Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make. Not only do you need a house that will fulfill all your needs, but investing in real estate is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth. If you live in Chicago or have recently moved to the Chicago Metro, you have likely searched for homes in the surrounding suburbs.
One area many prospective buyers are drawn to is River Forest. Located just minutes from the downtown core, River Forest is a beautiful, tranquil suburb known for its tree-lined streets and stately historic homes. Architectural enthusiasts love living in River Forest since there are so many classic home styles integrated into the area, including Georgian Revival, Queen Anne, and Tudor Revival. It was also, at one point, home to Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemmingway.
Beyond its exceptional homes, River Forest is a tight-knit community that feels more like a small town than a Chicago suburb. If you have decided to move to this idyllic community, your first step is finding your dream home. How do you know what to look for in a home, and how do you navigate the local market? Here’s everything you need to know about buying a home in River Forest.
Is now a good time to buy a home in River Forest?
If you are in the market for a brand-new home, prospective buyers need to consider many things, namely whether purchasing a home is right for them. During 2021 and 2022, interest rates were at a record low, giving buyers more spending power than at any other point in history. This resulted in a red-hot market where buyers found themselves in bidding wars. In some cases, buyers paid above the asking price to secure their dream home. As 2022 came to a close, interest rates increased to over 6% for the first time since 2008
. And while this has stabilized the local market, it has also left many buyers wondering whether or not it's a good time to invest in River Forest property.
While interest rates are higher than in 2021 and 2022, the local market stabilized. As a result, River Forest homes have increased in value, which means buyers can expect their investments to appreciate over time. If you're interested in a long-term investment, there has never been a better time to buy a home in River Forest, Illinois.
Tips for buying a home in River Forest
Once you have decided to buy a home in River Forest, the real work begins. While purchasing a new home can be an exhilarating experience, it can also be overwhelming if you are new to the process. Even if you have purchased a home before, navigating River Forest's market can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with local market conditions. But before the house hunt begins, there are additional steps to ensure your home-buying experience is a positive, stress-free experience.
Secure financing for your new home
If you wish to purchase a home in River Forest, you first need to consider financing. How do you plan on paying for your home? If you are a cash buyer, the process is pretty straightforward. Once you find a home you want, you and your agent will submit a cash offer for the property and a proof of funds letter from your bank. Once your offer is accepted, the closing date will typically take seven to ten days. If you need financing, you will need to secure a mortgage from a lending institution, such as a bank or a credit union. Prior to approval, your lender will need the following documents while processing your loan application:
- Proof of funds, such as a W-2 form or equivalent plus pay stubs
- Tax returns from the past two years
- Your debt-to-income ratio
- Credit score
- Income and job history
- Other requested forms of documentation
From there, your lending institution will approve or deny your loan request. Once you receive a pre-approval letter from your mortgage company, you now know what your budget is and how much house you can afford.
Prioritize your needs and create a wish-list
Once you have your budget, start doing some research on the area. What type of housing can you afford in River Forest? Does your budget match what is available on the market? Once you have determined you can afford to live in River Forest, make a wish list. What are your 'must-haves' in your new home? You might need a designated home office, especially if you work remotely part-time or full-time. If you have pets, you might need a fenced-in yard for them to run around safely. If you have recently gotten married or your family is growing, you will need more space. What you need will depend heavily on your lifestyle now and in the near future. Compare your wish list to what area homes you can afford. Once you have found homes that meet your criteria, you're ready for the next step of your house hunt.
Hire a local expert
Whether you're new to the area or new to the home-buying process, trying to navigate River Forest's real estate market can be a daunting task. That's why it is essential to hire a real estate agent. So how do you find the right agent for you? Homebuyers typically choose one of two approaches: work with someone they already know or hire a local real estate expert
. There are pros and cons to both situations. If you choose to work with someone you know, you have the added advantage of working with someone you already like and trust. This could be a friend, a family member, or a neighbor.
If you do not know a real estate agent familiar with River Forest, hiring a local expert is the way to go. How do you know which agent to choose? Above all else, you should work with someone you feel comfortable with. Working with an agent can make or break your transaction, so hiring someone you trust is essential. When choosing an agent, don't be afraid to ask questions! Feel free to ask them about their experience, familiarity with the area, and communication style. Your agent should ideally be experienced in your local market. Once you have chosen your agent, your house hunt begins, bringing you one step closer to finding your dream home.
Find your River Forest dream home today
Are you ready to turn your dreams of homeownership into reality? If you're searching for houses for sale in River Forest
, you need Andy Gagliardo
and the Gagliardo Group to help you navigate the market. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or have recently moved to the area, they are your go-to resource for River Forest real estate. Contact Andy
and the Gagliardo Group to begin your house hunt today!
*Header photo courtesy of Gagliardo Group