Many people, when they think of Realtors, imagine one of the characters from "Glengarry Glen Ross". There is Jack Lemon's character: out of touch, desperate to make a sale for his own survival, pathetic. There is Al Pacino's character: arrogant to the point of revulsion, out to make as much money as possible with little regard for anyone but himself. Then there is Alec Baldwin's character: just an a**hole.
Me? I don't fit into any of those stereotypes. I'm just a regular guy. And a nice guy to boot.
My job, and I take it very seriously, is to help people. Usually that means assisting them in buying or selling a home. It often involves educating them to the way the process works and informing them of all their options. It frequently includes explaining the current market conditions and referring them to an attorney, lender, home inspector or moving company whom I trust. Sometimes it even means telling them now is not the time for them to buy or sell and helping them construct a long term plan to achieve their goals.
I began in the industry in 2005 and have seen my business grow steadily each year--despite the current market challenges. By serving both buyers and sellers, I gain valuable insight to the needs and motivations of each. That, in turn, allows me negotiate for my clients strategically and effectively--getting them the best possible deal for their money.
In addition to working with sellers and "move up" buyers, I particularly enjoy helping first time home buyers realize their goal of home ownership. I am the organizer of the First Time Chicago Home Buyer's Group on Meetup.com and I host a series of regular workshops designed specifically for first time home buyers.
My background is somewhat atypical for a Realtor. I hold a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas and for ten years I made my living solely as a professional drummer. I have recorded, performed and toured throughout the US and Europe. Many people are surprised to learn this but for me the path to success in both careers has been the same: hard work, honesty and integrity. Most importantly, when given the opportunity to perform — on stage or as an advocate for a buyer or seller — I do the best job I possibly can and completely exceed expectations.
By doing so, I have been able to build my business largely on the referrals of past clients who appreciate the work that I did for them. Don't just take my word for it. Read for yourself what people are saying about me in their testimonials and on Yelp.com.
...and yes, I still do perform on the drums as time allows. It's a thrill to invite my clients to a club gig or a theater show I'm in and let them see the "other" me.
Given the complete plethora of agents you can choose from in Chicago I ended up trusting Yelp's reviews and going with Jim, and boy was everyone else spot on with their recommendations. Jim is genuinely honest and forthcoming at all times. Better yet, he listens to what you are looking for, looks for relevant listings, and lets you make decisions for yourself. I was surprised that we walked into several units and he pointed out multiple negative things that I wasn't even thinking about. It never felt like he was trying to force anything on me while we looked at units. He was always constructive in pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a unit and could tell that he really does care that the unit you buy will be perfect for you. I also purchased a short-sale that took several months to close on due to issues negotiating with the bank. At one point my attorney wasn't able to get a response out of the agent at the bank for several weeks and was worried the deal wouldn't happen. On Jim's own initiative, he called the bank, managed to get a hold of the agent, and conferenced my attorney in to resolve the issue at hand to keep everything moving. You really can't go wrong with Jim. If you haven't decided on a realtor yet, do yourself a favor and call him. Rob Ritchie, Ravenswood
Recently my husband and I decided to buy our first property. After working with a terrible first realtor, we very happily found Jim and his co-worker Jaymee on Yelp. Living in New York at the time, we had limited time in Chicago and were only able to make a few trips before deciding which property to buy. Jim and Jaymee were incredibly helpful, patient and understanding of our situation. They went out of their way to meet with us when we were available, and made sure that our visits to Chicago were packed with visits. They also really made an effort to learn exactly what we were looking for so we didn't waste time seeing the wrong properties and they could help guide us to the place that we would be happiest in. Thanks to them, we purchased an apartment that we not only like, but feels like the best investment for us in terms of reselling value and potential growth. We were very satisfied with the service they provided and would definitely use them in the future for selling or buying property.
Jim Barclay and Jamie Somners were a fantastic duo! After a horrible experience with a previous realtor, Jim and Jamie took the challenge of selling our house and never looked back. Selling a home over the winter months can be very trying, but Jim was able to provide a steady stream of potential buyers ultimately closing the deal within a very short period of time. We couldn't be more pleased with his efforts. Jim provided great communication, honest opinions and overall great service, I would highly recommend Jim and Dreamtown. Bart and Jenny Pfanenstiel
This is the second time that James has been my agent; previously for a purchase, and this time for a purchase and a sale. As before, the experience was great. James provided good advice, was very responsive to our questions, and worked well with my busy work schedule. We successfully sold our condo and purchased a house we are very happy with; I would definitely recommend James to others and use him again in the future.
I was so surprised that Jim was so down to earth and such a cool guy! It made it much easier to ask questions and ask for help. It was obvious that he was trying to help as much as possible, so I wasn't worried about whether he was leading the buying or selling process in directions that were more to his advantage than to mine. He was always very honest, and he gave me his opinion on condo details without being too pushy. Since I'm only 25 and I don't know anything about real estate, he could have easily been more bossy and made the experience stressful and intimidating, but instead he walked me through everything and was very patient. I really appreciated his help with renting out my condo even though he doesn't usually do rentals. Also, when I moved to New Jersey, he was there to take care of the things that I couldn't do, which was great. Basically he did a ton of extra little stuff that he didn't have to do, from offering to let repairmen into the condo to helping me out last minute when I accidentally scheduled furniture removal for a day after the closing, which would have been very, very bad. Oh and also, for the celebration after the condo was sold, he showed me a really cool brewery! I would definitely recommend him to anyone I know who needs a real estate agent. Dreamtown is pretty cool.
We moved out of state while our home was still on the market. Jim made this transition as smooth as it could be.
I was a first time buyer, and Jim was a great guide! He helped me dice through what I was looking for, and made sure that I got to see the places that I wanted to see. When it was time to make an offer, he was a good coach! Jim made me feel comfortable, and made the buying experience a very positive one!
Jim did well walking me through the process and helping me find a unit that suited my needs. Upon an initial stumble with less than clear seller agents about rental ability, Jim doubled his communication with the agents to prevent such miscommunication from recurring. This helped assure my ability to truly focus on units I could consider. In the end, I bought a place about six weeks after closing and had no hiccups along the way. What can I say? I'm pleased.
Jim was recommended to us by a friend and we could not have been happier with his services. Not only was he an excellent realtor but also he was receptive to even the smallest of feedback on a specific place. We had been searching for a house for months with a different realtor and were unhappy and stressed with the home buying process. Once we switched to working with Jim, we were quickly relieved. He worked hard to find our perfect fit for our first home. We found a new place within 3 weeks and couldn't be happier. Jim was knowledgeable, professional, friendly and a pleasure to work with. If/When we decide to move in the future, our first choice realtor would definitely be Jim Barclay.
I really enjoyed working with Jim. It was my first experience buying a home, and Jim was very good about walking me through the process and explaining everything. He was easy to reach and very personable. I would definitely recommend Jim to others, especially to other first-time buyers. The only reason I gave him 4 stars instead of 5 is because the lender he recommended, Eric Swanson from Federal Savings Bank, did a very poor job handling my loan, so the closing was extremely stressful. Other than that, Jim was great!
Overall experience was good. James was very easy to work with and knowledgeable about the entire process. He assisted us in making a reasonable offer and closing the deal. Sometimes we felt that he wasn't necessarily following our guidance on the properties we were suggesting and just sticking to the MLS survey. That is common though from what we have found. Thanks again for your help!
I appreciate all of your help. I was, however, a bit frustrated. I would have liked to have felt more in the loop and to have had all of my emails answered. I was also concerned a few times along the way when I was given incorrect information or something wasn't handled as it should have been. I'm not saying any of this to cause a problem, but since you have asked for feedback a few times I thought I would let you know, in case it helps for the future. Again, I do appreciate your help overall in the selling of my condo.
Jim just helped us purchase our first home and we honestly could not be happier. He is extremely helpful. If I EVER had a question, I could either give him a call or shoot him an email and he would always respond within the day. I even recall a very important question I sent to him where he responded in 15 minutes! I really believe he just cares about the people he works with and he wants to help them in any way he can. He also knows other great people in the real estate industry. All of the people he referred us to were great people to work with and were very professional. He really helped us nail down what we were looking for in our first home and kept us on track while we were looking. I found that after looking at a few places that didn't quite have all of the qualities we were looking for, I began to compromise. Jim gave us a friendly nudge and reminded us of what we had initially said we wanted in our first home. He was able to keep us focused on what we were really looking for and was able to get us into a place that we love! Matt H., Lakeview
When no one was buying condos in Chicago, Jim found us a buyer willing to pay what we needed to make. It was a needle in a haystack and nothing short of a miracle. He also handled my stress and harassment (don't think I went easy on him when we had no offers!) and he did it with complete patience and understanding. I have to also say that he isn't a typical realtor. He has a knack for matching buyers to the right property, we said we wanted a single family but didn't have a huge budget and we liked the city. He thought out of the box and introduced us to neighborhoods we never considered before. If it weren't for him, there's no way we would have ended up in the house we adore in a neighborhood that is perfect for us and for a price that can't be beat. Jessie H., Rogers Park
Jim was great every step of the way, from listening to my needs (trust me there were many), to guiding me through the process with ease. I believe this process "flowed" so easily because of his experience in the business and his ability to negotiate. He helped me get exactly what I wanted and I couldn't be happier with my experience. Keri, West Loop
I bought my first home (condo) with Jim as my realtor. He was very kind and patient with me while I was freaking out about this huge decision. He seems more concerned with his clients needs and happiness than with just getting someone into any old house and making money. Oh, and he plays drums and invites you to his shows. He's a great drummer too! 5 stars from me! Dina D., North Center
I recently found and closed on a condo with Jim's help, and I would highly recommend working with him. He was great at helping me identify exactly what I was looking for, providing honest opinions on what we saw, and answering any questions I had (which were numerous). As a first time home buyer, I found the process to be clearer and less intimidating with his help. Andy S., Lincoln Square
Jim is the type of Realtor I wish I had found 10 years ago when I first started investing in real estate. He listens to your needs, concerns and goals, then works towards providing the properties that fit with your criteria. I would also recommend any first time home buyers to attend one of his seminars. He breaks down the home buying process and takes away the fear of the unknown. I have recommended several people and they have all gained from his experience. Dave O., Irving Park
I worked with Jim Barclay in buying my first condo in Roscoe Village. Jim was always available and took the extra time to explain every step along the way. I always felt like I had someone in my corner and he made the process manageable with my hectic schedule. I would recommend anyone looking to buy in Chicago to give Jim a call. Thanks Jim! Nate Adams, Roscoe Village
Jim was fantastic to work with. We came into the process a little scattered, and he helped us gain some focus on what it was we were truly looking for. His suggestions on locations (where TO look, where to avoid) helped us find the perfect place, within our budget, that we'll be able to enjoy for many, many years to come. He was always easy to get in touch with, fought hard for us (negotiated harder for us than we would have negotiated for ourselves!), and was an advocate for us and our needs from start to finish. He also connected us with a rockstar team - an amazing lender, attorney, and inspector. (Kudos to Jaymee, as well - she was also lovely to work with!) We are thrilled with the buying process overall - thanks, Jim!!
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