Client Interview | Relocating to Lake Forest From Out of State

Nicole Oertel

Client Interview | Relocating to Lake Forest From Out of State

We love giving our audience a behind-the-scenes look at what we do. We thought it might be fun to have an open chat with one of our recent clients. Corey & Saleh recently moved to Lake Forest. But their home-buying process largely happened while they were still living outside the state. Keep reading for more highlights of their experience!

To get started can you share a bit of your story of what prompted your move to Lake Forest?

Of course! After attending Loyola University, we lived in Chicago for 17 years. Saleh’s job took us on an adventure to a small town in Middle Georgia and after about 4 years, the Midwest was calling our names. Saleh started looking for work in and around the Chicagoland area and made the decision to apply at Northwestern LF. I previously nannied in Winnetka so I was somewhat familiar with the North Shore. During that time, I always heard such great things about Lake Forest. Then we visited for Saleh’s interview and absolutely fell in love with the area. It was then that we knew it would be an amazing place to raise our children!

Once you found out about the transfer to LF Northwestern Hospital, how did you go about finding a realtor? 

Initially, after finding out about the job, I started looking through Instagram hashtags about Lake Forest. I wanted to see what people were posting about and to learn a little more about the community. I previously reached out to two realtors who were recommended by a friend. But, I did not hear back from either, which was truly upsetting. After researching Lake Forest hashtags and posts about realty, we came across some of your content! I’ll admit, at first, I was intimidated because when I found The Oertel Group, you were doing a campaign with Ferrari. I thought “they might be out of our league.  But I researched more and more of your content and loved how openly you expressed your affinity for Lake Forest. I figured there was no harm in reaching out to you because, at the very least, you could point us in the right direction. I was absolutely floored when you responded right away! It was such a stark contrast to our previous experience. Though I didn’t know it at the time, it really set the bar for working together.

I still remember discussing the criteria you were looking for in a home, as well as different locations & school districts!

We loved the idea of Lake Forest because we knew how important it was for us to be close to the hospital. If I recall correctly the following week after our initial conversation, you asked me to look at a home on Deerpath. I still remember that conversation so vividly! Knowing this home would provide a 4-minute commute for Saleh was huge. Especially considering how demanding his schedule can be. It would allow him to come between cases or during his on-call times. 

What was it about the home that gave you the feeling of knowing it was “the one”?

The first element was the location! Also, we previously lived in a mid-century modern house that proved to be quite the project. So we knew we wanted to avoid that when searching for a home with The Oertel Group. When we came across the Deerpath home it felt like the perfect house for us with a location close to the hospital. The backyard was a big benefit for us and we loved that we could really make the house our own without too much extra work. 

For buyers who may be looking for a home from afar, much like you did, what made you feel confident in your purchasing decision & the process for moving forward?

Nicole, you made it so easy! You really made us feel comfortable from the beginning and we trusted you from day one. We loved that you were honest with us about everything. The communication was on point, and you expressed to us that we would not move forward with anything unless you were there to advocate for us. Obviously, the tough part for us was not being able to visit the home right at the beginning. But, we were willing to rearrange our busy schedule and clear the hurdles to visit afterward. We loved the detail in which how you described the home after you visited and the videos you provided. We were on board with the location and the neighborhood.

For your dedication to us throughout the process, I have to say, thank you! Through the hurdles, you and Saleh stayed so calm and took my advice every step of the way. It was so humbling. This market can be tough and navigating the process is not for the faint of heart. With that, I know it was stressful for you at times as well. But it truly all worked out in the end even with those hurdles. I look back on the whole process and think it was such a fulfilling transaction for me as your Realtor.

What was the experience like for you and what allowed you to trust the process and keep calm as we navigated those bumps in the road?

We might have seemed cool and collected, but you are correct it was very stressful! You were a huge help in reminding us that if this house didn’t work out, something else would. Those words were so reaffirming and made me feel so much better. I also think that in general, we were so motivated to move and to make this house work that we were really trying to do whatever we could! Saleh even drove to ATL, flew to Springfield, and got his license so that we could secure mortgage paperwork from NW regarding his employment. That’s how invested we were in the process!

Can you elaborate more on the process you experienced that might be most helpful for other buyers?

This was the second time ever we had purchased a home. The first time was in January of 2020. Needless to say, things were so different for us the second time around! The thing that sticks out to me the most was securing a mortgage prior to Saleh’s start date. It was really tricky and that was something we really couldn’t have been prepared for. The highlight of this whole process was when our second offer was accepted, and just having the privilege of working with you. You have such great energy and I loved how much we were able to connect with you not only through your professional knowledge but on a personal level as well. 

When relocating to the area from of state, what would you advise buyers to look for when choosing a Realtor? 

The biggest thing for me was finding someone I could trust who also seemed to understand our expectations and style. In a way, I feel we have similar views on home style choices! At times, it was also like you could read our minds and knew exactly what Saleh and I were thinking! 

Now that you are bonafide residents, how do you feel about Lake Forest?

Honestly, it's so surreal. I knew a bit about Lake Forest and the North Shore but it’s still unbelievable that we live here now. We love it. We have so much fun exploring the area with our children and there are endless opportunities for activities and outings. I love living near so many different trails! I have been out for runs in the Middlefork Savannah which is attached to our neighborhood and it’s amazing. Downtown Lake Forest is charming and to be 3 miles away from Lake Michigan is a dream! Lastly, we love the options for amazing restaurants, delicious food, and fun places to take family when they come to visit. In just three months time several members of Saleh’s family have visited and they all love how easily they can access the city from the suburbs.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! Any closing notes you’d like to share with our audience about your home-buying experience with The Oertel Group?

Honestly, we really couldn’t be happier. Nicole, you and your entire team have really helped us secure the home our hearts were set on. On top of that, you made sure our home-buying process wasn’t a major undertaking. Your recommendations for mortgage brokers, lawyers, and inspectors were all top-notch. Everything worked out perfectly! Your help after the closing with recommendations for plumbers and electricians in the area was above and beyond. We are so excited to continue making the house our home and love that we get to raise our children in such an amazing community!

A big thank you to Corey & Saleh for their willingness to share their process here! We are incredibly humbled they chose to work with us for such a big life transition, and we are even more honored to now count them among the members of our community.


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