These First-Time Homebuyers Captured a Unicorn: A Good Home at a Great Price

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Jessica and Tim had a wish list that is common to first-time homebuyers everywhere: a spacious home in a good area that didn’t need a lot of work. But finding a home like that in Elmhurst, Illinois, was going to be tough. Homes were flying off the market, especially the affordable ones. They knew they would need help from a real estate agent, and reached out to Redfin agent Rick Szekely based on a recommendation from a friend.

The Hunt Begins


Tim and Jessica started touring homes with Rick and his teammates. Rick has been doing home renovations for more than a decade and was a producer for HGTV before joining Redfin, so he was able to highlight potential issues in the homes they were looking at.

“He really cared about educating us on what to look for when we go look for a house,” said Tim. “Little things that might cause you problems. It really gave us a good comfort level walking and seeing houses with him.”

Unicorn Spotted


In such a competitive market, Jessica and Tim knew that speed was important. “We had been really good about using the Redfin app, so we got the alert right away,” said Tim. “We saw this house come on the market on Thursday night, we made an appointment to see it Friday afternoon, and we had an offer in Friday night.”

Rick drove out to meet them at 8 p.m. on Friday so that they’d be the first people to make an offer on the home. He knew it would be important to get the home under contract before the open house that weekend.

Unicorn Captured

These First-Time Homebuyers Captured a Unicorn: A Good Home at a Great Price

It worked; the seller accepted their offer before any other potential buyers could see the home. As part of the negotiations, Rick used his home improvement knowledge to request that the sellers correct an electrical issue rather than give his clients a credit for it, saving his clients money.

Tim and Jessica ended up purchasing the home for $5,000 under the asking price, and when all was said and done, they received a Redfin commission refund of $2,333.

“Getting that cash back after the house closed two weeks later was awesome for us,” said Tim. “We were able to buy a fence using that money, so it really helped.”

And They Lived Happily Ever After


When the deal was done, Jessica and Tim left the following review, which earned Rick and his transaction coordinator, Jan Schwartz, the Redfin “Red Pants Award” for excellent customer service.

“Rick is hands down the best real estate agent, and conducts his business in a way that truly sets him apart from any other real estate agent.

As first time home buyers, we required a lot of additional help and consultation to understand the entire process of home buying. Rick was always open and responsive to our phone calls or texts, and would often talk through details with us after standard work hours. He was patient, concise and clear with his opinion and always had our best interests in mind.

Rick’s attention to detail is comforting and reassuring when looking at homes. Using his experience in construction and home renovation, Rick is able to walk through potential homes and pick out visible areas that may need improvement and provide an estimate on the potential costs. This was extremely helpful when making an initial offer as we always felt we were prepared and confident in our decisions. For our current house, Rick was unable to attend our initial showing. However, once we told him we were very interested and wanted to make an offer, he went out of his way on his personal time (at 8 p.m. on a Friday night!) to check out the house to ensure we were making a good decision. It’s that kind of dedication that reassured us we made the right choice in an agent.

Rick is very savvy with negotiations and dealing with the back and forth that often comes with purchasing a home. Rick will provide open and honest feedback on the situation, and advise on the best next steps to take with the seller — even if that meant walking away from a deal. Once we had a contract signed, he made sure we didn’t miss a step with finding a lender, setting up a home inspection and taking care of the all details leading up to closing.

You can’t go wrong picking Rick as your agent, and we highly recommend him to anyone and plan to use him again if we ever need to buy/sell a house.”

If you need help finding a unicorn of your own, visit to find a local real estate agent in your area.

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Christin covers a variety of topics for Redfin Real-Time, ranging from “best places” lists, to Redfin client stories, to celebrity news and everything in-between. Her dream home would have an enormous walk-in closet, a home theater and a room dedicated to her cats. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our "Why Redfin?," page.

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