Why You Shouldn’t Buy a House Like You Buy a Car

Ready to Buy a House?

When you buy a house it is generally the biggest purchase you will ever make.  Some will buy many houses and others only the one.  It’s a place to make memories and perhaps something you can gift to your children.  On the other hand, you may buy many cars throughout your life.  It’s a much smaller investment and less impactful to your overall life.  So why apply the same principles of buying a car as you would when buying a house when one is far more important than the other?

How we Buy Cars

The thing about buying a car is that you shop around online looking for the best bang for your buck.  You may travel to upwards of 5 dealers until you find the right one with a deal.  By the way, if they are always giving out deals then how do they stay in business?  The answer is that they aren’t.  Generally, we show up ill equipped to understand current car values and against a person who may have sold 30 cars that month.  They know the ins and outs.  Meanwhile, you buy a car every 5 years.  Sound fair?  No, but the risk and costs aren’t so high as to make you go out and hire someone to represent you.  You don’t mind explaining your situation 5 times to someone who at the end of the day only has a vested interest in themselves.

 Real Estate Websites Enable Do It Yourself

Today, we are able to go on to a number of websites and search for the home of our dreams.  We get a lot more info at our fingertips then we ever had in the past (though it’s debatable as to the quality of the data).  We can reach out to each listing agent and schedule our own appointments.  Sounds a lot like buying a car, doesn’t it?  The difference is that the risk is much greater.  A bad car will have you in a repair shop.  Buying the wrong home will cost you many times more than that. But also, trying to use multiple agents to isn’t a good use of anyone’s time and you’ll spend more time traveling house to house than you ever will going to different dealers.  Also, when you buy a car you won’t be tied to a particular salesman from 3 dealers ago.  More on that to come.

Why Pick One Realtor?

You explain your situation once to someone who has a genuine interest in helping you find the perfect home.  We use what learn about you and your situation to make sure that you get the most out of your time. For example, you may find that you can only use a certain loan type to buy a home (such as FHA), but what you may not know is where you can actually use the loan.  Some condo buildings cannot allow for them.

An agent can keep you up to date on new listings that may in your interest.  They can schedule multiple showings in a single day to maximize your time.  Would you rather go out one day and see 6 homes that match your interest? Or schedule 6 individual showing across the week while hoping that your search on XYZ site was accurate?  That’s not a fun way to buy a house.

Other things we do is learn about the seller’s situation.  There can be many different reasons for selling, but sometimes they may be on a timeline.  An agent can leverage this information during negotiations.  Remember, this person has spent a lot time with you and wants you to succeed.  Skills like these can help you buy a house easier and for less.

Procuring Cause

Most importantly, when you decide to DIY your home buying with multiple agents you may lose out on the ability to be represented.  Remember, you’re contacting the seller’s agent.  They are not there for your interest, but for the sellers.  Why does the matter?  There is a thing in real estate called, “Procuring Cause” and it is used to determine who is paid commission (half typically goes to the seller agent and half to the buyer agent).  In Illinois it is perfectly legal for the seller’s agent to represent both the buyer and seller (called Dual Agency).  Many agents do this very successfully and without issue, but I think it’s obvious what the issue is here.  Are they able to remain neutral in negotiations when they were first hired to represent the seller?  Once again, this conflict of interest is perfectly legal.

Ok, so what does procuring cause matter?  Well, if the selling agent shows you the home without you being represented he/she can be the procuring cause and receive both sides of the commission.  Maybe you want to be represented by someone else instead of the seller’s agent.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to work for free.  You may now be stuck with an agent that you don’t know, but also don’t trust.

One More thing on Procuring Cause

You may later decide that you liked a house shown to you by a Realtor a few weeks ago, but since then you met a Realtor that you really get along with and like more.  The Realtor that originally showed it to you would be the “procuring cause” and you wouldn’t have much of a choice of who to work with (yes it can be done, but most agents steer clear of this situation).  You are rolling the dice on who will be representing you on every home that you see.

Buy a House with Us

If you are in the market to buy a house we can help.  Contact us to see if we are a fit for you.

You can learn more about procuring cause here.


Buy a house

Find a Realtor: Big Search or Local Brokerage?

Ways to Find a Realtor

There are a number of way to find a realtor today that didn’t exist before.  You used to have to open the Yellow Pages, remember the guy on Main Street, or go to your family friend.  When you search for real estate today you are immediately hit by ads telling you that this site or that site will get you a top 5% producer.  It’s just advertising. So, what is the background on these and how do you pick?

