a step-by-step
guide to buying a home

 

1. Pre-Approval

Contact a trusted and experienced lender to get a mortgage pre-approval. If you don’t have a lender in mind, I am happy to provide references. The amount you are pre-approved for is a high water mark--you don’t necessarily have to spend every penny.

 
 

2. Identify Your Team

The tone of your home buying process will be set by the team you put in place. Choose a broker, lender, lawyer and inspector that you feel will be responsive to your needs and offer the best possible advice and guidance. 

3. Do Your Homework

Even before starting your home search, develop a working brief that outlines the exact details of your dream home: specific neighborhood; type, size, age and condition of home, schools, and of course price!

4. Start the Search

With such a clear picture of the home you are looking for, your search will feel guided and specific, which is good because Chicago’s market moves quickly. Nine times out of 10, my clients know their home when they see it, cutting down on potential stress when making decisions quickly.

5. Write an Offer

Home sale contracts are long and involved. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the terms of the contract prior to even starting your search. Negotiations can be pain points for home buyers if they aren’t prepared and educated.

 
“...Chicago’s market moves quickly. Nine times out of 10, my clients know their home when they see it...”
 

6. Get the Deal Done

With an accepted offer in hand, your real estate team is now off and running. Your lender will initiate the mortgage application process, your lawyer will make contact with the seller’s lawyer, and your broker will ensure that everything is handled properly and on time.

7. Inspection & Finalize the Contract

Inspection timing will be dictated by the contract, and I usually tell my clients to block a few hours from their work day so they can attend. Once a list of any issues with the home is developed, your lawyer and the seller’s lawyer will come to agreement on how to address each issue. After all those terms are agreed to by both sides, the contract is finalized.

8. Closing Preparation

One- two weeks prior to closing your lender will ask that you obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy and pay the premium. A day or two before closing, attend a final walk through inspection with your broker to make sure the property is empty and broom swept clean.

 
 
“...before closing, attend a final walk through inspection with your broker to make sure the property is empty and broom swept clean.”
 

9. Closing

Closings may take place at a title company or brokerage office. Your lawyer will walk you through all the paperwork requiring signature, and at the end, the keys are presented and the home is yours.