New chamber member Carolyn Ridge*, owner, and founder of Rent Here Realty, pictured in today's masthead alongside two of her agents, might be new to the neighborhood, but she's no stranger to Wicker Park. Carolyn lived here in the 1990s, and in 1996 she met her husband at the long closed Mad Bar.
Carolyn began commuting to Wicker Park from her home in Park Ridge in March, where she lives with her husband, and their two children. Rent Here Realty, anecdotally known as one of the only female owned full service rental agencies in the city, operates out of an airy, second floor boutique style office at 1745 W. North, above The Ledge.
Though initially planning to grow conservatively, with three employees, Carolyn reports to Pipeline that the word got around that she was back in the business (she previously worked in the rental industry for seven years before taking a hiatus to join the title side of real estate operations). Her first mission? A large, well known listing agency solicited Carolyn's help- and the help of two competitors- to rent out nine luxury apartments. When all was said, and done-- or in this case, the leases signed--Carolyn, and her team were responsible for renting out eight of the nine properties.
On the afternoon that Pipeline stopped by, Carolyn was about to leave for a showing with one of her agents, and then to hire her eleventh employee. I guess nearly 1500 listings would be a lot of work for three people! Congratulations, Carolyn, and welcome back to the neighborhood. In regards to renting in general, it's no secret that it's a renter's market, a fact reinforced in a recent speech by President Obama, which put the phrase, "a nation of renters" into the limelight.
* profile originally appeared in The Pipeline eNewsletter, July 20th, 2009