Navigating the Chicago Real Estate BrokerMarket

real estate


The Chicago real estate market can seem complex and confusing to home buyers and sellers. With a vast array of neighborhoods, property types, regulations, and professionals to navigate, it's no wonder people feel overwhelmed when trying to make real estate decisions. As a licensed Chicago real estate broker with over a decade of experience, I'm here to clarify some of the most common questions and misconceptions about buying, selling, and working with agents in the Chicago area.

Who Needs a Real Estate Agent in Chicago?

One of the most frequent questions from Chicago home buyers and sellers is, "Do I really need an agent?" The quick answer is no—there's no law stating that you have to hire an agent. However, most buyers and sellers choose to enlist a real estate professional to help them through what is typically the largest financial transaction of their lives.

Unlike other major metro areas that are predominantly driven by new construction, nearly 80% of residential real estate agent transactions in Chicago involve resale homes. These can present complexities that agents are uniquely equipped to handle, from assessing renovations that require city permits to navigating disclosures around known issues to smoothing out the closing process. Sellers particularly benefit from the marketing expertise and access to qualified buyers that a broker provides. Buyers get guidance on neighbourhoods, home valuations, negotiation strategies, and more from their agent.

The bottom line: you can theoretically buy or sell real estate without an agent, but most Chicagoans choose to work with one to capitalize on their knowledge, connections and full-service support.

How to Choose the Right Chicago Real Estate Agent

Once you decide to move forward with an agent, how do you select the right one? A licensed broker in Logan Square focuses specifically on that vibrant, in-demand neighborhood. But regardless of what part of Chicago you're looking to buy or sell in, key characteristics distinguish quality real estate agents.

Here are the top traits I recommend looking for:

  • Local market expertise: Look for an agent well-versed in your particular neighborhood and property type. For example, condo transactions have different regulations and buyer pools than single-family home sales.
  • Full-time commitment: Avoid dabblers and ensure you pick an agent who focuses solely on real estate versus juggling it as a side job. This ensures proper availability and attention to your sale or purchase.
  • Strong record of sales: Don't hesitate to ask an agent about their recent activity and sales track record. High performers need help quantifying their success.
  • Proven negotiation skills: One of an agent's top assets is getting buyers the lowest price possible and sellers the highest. Ask prospective agents about recent examples of negotiations they've handled to get a sense of this.
  • Extensive resources: From lenders and home inspectors to contractors and closing attorneys, experienced agents have a trusted network of pros they leverage to ensure smooth transactions. Verify these relationships exist before committing to work together.

By keeping those five criteria in mind as you evaluate Chicago real estate agents, you'll be well on your way to finding one equipped to meet your buying or selling needs.

Demystifying Real Estate Agent Commissions

Understanding how real estate agent commissions work is key to setting expectations before you list your Chicago home for sale or make an offer on a property. Let's tackle some of the most common questions around Chicago real estate commissions:

What is the typical real estate agent commission split in Chicago?

Most real estate brokerages follow a 70/30 commission split, with 70% going to the agent representing the seller and 30% going to the agent representing the buyer—assuming each agent charges a 6% total commission. So, for example, if a home sells for $500,000, the total commission at 6% would be $30,000. Of that $30,000, the seller's agent would get $21,000, and the buyer's agent would get $9,000.

Do Chicago real estate agents ever negotiate their commissions?

Commissions are not set in stone. Seller's agents may lower their end of the commission split to secure a listing, especially in slower markets. Buyers' agents sometimes negotiate a commission refund directly from their brokerage after closing, essentially lowering the agent's fee. That said, the traditional total 6% commission split 70/30 between agents is still the norm in most Chicago real estate transactions.

What does the real estate agent commission pay for?

The amount of time and effort involved in buying or selling Chicago real estate often surprises clients. An experienced real estate agent guides you through the entire complex process, from preparation and staging for sellers to showings and open houses to negotiations and closing. Handling the marketing, photography, virtual tours, paperwork, and more requires significant work on the agent's behalf, which is what the commission compensates for. When you consider the level of service and peace of mind a quality agent provides, most Chicago sellers and buyers consider the expense money well spent,

This overview has helped explain some of the most common questions around working with a Chicago real estate broker. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions—I'm always happy to chat more about the Chicago market, brokerage services, or finding the perfect Logan Square property.


For personalized guidance from an experienced professional, look no further than Quentin Green Real Estate. With a proven track record, strong negotiation skills, and extensive connections, Quentin simplifies even the most complex real estate transaction. Visit today to see how Quentin and his dedicated team provide the most curated and complete real estate experience for Chicago home buyers and sellers.

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