We are pretty simple people. We like things to be nice, not extravagant, but nice, sturdy, and dependable. We were looking for that in a house and we definitely were looking for that in a realtor. Turns out both are mythical beasts in Chicagoland ....
Somehow, we happened upon Seth to lead us on our Chicago Real-estate odyssey. During our quest for something nice, sturdy and dependable, 2 babies were born, and many tears were shed.... but in the end, he got us EXACTLY, what we asked for. I don't know how he did it, but he found the mythical beast, a gut-rehabbed 2-flat with a dug out basement in a great neighborhood. And once we found it, he made sure we were there first and had an offer that would stand up. He also kept us from walking away from it while we waited for the construction to be completed after numerous delays, 7 months of living like gypsies, and too many disagreements with the developer to count. Somehow he negotiated the rough patches when necessary and we were even able to have a beer with everyone after it was all said and done.
Seth is still a realtor at the end of the day, who wants to make a sale. However, what makes him truly stand apart is that he isn't interested in making a sale at any cost. The people he works with (inspectors, contractors, attorneys, mortgage brokers) have as much integrity as he does. Every person he recommended were reasonable, fair, and trustworthy.
I would absolutely recommend him to anyone in need of a realtor. Of course, if you want your realtor to drive you around Chicago in their Lexus as they take another call on their bluetooth earpiece, don't call Seth. If you want someone who knows you well enough in the end to buy you a composter for your new back yard... this is your guy!
Mel & Marco
If you are expecting a real estate agent to pick you up and drive you around Chicago in a Mercedes, Seth is not your man. If you are expecting a realtor to show up wearing a Brooks Brothers suit, again, Seth would not be a good fit. Actually, there were many times when the Seller's agent thought I was the realtor, and Seth was the buyer. That said, if you want somebody genuine, who actually cares about what you want, and understands space, and can show you every pocket of Chicago, then I would recommend Seth without reservation--in fact, I have already recommended him to a few friends and colleagues that have started their own real estate searches and they couldn't be happier.
I spent over two years with three different realtors from major real estate "houses" looking for a very specific type of property. All of them showed me places that had nothing to do with what I wanted. They would drive me around the city in their fancy cars telling me why I didn't "really want to deal" with the type of property I was seeking and that they would show me the "hot spots"...and not one of them understood what I actually wanted. In the end, those agents abandoned me because they said I would never find what I was seeking.
Then I met Seth. He's not selling real estate...he's selling a lifestyle! Sometimes we traveled by bicycle, other times by foot, and yet other times, I picked him up...but he always showed me properties that met my criteria. In fact, he found me a property within weeks of our first meeting, but through a series of seller related issues, he ended up sticking with me for over a year, and four different contracts. I could send him an email at midnight about a property I saw online or while driving through a neighborhood and he would be up, ready to reply with great feedback and advice.
So, if you're ready to meet an agent that will always have your best interest at heart, make sure you have Seth Captain representing you.
Seth helped us through the process of buying and selling a home at the same time. Throughout the process there were a few things that really stood out as reason's we'll work with Seth again in the future:
1. He was realistic and knowledgeable about buying an older home. This sounds like table-stakes, but some realtors may not understand the risks, what to take seriously and what is something you can live when looking for the right place. He helped us find a property that today feels like a great value in an area we otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford by helping us see past cosmetic issues to find something others had passed by.
2. His knowledge of Chicago neighborhoods was crucial to us finding a home in a neighborhood we hadn't even considered.
3. On the sell side, he helped stage and shoot photos that led to tremendous interest and a quick sale above asking.
4. After our purchase, Seth's continued to be an invaluable resource, connecting us with resources to tackle whatever comes our way. We'd recommend working with Seth to anyone looking for a home in Chicago, especially if you want one with character.
