That New Home Might Be Closer Than You Think!

Buyer Representation:

Jason Sydney has over two decades of experience helping Chicago home buyers just like yourself; I know how to locate the most-qualified properties and negotiate the best deals.  It’s my job to be familiar with today’s market conditions, laws and regulations, and new developments – so you don’t have to.

As your Buyer’s Representative, Jason Sydney can make the process of house hunting less stressful, and more efficient than if you had to do it all yourself. I can help you get financing, provide you with local neighborhood information, help you determine a comfortable budget, and prioritize a list of essential features and amenities that you desire in your new home. I can save you valuable time by locating properties that best suit your list of requirements, and will only show you the homes that best fit your needs.

Once you find a place that you fall in love with, together, we’ll look at comparable properties and tax records in the area to help determine a suitable purchase offer for the property.  Then as your agent, I will negotiate on your behalf with the seller to make sure you receive the most favorable price and terms.

During your journey of finding a new home, it’s my job to look after your best interest and keep in mind that the seller typically compensates a buyer’s agent so in most cases it’s free.

Initial Buyer Consultation

The first time we meet, I will sit down with you to discuss the multiple steps of buying a home.  I will answer any questions you may have and explain in detail the following:

  • Buyer agency alternatives
  • Buyer representation agreement
  • Present you with the @properties Buyers Book
  • Financing qualifications and the importance of being pre-approved
  • Your wish list and specific search parameters for your new home
  • Review and explain the purchase contract and types of contingencies
  • The importance of having an attorney and the attorney review process
  • The impact of Multiple-Offers and negotiation strategies

Getting Pre-Approved

The next step in moving forward with your home purchase is crucial. Unless you are paying cash for your new home, you will need to have a pre-approval from a lender of your choice.  If you do not have a lender in mind, I can refer you to a lender that will be able to assist you with your financing needs. A mortgage pre-approval is not only essential; it is incredibly easy to obtain and will let you know what exactly you can afford to buy.

In today’s home-buying environment, a mortgage pre-approval is essential when presenting an offer to the seller. It demonstrates to a seller that you are a willing and able buyer and in most cases, this will be required by the seller before accepting your offer.

Selecting a Home

When putting together your wish list for your new home, there are many variables to think about depending on your budget, lifestyle and future plans, but a few things to consider may include: location, type of home, features & amenities, and future family plans. It’s important to prioritize the items that are most important to you because in most cases buying a home will often come with some form of compromise.


Consider the factors that are most important to you, such as schools, transportation, and neighborhood amenities like restaurants, shops, and parks.

Type of Home

Chicago has diversity when it comes the many types and styles of housing. You can choose from single family homes, town homes, condominiums, lofts, two, three and four unit properties, new construction, fixer-uppers, High-rises to single story properties. Location and budget will play a part in the type of home, but weighing the pros and cons can help narrow your focus.

Features & Amenities

Consider your lifestyle when making your list of features and amenities.  Do you like to entertain? Do you have a car? There are many important questions to ask yourself when creating your wish list.  Some items to consider are garage parking, hardwood floors, number of bedrooms and baths, outdoor space, and do you want a fireplace.  One thing to consider, especially with condos is parking when it comes to resale. Even if you don’t have a car, when selling your home down the road, no parking can turn a lot of future buyers off. You can always purchase a parking space and rent it out to cover the cost.

Future Family Plans

Don’t forget about your future plans. Are you planning on starting a family soon? A new and growing family can impact your housing choices. If you are recently married and are planning on having a few children in the next couple of years, that studio is probably not a good idea.

Finding Your Home

Once you have obtained a mortgage pre-approval and created your wish list, you are ready to begin your home search. One of the first things I will do is create an automated search for homes that fit your desired criteria; this will make sure you are receiving the newest listing as they come on the market.

Review listings

I will present to you all available homes, including properties not listing on the open market. Click here to learn more about market-within-a-market!  When reviewing property data, besides price and property attributes, pay close attention to property taxes and monthly assessments for condominiums and townhomes as they can impact your affordability.  High taxes and assessments will often reduce your purchasing power as its calculated in the total monthly mortgage payment.

Viewing properties

As your @properties Agent, I will schedule showings and accompany you to each appointment. Even though purchasing a home is often an emotional process, it’s important to pay attention to not only the things that make a home pretty and functional, but to the condition of the house and any items that may become inspection issues, or impact the appraised value.

(e.g., rust on the bottom of the furnace, mechanicals, or appliances in the basement can be an indication of water issues in the basement. Often people will try to be slick and slap a fresh coat of paint and throw down some new carpet and overlook the furnace due to the higher expense to replace it to hide water issues.)  It’s important to take notice and ask questions. The problem may already be repaired or a one-time occurrence like a clogged drain. Asking the right questions, checking the disclosure and requesting copies of repair receipts are a good start.  It’s cheaper to take notice of such items before spending $400 – $500 on a home inspection report to find out the obvious.

Attending Open houses

Open houses can be a convenient way to look for a home, however, if you are visiting Open Houses without your agent, be sure to mention that a @properties agent is representing you. If you’re asked to sign in, make a note of it on the sign-in form. Mentioning this will save you from being inundated with calls from the listing agents on properties you viewed from trying to convert you into a client. As your @properties agent, I can supply you with some business cards to make the sign-in process easier.

