Chicagoland Housing Market Insights: Q&A with Adam Chaudhry
The Chicago metropolitan area—known as Chicagoland—includes Chicago and its suburbs, which span 14 counties in three states. An area that vast has to be incredibly diverse, and Chicagoland’s real estate market reflects the diversity of its population.
In some respects, Chicago’s housing market is a microcosm of the nationwide market, and in recent years it has proven to be one of the hottest markets in the country. It has also been one of the hottest for investment rental properties. In the past decade, home prices in Chicagoland have increased by 77%, and they’ve jumped 11% in just the past year alone, though there are signs that the market is cooling now.
Adam Chaudhry knows the Chicagoland market well, as a Real Estate Specialist with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago. A life-long Midwesterner who previously worked as a registered nurse, he has built a reputation as a strong advocate for his clients and a visionary marketing expert. He loves sharing his knowledge and passion for the Chicagoland area and guiding his clients through smart property investments.
We asked him some questions about working with Guidance Residential and its customers, and ways for real estate agents to expand their professional networks.
How did you find out about Guidance Residential?
Guidance Residential was one of my first ‘lenders’ that I ever met when I joined Berkshire Hathaway. I live close to a Guidance Residential office and I drove past it one day and I thought, “You know what, I’m just going to pop in. I’m going to go see what this ‘Islamic lending’ is about.”
From there, I met the Guidance Residential team, and they were so kind—they educated me on the process of buying a home with Islamic home financing. It’s not lending at all—it’s built on a completely different foundation. I learned that they really do have a big imprint on the market. I learned a lot from them.
Coming from a background of first-generation immigrants, my parents were actually landlords. We worked at rentals for a long time and I property managed them and kind of launched my parents from having to work in factories to taking a little easier in real estate—which wasn’t easy. It was hard as well. But I learned a lot from there, which now I kind of integrate into my business.
Have you done much business with Guidance Residential?
Yes, I met Khalil there. I did a 12-month look back and we closed about $1.4 million worth of net sale volume in 12 months. We exchanged a lot of business together. I do satisfaction surveys and his clients are happy.
The Islamic financing process is really similar to any other transaction, which was kind of surprising to me.
>> Related Read: What Is an Islamic Mortgage and How Does It Work?
Chicagoland Residential Real Estate Trends
How has business been lately in Chicagoland?
I work predominantly within the Chicagoland area, so probably a 50-mile radius outside of Chicago. Here I’m seeing a shift in the market. Price reduction is one change I’m starting to see.
One more thing that I’m starting to see is that you’re not getting the 30 offers—maybe three offers now or five offers, and you don’t have to go over the asking price. And it’s kind of surprising for me because it’s supposed to be super hot, and last year at the same time you couldn’t even get a contract. It would be like 30 offers!
So, I definitely see a shift where it’s a lot more attainable for buyers to start purchasing now.
For families looking to take advantage of the shift toward a buyer’s market, what would you recommend in terms of financing?
So let’s say you don’t have the 20% down. For example, for my first-time buyer Sayed, he didn’t have the 20% down—he was buying his first family home and transitioning from renting to owning his first home. So there are options where you don’t have to put 20% down. There are options of 3% down.
Guidance also gave him a closing cost credit of $1,000 dollars, which helps in a market where there are typically no seller credits anymore. So, this is where we turn to the lender, and in Islamic lending sometimes they’re able to give you some credits, and it can help you become a homeowner.
What’s it like working with Guidance Residential customers?
Within the Islamic community, it’s super awesome. People are just spiritually motivated, and I think they’re just really on top of it—they really work hard. In the majority of the transactions, I looked back at some data and it’s 20% down. So these people work hard, they save their money and they just want a family at home.
They also tend to want their homes big. A lot of them want to have multi-generational living within that space.
Have you noticed any new trends among your homebuyers recently?
Yeah. I think what’s kind of cool now—which I haven’t seen before—I have some clients who are in their early 20s now because there’s just so much more information on real estate, and rates are so great and people are wanting to learn a little bit more about real estate. So I do have a crowd of some really, really young people. When I was 20, I was not thinking about real estate!
But generally speaking, your first-time home buyer is in their early 30s. A lot of my first-time buyers are people who are about to get married and they’re looking for their first home.
>> Related Read: 6 Tips for Saving Toward Your Down Payment
What are the best Chicagoland suburbs to buy a house in?