Noah & Erin
Seth is unlike any realtor I've ever worked with, and I have worked with many before meeting Seth. He specializes in helping people find unusual, creative living/ live work situations. This is an area for which Seth is particularly well suited, given his unconventional personality,and creative problem solving abilities.. He helped us create a vision for a communal living situation and found us the perfect building. His integrity is impeccable.He knows the city of Chicago like the back of his hand, and he made the entire search and close process really fun and interesting.From now on, Seth is my realtor for life! I recommend him every chance I get.
A fortuitous late night cyber quest trolling for multi-family buildings with a sweet owner's unit led us to Seth Captain. After reading multiple rave reviews, we reached out. Seth asked us thoughtful questions to gain more insight into what we truly wanted before sending us some awesome properties. He created a color-coded map (with some humorous notations) designating neighborhoods he thought would be most fitting for our desire to be in a walk-to-everything location. We found options that were awesome, but realized we would be best served renting for a year to check out schools and to ensure we could survive living in a multi-family environment.
Even though Seth usually works with buyers, he agreed to be the selling agent of our home. Immediately, he went to work gaining a deeper understanding of our neighborhood as well as all the intricacies and mechanics of our home rebuild. Seth became well-versed on what our home offered and made sure all those who walked through knew the depth and scope of the rebuild. Also, his experience in the marketplace proved fortuitous for us as Seth wisely added language to our contract that kept our deal solid. Seth is well versed in the full scope of the deal--from negotiations to appraisals to closings--and all of the nuances in between.
Seth Captain is a rare bird, indeed. He is laid back, cunning and true. True to his ideals and ethics while leading all parties to a good end. Hopefully, you are lucky enough to have him on your team as you move forward on your real estate quest. He is the real deal.
PS To further highlight Seth's character, he donated a portion of his commission to a charity that is meaningful to our family. A good human, indeed!
Mike & Liz
Our search for the house with Seth started back in October of 2011. I did a quick Gmail search to check this fact and it revealed 161 "conversations" with Seth. Each "conversation" having on the average 3-7 emails. That's about 600 - 1000 emails exchanged between us and Seth in regards to our house search. That quick statistical fact should give you an idea of this man's dedication to his clients and commitment to finding the right house for them (we were probably his longest clients due to our indecisiveness and comfortable rent arrangements).
But math aside, Seth is truly wonderful agent and great human being. He has amazing knowledge of Chicago neighborhoods and he's super intelligent. He cares deeply about the buyer and won't stop until the client finds that "right" house. Saying that, he's not your typical real estate agent. He's not money hungry, sales driven person as many real estate agents seem to be. He genuinely cared about our opinions and we never felt pressured to buy the house that we did not feel comfortable with.
Through our house search adventures, which we often did on our bicycles, he would be sometimes mistaken for a buyer maybe due to his laid back personality. However when it came to business, he was always there to ask sellers tough questions and negotiate what's best for the buyer. I call our house searches "adventures" as we actually enjoyed going through different neighborhoods in search of that "perfect" house (remember there's no such thing as "perfect" house). With Seth, the house search was actually fun. I think we will miss our house search excursions a bit now that we bought the house with Seth.
If the idea of buying your next home scares you or the thought of dealing with intimidating real estate person makes you cringe, then you should definitely give Seth a call. He will make you feel at ease during the process and you will actually enjoy your house search. Also, drop the car and go on the bicycle. You'll get the feel for the neighborhoods so much better, enjoy some fresh air and get some exercise. Maybe even go for a cold beer afterwards with Seth, just so you can check the local dive bar. It's important to know it if you will live in that neighborhood ;)
Marek & Magda
I have worked with many real estate agents my past 13 years in Chicago, but I have never met an agent who works for their clients like Seth does. And I mean really works (not just showing properties and writing up an offer, anybody can do that). He knows the City of Chicago like no other agent and he really understands the needs of his clients and what they are looking for in a home. Seth is an analytical connoisseur of the urban fabric of Chicago and brings a fresh approach to real estate-- he's sharp as a tack, doesn't believe in "making the sale" like a car salesman, and has a keen sense of humor. He is always looking for a great deal for his clients, almost like he is the one buying the property, not the client. I highly recommend Seth for your real estate needs.
