Our Focus

Since 2004, StartingPoint Realty has been focused on one thing: the first time home buyer. It’s unusual for a real estate agency to be dedicated to this market. We don’t make as much money per transaction as other agencies, we hold a lot of hands, we deal with client uncertainty. Are we crazy? Maybe, but that’s o.k. We love holding hands, spending extra time with our clients, helping people who truly need it. If we were doing it for the money, we’d be doing something else, but nothing compares to seeing a client get handed their keys at closing, especially those that worked hard to get themselves in a position to purchase.

What is our Mission? Our mission is to educate and inspire anyone that contacts StartingPoint Realty. 99% of the incoming calls and emails that we receive are from potential first time home buyers. The common theme? “We have no idea where to start or what questions to even ask”. Our goal is not to sell a house to anyone! Our goal is to make sure the folks that contact us are comfortable with the home purchasing journey. That journey might be 12 months long, or possibly 36 months into the future. If we had a positive impact at some point along the way, we did our job. But it’s not just information, we have a passion to inspire folks that maybe think buying their first home is out of reach. If it’s not, we’ll be the first to tell you, but we’ll put you on a track that ensures success if you follow it.

We realize that the journey to buy your first home begins with the idea to investigate the process. You might have just gotten a raise, engaged, married, or found out your family is expanding. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to realize that rent is a waste or living with your parents just isn’t an option anymore. So where do you begin? Our hope is that if this is your situation, you are reading this right now. This site and our company are dedicated to providing and empowering you with the necessary tools and information that will make you the most qualified buyer you can be.

We live, breathe, and talk about you all day long. But really, so what? Just because Apple, Inc. has a passion for making great computers and Ipods, does that mean they’re the best at it? We challenge ourselves with that question everyday. The first step begins with integrity. StartingPoint Realty has a strict ethical policy. Interestingly enough, our agent training and regular meetings rarely have to touch upon ethics and being honest. Why? Because we only select those that have those qualities inherent in their personality. We don’t select just anyone to be an agent for StartingPoint Realty. It’s just the opposite, as we average about one agent hired per 20 candidates interviewed.

The other half deals with the supply side of the market. Given that 95% of our clients buy homes under $500,000, we’re constantly in and out of homes in this price range. It’s not unusual for a client to hear us say, ‘I just showed this home to another client a month ago.’ Looking around online is great, but your agent needs to know what you want and need in a home, and that might evolve into something different, which is just as important. But your agent should be keeping an eye out at all times for you.

Since we’ve been doing this for a little while now, we constantly get input from lenders, attorneys, associations, local governments, etc. If it has to do with the first time home buyer, we know about it. Don’t ask us about jumbo loans, vacation properties, investment properties, commercial buildings, rentals, retirement communities. What consumes our conversation throughout the day are items like debt to income ratios, FHA loans, good and bad condo associations, foreclosures, short sales, municipality grants for first time buyers, etc.

But the best way to find out about us – talk to a recent client of ours. We’ll give you three if you ask us. Or, just take a look at our testimonials. We think you’ll understand that we’re not here to sell you a house, we’re here to help you make the right decision, protect your interests, educate you on the process, and we always seem to have fun with all our clients. This should be exciting, we never lose sight of that fact.

Sure it’d be nice to have a professional help and assist you with your every move throughout this process. But you’re a first time home buyer, money’s tight – how can you afford a buyer’s real estate agent?

The simple answer is that the buyer’s agent’s fees are included in the sale price of the home. Let us explain. Everyone is familiar with the fact that a vast majority of home sellers hire a real estate  agent to sell their homes. A seller’s agent puts in a lot time and money (dedicated website for the home, home brochure, web advertising, pictures, virtual tours, showing appointments, open houses, etc.), and for the effort and investment, that agent receives a commission (an actual percentage) of the purchase price once the home actually sells. What most potential first time buyers do not know is that they can have a dedicated real estate agent working on their behalf as well. The compensation for that agent is then paid for by the seller’s real estate broker, out of the commission that’s paid to the seller’s real estate broker. This is the way seller’s and buyer’s agents have been getting paid for decades.

Example: Listing real estate broker (seller’s broker) contracts with a seller to sell their home. Agreed upon commission is 5.5% of the sales price. Let’s say the seller and their agent get a contract for $300,000. Once the deal closes, the seller’s agent will receive $16,500 (5.5% of $300,000).
The agent for the buyer will receive somewhere around 2.5% of the purchase price ($7,500) in this example and that amount is paid out of the $16,500 that’s going to the seller’s broker. Most buyer’s agents get paid 2.5% of the purchase price in the Chicagoland area.

So a true fact is that not one of StartingPoint Realty’s buyer clients has had to write us a check for our services. If you go directly to a seller’s real estate agent without one of your own (open house, call direcly, etc.), the seller’s agent will pocket the whole commission and you’ll be left to your own devices. NEVER let a seller’s agent represent you AND the seller in a real estate transaction. Whether you use StartingPoint Realty or not, don’t do this alone – find an agent, their fee is already built into the price of the home and you’ll have someone watching your back throughout the whole process.