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Starting Your Search

Here’s an overview of what to expect during your search. Your search can last a few weeks to a few months (or longer!), depending on inventory & what you are looking for.

  1. Consultation Call
  2. Obtain Your Pre-Approval
  3. Browse for Homes
  4. Schedule a Tour Day
  5. Attend Showings & Open Houses

Step 1: Consultation Call

During the consultation, you’ll meet with your M&Co. agent. Your broker will:

  1. Discuss your timeline & goals
  2. Give you an overview of the process
  3. Answer any questions that you have.

Typically, this call will last 30-45 minutes.

Step 2: Obtain Your Pre-Approval

Before looking at condos, you need a pre-approval letter from your lender. The pre-approval letter is a commitment from your lender of how much money you can borrow. Your lender will look at your debt, income, assets, and credit to determine the amount. 

Your pre-approval will last for 60-90 days. The expiration date varies by lender, so ask them about this! You can get another pre-approval letter, but your lender will run a credit check, so ideally, you will find a property within this window.

Step 3: Browse for Homes

Your agent will set up a search in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) using your criteria. This database feeds the consumer-facing sites you’re probably familiar with, like Zillow and Redfin. The first email will contain all the current listings that fit your criteria. From there, you’ll receive real-time notifications anytime anything matches your criteria.

You may have heard of “private listings.” The Private Listing Network (PLN) is a network for agents in Chicago. These listings are listed privately on the MLS (so you can receive them in the email notifications above!) but won’t be fed to the consumer-facing sites. You can only find these listings by working with an agent.

The Top Agent Network is an exclusive network for the top 10% of agents in Chicago (which M&Co. is proudly part of!). Agents will send their top-tier listings to this listserv to garner excitement. If your agent sees one that matches your criteria, they will forward it along! 

Step 4: Schedule a Tour Day

At M&Co., we like to schedule a Tour Day to get your feet wet with showings. The Tour Day is an excellent chance for you to understand the flow of a showing & start to understand what you do and don’t like. You’ll find 5-10 homes you are interested in seeing, & your agent will schedule as many as possible back-to-back.

The Tour Day is NOT your only chance to see inventory, so don’t sweat it if you don’t find The One on this day!

Step 5: Attend Showings & Open Houses

Next, you’ll wait for new inventory to hit the market. You’ll let your agent know when you see something you like, & they will set up a private showing for you. You can also visit open houses on the weekend. Just be sure to let your agent know if you are attending an open house so that they can be ready to write an offer if needed!

Eventually, you’ll find The One & draft your offer – more on that here.

Next Up » Working with an Agent