The Buying Process

Before You Begin Your Home Search

Review your finances – Pull a free copy of your credit history at Obtain your credit score at If your credit history has blemishes, your first step should be improving your score. A good credit score improves your chances of mortgage approval, and helps you obtain a desirable interest rate.

Prepare a financial file – Include copies of your last 2 years of income tax returns, plus copies of your recent bank statements and payroll deposits. List your monthly debt payments. Include statements for retirement or investment accounts.

Determine your down payment – FHA mortgages require as little as 3.5% down. If you served in the military, you might qualify for a VA loan with attractive terms. There are also Chicago home buying programs that provide down payment assistance in certain cases.

Speak to a mortgage lender – Begin the pre-approval process. We can refer you to reputable mortgage lenders. Your lender will examine your income, debts, assets, credit history, and work history. Be prepared to supply more documentation if needed.

Your pre-approval will certify the mortgage amount your lender is willing to finance. It may be necessary to update your mortgage pre-approval after 30 days. Always keep your approval active while shopping for your new home!

Home search tips:

Determine which community and neighborhood – Consider the schools, distance to employment, shopping and dining options, and nearby parks. Find an area that suits your lifestyle.

Explore priorities and criteria for your new home – Are you able to tackle a home that needs work, or do you prefer move-in ready? What amenities are a must?

Read our Guide To Home Buying for a more thorough breakdown on the buying process, home search tips and much more!

Set a timetable – Remember, once you have a pre-approval in hand, the clock is ticking.

Contact Harty Realty Group – Save valuable time and let Harty Realty Group do the home search for you. We will find the ideal homes that suit your needs, and send you recommendations via email. As your Exclusive Buyer Agent, we always work with your best interests in mind!

Making the Offer:

Once you have found the ideal home, it’s time to make an offer. Harty Realty Group will provide you with pricing consultation to help you determine the best strategy. Generally, you want to make a fair offer that shows you are sincere about buying the home, without overpaying.

We will guide you concerning appropriate contingencies. It’s reasonable to put contingencies in your offer to protect yourself, especially for financing and home inspections. You can write a contingency for just about any concern.

Always remember to stay within your financial abilities, no matter how “hot” the market might be!

Once your offer has been accepted, Harty Realty Group will guide you through the closing process. Here are some of the steps:

Home inspection – a home inspector of your choice will perform a visual inspection of the home structure and mechanical features. Should any issues come up, we will help you negotiate solutions with the seller.

Purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy – you will need your insurance policy to be effective as of the closing date.

Follow up with your mortgage lender – make sure your financing is on track. Supply updated financial documentation if your lender requests it. Avoid taking out new loans or making major purchases during this time. Doing so could negate your mortgage qualification. Having a pre-approval does not mean your loan cannot be denied prior to closing.

Closing – you will be given documents to review and sign. You will present a check for the mortgage down payment. The Settlement Statement will identify the transaction costs that apply to you and to the seller. You should review all documents, and if you have questions, ask before you sign them. You will get copies of the documents for your records.

Title to the home will be transferred into your name and filed with the county office. You will be given the keys to your new home!