As we quickly approach the Spring, the time to plan for your new move is now. Our Chicago First Time Home Buyer Tips Guide is everything you need to get started with confidence.
Find The Right Agent
Finding the right agent for your needs is a crucial first step in our Chicago first time home buyer guide. When shopping for agents, you want an experienced realtor that can answer any first-time buyer questions you have and that you can get along with well. You want to look for an agent that is familiar with the areas you are searching in – some inside knowledge of certain neighborhoods is invaluable in the home search process. Going to some larger reality sites such as Zillow or Trulia will automatically match you with an agent based on your search – useful but very impersonal.
This is where having a trusted network or community of people you can turn to for recommendations will pay off. Having someone’s trusted word on an agent’s experience and more importantly, goodwill & ethics will be invaluable in this process for a Chicago first time home buyer. Facebook neighborhood groups are a great place to start if you don’t have many contacts in the area you are looking into – many business leaders and community organizers discuss things here and can give some great recommendations.
Our expert team at Pearson Realty Group of over 80 Chicagoland agents on staff is ready to help you through every step of the home buying process. Search all properties for sale on our buyer’s search page and feel free to call us anytime, we have agents involved in all neighborhoods of the city and can find your dream home today!
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
There are no stupid questions, especially when it comes to purchasing your first home. Remember, this is your realtor’s job – they studied the laws, they have the knowledge, and the know-how to get answers they don’t have. When you’re a Chicago first-time home buyer you can’t be timid or nervous to ask redundant or simple questions, this is your hard-earned money and you deserve the best service when searching for such a serious purchase.
Put some time aside, write down a list of any questions that you think of, and make sure you are confident in the answers you receive. The Washington Post put together 8 important — and overlooked — questions to ask before buying a home, this is a great jumping-off point for brainstorming ideas for your specific property. Inquiring about the quality of schools, noise levels, monthly appliance/utility cost, traffic levels, are more than appropriate and expected behavior with serious buyers.
A common complaint about bad agents is the inability or unwillingness to answer perceived “dumb” questions. This leads to confusion, distrust, and questioning the entire purchase process – an agent can either provide or take all the confidence in the deal for you. So very much like our advice to find the right agent, don’t be afraid to leave an agent that isn’t working out for you. While there are many red flags for dropping an agent, inability/refusal to provide properly requested information might be the largest one to look for.
Take Your Time
Excitement tends to take over many first-time home buyers when seeing properties in person. While these feelings are absolutely warranted, it’s important to keep your composure and not rush into things. This applies equally to every part of the home buying process. Revisiting properties, getting second opinions, and evaluating your agent’s performance are just a few things you should spend some time on before pulling the trigger on any home.
Pre-Approved Is Better Than Pre-Qualified
While both of these are beneficial in planning your expenses and financial expectations for your first home purchase, they are drastically different in practice. A pre-approved loan essentially acts as a realistic but hypothetical loan process – it is all potential not guaranteed. You are provided with a lender, a summary of your financials, and an estimate on what you could potentially borrow. This is usually not preferred by sellers as it does not give them as much confidence in comparison that you will be able to complete the purchase.
On the other hand, a pre-qualified loan is on the opposite end of the spectrum. This process ends in you having a definitive loan amount guaranteed by a future lender. This is done with a hard credit check, a deep look at your financials, and a more in-depth application that covers much more than a pre-approved loan. The clear advantage of a pre-approval loan is that you are able to begin your home search with more confidence and realistic expectations. Another big difference is that pre-approval takes significantly longer than pre-qualified, although doing so will save you an indefinite amount of time, effort, and stress in the future.
Here at Person Realty Group, we have built up relationships with some extremely trustworthy lenders and services that make this process easy on you. Contact us today to speak to someone about finding your dream home today!
Prepare For Long Closings & Unexpected Costs
As we always say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Even when, on paper, things appear that they will wrap up nicely and in a timely manner this doesn’t stop life from happening. Unexpected delays such as repairs, legal proceedings, transfer times, and the actual logistics of finalizing paperwork & inspections can take much longer than anticipated without much notice. Many times this is the case for a Chicago first time home buyer, so it helps to research the closing and general process to set up both ideal and realistic expectations for timelines and costs.
Preparing for a long process also means preparing financially. While a down payment might be one of the bigger “expenses” you’re expecting, there are plenty of surprise costs that can and will pop up. Consider putting aside funds for appraisal fees, home inspections, wire fees, surveys, attorney costs, and more depending on your specific situation. This is where an experienced and knowledgeable agent comes in handy, they will be able to help you set realistic expectations for both the financial costs and timeline for any Chicago first time home buyer.
Consider Working With A Real Estate Attorney
Don’t take it from just us – Fernald Law Group has put together a great list of 7 Benefits of Working With Real Estate Attorneys that is a great read for any new home buyer. One of the most immediate and obvious benefits is that you’ll have someone with practical knowledge of real estate law to turn to. They can perform lien/title searches and assist in interpreting legal documents that might be too complicated for the layman.
One of the more important benefits of working with a real estate attorney is contracts. They excel in writing, reviewing, and negotiating contracts for all types of real estate & property deals. Even though this is a vitally important service to provide during any stage of the buying process, many first-time buyers neglect the importance of working with a real estate attorney. This should be a cost you factor in when budgeting & preparing to begin searching for your forever home.
Don’t Skip The Final Walkthrough
Some homebuyers will skip the final walkthrough thinking it may be unnecessary, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is your chance to not only see one last time the home in liveable conditions but also confirm any agreed-upon repairs/alterations were performed correctly. Your agent should be present here as well, to assist in addressing any concerns and continuing to answer any questions you may have during the process.
As before, take your time with this final step as you may have missed or overlooked something. Good final walkthrough checks include: testing appliances, trying out the A.C. and heating, opening all doors/windows, and looking for signs of pests or critters. Trulia has complied a great checklist of final walkthrough to-do’s that will guide you through with complete confidence.