriptions, neighborhood info and cost breakdowns. Once we’ve narrowed down a few prospective units, we can capture a video of the unit (or similar unit). Video gives you a much better feel for the space so you can feel more confident in your decision.

When you’re ready to sign, we’ll guide you through the application process and make sure you have everything you need to safely and securely complete the process. Applications are first come, first served, so once you apply and get approved the apartment is yours!

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If you are looking for a career change, have more than 5 years sales experience and HotSpot sounds like the kind of place for you, drop us a line at We’d love to get to know you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often are the carpets cleaned?

Unlike the carpets in some condos or privately owned apartments, carpets in a managed apartment building are changed quite frequently, typically every 2 to 3 years or sooner if they show wear and tear.   

What is a managed apartment building?

A managed apartment building is a wholly-owned property that is staffed by a full-time property management and maintenance company. The properties we work with usually range from one hundred to several hundred units, but the biggest benefit is that the whole property, including the common areas and units, are managed by one company. 

What are the typical breed and weight restrictions for dogs?

Standard breed restrictions include Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds, but there are a limited number of properties that are a bit more picky. Weight restrictions vary substantially from 30 lbs up to no weight limit. Over 80% of our properties are dog friendly!

What does it mean when a building has “dog-friendly floors?”

Some properties allow dogs on all floors, but others have designated floors they allocate specifically to accommodate dogs. 

Does the building include parking?

Nearly every property we work with has on-site covered parking, but it is not included in the rent price. Some buildings even have valet!

What are the contract terms for parking, and are there parking alternatives?

Parking is a separate contract from your apartment lease and is month to month, allowing you to turn it on and off based on your needs. We are happy to provide information about free parking, permit parking, and off-site paid parking that is convenient to the property.

What is the building going to ask for in terms of income and credit score?

You should plan on having an income that is 2.8 to 3.3 times one month’s rent and a credit score that is 600 to 625 or greater. If you believe you will not be able to qualify on your own, you can add a co-signer or guarantor. If you have a roommate that will live with you, the property will consider both incomes, and typically the average of both credit scores. Buildings will also do background checks on all applicants.

What is Pet DNA?

Pet DNA is a requirement some buildings have to insure the cleanliness of the common areas of the building. Pets are “DNA Identified” when they move in, and if one of the pets leaves “a mess” inside the property (that isn’t cleaned up by the owner) the pet can be identified, and the owner contacted for notification or a fine.  It’s sort of like “Big Brother” for pet owners.

What is a utility package?

If you have never lived at a property that has a utility package, you are missing out! Instead of charging you for individual usage on utilities, some properties offer flat-rate utility packages. The packages, based on unit size, include some or all of the standard utilities (water, sewer, trash, heat, air conditioning, and gas).  Cable and internet are sometimes part of the package, but standard electrical usage is always separate. 

Why does pricing change daily?

Pricing has become very similar to the airline and travel industry with market prices being heavily driven by supply and demand. In many cases, unit prices change daily based on a number of factors including: current tenants who give notice to end their leases, new leases signed, quantity of prospective tenants touring, seasonality, proximity of move dates, and the current price of comparable units in the area.

How long does an apartment stay on the market?

Not very long if a property is priced correctly. “Lease ups,” the term used for brand new properties, typically have several units that meet similar requirements, so timing is usually not as critical with new properties. However, if a property has a high occupancy rate and knows how to price their units, many won’t stay on the market longer than a few days. If a unit is on the market too long, many properties will run a special to move the unit more quickly. These specials can be “pulled” at any time, encouraging prospective tenants to act quickly.

What are the move-in fees, deposits, etc?

The typical application fee is around $50 per applicant, and the standard move-in fee is anywhere from $350 to $500 per unit.  In a very limited number of properties, there is a small deposit required or the move-in fee is calculated on a per person basis (rather than per unit).

How many people can apply for the same unit, and how is the decision prioritized?

Unlike renting from a private individual, managed properties take applicants on a first come, first approved basis. This simply means that if you are the first person to apply for the unit and your income, credit, and background check meet the property’s requirements then the apartment is yours. There is no bidding or selection process.

How long does a tour take?

On average, plan for 30 minutes.  If we know a building has a longer tour, we will usually let you know or schedule appointments accordingly. Additionally, if you are short on time, just tell us and we will speed things up!

What is net effective pricing?

Net effective pricing is the “prorated monthly rent” of a unit when specials or promotions are factored into the rent.  For example, if a unit has a market rent of $2,400, but the property is offering “1 Month Free on a 12 Month Lease,” the net effective monthly rent will be $2,200, which factors in a savings of $200 off per month for the duration of the promotion.

