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First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Buying your first home is an exhilarating experience! It may mean you’re growing your family or you’ve finally gotten that promotion that will allow you to make a big investment. However, it can also be a very stressful time. Through the help of your realtor, lender and other great resources, you can be fully prepared for this exciting transition. The following steps map out the best way to prepare for your home purchase:

9 Months Out

  • Check your credit score. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans. Knowing in advance will give you time to fix any errors or raise your credit score if necessary.
  • Talk to a mortgage broker to find out what you can afford. Lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (called the debt-to-income ratio). This figure includes your future mortgage and any other debts, such as a car loan, student loan or revolving credit cards. Look for a mortgage broker who will shop for a competitive loan rate for you among multiple lenders.
  • Prioritize what you want in your home and neighborhood. Unless you’re buying new construction, no home will have everything you want. In order to focus your search and find your ideal home, it’s important to know what you can and can’t live without.

6 Months Out

  • Contact your realtor to map out your timeline and discuss your goals. An agent will work in your best interest to find you the right property, negotiate with the seller’s agent and shepherd you through the closing process.

3 Months Out

  • Focus your search and start actively looking at homes. At this point, hopefully you’ve scoped out neighborhoods that interest you and browsed through potential homes online. Now your realtor will schedule times for you to go out and view the homes.
  • Work with your lender to get approved for your loan. He or she will most likely require your W-2 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, credit card and loan statements, and more.

2 Months Out

  • Make an offer on a home. It usually takes at least four to six weeks to close on a home. If you have a firm move-out date, allow enough time to deal with any hiccups that can delay closing.
  • Get a home inspection. One of the first things you’ll do after an offer is accepted is have a home inspector look at the property. If the home inspector finds something that needs repair, that may cause you to restructure the deal and could delay closing.
  • Find a real estate lawyer. Your agent will most likely be able to recommend someone to you that he or she has worked with in the past.

1 Month Out

  • Stay in constant communication with your realtor, your lender and your lawyer. You’re in the home stretch and you want to ensure that everyone has their ducks in a row for closing.
  • Get insurance for your new home. Don’t forget to secure insurance before closing. You’ll need to provide proof of insurance on or before closing.
  • Do a final walk-through of your new home. This usually occurs the day of closing to make sure the home is in the shape you and the seller have agreed upon.
  • Get a cashier’s check or bank wire for closing. You’ll get the amount owed at closing a few days before closing so you can secure a cashier’s check or arrange to have the money wired. Regular checks aren’t accepted.

While this list might seem overwhelming, your real estate agent will be there every step of the way to walk you through it. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at Julia@reprealestate.com.

Information taken from Houselogic.com. Photo taken from City of Chicago. 

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Coming Soon – 621 W. Belden

621 W. Belden, Elmhurst


Enjoy this beautifully updated home on a deep lot with plenty of yard space to grill out on cool summer days. This home features three large bedrooms, a gorgeous master bath with double vanity and heated tile flooring, open kitchen with granite countertops, high-end appliances and large walk-in pantry.

Sliding doors lead out from the living room to the expansive fenced-in backyard complete with concrete patio, woodshed and oversized 2.5 car garage.

The newly finished lower level features a full laundry area, open playroom and recreation area, and full office that can also serve as a fourth bedroom.

A wonderful opportunity in Elmhurst’s School District 205. Emerson, Churchville and York Community. See it first!

3 Bedrooms / 2.5 Bathrooms | Additional guest bedroom in lower level | Mud room | Walk-in closet | Master Bathroom | Backyard patio | 2.5 car garage


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Pocket Listing – $950,000

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Located in the heart of Park Ridge, 134 N. Washington is set on a tree-shaded street shared with substantial homes and classic residences. Only blocks from the esteemed Park Ridge Country Club, the recently opened Whole Foods, and the historic Pickwick Theatre.

The home falls within the Field Elementary, Emerson Middle, and Maine South High School attendance areas, and St. Paul of the Cross is also just around the corner.

A variety of amenities are within walking distance. Hinkley Park—with its popular outdoor pool, softball and football fields, and basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts—is only four short blocks away. The highly rated Blufish Sushi Bistro and casual dining favorites Panera and LePeep are even closer. Of course, Edison Park is also right up the street for fine dining experiences at places like Café Touché and Zias, or an easy night out at The Curragh or The Mecca.

Transportation options are convenient. It is only a 3-block walk to the Park Ridge Metra station and easy access to the 90/94 expressways. The Cumberland Blue Line ‘L’ station is also close by, as is O’Hare International Airport for longer trips.

The home itself has been breathtakingly updated since its original construction. The main level features dual living areas, dining area, powder room, mud room and fully remodeled kitchen with top of the line finishes and high-end appliances.

A set of sliding doors lead out from the kitchen into a professionally landscaped and enclosed backyard, complete with a gorgeous stone patio.

The first floor also features a luxurious master suite with deep whirlpool, surround sound and cable hook up in the spa-like bath.

The second floor features four large bedrooms, two full baths, and an additional laundry area.

The finished lower level is complete with 10 ft. ceilings, a second kitchen, full bath, laundry and several storage areas.

