Buying a Home in Chicago: Navigating the Competitive Market

The active market is going strong in Chicago! And with more competition, it’s important for prospective homebuyers to get their priorities in order before they start touring homes and neighborhoods. If you’re in this group of buyers on a mission, ask yourself:

  1. What’s my financial comfort zone?
  2. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your budget. Beyond the purchase price, you’ll need to factor in expenses like closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and home maintenance.

    Reach out to a loan officer to discuss your financing options and get pre-approved for a mortgage. A robust pre-approval not only gives you a sense of how much house you can afford but also lets sellers know that you’re an A+ qualified buyer. This is important in any market, but especially in a competitive environment where multiple offers are prevalent. Don’t have a loan officer in mind? Reach out to me for a recommendation; I have several A+ lenders that will provide options that suit your goals.

  3. What are the must-haves for my new home?
  4. Think about what makes you tick. Are you a gardener who needs outdoor space, or a culinary enthusiast craving a chef’s kitchen? Is parking a must-have? Do you have a pet? Make a list of what is non-negotiable, whether it’s a space for a home office, sustainable living features, or a backyard for your beloved pets.

    Almost every home purchase involves some degree of compromise, so it’s important to distinguish between your needs and wants. If you and your family need to be up and out early each day, having an extra bathroom might be essential. Or maybe you don’t want to look for street parking every day – a garage is the answer, but would an exterior parking space be acceptable? Define your priorities and share them with your real estate agent so they know exactly what you’re looking for. This will make your search more efficient from day one.

  5. What is my long-term plan?
  6. Certain life changes demand more space, from kids to pets to working from home. Think about your long-term plans and how they align with your housing needs. If you anticipate your new home to be long-term, consider giving yourself a little wiggle room – an extra bedroom or convertible basement, for example. This will allow you to grow into your space if the need arises versus having to make another move.

  7. What do I need at my fingertips?
  8. Consider what local amenities will make your life more enjoyable and efficient. Are you dreaming of weekend strolls through a favorite park, or does lively nightlife sound more your speed? Are you raising soccer or basketball superstars – or passionate pianists, gymnasts, or artists – who need easy access to local coaches, instructors, and teams? Are you okay with driving 20 minutes for a niche workout you love, or would you rather be within walking distance of a local studio? All of this matters, and like your home must-haves, it’s better to prioritize these needs ahead of your search.

  9. What does my commute look like?
  10. If you only head into the office occasionally, you might be fine with a longer commute. If it’s a regular occurrence, shorter – or at least easier – might be better. Think about how your commute will impact your lifestyle. And when you zero in on a community, neighborhood, or house, it’s worth test-driving the commute “door to desk” to see what it’s really like.

  11. How much maintenance can I handle?
  12. It’s also important to consider your willingness to tackle home maintenance or garden upkeep. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, a fixer-upper might be exciting. If not, a move-in-ready home or a low-maintenance condo might be a better fit.

With these questions answered – and your agent’s help – you’ll be ready to find a new home in this rapidly moving market. We are at your side every step along the path to finding your dream home!

Let Us Help You Navigate the Chicago Home-Buying Market