The Buying Process

Anne & Meredith are Recognized. Respected. Recommended ...
Work with them and Stop Looking. Start Finding.

1. Meet with Anne & Meredith

Purchasing real estate is one of the most important financial steps you take in your life. It is an emotional time and you deserve the best advice and counseling possible. With over 35 years combined experience in real estate and business, Anne and Meredith provide the guidance and commitment to help you through this complex search and decision process. We meet with you in one of our 8 offices (located conveniently throughout the North Shore and Chicago) in order to meet you, understand your purchase goals and provide you with many resources that will be helpful as we begin the process of finding your next home!

2. Getting Pre-Approved For a Mortgage

In today's home-buying environment, a mortgage pre-approval is not only essential; it is also easy to obtain - either online, on the phone or in-person. A mortgage pre-approval lets you know what you can afford to buy and it also demonstrates to a seller that you are financially qualified to purchase their home. Click here for an online mortgage calculator to get a rough idea of your price range. We recommend you speak to a mortgage broker early in your search process as they will have a better handle on your specific situation that online calculators can't identify. We can provide several contacts that provide excellent service & rates for many past clients.

3. Creating a Wish List

Almost every home purchase involves some degree of compromise, which is why it is important to prioritize your wants and needs before you begin your search. There are many variables to think about depending on your lifestyle, budget and future plans, but some of the main considerations include:

  • Location (city, suburban, neighborhood)
  • Type of home (single family homes, condominiums, townhouses, two-flats, new construction, fixer uppers and many more!)
  • Features and Amenities - garage parking, hardwood floors, a fireplace, outdoor space, a doorman

Click here for a Wish List worksheet to get you started. Many of our clients find that their preferences change once they start actually visiting houses by appointment or open houses. Keep an open mind, your dream home may end up being different than what you originally envisioned! Contact Us if you are interested in receiving a monthly market report for the area(s) you are considering. Please see our Area Overview page for more information on various suburbs and North Side neighborhoods.

4. Finding Your Home

Once you have a mortgage pre-approval and we have set up a custom search for you in the MLS (multiple listing service), you can begin identifying the homes you would like to visit. As you review, pay close attention to information like property taxes, market time and monthly assessments (for condos and townhouses). We will schedule some convenient days (evenings and weekends are fine!) to visit a selection of the properties you are interested in and start narrowing down the homes that may be a fit for you. Click here for a Property Comparison worksheet to help keep track of the properties you view. We will work together to provide pros and cons for each property and will assist you in zeroing in on the properties that are the best fit for you at this time. Once you identify a home you would like to purchase, we will provide you with a market analysis of comparable properties that are currently listed and recently sold in order to help you identify the offer price and strategy.

5. Making An Offer

Once you find the home that you absolutely love - we will help you formulate an offer that puts you in a good position to be accepted by the seller. There is a good chance that if you love the home, someone else might as well - so it's important to act quickly and make an educated offer with our help. We will work together to draw up a contract that includes your starting offer price as well as the other terms and contingencies which are important for every contract. We provide proven strategies to position yourself as the best buyer candidate.

6. Negotiating Counteroffers

In most transactions there is a fair amount of negotiation between the buyer and the seller (through their agents) before both parties are satisfied. This part of the process is incredibly important and where we are invaluable in representing your best interests. Negotiating for a home can be emotionally charged and draining - we provide two objective agents with market knowledge and experience to assist you through this process in order to make sure you end up in the home that is right for you.

7. Contract to Closing

Real estate transactions require dozens of loose ends to tie up between the time you sign a contract until you close. This is often a stressful period for buyers, and we provide the day-to-day guidance to lead you through this process with our team of mortgage and attorney professionals. Your mortgage broker will provide you with the estimated costs to purchase a particular home, but here are some general guidelines to help you in your budgeting process as well as the Transfer Taxes that apply to buyers AND/OR sellers in each town.

8. Closing

We will work very closely with your attorney, mortgage broker and seller's agent to make sure everything is in place for a smooth closing. We will walk through the details that lead up to closing including the final walk-through, the costs associated with the closing, the utility transfer process as well as many more important details. We have represented buyers in hundreds of purchases and look forward to helping you to closing on the home you have been looking for.

9. After You Buy

Our relationship does not end at closing! We will continue to be a resource for you throughout your home ownership. Insight into market conditions, mortgage interest rates, home improvement suggestions and resources are common services we provide to our clients. Do not hesitate to contact us for any of your real estate needs, and of course let us know if we can assist any of your friends or family - referrals from our clients account for over 80% of our business annually!