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Home Buying Process in Chicago and Suburbs

The purchase of a home is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their lives. When you find “the one” it can be a confusing process.

Here is a simple road map to help you through the process.

  1. Mortgage Pre-approval

    If you are not going to pay cash for your home, you will need to discuss how much you can afford to borrow for the house with an excellent local lender. Make sure you talk to a professional and compare rates. If your credit is not exactly where you would like it to be there are programs that can help you raise your score prior to buying your home.

  2. Home Search

    Get ready for your home search. Your real estate agent will help you go through homes and will help you find the perfect home. To help your realtor, decide what type of home you would like to have, the location, the neighborhood, and the places nearby. Make sure you survey a few homes for sale before you make your offers, since buying home is a long-term investment.

  3. Make an Offer

    Once you have found the house of your preference, let your realtor assess the market, learn the history of the real estate, and form a balanced offer. Once the offer is sent, negotiations may take place. You will have to go through the counteroffer negotiations before the offer is accepted.

  4. Get a Local Real Estate Lawyer On-Board

    The real estate lawyer will review the Contract, make sure the Contract is fully executed and obtain any missing disclosures. Further, the attorney will guide you through the process and ensure you receive a free, clear and marketable title. The law prohibits real estate agents from giving legal advice or amending agreements.

  5. Inspection & Attorney Review

    Once your Contract is accepted, you will be on strict timelines to approve or reject the Contract. Your Real Estate Lawyer will make modifications to the Contract in your favor and negotiate home inspection items for you.

    You should hire a good inspector before you finalize the deal for your new home.  Your inspector will look through: the furnace, air conditioner, water heater, appliances, interior walls, and many other items to see if there is any damage.

    If your inspector detects significant problems, you can ask the seller to repair them before closing the deal. You can also ask the seller to compensate you with a credit at closing so that you can make these repairs.

  6. Loan Application & Appraisal

    If you feel secure that your home purchase is going forward in the right direction, you must complete a formal request for loan.

  7. Clear Contingencies

    When your request is provided with the evaluation, it will be checked by the underwriter of your lender. The underwriting department will almost always ask for additional data or records. For example, the underwriter may want a letter of clarification for the money in your saving account.

    Once this is completed, your Lender will issue a “clear to close” and tell you the cash needed to close.

  8. The Final Walk through

    At least 24 hours prior to your closing, you will be allowed to walk through the home with your agent to ensure the home is in substantially the same condition as when you made your offer. This is your chance to review any repairs that were completed by Seller. If any issues exist, this will be the last opportunity prior to closing to be able to bring to your Real Estate Lawyer’s attention.

  9. The Closing

    You will meet with your real estate lawyer to sign your mortgage and closing documents. To make the procedure move more quickly, your real estate lawyer will explain each document to you. To be safe, bring two forms of identification, your proof your homeowner’s insurance has been paid, and your personal checkbook.

    Buying a house can be overwhelming, but owning your own home is one of the greatest pleasures in life.


Niko Law LLC is an Illinois law firm. As the firm practices law in the State of Illinois, only, this website and/or e-newsletter focuses upon that jurisdiction, only. Please keep in mind Niko Law LLC does not guarantee results and that law can vary dramatically from state to state, county to county, and it is not reasonable to assume that law in other jurisdictions will be the same as, or even similar to, Illinois law.

This e-newsletter should not be construed as legal advice, nor used in lieu of a lawyer.

For questions regarding your specific situation, please contact Niko Law LLC at 708-966-9388.

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