Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Oly, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

Any advice to a future first time home buyer?

Asked by Oly, Chicago, IL Sun Apr 17, 2011

I am a complete newbie and have been doing a lot of research online for properties in my budget. But now I want to start the process of looking to purchase my first home with the help of an agent. So I hope someone could help me with my questions.

I wanted to know how to start the real agent search? What am I expected to provide? what to look/expect from a real estate agent? What the market is currently like? Are there any fees that I should be aware of (I'm familiar with an inspection fee once I do find something I want, but anything that I have to pay my agent)?

I know what I am looking for in a house and would like to also look into a foreclosure/short sales, but would like the pros/cons.

Thanks everyone!

Help the community by answering this question:


I suggest taking one of the pre-purchase counseling classes sponsored by HUD. The link is below. These classes are taught by real estate professionals (Realtors, attorneys, lenders, and home inspectors), and you can ask them all the questions you have. The classes also show you how to interview a Realtor, attorney, and lender before working wit them. The classes are free, and some lender programs require it.

The information in this answer is general information and is not intended as legal advice, nor do I intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader by answering this question or otherwise contributing as a member of Trulia.com.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Selecting a REALTOR(R) first is a great place to begin, because the REALTOR(R) can then refer you to a loan officer for your pre-approval. Depending on how quickly you build rapport with your agent, you might go with the first person he/she suggests, or you might speak with two-three loan officers. However, keep in mind that your REALTOR(R) and your loan officer will ultimately be working as a team - with you as the star player - to help you determine what you can afford, to locate your dream home, to negotiate the best terms for you, and to guide you through the loan process. That said, it's helpful to work with an agent and loan officer who have a successful professional relationship.

If you already have in your mind a number that you are comfortable paying for your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, be sure to mention that number to the loan officer when you discuss your finances. Many buyers can qualify for a larger $ amount than they actually want to spend, but if you work backwards based on what you want your monthly output to be, what your down payment is, etc., it will help the loan officer determine the best loan program for you.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask any REALTOR(R) you are considering for references...and then call them! Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
The first thing to do is to get an approval or at least a pre-approval from a lender. Find an agent that is experienced and knows the area you are interested in. Short sales and foreclosures can be fantastic deals- you must have patience and understand they can be difficult transactions. If you need a referal to a lender, home inspector, or real estate attorney your agent should be able to provide several options. Find an agent you feel comfortable with since you will spend at least 2 months working with your agent.
Web Reference: http://www.rnowak.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hello, again Oly, (1) First you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. I would suggest that you talk to your bank first, and then interview two or three Realtors and pick one that is knowledge, listen and has your best interest at heart.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hi, Oly!

What a great time to be searching for your first home and good for you. :) As you have already clearly decided, finding a great, experienced real estate agent to assist you is definitely one of the most important first steps for you.You want to find an agent with whom you have open, clear conversation - someone you trust and whose reputation you respect. You can check with friends and family to see if they know someone - that's always a good place to start. You can also always give us a call at 312.242.1000 - or check out our agents at dreamtown.com/agents/dream-town.htm - you can look over our agents' bios and also check out what other people are saying about their experiences.In Chicago, it is standard for the seller of a home to cover all of the commission - so, no, you won't be responsible for paying any additional fees for your agent. There is a fee, as you say, for the inspection. There will also be a relatively small fee for an attorney to represent you in the review of the contract and at your closing. Then, there will be (if you are financing with a mortgage) some fees associated with the initiation of the loan, the appraisal. Then there are some closing costs.

Best bet for you is to find a great agent who can go over all of the above with you in detail and make sure you are totally in the know!

Best of luck to you in your search - congratulations!
Web Reference: http://www.dreamtown.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011

You may want to get a mortgage pre-approval before you start talking to realtors. This will let the realtor know you're serious about buying, and what the price range is for your financial situation. A mortgage pre-approval is even more crucial if you're looking at foreclosures/short sales because most of these properties need repairs, but not all lenders offer a loan which allows for repairs to be made.

