5 House-Hunting Tips Every Chicagoan Should Follow

Buying a place in Chicago is never easy, but a few house-hunting tips from the best mover in Chicago, IL, will surely make the process more bearable. That’s why we are here, to tell you all you need to know about how to approach the process at hand ultimately. To find out more about what to do and what to avoid while looking for homes in the Windy City, continue reading. 

Multiple models of houses on a green lawn
Landing the place of your dreams is no easy task – but with our tips, it’s much more doable

Why Is House-Hunting So Stressful?

Looking for housing at any point is quite a demanding pursuit – one might even say it’s the initial stage of moving stress. You have to organize documents and finances, find a good realtor, and view properties, but you also have to envision your future and invest in it. And that is a lot of effort and emotional labor. So, if you feel a bit overwhelmed and anxious, don’t worry – it’s a normal side effect of being under pressure. And, even more importantly, it’s something we’ll help you get over with our tips and moving hacks.

How Long Should You House-Hunt?

According to statistics, the period from beginning the property search to setting on a place and buying it tends to last from three to six weeks. Of course, depending on the market, it can last longer or shorter than that. The current Chicago market can be considered a seller’s one due to competition and mortgage rates. However, if you are a buyer, don’t get stressed just yet, rather arm yourself with patience and get to scouting. To learn more about buying a place in Chicago, check out the following video:

#1 Have Your Finances in Order Prior to Starting Your Search

One of the most important tips for house-hunting is to get your relocation expenses checklist in order long before you even begin searching for the home of your dreams. It’s so easy to get carried away with beautiful places in the best Chicago neighborhoods, so it’s crucial to juxtapose your savings and earnings with an attainable residential price. Once you know how much money you end up with after taxes, debt, and your usual living costs, as well as how much and how to save money to move, you’ll be able to figure out your budget situation better. A paycheck calculator or even a Robo-advisor could assist you in getting a grip over your finances in relation to the real estate market.

Have a Pre-Approved Mortgage on Time

Visiting a lender in a timely manner can get you to be realistic with your real estate expectations and ensure your real estate search doesn’t drag on for ages. The lender will provide you with a mortgage proposition that will ultimately set your budget limits. A pre-approved mortgage usually lasts for about 90 days, so it’s important to know that getting one will jump-start your buying process. Additionally, you will be considered a more serious buyer in the eyes of those selling real estate and might even get a chance to lower offers on the places you are looking to buy.

A person calculating their expenses before Chicago movers relocate them.
Financial planning is where any housing search begins.

#2 Before You Begin Looking for a Home, Have a Clear Idea of What You Are Looking for

Depending on your lifestyle, your reasons to move, and whom you’re moving in together with, you will be looking for a particular type of neighborhood. If you are unsure what you are looking for, we always recommend visualizing your future life. Here are a few factors to consider as the basis of your house-hunt checklist:

  • Crime and safety index of a neighborhood – Looking into the safest Chicago neighborhoods is really important if you plan on buying a home, especially in a city where the safety varies in relation to a district. While crime rates can change over time, making city areas more or less safe than they used to be, they rarely change considerably.
  • The quality of education in an area – Although you may not have kids yet if you are moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend and maybe planning on having children in the future, it’s a good idea to look ahead. Thus, it might not be bad to search for a place in one of the best Chicago neighborhoods for families, which are ultimately safe, green neighborhoods with good schools in proximity.
  • The proximity to parks and outing venues – Whether you are moving with pets or not, having green spaces where you can jog, bike, or just read a book on a sunny day can improve your quality of life significantly.
  • Transportation possibilities and parking options – While Chicago has free parking options, they might be hard to come by. So, in order to be able to move through the city easily, whether it’s by public transit or a private one, you should consider transportation as an important factor.
  • Distance to your family and friends’ places of residence – Another thing people often forget about when they move is to incorporate their social life in the picture. So, before you get set on an affordable neighborhood across town from all the people you see regularly, try to envision how this would play out in your day-to-day life.

Online Research Can Help You Figure Out What to Look for When House-Hunting

Once you have a rough cut of possible locations, don’t be afraid to jump on the internet and find out more about these neighborhoods you are interested in. This is the first step to narrowing down your search. After that, once you have an idea of your budget and possible districts you are interested in, you can start looking at houses more efficiently. 

It’s important that you check real estate sites on a daily basis – trust us, this is the wisest way to figure out the direction in which you want to go when it comes to homes. Every time you view a home, you’ll subconsciously figure out what your must-haves and don’ts are. To ease up the beginning of your search for a Chicago place, here are a few websites we recommend trying out:

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#3 Hire a Good Real Estate Agent to Help You Out

While it’s important to do your own research, property scouting is too big of a deal not to have professional help by your side. The process you are dealing with is an all-consuming one, and thus it takes a lot of time and energy. Working with a reputable agent will ease up the pressure and effort you have to invest and allow you to deal more easily with your usual daily tasks, as well as crucial duties, like throwing a going-away party

Not only will you be able to scout properties more efficiently, but by hiring professionals, you will also get better picks. Good agents have connections and thus are informed about all the options that are not yet a part of the public domain. However, beware: because hiring an agent is so important, you shouldn’t take the task lightly and hire the first one you come across. Ensure you interview at least a few people before finally deciding on one.

