There’s nothing quite like spring in Chicagoland — when the flowers begin to bloom, the days warm up, the sign shines brighter in the sky, and eager buyers and sellers start down the path to real estate success.
Across the country, the spring season is one of the most active periods of the year for the real estate industry, with both homebuyers and sellers entering the market for the first time. Here in Chicagoland, though, the spring market actually begins well before those April showers or May flowers. In fact, conventional wisdom — and recent reports from CNBC and HousingWire — suggest that the spring market in our area now kicks into gear as early as January.
Whether you’re hoping to buy a home in winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s never a wrong time to start planning ahead, particularly in the competitive Chicagoland market. A little advanced preparation can have a huge impact down the line, making it easier to navigate the market, find a property, and seal the deal on your new home.
So, what can you do to make your spring home search end-to-end easier? Here are three ways to kickstart your house hunt as you look ahead to the spring market:
1.) Find a Trusted Guide
In Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, real estate is more dynamic and more competitive than ever. This is especially true during the bustling days of the spring market, when curious homeshoppers and eager sellers come out in force.
Navigating the real estate market at its busiest can be daunting. But having a trusted local guide on your side can make the process easier.
In many ways, the real estate professional you choose is one of the most important decisions you’ll make along your buying journey. At Baird & Warner, our agents bring unparalleled experience, knowledge and innovation to the table. Your Baird & Warner agent will be your advisor and your advocate through all of the ups and downs of searching for a new home, providing you with expertise and insights into the local market, as well as access to an enormous toolkit of customizable resources to help you find your perfect home. From beginning to end, your Baird & Warner agent will take the time to truly understand what you’re looking for, and help you focus your search with confidence.
And when you’ve found the perfect home? Baird & Warner agents are highly trained negotiators who can help you determine a strategy that’s just right, while coordinating with your loan officer, attorney and all other parties to make the process as smooth as possible.
2.) Start Creating Your List of Wants and Needs
The frosty days of winter can be a great time to start dreaming big. As you look ahead to the spring real estate season, take some time to flesh out a thorough list of wants and needs for your future home — and, just as importantly, your future neighborhood.
As you start looking at listings, brainstorm the features that are important to you in a future home, and then break the features you come up with into “needs” and “wants.” This will be totally unique to you! Your list of must-haves might include important limiting factors like maximum price, access to public transportation, number of bedrooms, and so on. Your list of “wants” should include those elements you’d like, but which you’re willing to forego or compromise on. Having this list in hand can empower you to get organized and approach your home search with a focused eye, while also making it easier for your broker to locate listings, saving you time and streamlining your search.
At the same time, think about that important old adage: “location, location, location.” In one survey from 2016, 58 percent of respondents said that “location” was one of the biggest factors that made them fall in love with a new home. Chicagoland is full of unique communities with many different amenities to offer. Be sure to work closely with your real estate agent to discuss what neighborhoods may be the right fit, based on criteria that are important to you — schools, parks, public transit, nightlife, and so on. Exploring new neighborhoods to see if they’re a match can be an incredibly helpful first step in kicking off your home search.
3.) Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
During the spring season, there can be a lot of competition for properties as they become available. One of the most effective steps you can take to make sure you’re in a great position to make an offer on your dream property is to secure a mortgage preapproval from a lender early on.
In short, a preapproval provides buyers with written approval for a specific loan amount from a lender, along with a hypothetical mortgage interest rate, and a list of buying programs they may be eligible for. Having a preapproval in hand can be remarkably beneficial for buyers, at every stage. For one thing, having a preapproval can make it easier for buyers and their agents to hone in homes that will be the right fit. Even more importantly, having a preapproval letter tells sellers that you can afford their property, putting you in a stronger negotiating position.
At Baird & Warner, we make it easier to lay the groundwork and get preapproved. With Key Mortgage, our in-house lender for more than 30 years can help you get preapproved and ultimately secure your loan at the best possible terms, all from a local company that makes it easier to navigate the loan process and stay informed.
Ready to Start Exploring? Work With a Real Estate Company That Gets You
For more than 160 years, Baird & Warner has been helping to turn an intricate and complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless. Our mantra is “let’s make this easier” — from the day you start envisioning your next home to the day you’re handed the keys.
Whether you’re looking to explore a new neighborhood or get a handle on everything that goes into looking for a Chicagoland home, we get you. Whatever your spring real estate goals may be, one of Baird & Warner’s hyperlocal experts can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, so you can spend less time stressing — and more time enjoying all that Chicagoland has to offer.
And when you’re ready to make your move? Our one-stop shopping approach includes mortgage and title services in-house to make negotiating and closing on your dream home easier. It takes a team to do it right. With Baird & Warner, you’ll have a full-service team working together for you, communicating with each other and keeping you up to date at every step of the way.