If you would like to become pre-approved, feel free to contact me anytime. There is no cost for the credit check and pre-approval. We offer FHA, VA, Conventional, HomePath, and FHA 203k loans, just to name a few. My contact info is below. Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hi Oly,

As you can gather we are all vying for your business & everyone will have something to bring to the table, hopefully,

Pick a handful of agents from this forum that seem to have what you're looking for in an agent, i.e. knowledge, experience with buyers and market conditions, specifically foreclosures & short sales. Then check out their online bio's & determine from there, as your starting point, who you want to contact to meet with, even if as a phone conversation. This should at least point you in the right direction.

You seem to have done alot of homework, which is always a good thing, now your new homework is picking the agent you feel most comfortable with. Sometimes it's just about the comfort level.

You'll see that most of the agents on this forum are experienced agents and can all offer you the same type of services, meet with you to determine your needs, provide resources for financing, attorney's, inspectors, schedule showing appointments, determine fair market value so that you don't over pay or under bid risking losing the home of your dreams, etc... In the end it will come down to who you like. You should know that as a buyer our services to you are at no charge.

I am available for conference if you'd like to chat further. Good luck to you & hope everything works out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
A great agent is key. They will guide you through the process and recommend trusted professionals for appraisals, title insurance, home inspectors etc.. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Buying your first place is a very exciting time in your life! This is a great time to buy, and I am sure you have plenty of questions. Its good that you are already curious about what to find in an agent. You should interview two or three agents. Find out which one you feel comfortable with, and which one seems to know his/her stuff the best. A good way to start is right here on these boards.

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hello Oly, There has never been a better time to enter the real estate market.So, why throw away money on rent when you can be your own landlord? I happen to have a few copies of a book that is sure to help. Your First home: The proven path to home ownership Outlines the process of home ownership in eight simple steps.

There is a lot to inventory, Please contact me if you would like to have a copy.

Clara Clark
Keller Williams Realty (Lincoln Square)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Inteiew agents on their services that you will need in the search for the perfect home for you. The first
procedure in finding a home is to have your realtor provide the best lender for your financial situation in
purchasing a home. Sellers work with buyers that have their financial buying power in order. Next have
your realtor search in your price range,area and criteria of your choices everyday and provide you with
a status everyday. Foreclosures and short sale can be rewarding,however daunting in waiting for the
bank's approval. The very best in your seach, Debbie Bergthold-Smith Classic Real Estate 708-267-5552
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Hi Oly.

The process of buying a home can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Like everybody engaged in the home buying process you want to find the "just right" place and you likely have a fear of overpaying. Congratulations on making the decision to associate yourself with a professional Realtor as this choice can ensure that you stay apprised of all of your options and, when the time comes to put in an offer, assist you to hammer out the most advantageous terms. I concur with several earlier respondents who say there is no replacement for experience. By the same token, make sure the experience is relevant with what you want to spend and where you want to live.

At the end of the day buying a home is an odd medley of practical and emotional. Any advice I proffer is shaped by my own experiences and so I say find an experienced agent who is ridiculously smart. The manner in which the market has shifted in the last two years demands that the person you choose be conversant with what we call market metrics. This will benefit you when it comes time to negotiate. By the same token, it is critical that you feel an affinity for the person assisting you with what likely is the largest single economic endeavor you've engaged in. That means the agent has to hear what you are saying and provide wise counsel while seeking to bring your dreams of a new home to life.

And there you have it. Good luck finding the agent who is right for you.

