Tips on how to get the best deals when buying a home

While gas and grocery prices have just recently started to rise, the cost of housing has been on the way up since last year.

In a FOX 32 Special Report, with no sign of a slowdown, we ask the experts for tips on how to get the best real estate deals.

2021 was a seller's market when it came to real estate in the Chicago area. So how does this year look?

"All the indications and the data is it looks mostly that the sellers’ market is going to remain," said Andrew Hanson.

Hanson is an associate professor at UIC’s Stuart Handler Department of Real Estate.

With fewer sellers still on the market, he says that can mean more frustration and stress for buyers.

"I think over the last year, it’s been tough. You’ve seen a lot of very short time on the market for houses. And you’ve seen multiple offers … and you’ve seen a lot of places selling for over list price," Hanson said.


He says houses in the Chicago area are still moving fast with many on the market only 42 days. That’s compared to 55 days this time last year.

But there is a catch to making all that happen.

"A lot of times now, sellers are thinking my home is going to sell for a bazillion dollars because everything is selling for more," said Antje Gehrken, President of Chicago Association of Realtors. "It’s a mistake to overprice a home because very often it will sit on the market for longer."

Gehrken also says sellers shouldn’t take for granted their home will automatically sell for above their asking price, without spending a little elbow grease first.

"A little bit goes a long way. Whether that’s some paint, cleaning up, freshening up — don’t take that for granted because buyers still want to look at a home that they can see themselves in," Gehrken said.

If you are a buyer, here’s what you need to know about making sure your offer is a competitive one.

"You do need to be competitive, but frankly speaking that doesn’t mean you throw every dime you have at a home," Gehrken said. "That’s not really very practical, especially considering what time frame you want to be in that home for."

It’s also important to make sure you are pre-approved for a mortgage.

"It helps set your buying power," Gehrken said. "It also lets sellers know you do have that buying power … so if you’re in an offer situation and you don’t have preapproval, there’s no proof you could actually buy that home."


Believe it or not, there is more to your offer than just the price, and it pays to get creative.

"An example is if the seller needs flexibility in their closing date because they have not found their next home yet, and you’re flexible. You don’t have to close right away. Let’s build that into the offer … that makes you more competitive," Gehrken said.

No matter how much you like, or even love, a house that’s for sale, Gehrken says you don’t want to break the bank for a couple of reasons.

"You don’t want to overpay for a home especially if you are looking to sell it in the immediate future because you may lose money," Gehrken said. "There are unforeseeables — taxes could go up. If it’s a condo, assessments could go up … the interest rate while you’re looking could go up."

Hanson says don’t rush when deciding whether to buy a house. He reminds us to take a look at all of the costs surrounding the transaction.