Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you can make in life.

For better or for worse, purchasing a house will affect your lifestyle and your finances for years and years – so it’s important that you go into this important, engaging, occasionally trying process with a clear head and the right attitude.

Often though, getting it “right” is more easily said than done. So instead, let’s talk about the ways that you can avoid getting it “wrong,” by running down a list of common buyer mistakes – the attitudes, misconceptions, and missteps that have prevented many would-be buyers from snagging the best possible property.

Here are four common mistakes to look out for as you begin the homebuying process – and some expert advice on what you can do to avoid them.

Why You Should List Your Home the Day After the Super Bowl (Source: Pixabay,com - used as royalty free image)

There’s no bigger game than The Big Game, is there? (Yes, we are allowed to say Super Bowl, as it turns out.) All of your friends and family gathered around the TV, yelling at football players, laughing at a fresh batch of Doritos commercials, chowing down on – statistically speaking – four buffalo wings per person? It’s the best!

And there’s another reason why our team here at Real Group marks the Super Bowl on our calendars every year: For real estate pros, it’s a big deal. And if you want to sell your home, we suggest you pay attention to the Super Bowl too; in our experience, the day after the big game is a magical time for home listings.

What makes it so special? You see, the Super Bowl, held in early February, marks the start of the spring season for real estate. While we’d argue that there are some strategic upsides to selling in the winter, there can be no denying that it’s the slowest period of the year, for buyers and sellers alike. For buyers, there are fewer listings on the market to choose from; for sellers, the unpleasant weather, the busy holiday rush, and the dearth of options means that fewer people will be looking to buy at all.

Who could have seen 2020 coming? The last year was an unusual and unpredictable one in the real estate world. While industry experts always anticipate a little bit of turbulence in presidential election years, nobody saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming. In fact, words that were often used to describe the Chicago real estate market heading into 2020 were “steady,” “boring,” and “same old.”

How naive we all were! 

2020 was a singular year, one that will always be remembered in terms of social distancing, face masks, and Zoom calls. In the real estate world, 2020 was a shock to the system — but one that helped prove that, really, the system is fairly strong, stable, and resilient. 

While the early months of the COVID pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty and some hasty changes, real estate professionals and their clients adapted swiftly here in the Chicago area — and activity remained incredibly robust throughout summer, fall, and even winter as a result. 

At the same time, these last several months have reaffirmed the importance of having a place to call home. We’ve all spent more time than ever thinking about what we like and dislike about our spaces, while adjusting to a “new normal” of remote work and schooling. This time to reflect and adapt will reshape what buyers are looking for, long after the pandemic has finally come to an end. 

So, what can we expect now that vaccines are being delivered, a new federal administration prepares to head to the White House, and homebuyers and sellers are starting to make their lists of New Years’ resolutions? 

Here’s a look at what we can expect in the Chicago real estate market for 2021:

How Real Estate Photography Makes All the Difference in the Sale of Your Home

Think of your favorite advertisement, whether it’s a commercial or a bus ad. What makes it stand out in your memory? A catchy jingle? A startling statistic? Or is it something more visual – an image, a photograph, a dominant color?

We’re willing to bet that you’ve been floored by a powerful image or two before, right? You’re not alone. In fact, visual content is the cornerstone of modern marketing – and that holds true for real estate, where photography may make all the difference for the success of your home sale.

We’ve said it before:

“It’s important to adopt the mindset of turning over your home to the market. In essence, this means pretending that it doesn't belong to you anymore and treating the property as a product that needs to be marketed for sale.

A successful sale requires the homeseller and their real estate team to think like marketers, and to invest in many of the same tactics that marketers use to sell other consumer goods or services. In many cases, that means bringing on a photography pro to capture the essence of your property, rather than relying on easier alternatives, like cellphone photography.

In fact, we always bring on a professional photographer for our listings. Why? Well, in our time, we’ve seen beautiful houses go unappreciated because of poor images, and we’ve seen high quality photographs lure in buyers who may otherwise have been on the fence. In fact, in today’s marketplace, a great set of images may just be the most important tool for getting prospective buyers into the home.

Still need convincing? Let’s explore some of the reasons why photography is so important – and show off a few examples of what works and what doesn’t:

Think of a Photograph as Part of the Staging Process

Real Group Real Estate

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Chicago, IL 60614

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