Three people looking at an apartment with a realtor
If you think of yourselves as serious buyers, it might be the right time to find a reputable agent to speed up your search

#4 Go to Open House Events and Thoroughly Inspect Places That Catch Your Attention

A house-hunting guide wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t tell you to go to property viewing events of any home you find interesting. And while you’re at it, have your camera phone on you. You can use it to take notes, write a little pros and cons list, and take photosto improve your after-viewing memory. Because first impressions tend to be overwhelmingly positive, it’s crucial to have a set of objective information to go over later.

What Should I Look for When House-Hunting?

It’s not enough to know what type of property you want, i.e., how many rooms, how big a porch or garden, or how many bathrooms it’s supposed to have. You have to inspect the windows, walls, humidity, temperature, lighting, electricity, and the rest. You should also ask about the usual price of utilities, like water, gas, electricity bills, and scan the outer part of a property as well. After you’ve examined (dare we say, scrutinized) a place, make sure you take a walk or a drive around the neighborhood and try to envision whether the parameters correspond to a life you have in mind.

Be Prepared to Compromise – Is a Huge Kitchen Space More Important Than a Flower Garden?

While you should ensure a place is as close to your dream residence as possible, you’ll still have to be ready to compromise. Depending on your budget and other constraining factors, you probably won’t be able to buy a place that will have everything you might envision. So, have a clear list of your non-negotiables: is a pool a must, or is it a spacious kitchen space? Do you have to have a garden, or will a terrace work? This will help both you and your realtor narrow the final choices and decide on a place that is just right. 

A guy looking at a home local movers in Chicago just emptied out
Open viewings are a great way for serious buyers to check out what’s on the market

#5 Not Revisiting the Residence Before Buying Is a Common Mistake People Make

If you want to move efficiently, you should minimize the potential for errors. And a common one people looking to change their address do is not double-checking the property they’ve decided on. The first rule of learning how to house-hunt is that you should never place an offer during the first viewing, no matter how much you’re in love with the place. You have to let the initial impressions subside and let your rational brain take charge. Additionally, you might overlook some problems when you’re overwhelmed by the beauty of a property. But as you know, beauty isn’t enough of a benefit to move. So, take your time, double-check everything, and don’t rush into anything.

What Should You Not Do While House-Hunting?

Speaking of mistakes, being too hasty might be the biggest one, but it definitely isn’t the only one to avoid. Apart from everything we told you to do, here is a little list of things to steer clear of in your operation of scouting the market, purchasing a place, and figuring out your future:

  • Striving for perfectionism – As already mentioned, you should get ready to compromise, which means that too narrow of a search could make the process a nightmare. While it’s important to know what your non-negotiables are, not being able to stir away from the ideal place in the best Chicago suburb you created in your head will only leave you dissatisfied.
  • Getting hung up on a place – Not only should you give yourself time to decide if it was love at first sight or just bad vision, but it’s important to know that there is a chance other buyers might outbid your highest price and get the home you wanted. Don’t go over your head or budget just because you liked a place and end up in enormous trouble and debt – there will be other homes you’ll like just as much.
  • Going through the process on your own – Whether you decide to hire a realtor or take a friend, partner, or a family member with you – it’s crucial to have multiple pairs of eyes while you search. You might be star-struck by a beautiful view and dreams of the future, but a trusted sidekick could open your eyes to some problems or doubts.
  • Taking too long to make an offer – While overbidding and buying on a whim are definite mistakes, so is overthinking and taking too long to decide on a place. The market you are dabbling in is fast-paced and in constant flux, so try not to sleep on a place you really like just because there are options you still didn’t manage to look over.
A girl holding keys from the home to which professional movers in Chicago will soon move her
If you play your cards right and manage your expectations, you just might buy the place of your dreams

Now That You’ve Gone Over Our House-Hunting Tips Checklist, It’s Time to Hire Chicago Movers to Help You Out With Moving

Although you might just be starting to figure out what to do before a move and are not even thinking about looking for professional movers in Chicago just yet, it might be worth considering residential relocation services on time. So that you don’t end up packing to move in a hurry. It’s crucial to scout moving companies in Chicago, IL, to secure the best movers in Chicago for when the time comes. 

Additionally, there are many ”Chicago moving companies” that employ relocation scams, as well as local movers in Chicago who won’t ensure you move as safely as you would with our packers and movers in Chicago. So, if you want to lock down the best moving services in Chicago for your upcoming move, contact us today. We are available by phone and email and would love to give you a free quote. Not to mention that the support team of our moving company in Chicago is known as one of the friendliest and most professional teams that will gladly answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate – we are waiting!

Posted in: Living in Chicago

Written by: Amelia Mead