Buying a home involves finding the property, then making an offer that works for you and the seller

Where to start

    Talk to multiple mortgage brokers because rates, qualifications and programs will vary from one company to another. Get recommendations from friends and family, then call to see what they can offer you and make sure you are comfortable with the person you talk to. Mortgage lenders take into account things like income, monthly debts, down payment, and loan factors like the interest rate, length of the loan and estimated taxes when calculating how much they will lend to a given borrower.

    When you apply for your mortgage, your mortgage broker will provide you with a Good Faith Loan Estimate of what fees you should expect. Key Mortgage is an affiliate of Baird & Warner, use their on-line mortgage calculator to get an idea of your monthly payments.

    Make a list of your priorities then rank your priorities from most to least important and share this list with your agent. You need to spend time searching for the perfect home, only you can decide which property is right for you. Like much of the home buying process, you can do a great deal of your house hunting online. Our Zenlist program allows you to filter results by important features, location, and price that will streamline your search, when your needs change you can adjust your search.

Where and what to buy

    Research potential neighborhoods thoroughly. Choose one with amenities that are important to you, including schools and entertainment options, then test out the commute to work during rush hour and the ease of getting to non-work activities.

    Weigh the pros and cons of different types of homes, a condominium or town home may be more affordable than a single-family home, but shared walls with neighbors will mean less privacy. Don't forget to budget for homeowners association fees when shopping for condos and town homes.

    Another option to consider is buying a fixer-upper, a home in need of updates or repairs. Fixer-uppers usually sell for less per square foot than move-in ready homes. However, you will need to budget extra time and money for repairs and remodeling.

Attention to details after the sales contract

    You will need to hire a real estate attorney, finalize your mortgage company and schedule a home inspection. You, your attorney and mortgage broker will need documents to insure everything closes smoothly, we will work with the sellers agent to make sure these are delivered to you. If you are buying a property that has rules and regulations you will need to read those carefully to make sure you are comfortable with the restrictions the property might have. Your attorney will do a title search to make sure that no one other than the seller has a legal claim to the property.

    Even if the home appears to be flawless, there's no substitute for having a trained professional do a home inspection of the property for the quality, safety, and overall condition of your potential new home. A good home inspector can give you the condition of your property and an idea of what maintenance you should perform moving forward. If the home inspection reveals serious defects that the seller did not disclose, then you'll generally be able to rescind your offer and get your earnest money back. Alternatively, you can negotiate to have the  seller make the repairs or discount the selling price.

    Do a final walk-through before you close, walk-through the home and make sure the seller hasn't left any belongings. Check any repairs, if you requested them and confirm the properties conditions are the same as when you made your offer. You may also want to double-check the home's systems one final time to make sure everything is in working order.

    Have Zenlist questions? The Zenlist library can help.

    Baird & Warner and I will help make the Search to Contract and Contract to Close easier.

Tim Brent
Leasing - Sales
Licensed Managing Broker
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Baird & Warner Lincoln Park
2526 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614