The home also features central vacuum, three fireplaces, security system, new roof in 2012, new water heaters and attached two-car garage.

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Overlooking Woodland Park

Park Ridge still has a very low inventory of homes for sale, and the best ones move quickly. I would like to invite you (or any friends searching the area) to preview a gorgeous rehab overlooking Woodland Park in Park Ridge by Barnett Capital LLC. This is a rare opportunity to be the first to preview a Park Ridge home before it hits the market – don’t miss out!

Contact Me!
Let’s Talk

Grace Goro

Grace Goro
Ph: 312-720-7589
1 comment on “Goebbert’s Farm”

Goebbert’s Farm

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In honor of the fall season, I dug up this little gem from my photos last year. In 2012, KC and I took a trip out to Barrington to visit Goebbert’s Farm. In all honesty, I thought we’d probably get bored within the first hour. After all, Goebbert’s Farm is a place for children… or is it?

Not only did they have what seemed like thousands of pumpkins, they had all sorts of beautiful animals: tigers, bears, hyenas, emus, zebras, lemurs, eagles, goats, yaks, piglets and way, way more. Many of which I can’t even remember the names of because they were so difficult to pronounce. I can tell you this, nothing makes your day like petting a zebra and feeding an emu.

Still, Goebbert’s Farm is far more than just a petting zoo. You can snap pictures as a Toy Story character by peeping through the cutouts. You can wander through the great Corn Maze (Warning: don’t be smug about it. It looks easy but it’s actually quite formidable), grab a seat on a wagon ride, take a picture in the giant chair, grab a hot cider at the snack bar or take a ride on a camel! Seriously, a camel.

I hope I have time to make it out there again this year. It was so amazing the first time around. Happy Pumpkin Month!

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121 Gillick, Park Ridge

121 Gillick

Park Ridge

121 Gillick was a beautiful four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home in Olde Park Ridge. This location in Park Ridge is special because of its easy access to absolutely everything. It’s less than five minutes from the Canfield exit, and is walking distance to both Uptown Park Ridge and Edison Park.

This was very important for my clients because they were moving from the city to the suburbs, and although they enjoyed the calm of the suburbs they knew they would still miss some of the hustle and bustle of the city. So, you can understand why they’d take comfort in knowing they could still walk to places like Zia’s, Moretti’s, Edison Park Inn, Don Juan’s and Cafe Touché to experience a slightly more exciting atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night.

This experience was certainly a favorite for me. The family who purchased this home was one of the nicest families I’ve ever met. It was such a pleasure being able to accompany them on showings, inspections, the closing and everything in between. I’ll never forget the conversations we had about the pros and cons of a public or a private school, and which their children would like better, or the great talks we had about neighborhood block parties and our favorite restaurants. It was a wonderful experience and a truly beautiful home.

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1416 S. Prospect, Park Ridge – Sold Before Print

In my last post, I spoke about one of my closed listings – 1215 Talcott (a Barnett Capital, LLC project) – and all of the activity it stirred up when it came on the market. This was fantastic for my clients, but not so great for the buyers who missed out.

Except for one particular couple.

This couple was represented by a fellow Coldwell Banker agent (She was fantastic. I hope to work with her again!) who called me after 1215 Talcott went under contract.

“Is 1215 Talcott really off the market?” she asked. “Do your clients have anything similar coming on soon?”

Well, as luck would have it, they did.

1416 Prospect was their next project. It was going to be an 1800 sq. ft., 4 bed, 3/2 bath with all new finishes – very similar to 1215 Talcott except for its size.

These are the ‘Before’ photos:

“We’ll take it!”

With inventory flying off the shelves, the buyers didn’t want to risk losing another Barnett Capital project. They put in a full-price offer and a few months (and quite a bit more construction) later, they had the keys to their dream home.

These are the ‘After’ photos:

0 comments on “1215 N. Talcott, Park Ridge”

1215 N. Talcott, Park Ridge

What a transformation! This was a listing I’ll never forget.

1215 N. Talcott was another gorgeous rehab by Barnett Capital LLC. It took months and months of hard work to get this five-bedroom home to its potential, but by the time Barnett Capital had completed it, it was spectacular.

The kitchen had been expanded, the stairs were moved, a pantry was added, fireplaces were completely redesigned, doors were sealed off, and new ones were added. Brand new oak floors were put in, new electric, plumbing, windows, appliances… I could go on forever but I think you get the picture. You name it. They did it! They took it all down to the studs and basically rebuilt it.

After the holiday season, once the home was finished and listed, market activity went through the roof. Open houses were packed and the showings were nonstop.

Everyone appreciated the level of craftsmanship that Barnett Capital put into this project. Their attention to detail was unparalleled. Everything from the lighting to the molding and the color of the stain on the floors pulled in compliments like you wouldn’t believe. It wasn’t long before the offers came rolling in.

It all happened at once, as it so often does these days. Before my clients had time to think, they were in a multiple offer situation. They went with the highest and best and never looked back. The inspection went wonderfully, the buyers were happy and Barnett added another completed project to their list. I’ll never forget how beautiful they made this home, and I was grateful to have been able to be a part of it.