Jeff Madden, Sales Manager, Chicago Bancorp & The Federal Savings Bank
As a fifty year old professional looking to leave leafy Naperville for the City, I may not be a typical Seth Captain client, but I count myself lucky to have had Seth as my broker. Seth brings a passion and a thorough knowledge of the City's historic neighborhoods to the table, in my case, Bridgeport. He has a good sense of the market and of property values for some of the most unique and different residential properties in the City (from multifamily homes to live work studios to one time taverns), which is essential in understanding what to bid or offer for these properties.
And he is patient. We went through several contracts and a Homepath offer before I finally found a home that me, the home inspector and my lender all liked.
Seth didn't just stop when the contract was signed. He provided me with great leads for the many contractors I will need to rehab my 1880s brick two flat, along with great advice on where to eat, shop and have fun in my new neighborhood.
Ultimately, I can say that Seth puts his heart into this job, and that is an almost unique quality for a real estate broker.
I knew Seth for about 3 years before we started looking for property. I got his name from a guy I met picking up a piece of furniture on Craigslist who had a sweet live/work space in Pilsen. I was like, "Who is your realtor?" and the guy was like, "He's awesome. His name is Seth Captain."
My initial email to him was something like, "Hi. I'm not ready to buy yet, but when I am, I want to work with you." Seth wrote a thorough email back laying out the steps my husband and I would need to take to get ready to purchase property, especially of the live/work variety and told us to feel free to reach out to him any time with questions, no matter where we were at in the process.
When we were finally ready to buy a building I got a new understanding of just how great Seth is at real estate. I thought his job would be mostly looking for listings for us for cool spaces, but it's much more than that. To help us find the right property, Seth had to know what we were looking for more than we even did. He knows the city better than my husband and I do, and that's saying a lot. He not only understood what we wanted, but was able to help us look at places we may not have considered. We actually ended up buying a place we never would have looked at but which Seth suggested, and we couldn't be happier.
Seth was with us every step of the way through the emotional offer and purchase process, completely explaining everything, sharing in our excitement while also helping us keep our emotions in check. After we bought, he even stopped by to see how we were settling in, and helped us rip up some linoleum to expose hardwood floors in our kitchen!
I could not recommend Seth more highly. He's unconventional, but he's the perfect guy to work with if you've got a DIY aesthetic, want to find something interesting, and are passionate about buying and living in a property and a Chicago neighborhood that you will love for years.
Kath & Jem
Seth was exactly what we wanted in a realtor – he loves Chicago’s neighborhoods, he knows a great deal about both multi-family and single family homes, and he appreciates the quirky homes more than the cookie-cutter homes. If you are formal or fancy, Seth is not your guy – he cross-country skied to our apartment to meet us for the first time, which made him a winner in our book (both because he skied and because he came to our house!)
Even though he’s a one-person shop, we always felt like we received enough attention. As first-time buyers, we had a lot of questions and Seth was patient in answering them. He also drove us up to Evanston to see houses.
I can’t speak to his ability to go-to-bat in negotiations, as our house was a short sale sold as-is, but I think he fundamentally believes in fairness and community and would work within reason to get his clients a good deal. We enjoyed working with Seth and would recommend him highly to the urban crowd looking beyond conventional condos.
K. & M. Martin
As first time buyers, we started our search with only a vague idea of what we wanted and little understanding of our options. We were totally intimidated by the process of buying real estate and assumed it would be tedious and stressful. We certainly did not expect our real estate agent to care about much more than "the Deal"....but Seth Captain is no ordinary agent and for that we are infinitely grateful.
From the outset, Seth put us at ease, answered our many questions and encouraged us to search for a multi-unit property befitting our lifestyle and long-term priorities. He connected us with an excellent lender and later an outstanding inspector. In fact, at practically every step in the process, Seth was by our side, offering insight and creative solutions to whatever hiccups inevitably arose.