Realtor Search Engine

Over the past few years a lot of new companies have popped up that offer to connect you to a Realtor. They have built large and comprehensive real estate search engines. We can get into the quality of the data in another post (we are talking to you, Zestimate).  Basically, what they are doing is creating a Google style engine where agents pay to play.  In Zillow’s case an agent can pay over $1000 a month to be show first in the area code you are searching.  That doesn’t sound like the best way to go about finding a Realtor.

Choosing a Realtor requires some work.

Behind the Scenes

Other companies, like Homelight, allow old data and sometimes unchecked data to be uploaded to their sites to create the illusion of quality.  For example, is a part time agent who has sold 100 homes over past 20 years better than the full time agent who has sold 50 in 3 years?  They don’t differentiate.  Other ways that the data can be made confusing is when there are teams involved.  Sales are funneled though a single Realtor even though behind the scenes there are upwards of 10+ agents actually doing the work.  It creates the illusion of a high quality and massive throughput person.  The reality is that you may never meet him or her, but just a team member.  Once again, they don’t differentiate.  It’s basically a brokerage within a brokerage. Either way, the numbers are easily skewed and you’ll be the one left holding the bag.


Lately, there are companies like Redfin.  The lines here can get very blurry.  Sometimes the Realtors work for Redfin, but sometimes they are just getting leads through Redfin.  How the agents gets paid is still an area of confusion and you may never really know, but the point of Redfin is this: Gather Marketshare by Commoditizing Real Estate at a massive loss.

Without a question, there are plenty of quality real estate agents working at Redfin, but many times you get what you pay for.  For example, we advertise your house on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, mailers, and other mediums to sell as fast as possible.  These things cost money to do.  Sure, we can do a 1% listing fee as well and sit back to wait for the offers to come in (by the way, it is never 1% if you look at the fine print).  You’ll even have your house on the their website (they pull from the same resources we do).  It’s very impersonal and very transactional (don’t call after 5pm either).  What happens when things go wrong or trouble arises? Jim Wang at WalletHacks.com had this to say:

“In the end, you get what you pay for. I’ve never used Redfin to buy or sell a home but folks who have tell me it’s very transactional. If you’re a DIY type, it’s perfect for you. If you need guidance or you’d like someone to search for you, then it’s not as hands on as a good full service agent might be.”

Our Thoughts

We think that finding an agent is a personal experience that requires us to mesh together.  Agents that are local to you can most likely provide the little insights into a neighborhood that others may not see or know.  They can discuss how neighborhoods have transitioned and the new exciting projects ahead.  Even better they have personal interest in the area.  We think that you should interview a number of agents, ask what they do different, and then decide for yourself.  Picking the “Top 5%” or the cheapest doesn’t always align with your goal.  Also, that kind of information is very hard to verify its accuracy as we mentioned above.  The lowest bidder isn’t always the cheapest and most cost effective either.  Just ask our mayor about this lowest bidder at our airports for pavement work.

Working with Us

What we offer is a very personalized and full service approach to your real estate buying and selling needs.  We are invested in your success because it’s also our success.  Our Realtors are paid their full commission each and every time.  We work as a part of the community and with that comes the responsibility to do our best for you, because we are here with you.  Jim also had this to say:

“The number one advantage of Redfin is in cost savings.”

We understand that saving money is a big draw which is why for a limited time out brokerage is offering similar cost savings today. These savings come from us, the broker, and not our Realtors. You can rest easy knowinfg that the are still working as hard as they can for you as a full service agent. 

To read more about Jim’s journey through the home buying process go here: https://wallethacks.com/buying-a-home-with-redfin-vs-full-service-agent/

Contact us today and get started!

Real Estate Advertising in 2018 is Social Media

Real Estate advertising from 1990-2018 hasn’t changed much.   Flyers: Check.  Sign: Check. MLS: Check.


Why isn’t this Enough?

Generation X has grown up and millennial are too. Do you know what they have in common?  Both grew up on the internet. Facebook came about during the Generation X tenure and Instgram/Snapchat for millennials. They use QR codes, pay for things with their phones, and many times don’t even have a computer.  They sure don’t subscribe to the newspaper.  Real estate advertising today takes a lot more tech than it used to.  Putting a listing on the MLS and waiting for the showing to come is no longer a strategy for selling a house.  You need to have your home listed everywhere.