Can I still get help with my apartment search if I live out of town?

We love out of towners, and yes, we can help you too! Oftentimes our customers are moving without being able to actually tour apartments, so we’ll head to the buildings, take photos or video, and walk you through the units virtually. Trying to apartment shop remotely can be stressful, so we might ask a few more questions to make sure we have everything we need to help make you as comfortable as possible. 

What is the best time of year to move?

There really is no “best time” to move to Chicago, but generally rents are cheaper in the winter than the summer. The winter months are less crowded, so building and elevator access are easier, but summer is great because you can finish your move and go lounge by the pool. Seriously, though, we work with move dates all year long. You really can’t go wrong.

What are the hardest times to get in for an appointment?

Weekends, lunch hours, and after 5pm on weekdays are the hardest times for appointments. If you can work around those times, great! We can probably streamline the showings and save you time. Either way, we’ll do everything we can to accommodate your schedule and let you know when “having a sense of urgency” is important.

What’s in this for the agent?

Money… let’s just lay it out there. We only employ full-time agents who do this as a career (not a side job). Even better, we are an absolutely free service to you. We have contracts with our properties, and when we bring them a customer for the first time, and the customer signs a lease, we get paid. 

What’s my obligation to the agent, or Hotspot Rentals?

You have no legal obligation to HotSpot Rentals, or the agent. We do not require contracts with our customers, but we do ask for your loyalty and support if we are providing you quality service. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes research and coordination to find you the options that best match your needs. If we act with a sense of urgency, listen to your needs, and find you great options, why would you want to work with anyone else?!

How safe is the neighborhood?

Fair Housing Laws do not allow us to talk about the safety of a neighborhood or property. If you have questions, we recommend doing a little research on your own, or just walk around the property and observe, or even talk with people in the area. 

What is a Walk Score?

A Walkscore is a number between 0 and100 that defines the walkability of an address based on several factors including: access to public transportation, bike paths and sidewalks, and proximity to everyday needs like grocery stores, hospitals, and restaurants. It also includes parks and public space. All of our properties are located in highly walkable areas. Chicago, in general, is a very walkable city with very convenient access to public transportation.

Why is apartment searching so exhausting?

First, it is hard for most people to articulate their wants and needs. Second, even when you know what you want, the market is very inefficient, which makes it difficult to match those needs to the properties available. It sounds cliché, but that is why we are here. We’re gonna do “all that” for you, and save you lots of time and energy.

What hours can I view apartments?

A good guideline for tours is: 9am to 5:30pm during the weekdays, 10am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays. Each building is a little different, so don’t be surprised if there are small exceptions.

When is the best time to start my apartment search?

Between 30 to 90 days before your move date is best. Buildings don’t have inventory available beyond 90 days typically, but getting an early start helps on pricing. Current tenants are required to renew leases no later than 30 days before their lease expires, so if you are looking to move within 30 days, the inventory is only going to get more scarce (which usually means higher prices).

When do buildings know when their units will be vacant?

Our properties require their tenants to give a 30-day notice before they move out. As soon as the building knows a tenant is moving out, the unit is put on the market. This means if you are looking to move within the next 30 days, inventory will only decrease, as all of the tenants who planned to move out during that time have already provided notice.

What about those apartment reviews?

Apartment reviews are tough, primarily because reviews stick around for years, but properties do renovations and upgrades, change personnel, and even change management companies. Unlike restaurants, apartments don’t receive a lot of reviews so the information isn’t very complete. We like to use a simple rule: take the number of units in the building and factor 1% per year for negative reviews. So, if a building has 400 units and no more than 4 negative reviews, our experience says you are smart to proceed! 

What is a Sight Unseen (or Site Unseen)?

No matter how you spell it, a sight unseen is when you are unable to view the apartment before you sign a lease. We know it’s extra stressful choosing an apartment if you won’t get to see before you move in, so we will work extra closely with you and the properties to make sure you are comfortable and have all of your questions answered.

What do I need to bring with me on my showings?

Every property will require a copy of your Driver’s License or ID card for the tour. If there is a chance you will apply during the showing, it will be helpful to have a credit card for application fees and a copy of your pay stub or offer letter.

How are your services free?

Our services are free because we are paid through the marketing budgets of our properties. Our fees are part of their advertising expense and do not affect the market rent. It is literally like a free personal shopper, which is actually pretty cool when you think about it!  

Looking for your dream Downtown Chicago apartment for rent? Let HotSpot Rentals help you in your search for the perfect apartment! It just takes a few minutes to get started by contacting us today!