If you find a home you are interested in, contact your agent immediately to set up a private showing and discuss making an offer. It’s imperative to remember; the listing agent represents the seller, even though they must be honest with you, any information, primarily financial information could be used to the benefit of the seller when negotiating the purchase of the home. Being mindful of your conversations with the seller’s agent is essential.

Compare similar properties

After viewing homes with your agent, discuss each home with your agent, and provide honest feedback. As you begin to feel the market, your expectations will start to come into focus, and your agent will be in a better position with your feedback to adjust specific parameters, such as location, size, and features to present your alternatives and narrow your search.

When you find a home and are ready to make an offer, I will perform a Comparative Market Analysis and research listing history, market time, tax records and financial information about the property. This report compares the subject property to other properties active on the market and properties that recently sold to help craft your offer.

Other items to review and discuss include: Property disclosures, home warranty, Estimation of funds required to close, and negotiation strategy.

Making an Offer

Once you find a home you love, you may not be alone. In today’s market, multiple offers are common. Click here to read my blog post about Multiple Offers. It’s important to act quickly and make an educated offer based on market research and use a rational approach to pricing and negotiating. After you have discussed your purchase offer with your agent, your agent will write up a purchase contract that includes your offer price, terms, and contingencies. Besides price, you can include many conditions into the purchase contract, but the more you add, the more likely the seller will object or in some cases select another offer. Below is a list of some of the most common terms of a real estate contract.


As your agent, I will help you formulate an offer based on comparable active listings and on homes that have recently sold, tax records, demand, and current market conditions.

Mortgage Contingency

A mortgage contingency stipulates your purchase of the home is subject to obtaining a mortgage. The specific terms of the mortgage must be stated in the contract, including a date by which you will obtain financing, interest rate, and down payment. If you cannot get financing, then the purchase contract will be null and void.

Home Inspection Contingency

A thorough inspection by a licensed professional protects you against structural or material problems that are not detectable in a casual walk-through. In most cases, the home inspection period runs concurrently with the attorney review period.

Attorney Approval

The attorney review period is generally five business days. Your attorney will review the contract and suggest alterations if needed. After the inspection period, your attorney will draft any documents regarding credits or repair you are requesting from the seller, as well as extensions, or modifications to the contract.  Upon attorney review, if the purchase contract or inspections are not acceptable, you have the option to cancel.

Earnest Money

An earnest money deposit secures the contract until the closing. The initial earnest money deposit must be given to the seller or seller’s agent along with the purchase contract, and the balance is due upon the conclusion of the attorney review period. The earnest money must be held in an escrow account, often by the listing Brokers office.  If the sale fails to close due to contingencies stipulated in the contract, then the earnest money may be returned to the buyer.

However, if you breach the terms of the purchase contract, then the seller may be entitled to keep all of the earnest money or just a portion.

Closing Date

Is the date when the ownership of the property changes hands. The closing date can be a significant advantage when negotiating the purchase if you have flexibility.  Some sellers may be looking for a quick close and others may need a more extended period if they are waiting for a new home to be built.  Keep in mind your lender will have an impact on when you can close. Always check with your lender how much time they require to close the loan before writing up your purchase offer.

Closing Cost

Before presenting your offer, either your lender or I can supply you with an estimated list of closing cost.

Negotiating Counter-Offers

Negotiating counter offers is one aspect of a real estate transaction where an experienced agent is invaluable. Not only can a veteran agent draw upon their experience and market knowledge to offer sound advice during a negotiation.

Since purchasing a home can be emotional, your agent can also serve as a buffer between you and the seller or the seller’s agent. Even the most passionate buyer will look calm and collected behind the right agent, and in the end, you usually end up with what’s important to you.

Contract to Close

Once the contract is accepted, there are many loose ends to tie up to facilitate the transaction. It’s essential to have a detailed oriented agent when coordinating the rest of the real estate transaction. Some of the items your agent will oversee:

  • Deliver the fully executed and signed contract and initial earnest money check to the seller’s broker.
  • Send copies of the purchase contract to your attorney and lender
  • Recommend a home inspector and schedule the home inspection
  • Accompany the buyer to the home inspection
  • Obtain disclosures and appropriate association documents if applicable. (rules & regulations, budget, and declarations)
  • Negotiate any inspection issues for credits, price reductions or repairs
  • Monitor important dates and contingencies
  • Schedule the final walk-through and accompany the buyer.
  • Coordinate and attend your closing.


To ensure a smooth and efficient closing, I will work with you, your attorney, your lender, and the seller’s agent to finalize all the details.

Three business days before closing, your lender will send you a finalized statement of your loan outlining the interest rate and all cost and fees associated with the loan.  Your attorney will review the documents with you and go over the amount required to close. Which will include such expenses as, lender, Title Company, loan origination, attorney, appraisal, and state and city transfer taxes?  You will be responsible for bringing the balance of your down payment and closing cost to the closing in the form of a cashier’s check or bank wire transfer.

One thing I can’t stress enough, it is critical to verify directly with your attorney or title company via phone any wire transfer instruction and account numbers before sending any money to the title company. There are many instances of fraud in this regard being sent by email and people have lost all their money they wired.

At the closing, your attorney will review and explain all documents you will be required to sign, including your loan documents, bill of sale, the deed and affidavit of title.

Service after the Sale

Even thou the purchase of your new has closed, we continue to maintain a relationship with our clients. We are always glad to help you with a variety of services.  Whether you are refinancing, or estate planning and need a recent CMA, or if you need help finding a range of service providers and contractors for various trades to perform work on your home. Our vast network makes life a little more comfortable for you.