My son owns and lives in a nice but pricey condo in Noble Square, and he’d like to get some additional career training that make it desirable for him to rent it out for a while and live with family to make it possible for him return to school. He is operating within a tight budget to make it all happen, but with the number of resources online, like leases in conformity with Chicago and Illinois law, and well-designed application forms and credit checks, he lacked only one thing, and that is professional input in pricing the rental. Although there are sites that let you enter data and arrive at a rate, their recommendations are all over the place and don’t seem to have much to do with actual rentals in the area. We were stumped. Getting it wrong would mean, if we set it too low, he loses money, which he can’t afford to do, or we set it too high and it doesn’t rent and his plans are dashed.
I called at least twenty real estate and property management companies in West Town and Noble Square to ask if we could pay for this service ‘ala carte’ without contracting with them for full management services. You can probably guess the response. Except from Austin Pearson of Pearson Realty. He responded to my phone message within the hour.
Austin was not daunted by my request, and by ‘daunted’ I mean stutter around explaining that “our business just doesn’t do that kind of thing,” or “What? huh?” like the other places (when I was actually able to speak with a human person). He simply said, ‘Sure,’ and after that he said, “No charge,” and after asking about the amenities on the property, he went to work with the comps in the area, and he came up with a reasonable figure–that is, one which was close to what we had been thinking, since we had looked at the comps, too, but lower than the online estimators. And then he gave us a strategy to move it up a little (which was to use the parking as a negotiable piece based on the response to the ads).
How sweet was that? And how professional, too. If I were looking for property management, that’s what I would want–someone who returns phone calls quickly, as Austin did, and someone who understands a situation quickly and does not have a built in negative response to it. He listened, he saw that what I wanted was reasonable (although unusual), and he fixed it. That’s a good manager. And he graciously refused payment for it. That’s a nice guy.
I’m keeping Mr. Pearson’s name on my contact list, because as we go forward, my son may find his balance financially and be able to contract out the work of managing a rental property, which is challenging. Austin Pearson of Pearson Realty is both smart and kind, and he’d be my choice. If you had run into as many brick walls as I did, he’d be yours, too.