Buying a home is a major investment in your future — and it can be a pretty significant and meaningful journey in its own right.
From finding the right real estate professionals; to getting a handle on your finances; to building your guiding list of wants and needs, there’s a lot that goes into navigating the homebuying process from beginning to end. It can be intimidating to take those first steps forward, especially if this is your first time navigating the Chicagoland market.
Ready to get started as a first-time home buyer in Chicagoland? Here are eight important ways to make this process easier at every step of the way:
1.) Work With an Experienced, Knowledgeable Real Estate Broker
Here in Chicagoland, the real estate market is more complicated and competitive than ever. As you get started on your homebuying journey, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a real estate professional.
At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who are ready to be your trusted guide to all things real estate. When you buy with a Baird & Warner agent, you’ll have experience, knowledge, and innovation on your side. Our highly trained and highly skilled real estate professionals will do whatever they can to turn an intricate, complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless.
With thousands of agents based out of our convenient offices around Chicagoland, it’s never been easier to start bringing your biggest real estate dreams to life — from the day you start dreaming about your next home, to the day you’re handed the keys.
2.) Learn More About the Homebuying Process
There’s a lot more that goes into purchasing a home than searching online and attending open houses. Your Baird & Warner agent can help demystify the entire process from beginning to end, so you can move forward with clear expectations of what to expect along the way.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there when it comes to buying a home. Your real estate professional can help you separate fact from fiction, and give you the crucial insights you need when it comes to things like downpayments, closing costs, and what you might expect to pay in local taxes and fees.
Your broker can also help you get a better sense of all of the moving parts involved in purchasing a home. Better yet, they’ll be by your side, working to make things easier for you at every step of the way — from researching mortgage loans and getting a preapproval, to making an offer on a property, to entering negotiations, to coordinating with all of the parties involved in the attorney review and home inspection periods.
3.) Prepare Yourself Emotionally, Financially, and Personally
Buying a home is a big step forward. Your real estate professional can help prepare you for what to expect as you navigate this complex and ever-evolving process.
For example? While many people think about the downpayment needed to purchase a home, they may overlook some of the other important financial considerations. How much do you really need to save to purchase a home in your dream neighborhood? Will having outstanding debts impact your ability to secure financing? Do you really understand the impact of your credit score? What records and paperwork should you be sure to have on hand?
At the same time, remember that buying a home can be an emotional and deeply personal process, as well. Are you being realistic about the amount of time and effort it may take to look at listings? Are you in the right mindset to make decisions, and weather the inevitable ups and downs? Have you talked with your loved ones? Have you thought about the logistical side of making the move with your young kids or pets in tow?
4.) Get a Feel for the Local Market
The Chicagoland market is dynamic and hyperlocal. Your knowledgeable and experienced real estate broker can help you research different neighborhoods as you start your search in earnest — whether you’re looking for the energy and density of downtown or a peaceful home in a historical community.
In addition to looking into market trends and housing stats, remember to make time to get a feel for each new neighborhood. This is a helpful early step that often goes overlooked. Researching neighborhoods is a fun way to kickstart your home search — especially if you take time to experience each community like a local by going for a drive, exploring local attractions, shopping at beloved neighborhood stores, or checking out nearby parks and greenspaces.
5.) Understand Your Loan Options
As you look ahead to buying a home in the future, one of the most important steps is educating yourself on all of the different loan options available. From traditional fixed-rate loans, to adjustable-rate loans, to government-insured FHA and VA loans, there may be a lot of options and opportunities out there worth exploring.
When you work with a Baird & Warner agent, you can rest assured that you’ll always have a direct line to a mortgage company that will be there to support you throughout your entire real estate journey. For more than 30 years, we’ve been offering residential sales, mortgage, and title services all under one roof — because we know that a trusted team of real estate professionals who work together to guide our clients through every part of their transaction delivers a better experience overall.
As an independent lender, Key Mortgage Services has more flexibility than banks or national lenders, which means dozens of financing options available to help you get home. Your Baird & Warner agent will work with your Key Mortgage loan originator to make sure they understand exactly what you need, so you can rest assured that they’ll find the best solution to fit your unique lifestyle. And because our teams of experts in sales, mortgage, and title all truly work under one roof, you never have to worry about taking on the stress of coordinating or managing the process. Your Baird & Warner agent will be the quarterback, calling the plays and keeping everything moving forward.
6.) Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
Getting a mortgage preapproval involves determining how much money you will be eligible to borrow before you apply for a loan. Buyers with a preapproval letter in hand have a more complete idea of their loan options and budget — including written approval for a specific loan amount, a potential mortgage interest rate, and a list of buying programs for which they may be eligible.
Having a preapproval letter in hand helps put buyers in a very strong position, at every stage of the real estate transaction Even before you start shopping for a new home, it’s important to know what you can afford. Getting a preapproval helps you set a realistic budget and narrow your home search.
And when you fall in love with a place, you want to make sure you’re an equally attractive buyer. A preapproval letter lets sellers know that you’re serious, which can help you stand out against other buyers in a competitive market. With a preapproval, you can demonstrate to the seller that you can afford their property, making you a more attractive buyer with negotiating power.
Buying a home will never be easy if the financing end of things is a tangled mess. With Key Mortgage, you’ll have a go-to resource for getting your preapproval and ultimately securing your loan at the best possible terms. And, being local, it makes it easier for them to help you navigate the preapproval and loan process and keep you informed.
7.) Focus Your Home Search
Your Baird & Warner real estate agent will take time to understand what you’re looking for and guide you through the rapidly changing Chicagoland market with confidence and peace of mind.
Along the way, your real estate professional can help you create and implement the strategies that will help you reach your goals. This may include thinking about major factors like your budget or your target location, or making time for smaller, more personal steps — like setting down your unique list of wants and needs for your future home.
8.) Know the Tools and Resources Available to You
Finding your next home is easier when you have an entire toolkit of customizable resources to help you narrow your search.
When you work with a Baird & Warner agent, you’ll be able to access a unique selection of cutting edge tools that make it easier to target your search and navigate the Chicagoland real estate market — including exclusive previews, real-time property alerts, and text messaging tools that allow you instantly receive information and photos about any property up for sale.
Curious about the best methods for conducting your home search during the COVID-19 pandemic? Your Baird & Warner agent can help you take advantage of innovative tools that can help you keep up with your goals from the comfort and safety of home — from making the most of virtual open houses and tours, to using digital resources to help you explore your favorite Chicagoland neighborhoods. Think you’ve found the right property? Baird & Warner Title Services will do what it takes to help you make an offer and close with confidence, with some of the first 100% contactless and remote closing options in the state.
Chicagoland, We’re By Your Side — No Matter What.
The Chicagoland market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too.
During these unpredictable times, it helps to work with a real estate company that can take the stress out of finding your new home. With everything going on, we know how important it is to be able to move forward with your important real estate decisions — and we’re here to make that easier and safer.
At Baird & Warner, 165 years of history have taught us how to overcome even the most adverse conditions. Please rest assured that while we are instituting the CDC’s health safety and prevention protocols across all our businesses and office locations, we are still operational and ready to continue serving you. We will continue to provide the most updated information and guide you through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand.