Laurie Mercer

LICENSE: 475.141569

(847) 609-2677
(847) 495-5000 (Office)

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First Time Home Buyer Lingo

Posted On: December 25th, 2018 1:58AM


So, you’re thinking about your very first home purchase? That’s great! Let me help you out by explaining some of the lingo associated with buying a home.

Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent, usually one that is not a designated REALTOR®.

REALTOR®: A real estate broker or sales associate who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. This means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics. Not all real estate agentsare REALTORS®.

Offer: An agreement presented by the buyer to a seller to purchase real estate (purchase a home). This is also known as sales contract. In Illinois it’s called the Residential Real Estate Purchase and Sale Contract.

Contingent: An offer on a home has been accepted, but a final sale is contingent upon certain criteria. (typically the appraisal, home inspection and/or mortgage approval).

Temporarily off the market (TEMP): The seller/owner has removed the home for sale for an undetermined period, usually because of improvements/repairs. The intent is to return the home to active status.

Closed: The home is sold and no longer actively for sale.

Expired: The seller’s listing agreement with the agent has expired. 

Closing Cost: These are fees paid at the closing table, either by the seller, buyer or both. They include taxes, insurance and other lender expenses.

Counteroffer: The rejection of the original/current offer on a sales contract, with terms for a new offer. This can come from the buyer or seller. Once a counteroffer is made, the previous contract is no longer valid.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA is a report that shows the price and amenities of recently sold homes comparable to a subject home. The sold prices, known as comps, can help home sellers or home buyers determine how much a home is worth in the current market. Usually prepared by a real estate agent, REALTOR®, or appraiser.

Earnest Money: Monies paid by the buyer and held by the Broker or title company in a trust or escrow account. The amount is reflected on the sales contract.  

Showing: Appointment made by the real estate agent working with a home buyer, so they can preview the home with the buyer. 

Home Inspection: Examination of and written report noting a home’s condition. It is performed by a qualified home inspector selected by the buyer.

Lock box: Locked key-holding device placed on a home for sale. Real estate professionals access the key to a home for showings after obtaining permission from the listing agent.

Multiple Listing Service: A online site, commonly referred to as MLS, that only real estate professionals have access to. Homes for sale are listed here by agents. Agents use it daily to find homes for buyers. Via agreement, homes on the MLS may be found on websites like, and others. 

I hope you found this helpful. I have expertise in representing first-time homebuyers Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Making the right decisions for your first home purchase can establish your long-term security and prosperity. Please reach out for trusted, patient, guidance. 


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Why Work with a Real Estate Pro

Posted On: November 18th, 2018 8:24PM


So… you are ready to buy or sell a home and not sure if you should go it alone, or bring on a professional real estate agent to assist you? As a REALTOR®, I’ve had this conversation with many clients.

Here are a few great reasons to use a professional REALTOR®

Access to the MLS

The MLS is the most up-to-date database of all homes for sale. Having your home listed on the MLS is also important because the thousands of agents in that same MLS have exclusive access to your home’s information. The MLS is their go-to, daily resource for finding homes for their buyers.

You need to reach as many potential buyers as possible. For sale by owner listings do not get as much online exposure a home in the MLS does.


Great online and offline marketing ensures that your home gets noticed by buyers that are searching for the amenities your home has to offer. Taking quality photos, promoting your home’s best features, and tapping into a variety of marketing avenues takes time and energy. Also, networking and word-of-mouth is still very powerful. Real state pros network all day, every day., a top home search site on the web, only advertises the homes listed on agent-access only MLS.

Questions and Negotiation

It’s inevitable you will have questions that only a knowledgeable and experienced real estate pro can answer. What a time-saver! Looking out for your best interests is what a REALTOR® does, so going to bat for you when a buyer is asking for concessions comes natural to us.

Guidance and Follow-Through

Guidance comes in many forms, from helping you correctly price your home, preparing it for showings, understanding the nuances of local market conditions, to making decision during the negotiation process. Getting successfully to the closing table means relying on your REALTORS® trustworthy advice.

Great communication with all parties, and follow-thru on the dozens of small (and big) tasks that accompany selling a home is crucial. You most likely have a full-time job. Can you really dedicate the time required to prepare, price, market, show, negotiate, schedule appointments, monitor, return calls, and overall keep your home sale on track?

There are many more reasons why working with a pro like me makes great sense that I’d love to share with you. Let’s visit about your real estate needs soon if you are contemplating a purchase or sale in the Chicagoland area.

