First-Time Home Buyer in Chicago: 7 Things to Know

First-Time Home Buyer in Chicago: 7 Things to Know

Chicago is a gorgeous city known for its timeless architecture, deep-dish pizza (or tavern style), and neighborhoods that remain iconic across the ages. Whether you’re looking to move to Lincoln Park or Jefferson Park from out of town, or you’re transferring between a rental property in Edison Park or Norwood Park and a home in Glenview of your own, there’s a lot to know as a first-time home buyer in Chicago. No matter your age or previous real estate experience, when the time comes to buy your first home, you’ll want and need to partner with a solid Realtor like Trisha Kannon, who knows Chicago real estate inside and out. Read on for the seven things you’ll need to know as you embark on this exciting journey for the first time!

Set yourself apart

First-time home buyers need to start by organizing their financing. Research various lenders and obtain a preapproval letter before you start your home search. In a competitive real estate market, sellers may not even consider an offer without this letter attached. You should also be prepared to offer quickly, as there may be stiff competition for homes in the Chicago area. Plan to offer at the listed price point or even above, depending on whether there will be other offers coming in. Work with your real estate agent to determine how you can further tailor your offer to stand out to the seller. This could involve writing a personalized letter describing why you are the perfect buyer or determining what is motivating them to sell by including that in your final offer too.


Find a good real estate agent

First-time home buyers in Chicago need to prioritize their hiring of a qualified real estate agent. As you meet with different agents, look into their communication styles. They should be clear and professional, with a demonstrated ability to negotiate for you and your best interests. Your real estate agent should inquire as to your preferred communication method and commit to interacting with you in a timely manner. They should also be well-versed in the nuances of both the national and local real estate markets. A good real estate agent will also show deep knowledge of multiple areas of Chicago, including Edison Park and Glenview, and have connections to other brokers, agents, and professionals to support you.


Don’t put down 20% unless it makes sense

As you look into your first home purchase in Chicago, you will want to consider the type of financing you are pursuing. Conventional home loans can be written with different down payment amounts, and your preferred option will depend on the extent of your savings and your anticipated monthly expenses. Determine how different down payments will affect your costs moving forward. Keep in mind that in a competitive market, a higher down payment does tend to give you a slighter advantage as it speaks to the strength of your buying power.
Be prepared to pay property taxes

First-time home buyers also need to be prepared for the added expense of property taxes. These can be paid directly over the course of the year or can be rolled into your escrow account. Consider, too, the other fees and associated costs with your new home purchase. This may include associated fees from the purchase of a townhome or condo that covers the costs of any shared amenities, such as gathering spaces or fitness centers. Developing an understanding of all of your costs, including property taxes, will help you make a better decision moving forward.

Check out available loans and homebuyer assistance programs

Be sure to check out the various loan opportunities you have available as a first-time home buyer in Chicago. Conventional loans with fixed-rate mortgages are popular, with options for 30 years or 15 years at a fixed interest rate. An adjustable-rate mortgage is another option for those who do not plan to stay in the proposed home for long or are banking on interest rates decreasing in the foreseeable future. Jumbo loans are another option, provided you are able to demonstrate strong credit and down payments. As you explore these options, be sure to investigate homebuyers’ assistance programs too. These help first-time buyers to manage the down payment and closing costs through grants or other loan options. Once you narrow your lender, they can help you determine the best type of loan for your purchase.

Discover more tips on becoming a Chicago homeowner

It may take time and effort before you are able to purchase a home in Chicago. Once you have determined your budget and finances, make sure that you investigate the types of homes available in the neighborhoods you’re interested in to find the best fit for your lifestyle. Research the real estate market to determine the type of market that you will be working within. Be patient with your home search, as there may be competition for the homes you are interested in. Know your non-negotiables so that when you find the perfect home you are ready to make that offer right away.

Follow these tips to help you navigate the process as a first-time home buyer in Chicago. Once you are ready, be sure to contact a real estate agent with experience, knowledge, and understanding of the Chicago real estate market. Trisha Kannon is your best bet at working with a reliable, experienced Realtor who can guide you through every step of the process. She’s got years of expertise, and her past clients rave about her trustworthiness and her eye for detail all throughout the journey. Reach out today to learn more and become a first-time home buyer in Chicago!

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Trisha brings an in-depth knowledge to every transaction. Providing up to date market analysis and guiding clients with an approachable style and unwavering integrity is her top priority.

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