It really depends on your family’s needs. Chicagoland has it all. Identify what location is convenient for you and share your preferences with your real estate agent and they can help match you with the right neighborhood for your family.
>> Related Read: How Do I Know if a Neighborhood Is Safe? 4 Ways to Check
For Realtors: Getting Chicagoland Real Estate Referrals
Switching to real estate agents now, what do you recommend for agents who want to grow their network?
I think—surprisingly—just showing up at a financier’s office is a great start from a Realtor’s perspective. I know after COVID, nobody wants to go to people’s offices. But Guidance, they have a physical location, which is cool. When you walk in, there are lenders there—it’s awesome. They allow people in and they’re super friendly. So just from networking with some of the officers there, they’ve sent me referrals.
So I think as a new agent generating business, I think showing your face and, you know, putting a face to the emails back and forth really helps these loan officers be like, oh, I have a friend that I can connect you with.
In addition to that, generally speaking I think within the Islamic community, there are so many different avenues to take where you can generate business. I mean there are local mosques and charities and things that you can get involved with where there are people who are looking for homes.
I think it’s a good network. If you have some empty time in your schedule, maybe go to Guidance Residential and start talking to some lending officers.
>> Related Read: Real Estate Networking – A How-to Guide for Agents
Have you found referral networks to be helpful?
Yeah. It’s been super good. There’s a Guidance Home Services referral network with a concierge service that calls and follows up on stuff. I think it’s well put together.
You know you have a loan officer (Account Executive), but let’s say that loan officer’s not available. Then you have a managing broker there, and you could text and call him and he’s up to speed on all these files as well. They can all kind of help you with getting you some more information.
So my experience with Guidance, I see its structure is set up kind of on par with your bigger banks. So I feel supported when I need it. And they definitely take it to the closing table.
Do you have any stories you want to share of buyers you’ve met through Guidance?
Yeah, absolutely. My first client was in California, and Khalil called me saying, “Adam, this is going to be one of your cases that’s going to be a little bit more difficult—it’s a relocation.”
This was my first time when our home tours were all virtual. Every single one was done on Zoom or FaceTime depending on network and connection. He was in California and he has family that lives in Naperville. He ended up purchasing a home in Bolingbrook. His brother came to the inspection. So even the home inspection he wasn’t present for. So this was super cool, my brokerage and all of us were watching this whole transaction happen.
But there were a lot of pieces to connect. So the first one was just getting to know your client and what they like. So then we would set up these showings, go do them virtually and then reconnect virtually and speak on them and see the points and takeaways. Then we set up the inspection and did that virtually, but his brother was present.
And then after that he pretty much got all his stuff into shipping containers, moved them from California all the way to Bolingbrook, Illinois, and never saw the home once till the day of closing.
That whole experience just me as a Realtor—just connecting these pieces—really made me utilize all my skills and my vendors and kind of showed me that I have a network that’s really national. So that was super, super cool.
What’s your outlook on the housing market going forward?
At Berkshire Hathaway, I’m also part of a team called a curator team, and they really put this perspective on it: They said that no matter what the market is, let’s say it’s a bad market, good market. It really doesn’t matter. Home buying is a necessity and there’s always millions of buyers and millions of homes that are going to be sold, you know, across the United States.
So I think keeping that mindset that no matter what the market is, you just understand that not all things come back to the rate, not all things come back just to the finances, you know. It comes back to, do you have enough space for your family? Is it safe for your family? Are you in the right school district? You know, it comes down to a lot more. So I think in terms of keeping your reality and clarity – you just got to go with whatever your first client needs.
>> Related Read: How to Get More Buyer and Seller Referrals – A Guide
The Bottom Line: Stay Engaged
Any last advice for either home buyers or real estate agents?
Yeah. I think for every Realtor, when you’re sitting down with your clients, it’s just always about being engaged. Whether it’s with an attorney, a client, everyone you meet, the more engaged you are, the more present you are, the better. And really think about your clients’ best interest.
In my nursing career, we would talk about subjective and objective cues. So I could tell if my client likes a house or if they don’t like it. There’s no reason to be salesy in any way. You just kind of have to find that perfect home, and they’ll light up the second they walk into it. So I think being patient with clients and just everybody in general really helps to grow your business and your brand.
Homebuyers, get pre-qualified for financing in fewer than 10 minutes with Guidance Residential now.
Realtors, join the Guidance Home Services Network to start receiving homebuyer referrals today.