Seth has a profound knowledge of Chicago, its neighborhoods and its architecture. We were so impressed with the way he helped us see the strengths and challenges associated with each property we toured.....and found ourselves a bit disappointed when we found an ideal property on our first time out. We were hoping to spend more time biking around the neighborhoods with Seth!
Seth's disarming personality and laid back demeanor belie the fact that he's sharp as a tack and fiercely committed to getting a great deal for his clients. His guidance and masterful negotiations with an obstinate seller brought down our purchase price considerably. And long after we closed and moved in our home, Seth regularly checked on us to make sure the transition to ownership (and landlording) went smoothly.
We simply can't say enough about the value Seth brought to our home search and we look forward to working with him for many years to come. Call him! You won't be disappointed.
Anna & Scott
My wife and I and our good friend all went in together on a three-flat in Logan Square in 2007. Our friend, Suzi, found Seth through Craigslist, and I'm so glad she did. We were looking for the kind of building Seth specializes in, and we were not disappointed. Seth was very knowledgeable, easy to work with and didn't go for a hard sell or try to foist something on us we didn't want. That showed me that it was about more than the money for him: being a part of a neighborhood and not taking it over, and making a classic building work instead of gutting it. After we closed, Seth used a part of his commission to buy us a lawnmower and a huge grille, and he also donated a part of it to a charity of our choice. He's a great guy, laid back, honest and professional, with great contacts. You couldn't ask for a better realtor.
Seth Captain was the perfect real estate broker for us because we wanted a small, affordable vintage home in fairly good condition on the north side of Chicago. But also for these reasons:
1. He patiently guided us through each stage of our first home purchase. Seth was totally up-front about telling us where our assumptions about the market were way off, but was also good at digging in to our wish list to find ways to make it work toward our advantage. When our first deal fell through due to a somewhat unstable seller, he helped us move on (which is easier said then done when you've invested time and energy into your first "dream home"). And on the second deal, after our loan officer totally dropped the ball on several occasions, he helped shelter a shaky deal to close and helped us stay calm when it looked like everything was going to fall apart.
2. He understands the buyer's position in a hot Chicago market. We were operating in a very competitive time and he identified ways to make our offers stand out, and found properties that were focused around our somewhat unique needs. We secured the winning bid in both the multiple-offer situations we engaged in.
3. He's knows his stuff. He studies his areas of town block-by-block. He made excellent recommendations for other professionals we needed along the way. He understands firsthand the quirks and pitfalls that can come with older homes, so we didn't feel like we were going into inspections blind.
4. In a land of high-pressure jargon, Seth is a calm, clear communicator. He would always give very detailed, timely replies to all our questions and concerns, no matter how big or small. He also worked around our schedule and never pressured us at any point, even though it took a long time to find the right place.
5. He's fun to be around. His humor and compassion through stressful moments was absolutely key for us. He'll always tell you the unvarnished truth and he's very good at helping you sort through difficult decisions without telling you what to do.
Meg & Joshua
I am not the kind of person who wants to work with someone focused on the bottom line, nor am I the kind of person who wanted to trust one of the largest decisions of my life to a bluetooth wearing suit. Mr. Captain not only does not look like your stereotypical Realtor, his approach to the work breaks the conventional barriers set by his rigid, clandestine profession.
Working with Seth to find and buy my house was a truly rewarding process. After a conversation or two, we honed in on viewing properties that were exactly what I was looking for. He didn't waste my time trying to up-sell me or get into places that I have no interest in.
Looking for a property in Chicago can be tricky because the neighborhood plays a huge role in the decision. Seth is very tuned into neighborhoods and really knows how to show you the real picture. Each time we looked at property, we rode our bikes to each property, giving me the chance to learn about the neighborhood in a way that I wouldn't have been able to by driving in and out.
The best part about Seth and Captain Realty is how thorough he is. When we would walk through a new building, Seth would get on his hands and knees in dirty basements to check out the foundation, crawl through windows to check out the roof, and show you the ugly side of each building. He is more focused on making sure you get a quality house that you like than getting his sale.