So, how do you advertise to the largest base of buyers of which many are texting their friends as they pass by your traditional sign?  Social Media.  Simple eye catching signage.  Being hyper-local.

Virtual Tours and drones are really cool, but how do you get today’s buyers to even know they exist?  We take those video and place them in Youtube ads.  We’ll use them in Google+, Facebook, Snapchat and Instragram.  We’ll have a QR code on your sign so that when people scan it they can save it to their device.  Who wants to remember this:  For more information visit www.somesiteabout1901westdakindtreetchicago.com?  Ashbrook Realty recognizes that it’s out with the old and in with the new.

We Advertise Real Estate Differently

Contact us today to learn more to learn how we change how your property is sold.  We’ll leverage all of these mediums to get the most views and more importantly the highest price.

To learn more about Ashbrook Realty please visit our about page.  If would like to learn more about what we are doing to create more interesting your property then take a look at our Seller Marketing page where you can see what we do different to get your house sold fast!

Check these stats to learn more:

*2017 National Association of Realtor Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trend Report. View it here.

Statisca 2017 Average Social Media by Age Group (Account may be required).  View it here.

Real Estate advertising requires a lot of new ideas

Portage Park has a New Cafe! The Frunchroom

New Flavors to the Six Corners Area

As Realtors and neighbors in the area we are always happy to learn of new culinary developments in the area.  We are happy to report that the turnaround of Six Corners Shopping District located in Portage Park is picking up steam with! We Are happy to see a new restaurant pop up and fill another gap in the storefronts.  Please welcome to the area: The Frunchroom!

Created by Community Tavern’s chef de cuisine Matt Saccaro and Quay Tao (that’s some seriously respectable names in Chicago cuisines), the Frunchroom is an upscale but casual spot. They describe themselves as:

“A neighborhood cafe specializing in house made charcuterie, smoked meats and fish, fresh pastas and seasonal vegetables.  Our cooking is inspired by hand-crafted old world technique using local ingredients.”

After a quick read of the menu online we went in to check out it.  You won’t be let down!  There American Cheese charcuterie hits the spot and you’ll have plenty of cash left in your pocket because the prices are spot on.  Did you know that Frunchroom is Chicago slang for Front Room?  More Chicago slang here.

Portage Park Continues to Grow

The Portage Park, Irving Park, and surrounding areas have been growing and changing rapidly.  This level of new restaurant really brings a sense of high quality eats to the area.  There is always room for another brunch spot, right?  If you would like to gawk and the food and drool at the menu we have saved you some time.  Their website can be found here.  We hear that the meatball recipe belong’s to Sacarro’s Grandmother.

As always, If you’re ready to start searching for a home then contact one of our agents today to get started!  Our Realtors will be your best guide to local neighborhoods in and around Chicago.

Portage Park has a new restaurant in the neighborhood


4042 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

Buying a House? Get Pre-Approved

Buying a House? Get Pre-approved First!

It’s not the most fun, but getting a pre-approval is the first step toward buying a house.  One of the first things to consider when deciding to buy a home, is determining how much you can afford. It’s not always as cut and dry as we would like it to be.  There are a lot of different things lenders looks at that may not be apparent at first glance.  It’s a great way to interview prospective lenders and learning what different options are available to you when.

A lender will look at total income and debt payments that leverage different ratios that result in a dollar amount that you can afford.  This can depend on a number of factors like loan type and length of mortgage.  Another key part of this is process is that you can get out in front of problems early.  Simple things like that collections due to the Blockbuster video you forgot to return can stall a loan.  Sometimes, money needs to be “seasoned” for you to use it.  It’s an opportunity to prepare for the process.

Also, having a pre-approval letter is often times a requirement to submit a purchase contract. It will not only show the seller that you are qualified, but also that you are a serious buyer.

You can prepare yourself right now, and start the pre-approval process. Let your agent know if you need a referral. You can also fill out a pre-approval request online with our preferred lender.  Buying a house has a lot more steps, but getting started off on the right foot will maximum your times spent searching.

You can contact us now to learn more about our brokerage and the services we offer.  Also, our search is top notch.  You can schedule showings, share and save your favorites with friends and family.

Get started at: https://www.huntington.com/mortgage/beck-kevin


Buying a house almost always requires a pre-approval