Tom McCarey
Expertise in Buyers' Representation, Luxury Home Marketing and Contract Negotiation
Awarded Top Performer Status by Chicago Association of Realtors Annually Since 2002


check out my award-winning blog
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Well You, Have All The Right Answers That Is Great, You,Did Your Homework Now IF You, Know What Your Looking For Give Me A Call I Can Answer You, And Help You,
CELL 773-627-0019
WEB SITE http://www.chicagofirstrealtor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
- You can call around and interview agents on the phone, narrow down your choices, then interview them in person and choose. This takes a lot of time.
- You can also visit open houses and talk with agents there. This may give you a better understanding and comfort level of how the agent works.
- Choose someone you feel comfortable with, not just the 'top' salesperson, the 'best performer', etc. Someone who listens to what you need in a house, instead of immediately recommending something they think is better for you.
- Unless you have a fair amount of cash or lots of open plastic on hand for post purchase use, I would recommend staying away from foreclosure/short sales. Granted there are good deals but the properties tend to need a fair amount of post purchase investment.
- Make a list, on paper, not just in your head about your home priorities. This will help when weighing various houses against each other.
- Remember all that is new and shiny is not gold. Try not to get caught up in the 'pretty' aspects of a home. Look at the things that matter. Some of the 'prettiest' homes I look at are some of the worst in terms of needed repairs and non-compliant construction.
- Remember to take a deep breath. It could be a quick and exciting journey and a drudgery that seems like it will never end. The house that works best for you and your family is out there.
Hope that helps a bit.
Web Reference: http://www.aic-chicago.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Hey Oly,

You should get yourself a knowledgeable and competent buyer's agent who knows the market and works in real estate full time. There are many new pitfalls in this current market with all the short sales and foreclosures happening, and you need an agent who has a pulse on the market. Please email me and I would happy to help answer any questions and go into more detail. We list foreclosures for 8 different lenders and truly have a grasp of how the current market it operating. I don't like divulging all the information and experience that I have gained and gathered in a public forum.

Brandon Kurdziel
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Well those are important questions. On my website under BUYERS/SELLERS I actually have questions that you should ask when interviewing a Realtor. The answers they give will make it clear whom you should work with when buying. Good luck. http://www.ConnieTheRealtor.com is my site.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Sorry for the brief answer, but I'm on my iPhone and wanted to give you some advice right away.
Congratulations on making the decision to buy your first home.
When looking for an agent, consider the following:
How long have they been in the business? Nothing replaces experience, and in this buyers market, you want someone who can negotiate a good deal for you.
A full time agent. You want someone who is available when you are, and who is out there everyday keeping abreast of the market.
Most importantly, chat with potential brokers on the phone, and select one that you click with. Buying a home should be a fun and positive experience. Select a broker who will deliver that experience.

Good luck.

Mark Goldberg
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011

Congratulations on making the move to search for your future home. Consider the following.

1. Know your finances-review your monthly budget accounting for all income and expenses. Having a handle on your normal expenditures is important and information your mortgage person may require.

2. Meet with several loan specialists to become familiar with programs and rates before getting pre-qualified for financing. A letter of prequalification will help when you submit your offer because the seller will see it as one less thing they have to worry about.

Your contact with a mortgage person should clarify your price range so you'll be able to focus on locations and prices.

3. Attend open houses-attend open houses not only to see the properties but to get ideas and meet your possible future agent.

4. Identify are real estate professional-identifying your own representation. Having a buyer's agent working for you is recomended.

We hope you find this information helpful.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
Good morning Oly,
Get ready, you are about to see 25+ agents tell you roughly the same thing. I suggest an interview to discuss your questions and search. I would be happy to meet for a cup of coffee somewhere that is convenient for you.
Please feel free to email or call me and we can get a meeting set.
Have a great day!
Ryan Gossett
Web Reference: http://www.ryangossett.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
You will get a lot of responses on this so it might be a bit overwhelming. My web site gives you information on the buying process and references for lenders, inspectors & attorneys. I can give you specific prices if you want. You want an agent who has been around a while and knows the neighborhoods you are interested in. We all do foreclosures/short sales and can explain the pros & cons, but this is not a good venue for those details. Give me a call if interested.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 17, 2011
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