Seth is really a great guy. He has a reliable team of people who help him including a great inspector and attorney in case you don't have your own. Seth chooses his clients just as much as they choose him.
Hunt for your house with Seth. He is a great guy and a breath of fresh air in a business that badly needs it!!!
I found Seth through a Craigslist ad he placed after suffering through countless frustration with other agents just looking to make a sale. You go with friends or associates for familiarity, you go with Seth for expertise. He focuses mostly on 'vintage' buildings of the multi-unit variety in Chicago's neighborhoods.
Not only will he help locate a property that fits your criteria, he'll also work to 'challenge your stereotypes' as he likes to say. As someone who grew up and spent their whole life in the Chicagoland area (with generations going back) I personally found it quite surprising that a (relatively) recent transplant such as Seth knows not just a lot about buildings, but the history and charm of this great city. Even more than someone who has called this place home for their whole life. You may find, as I did, to have your heart set on living in one place, but once you've ridden around the neighborhood by bicycle (a truly great way to know an neighborhood) that you'll find that your preconceived opinions of neighborhoods couldn't be further from the truth.
From hidden neighborhoods, to hidden gems in neighborhoods, Seth has this city down. From the streets to use to get around (and avoid traffic, or enjoy the view) to places to eat or drink every one of them has been a home run. I even look like an expert in front of friends who have lived here much longer than I. Seth is truly an urban explorer and knows this city incredibly well.
I'd like to personally thank Seth for his infinite patience in his dealings with me, from finding prospective places, back and forth negotiations that were dead-ends, to our foray into the beloved short sale process in its all too murky infancy. All told, the total process was over a year.
If you're looking for a place (or possibly another / different) Realtor to help you find a place give Seth a call. He doesn't work for a large corporation, so he's rather selective in the clients he takes. As in, he's not going to waste your time, or his. If you're looking for a condo in the loop, he's not going to try to be that guy. If you're looking for a charming place in a real neighborhood of the city, he can help.
Sit down, have a chat, maybe a cup of tea with the guy and see what you think. You may be pleasantly surprised as I was, and find yourself with a new agent as well as friend.
Seth wants your life to be happy when you're living in your new place, and I think that attribute drives him to be a great representative for buyers, because he puts your best interests far in front of his own. He's not just trying to close a bunch of deals and get paid.
Due to commutes to the south suburbs, my wife and I bought a 3 flat in Bridgeport after having rented in Roscoe Village for many years. Half of the people we tell this to say "oh, Bridgeport, is that like in the suburbs?", and the other half say "wait...isn't that on the south side? Holy crap, is it safe there?!". And we wondered the same things at first, but after our first meeting with Seth (he bought us a beer at Four Moons), he encouraged us to get out and see the unfamiliar neighborhood on foot/bicycle prior to even taking us around to see places. So we explored one Saturday by ourselves, and it was great advice. Seth is also a really funny guy and is bluntly honest when necessary. I don't know how he does what he does and maintains his patience and confidence.
Seth loves old buildings, owns them, has done renovations, has tenants, and knows neighborhoods all over the city. For our first set of tours, he took us to see maybe 5-8 multi-unit buildings, in a wide range of styles, pointing out the good, bad, and potential of each one. You'll be looking at the crappy cabinets, he'll be pointing out that the units are all on one boiler system and don't have individual temperature control. From then on he was in-tune with what we wanted and we just waited for the right place to come on the market. He was also very helpful and realistic during the offer writing part of the process. He will remind you to be patient, too.
During the process we met a multitude of different seller's agents, which provided perspective on Seth's ways. The best had to be the agent for the place we bought, who showed up wearing black stretch pants with "VEGAS" written in glitter on the butt. She also showed us where her boyfriend's make-out couch was located when he lived in the basement unit years ago. Seth may have a laid back style, but you will still feel like you are being professionally represented!