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How to Work with a Home Stager

Posted On: October 23rd, 2018 1:46AM

How to Work with a Home Stager

The idea behind staging a home is to highlight its best features and amenities, and to minimize the areas not so likely to be selling points. Staging doesn’t mean a bit of decorating, repairing and cleaning, it is the art of changing your home, so it appears larger, brighter, and more inviting to prospective buyers.

The best way to determine if your home needs staging is to hire a professional in this field.

What to expect?

  • Prices will vary depending on the size of your home, where you live, and amount of work needed.
  • A walk through of your home and garden, including a look at its curb appeal, will be followed by a staging report which will give advice and recommendations for paintwork, de-cluttering, rearranging of furniture etc. 
  • Home stagers can usually refer people for any maintenance tasks needed.
  • Try and do most of the work yourself, especially the de-cluttering, painting and smaller maintenance tasks to keep costs low.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the changes to be implemented, and if this will be done with your own furniture and décor (or the stagers).
  • Get a breakdown of the cost and duration of the staging,
  • Ensure that the changes will be easy for you to maintain while showing your home. 

I offer quality staging advice to all my sellers. I have excellent referrals for staging pros that know how to make your home appealing to buyers. Let’s have a one-one-one talk if you are considering a home sale in our Chicagoland area.

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The Future of Home Prices: What’s in Store?

Posted On: September 27th, 2018 5:44PM

Housing prices have continued to increase over the last few years, caused by a shortage of available homes; real estate inventories of existing and newly constructed homes have continued to be low.

The second quarter of 2018 saw a slight increase of inventory, but the supply of new homes is still relatively low, except in some of the largest metro areas.

The general concern was that the gradual hikes in interest rates would negatively impact home prices, but this has not happened, nor does it seem likely that future hikes will affect them in the near future.

There is a tendency to look back to the housing crisis of a decade ago and to how it happened due to the downturn in the economy. Economists and other experts who have predicted another recession within the next 18 months have also forecast that housing prices will most likely not be affected and that we will continue to see appreciation, even though at lower figures than now.

Experts agree that the determining factor on the direction which housing prices will take is mainly dependent on supply versus demand. With over 5 years of demand exceeding supply, we have seen an average annual appreciation of 6%, almost double to the 3, 6% of the period before the boom.

Price appreciation will slow as housing inventory increases and the predictions are that we will be seeing an average growth of 5, 1% over the next 12 months.

Even though there are likely to be further increases in mortgage rates and construction costs as we approach 2019, indications are that as we head into a

worldwide recession by 2020, the U.S. economy will stay stable and it is expected that there will be increased job opportunities for our citizens.

All indications point to the continuance of the seller’s market we are in for some time to come.

Curious about the future of your local home prices? I have access to data for your area, let’s talk soon.

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What My Website Offers Home Buyers and Sellers

Posted On: August 22nd, 2018 6:07PM

What My Website Offers Home Buyers and Sellers

In real estate, it’s important to have a website that has a great home search and more. I am proud of my site. Here are many ways my website makes your home sale or purchase journey a little bit smoother!

Easy, Robust and Mobile Friendly Home Search

Start by entering a CITY or ZIPCODE ON ANY PAGE, then narrow your requirements for an interactive map of homes meeting your needs. Ask me for more info and save your searches.

Timely Listing Alerts for New Properties

Sign up for listing alerts by registering on my site and you’ll get an email as soon as new homes matching your needs come on the market.

Detailed Property Info with Lots of Photos

Well-presented with lots of good-sized photos and home details, a map with directions, virtual tour and an easy way to request a showing or more info, my property pages also share community info like nearby restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Community Info on the Areas I Serve

Not only can you see just the homes for sale in a particular area, I offer links to Village and other local resources.

Easy Way to Reach Me

I want to be at your fingertips when you have a question. I respond to inquiries and email ASAP!

A Great Home Search App for your Phone

One quick download, and you have a great app called HomeSnap. It’s great for the afternoon drive when home shopping and you can reach me ‘in a snap’. Check it out!

Buyer and Seller Resources and Information

I have links and articles that inform and educate.

Free Neighborhood Sales Report

Easy and fast! Simply enter your address and email and get a REPORT in minutes.

Sign Up Form to Stay in Touch

Only when I have something valuable to share will you hear from me via email. Let’s connect!

Reviews and Testimonials

Hear what past clients have to say about working with me.

Blog Posts that Inform

Once a month I post on my BLOG.

Mortgage Calculator

See what your monthly payment will be and get an amortization breakdown.

Cook County Tax Appeal Resource

Check it out if you are unhappy with your assessment.

I also have Videos and Links to my Social Media Sites!

My website is a great tool, but nothing replaces a face-to-face talk! Contact me anytime for professional, personalized real estate guidance.

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