Purchasing First RE Property in Chicagoland

12 Replies

Hello BP Nation,

First, thank you for taking the time to read my post. BP has been an awesome resource. I've been reading/researching for about 4 years and really getting serious the last 8 months. My wife and I are moving from TN to the west suburbs of Chicago in February or March and I am looking to owner/occupy my first investment property. I'm looking for a 3/2 with a full basement which can be used as a rental property. I'm also open to du, tri, and quadplexes...and any other options where the numbers make sense. I will be working in Wheaton but would like to be centrally located between there and downtown Chicago. So my questions are as follows:

1) Does anyone have a recommendation for an experienced and credible RE agent and GC in the Oak Park, La Grange, or Elmhurst areas?

2) I’m thinking about purchasing a property and having it renovated prior to our move. Does anyone have experience buying/renovating properties that they aren't able to see on a daily basis? If so, how did you monitor progress and mitigate risk?

3) What other area's in Chicago are safe and/or up and coming?

Thank you for your time.



Hey welcome to Chicago! I am currently in the process of buying a four unit building in the north side of Chicago. My real estate broker is @Brie Schmidt  . She specializes in helping investors get started with multi family properties. Hugely helpful to me.

You should get in touch with @George Foster  for your general contractor needs. He's not only a contractor but a registered broker, inspector. He has this great software for mapping out renovations. I hope to see you around at the meet ups in Chicago. Good luck on the move here.

I can't really comment on areas that are up-and-coming in the west suburbs. I don't know from experience, but, I've heard that Berwyn is on the rise.

Thank you for the feedback Danny and I will look into Berwyn. Congratulations on the 4 flat, you must be estatic. I hope to see you in the local meet ups as well. I'd like to start networking soon after our arrival. Take care and God bless.

- John

Welcome to Chicago! When you get settled, @Brie Schmidt and I would love to have you out to our meetup. I would be biased to mention myself as the general contractor of choice but there are many capable contractors in the Chicagoland area. @Brie Schmidt has a lot of experience assisting real estate investors like yourself. Brie and I team up as I provide home inspections for her clients as I did for @Danny Duran . Danny is part of our meetup and is an example of someone that is doing what you want to do.

hi john. 

unsure where u are in buying process.   i would start with Banker.   see you are in uniform maybe va loan.   banker is where rubber meets road. 

renovation you buy the property.   then you come up with ca$h for the renovation most of the time.  

have a good banker been working with on my va loan.

Hi @Johnathan Butler, I am a buyer and broker and did the same thing, purchased a 4 flat with a 203K construction loan a year ago by Oak Park. Let me know if I can help you in any ways. 

Welcome to Chicago. I'm glad to see more BP members coming here. I hope there are available meet ups in the South Side as well.

@George Foster, thank you for your reply. Also, congratulations on being successful enough to receive word of mouth recommendations...can't beat that with a stick. I'm sure that we'll eventually run into one another at one of your meetups. You have a wealth of experience and I look forward to the possibility of working together. Thank you and God bless.

- John

@Kirk R, thank you for your feedback. I will get prequalified next month. I've read differing opinions when it comes to getting prequalified. I've read that it's an absolute must, and I've also read that I may limit myself and my motivation to be creative when it comes to financing a deal. At the end of the day, I've decided to get prequalified so I at least have a ball park figure to work with. Thank you and God bless.

- John

@Lumi Ispas, thank you for your reply. I checked out your profile....top 1%...that is impressive. If you recieve a top 1% rating in the Army it means that you walk on water; congratulations. I look forward to the possibility of working together. Thank you and God bless.

- John

@Sheila Villacampa, thank you for your response my fellow newbie. I see that you already have three rentals, congratulations. I am trying to get to where you already are! I wish you the best success. Thank you and God bless.

- John

@Johnathan Butler  

Welcome. Thanks for your service. To alert someone that you posted about them type @ and the first 3 letters of their name at the bottom of the window you can select the blue shaded box. This will alert the person to your post. Fill in the foundation below.

Check out the Start Here page http://www.biggerpockets.com/starthere

Check out BiggerPockets Ultimate Beginner's Guide - A fantastic free book that walks through many of the key topics of real estate investing.

Check out the free BiggerPockets Podcast - A weekly podcast with interviews and a ton of great advice. And you get the benefit of having over 90 past ones to catch up on.

Locate and attend 3 different local REIA club meetings great place to meet people gather resources and info. Here you will meet wholesalers who provide deals and rehabbers.

Two Great reads, I bought both J. Scott The Book on Flipping Houses, The Book on Estimating ReHab Costs http://www.biggerpockets.com/flippingbook

Consider checking out HUD homes for small multi's owner occupied gets first crack.

You might consider Niche or Specialized Housing like student housing. Rents can be 2-4 times more. Remember you don't have to own a property to control it.

Download BP’s newest book here some good due diligence in Chapter 10. Real Estate Rewind Starting over


Good Luck


Account Closed thank you for your reply. I've been doing the whole @name thing wrong this whole time. I appreciate the links that you've provided to all of those resources. I've read many of them and will dig into the other ones that you've suggested. Also, I will look at HUD and off market homes....I just need to get cracking. God bless.

- John

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