J. & R. Anderson
Seth makes real estate fun.
When starting to think about buying a home, I talked to a few realtors who told me that our only option for our budget was a condo. We were looking for a multi-unit or single family home. I continued to look for a realtor. Then... I saw a cartoon of Seth as a real estate superhero on his website and I knew he was the one for us! He was very optimistic and honest about what we could get within our budget and had a great knowledge and understanding of all the neighborhoods we were interested in.
When we found the house we wanted, Seth helped us think through the decision and made sure it was really the house for us. Seth was a fantastic negotiator and helped us get the purchase price lowered considerably.
Seth also recommended several other trustworthy and dependable people we ended up working with, including our attorney and lender, who all helped the buying process go smoothly. After buying the house, Seth’s expertise on houses and remodeling was valuable in deciding what to do, and he was again able to recommend some reputable professionals to help with the renovation process.
Seth Captain was genuinely excited for us and helpful every step of the way, and it was a pleasure to have him in our corner. He will be the only realtor for us from now on!
Matt & Julie
I called Seth after reading some good reviews, and everything was great from the start. He spent an hour talking with me, getting to know what I was looking for. We were really looking all over the city from Albany Park to Little Village, and he was happy to drive us around showing us different places.
Through the whole process of buying a house I realized that so many people in the business have assumptions about what you as a buyer want ( ie air conditioning, dishwasher, granite countertops). We were looking for an older place with some charm that we could put a lot of work into, and Seth was not pushy at all about steering us in any other direction or making assumptions about what we wanted. It was also great that I was able to call Seth at any time through the process with questions, day or night, and he always had time to talk.
He was a great advocate on our behalf and in the end saved us a good amount of money by being savvy about the bidding process and even helped us negotiate a nice credit after our initial offer was accepted. I definitely recommend giving him a call if you are looking for a realtor.
Chad & Wendy
Seth is a great buyer's agent: forthright, responsive, and knowledgeable. He's interested in making the right match between you and a property, not in making a quick sale. Is Seth about a quick buck? No, what he wants to do is plug you into a house you love, a neighborhood, and a community. He's not going to help you flip that ugly condo. He's not going to try to sell you that fake "loft" in the west loop. He's going to find you a hidden gem in a real neighborhood. Then he's going to help you buy it.
When Seth gets off his bicycle, takes off his helmet, and you look into his eyes, what will you see? You'll see that he goes about his business with old-school values, with honesty, integrity, and respect for his clients.
Seth will tell you himself that he's not the right real estate agent for everybody. But maybe you're not like everybody else. Maybe you're looking for the right real estate agent for you. Maybe it's Seth.
Ted & Donna
We had a fantastic experience working with Seth Captain! If you are looking for a house or unique space in Chicago, you have to give Seth a call. He is extremely informative about neighborhoods, types of homes, and what certain repairs may cost you. He has great recommendations for getting an inspection done, finding a mortgage loan officer, and other necessities that come along the way during the process. He's a true consultant who has your best interests at heart.
We began our search looking for a home near our then current neighborhood. Seth showed us a bunch of places within our price range. We had one offer accepted that we didn't go through with due to what came up in an inspection report. Seth helped us keep our cool during the process and was unwaveringly optimistic that we would find our home, even if it wasn't in the cards on that one. Following Seth's advice we began to branch out into other areas and ended up finding our house shortly thereafter. We are so happy in our new place and would not have found it if it wasn't for Seth.
If you are reading this, you're probably seeing a ton of positive online reviews for Seth Captain and wondering if they are all legit. Well, they are. Best of luck on your search for a home. And call Seth if you're looking for a house in Chicago.
Amanda & Maggie
My experience working with Seth was wonderful. He helped my wife and I find an amazing loft where we still reside. Beyond just an expert in tracking the market, Seth was really proactive in getting to know us and recommend the proper places to look at. He is extremely friendly and energetic while also being a consummate professional in his field. He is good for creative professionals looking for live/work and similar spaces. I have recommended him to other colleagues who also have had great experiences working with him. Beyond that, Seth is a worldly individual and is very interesting to be around (and not in a distracting way). Offers a lot of personalized insight and support for those going for their first home/space. Work with Seth and you will not be disappointed, he really thinks outside the box productively and is a hard worker. Stellar job, I'm glad we found him and connected.
