Over a year I spend a lot of time with relocation buyers and many are moving here from out of state. It’s my job to provide the guidance and expertise a relocation buyer will need. Generally every state transacts real estate differently, with some similarities and some polar opposites. Out of state buyers likely do not know the ins and outs of buying from day one to close. So this guide is simply the start to end of buying a home in Barrington. More in-depth information is always given to my clients but this should give everyone something to compare to your knowledge or prior purchases. This also serves as a good reminder for local buyers, real estate changes here in Illinois all the time and we keep up to date with the processes. We also have a more in depth look at the process, we are building on those articles.
Feel free to ask any questions, I provided a question box at the end.
Finance – When anyone makes an offer to buy property in Barrington, proof of financial ability to buy is required with the offer. Therefore it’s the first thing you should take care of, before you go house hunting here in Barrington. For mortgages a pre-approval letter is required and for cash or high down payments, a letter from your bank or financial advisors confirming your liquid funds is needed.
House Hunting – The internet is the perfect place to start your home search and that includes this web site. But be careful, you may be looking at homes under contract. We have tried to remove all homes with contracts but one may slip through while we weren’t looking. The data of homes and land here is up to date and is every property listed on the MLS. Be warned that Zillow only has about 70% of the properties. Why? Because it does not have an automatic right to the MLS feed. Many listings are pulled from other out of date data feeds.
Select a Realtor – To view homes listed on the MLS, you need a Realtor. Your options are:
- Call every listing agent to view each home with them.
- Call any Realtor you can find and work with several.
- Find a Realtor that works in the geographic area you want to live and stick with them from start to finish. Also known as a buyers agent.
There are reasons not to do the first two. Listing agents are working for the sellers, not really in your best interest to use the same Realtor. Working with several Realtors will affect the quality of service you receive. Those Realtors are not getting paid for their work and the odds are against them to get a sale. Not a lot of motivation. The third option provides you the ability to work with someone familiar with the area who’ll be much more invested in your home purchase. You’ll get to know them and vice versa. You’ll build a relationship that will help your purchase. You might realize you picked the wrong Realtor for you to start, and it’s OK to change but check any agreement you have first.
Best advice is to do research on Realtors at the same time you are researching homes. Buyers agents are paid by the seller, not by you.
Agency Notices & Agreements – In Illinois we are required to give you two notices before we start working with you. The notices are to let you know what type of agency agreement you have, if any, and who we are working for and under. You may have a written or verbal agreement, you may have an open agreement, there may be no agreement at all. All are explained in the notices and any contract agreements we together make.
Property Viewing – In Barrington we must make appointments to view any property, even vacant land. Appointments need to be confirmed. So expecting us to roll in a minutes notice is not going to happen. Each property provides information to a buyers agent about what is needed. The bigger and most pricey the property, the more notice usually needed. We too have our own schedules. Likely today we already have something on the calendar. So please give us a little notice, especially if you are relocating and need more than an hour or so. Weekends are busy, some Realtors don’t work Saturday, Sunday, or even both. I do!
Sticking to appointment times is critical too, and it’s my job to hustle you along or take a break and have a chat as the schedule permits. Sometimes you love a home so much and others you hate it just at the location. A good buyers agent can factor all this in and keep us on schedule.
Short List – Usually buyers end up with a short list of homes for a second go around. Just remember we need new appointments. Relocation buyers are more likely to pull the buying trigger after one showing. Often relocation buyers don’t have the luxury of second showings. Whatever you need, we are ready for it.
Making an Offer – Here in Barrington Illinois, we prefer offers to be made in writing. Even if you are used to verbal offers or want to make one this time around, remember it’s up to the seller. If he wants it in writing, he wants it in writing. An offer is made with your financial proof, so if you did not pay attention to my first paragraph, go back now!
After an initial written offer we tend to negotiate verbally and once agreement is made, amend the offer, re-sign and send to listing agent for the seller to sign. We use digital signing to make this quick and easy for out of town buyers. As long as you have an email address and a phone, tablet or computer, we can do that! No offer is a contract until it has been signed and delivered. Verbal agreements do not count.
Contract Contingencies – We have several contingencies written into our contracts. They include 5 days to get a home inspection, the same 5 days for your attorney to approve it, another 5 days to negotiate repairs. Finance contingency dates are different and will be assessed and written by me based on your circumstances. There are well and septic contingencies, a survey is needed for single family homes. If you have a home to sell or a home to close, this will be added as another contingency to your offer. I’ll be guiding you through all of this as we go.
Note – Some items are your cost, some are a sellers cost.
Attorneys – You’ll have just read that an attorney reviews your contract. Here in Illinois once a contract is delivered it is passed to an attorney. They tend to oversee it from this point on. So yes you’ll need an attorney and of course we have names. Assume cost about $600 (2016). For really complex transactions it may well go higher. I am still involved, and should be, but in conjunction with attorneys, inspectors, loan officers.
Getting Your Mortgage – Now you are under contract you need to apply for your mortgage – Hope you already have some-one lined up. This is not the time to start rate shopping or people changing! Do that beforehand.
Contingency Dates and Extensions – It matters that everyone work towards every date on the contract. However sometimes it just is not possible. Your attorney may ask for an extension to a contingency date. BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED! I put that in caps for very good reason. Even though the seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy, both sides are often under the impression they can just ask and receive. We can always ask but not always receive.
Clear To Close – When every part of the contract has been executed and all we are left with is closing, that will be scheduled. We should have worked towards the date originally agreed. You’ll be given instructions on your funds, how much and how to bring them.
Walk Through – Prior to your closing, you and I will re-visit the property to do a final walk through. This is not time to bring friends, relatives. The property is not yet yours, there’s plenty of time after for that. The goal is to make sure the property is materially the same as when you decided to buy it. So we’ll do a visual look but also make sure things included have not disappeared. We’ll also check the plumbing is still functioning, the house is warm or cold as the weather dictates and that no glaring damage has occurred. Allow about 30 minutes, longer for large homes.
Closing – We close our sales in either a Title Company office or an Attorney office with Title Company onsite. We do not close using escrow. Property ownership passes at the table. The seller signs documents, the buyers sign documents, the title company appoints a closer who verifies everything including all the financials. Your attorney will be there as will the sellers attorney. I am there for moral support. Some loan officers attend, others do not. When everything is complete, you get a copy of the deed showing the property is yours, together with your keys. Closing can take 1 to 2 hours.
Utilities – As soon as you can after closing you should get all the utilities put in your name. This may include gas, electricity, cable service, trash service, HOA, water.
And there you have it. A general overview of the home buying process here in Barrington Illinois. As a buyers agent I have guided hundreds of buyers through the maze because for relocation I know it’s different in every state. You’ll read in my bio my experience of relocation is not from a book. It’s from real life including buying and selling homes in different states and internationally.
Contact me if you’ll be moving to Barrington Illinois. Relocating buyers are what I enjoy most in my job as a real estate agent. Making families happy and welcome is why I love relocation!
Call me at 847-363-3686 Or Ask A Question