By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Jul 25, 2006 at 5:09 AM
Finding the right apartment is difficult, especially in a city setting like Milwaukee. Most people scour the apartment listings looking for the right location at the right price, and landlords and building owners endure the same frustrations when it comes to finding the right tenants. This is where Chris Muellenbach got the idea for My Dwelling, a new Milwaukee business geared toward connecting tenants and landlords.

"Prior to starting My Dwelling, I would talk to landlords about their rentals and the one thing most of them truly disliked was looking for tenants. The whole process bothered them," Muellenback says. "At the time, I had a part-time job working as a building manager for Shoreline Real Estate Company, the part of the job I enjoyed most was the leasing process. So, I got my Real Estate and Brokers licenses, put together my business plan and a year later, My Dwelling was a reality."

As for potential renters, Muellenbach hopes that My Dwelling will be a place people can visit online or call to find the right apartment.

"In talking to tenants, searching for an available apartment can be a trying time. My Dwelling's goal is to have a large selection of apartments through-out the city from various landlords and property management firms and assist tenants in finding the rental that most fits their needs," Muellenbach says. "I want to simplify the apartment searching process for them. My Dwelling is more than an online classified or rental board, I will talk with tenants and find out what they are looking for and, based on the apartments we have listed, will set up the appointments to see apartments."

He says that My Dwelling's services are broken into three parts: Working with landlords, assisting potential tenants and then finishing up with landlord services.

"I will visit a landlord's rental property, take pictures, write an advertisement or listing for the property and begin marketing the rental. (Then) I will begin showing the property to potential tenants," Muellenbach explains. "Once a potential tenant decides they like one of the properties, I assist them in the application process and lease completion. The final step in the process consists of background checks and paperwork."

Muellenbach says that there's more to My Dwelling than just putting up a listing, like many other Web sites and businesses do.

"My Dwelling goes beyond advertising available rentals. The core of My Dwelling's customer service begins after the rental listings have been placed; working with the tenants and landlords to create a long-lasting relationship."

He says that My Dwelling is also affordable for landlords. "Our fee is eight percent of the lease. There are no other costs. All of the marketing and advertising costs are paid for by My Dwelling. Finding qualified tenants so landlords won't have to go another month with a vacant rental is my specialty. My Dwelling's service costs less than one months rent, so If My Dwelling succeeds in finding a tenant, the landlord is financially ahead. If the landlord finds their own tenant, they owe My Dwelling nothing."

My Dwelling currently has a limited amount of apartments up on its site, but Muellenbach says he is currently working on increasing the number of rental properties listed.

Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.