I am 24 years old. Buying my first home at such a young age was incredibly nerve-racking to say the least... I needed more than a real estate agent, I needed someone who would get to know me and what I wanted in my first house and someone I could trust. With Captain Realty, I got that and so much more!
I first met Seth on a cool summer evening at a foreclosed condo in Bucktown. Seth immediately started to calm my erratic feelings about making the leap into owning property. Seth asked probing questions to figure out what exactly attracted me to this condo... and I figured out that the truth was not much... I wanted space, a yard, a safe vibe outside, and a garage. Next thing I know, literally about two hours later, Seth had already found seven listings online that he wanted me to glance over! All of them were about 5 minutes away from the condo we had just saw. These properties were much more my style!
Seth took the time to get to know me as a person, what I was comfortable with, (and how much influence my girlfriend had on the place) and began to start finding me properties in which I could start seeing myself spending the next several years and starting a family. Our bike rides through the neighborhoods and real estate discussions really helped me get comfortable with buying a house, an investment, when so many of my friends were simply writing a check each month to a landlord.
Seth was with me each step of the process- from my opening questions, to the hunt, the inspection... all the way up to my first beverage as a homeowner!
The best part about the whole process was meeting someone who does his job simply because he loves real estate and loves being a part of such a huge event in his clients life! It is tough to find that in any professional today. Seth realizes that buying a house is not just a whimsical process in which he gets a paycheck- no, not at all. He realizes that buying a house is a commitment and an adventure. At the end of the day, he cares that you are happy with your new keys. And it was a blessing to make a new friend along the way.
Don't settle for the flashy real estate companies popping up all over the north side. Take a bike ride with Captain Realty to find your future home reality.
Seth helped me and my brother find a great multi family rental income property in Bridgeport, Chicago. Very professional in his business but at the same time able to provide personal touch to his clients. Great guy. If I have anything to do with real estate in Chicago, Seth Captain is my man....
Seth Captain has a real passion for his work and he is extremely good at it. He uses his abundant creativity, his intimate knowledge of the city, his outgoing personality and his fine-tuned sense of value to help people, myself included, find a great home. Seth truly revolutionized my long search for a place. He turned it into a fun/funny adventure and helped me buy a place that I am really happy to call home. I wish that every professional that I've worked with over the years - real estate agents, attorneys, contractors, bankers - was as stellar as Seth is.
Seth is a god send. When I started looking for a house, I had only a vague idea about what I wanted, where I should look, and what I could afford. Seth has an encyclopedic knowledge of the neighborhoods in Chicago, and of the bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout the city (important if you are going to pick a neighborhood to live in). Further, he knows the buildings themselves; after a few times out with him even I was able to take two looks at a house an deem it in good shape or bad. The smartest thing I did when I went house hunting was to work with Seth.
From what I had heard before beginning the search for a home, finding the right one is never easy. Seth made the home searching process as enjoyable and easy as possible. His many years of experience were evident in his knowledge of the entire process, and he was very helpful and responsive in getting me (a first time home buyer) up to speed on all facets of the process.
We started the home search by taking a bike ride to tour a number of houses in a few different neighborhoods of Chicago. I loved having the opportunity to take bikes around because you really get a feel for the neighborhoods that you're thinking about living in. That first tour got me thinking more about what exactly I wanted. In subsequent tours (some of which were by car because of the weather), we started to narrow down the options. Then, less than 3 weeks after starting the searching, I put an offer on the house I ended up buying. The price had just come down so it was just in my price range. Seth was on top of it and we got in to see the house at the next available opportunity. I put an offer on it that night, then a counter offer and 2 nervous nights later, my offer was accepted!
