Your Dream Home Awaits

Whether you're a first time buyer or looking to purchase an investment property, we know the home buying process can be daunting! But with years of professional experience and connections within the industry, we can connect you to the right people to get the job done! From house hunting and price negotiations to offers and legal paperwork, our team is here to help! With the right strategies and financing, we know you'll find your dream home.  We look forward to helping you on this exciting new journey toward homeownership.

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.


Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.


Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice we said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.


Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.


Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.


Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.


Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.


Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.


Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.


Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.


Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.

What Our Clients Say
After using Mike for the purchase of our house previously, we knew he was the go-to guy when we were looking to sell. Mike is a master at his craft and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the real estate world. As first-time sellers, we needed all the help we could get. His team was able to assist us with timelines, staging, and making our house look its best when it came time for showings. Communicat...

— Brittany M.

What Our Clients Say
We highly recommend Michael for any west suburb real estate needs! In a highly competitive market, Michael’s expertise and knowledge of the area gave us an edge and provided critically important information in our home search process. As first-time homebuyers, Michael was extremely patient with our many questions and helped us feel comfortable throughout the process. He truly ensured a smooth experience ...

— Meagan G.

What Our Clients Say
The marketing and support that Mike and his team provided in selling my home was thorough, thoughtful, creative, and so very appreciated. He and his team gave insightful thoughts on how to get our home staged and ready for showing in my very short time frame. They answered every question I had quickly and efficiently and stayed in constant contact through what is often a stressful time for people! It was...

— Heather D.

What Our Clients Say
Bought my first home in May with Kyle’s help. He was always there for me with every silly question I had as a new homeowner and would answer back right away! Even if he didn’t know the answer he’d reach out to his resources and get me connected with them. (I will say even his resources are amazing people!) will always recommend Kyle. He even drove to McHenry County for me! Kyle is kind, genuine, and funn...

— Amber C.

What Our Clients Say
Michael and the team have been extremely helpful throughout the entire home-buying process. Michael took the time to learn our wants and needs and was always available to answer any questions we had. Buying a home can be scary and stressful, but he eased a lot of those feelings by being hands-on and involved from beginning to end. Because of him and his team, we were able to find the perfect home. We can...

— Jessica N.

What Our Clients Say
Michael and his team were extremely helpful when looking to purchase a new home. He provided great information in the initial consultation with relevant information and what to expect in the current market. He stayed in contact and scheduled viewings quickly and efficiently. Helped us make a competitive offer and made the home-buying process much easier.

— Jake A.

Work With Us

Welcome to The Thornton Team Residential, your premier real estate experts in Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, and Chicago Suburbs. As a top 1.5% producing team, we understand that a home is more than a property, it's about community. Led by Michael Thornton, a top-tier member of NAR with a proven track record, we are dedicated to making your real estate journey seamless. Join us in finding not just a house but a place full of awesome memories that you call home.