The unwritten rules of home buying

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The home buying process can be exciting, and many first-time buyers are eager to get the ball rolling. That’s definitely a good thing, but don’t let your heightened emotions get the better of you.

Most folks these days begin their home buying search online. When you come across that special property on the computer, you may be tempted to jump the gun and call the listing agent immediately. But stop yourself. Why? There should always be a proper chain of communication and your agent should be the one to make the phone call on your behalf. Remember, your agent has your best interests at heart and the listing agent will be looking after the interests of their clients, the sellers. Many believe they will get a better deal calling the listing agent directly, but that’s not always true. The listing agent will be keeping an eye on the seller’s bottom line. Who will be keeping an eye on yours? You’re agent, of course.

So you have finally walked into a property you love and are ready to make an offer on it. Do you have a preapproval letter from the lender? Be sure not to make that offer until you have one. This document is proof to the sellers that you have spoken to the lender and will be approved for the funds. Your offer will look weaker in the eyes of the seller without it, especially if there are other offers on the table as well. I always suggest starting the preapproval process prior to starting your search in person.

Don’t be late! Home showings are usually set by appointments by your agent with the seller’s agent. Many times, the homes are still occupied and the sellers will leave for a while to allow you to roam around the property freely. If you are going to be late, try to give your agent plenty of notice so appointments can be shifted around if needed. Without this courtesy, you may not be able to enter some properties since your appointment was 30 minutes ago.

Lastly, don’t pretend you are ready and able to buy on the spot if you’re not. Agents work on commission and you do not want to waste their time or yours. Instead, sit down and have a conversation with your agent so there is a game plan in place for when you’re ready to buy. You should be able to work with your agent to achieve the ultimate goal!

To contact me, call 708-583-8300, email or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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