I'm now all moved in and settled, and I absolutely love the house and neighborhood. The process of finding a home to buy was difficult and time consuming, but I couldn't be happier with the outcome. In the end, Seth helped me find exactly the house I was looking for in the location I was wanting to live in. Today it's 2 degrees above zero outside. I just let my dog out in the backyard, and I'm about to run a couple errands - having only to walk a few steps to my garage to hop into my car. Plus I'm a very short walk to great restaurants and shops. Seth was instrumental in helping me get here.
Work with Seth, you won't be disappointed. Yes, he does not look like your average real estate agent, but that is a good thing! Seth will work hard for you as he did for us and we are very happy with our house. We even invite him to the cookouts!
“Don’t hire Seth. That’s right, if you are just looking for a real estate agent
who wears fancy clothes and drives a fancy car or who will put his interests over yours or who will show you properties that don’t hit your criteria, then don’t hire Seth. That’s right, because Seth is not this type of realtor.
However, if you want a real estate agent who knows the city like the back of his hand, who will really listen to your needs and do his absolute best to find the perfect fit for you and who also happens to be down to earth, with a great sense of humor and total integrity, then Seth is your guy.
I first met Seth in 2006 when two friends and I were looking for a cool 3 flat on the Northside of Chicago and a mutual friend (and one of Seth’s clients) recommended Seth to us. During our first meeting at a local cafe, Seth put us immediately at ease by simply being who he is: down-to-earth and inquisitive. Through his questions, the three of us were able to articulate what we were looking for in a building and what we weren’t.
From there, Seth went to work lining up properties for us to look at. And within a couple of weeks, we had seen a number of properties, all of which were spot on in terms of meeting our criteria. When one of our properties fell through (because of a bad inspection report), Seth lined up a couple of more in the weeks that follow. Though the process took some months, in the end, we found the perfect building for us.
In Seth I have found my Chicago real estate agent for life. Not only do I go to him for any real estate needs, but I also hang out with him whenever I need a great conversation and stories of adventure from around the world .
Bottom-line, I think of Seth as a real estate matchmaker. Someone who will take time to really listen to your needs and then set out to show you options that might meet them. And just like dating, you may have to look at a number of choices to find the perfect fit for you, but in the end, you will find the right fit and you will have Seth to thank.”
It's disheartening to peruse the housing for sale ads on Craigslist. Samey looking pages with samey looking graphics and realtors with samey, half-hearted smiles. How do you select a realtor who is really going to be looking out for your best interest and help you make the largest financial decision of your life? I had a feeling I had found that person after I read one of Seth's ads. The perks of the place were laid out in a straight forward fashion, he didn't try to disguise drawbacks with realtor language (quaint, intimate, charming) and most importantly he said right off the bat that the place might be better suited to some people than others (handy vs non, partial rental property minded folk). It was a totally honest assessment of the property and in my dealings with Seth I've never found him to be any less than this.
He will always be forth coming with pros and cons, tell you what can be worked with and what to avoid, and is always looking out for you above all else. He even asked me to let him know when my assessment was so he could be there to potentially learn new things from the assessor. I could go on and on about this guy.... his willingness to answer every question I had.. his help finding contractors that he vouched for... and every bit of wisdom to help bring me a little peace of mind throughout the daunting homebuying process. I love my house and my 'hood and I largely have Seth to thank for it.
Seth was able to sell our home in Evanston when the housing market was at it's lowest level in 10+ years. None of the other homeowners in our area, who used other realtors, were able to sell their homes, and took them off the market. Seth accomplished this through a lot of hard work, his expertise of the market, creatively finding the right buyer, and not using the bad economic situation slow down his herculean efforts. I'll gladly work again with Seth!
We originally picked seth after meeting with a few other agents because of his eye for units with lots of character, 5 star reviews, and the detail and time in his responses to our questions and needs. Other agents would merely give one word responses to our questions. Seth really understood what we were looking for and when we finally closed on our property, we couldn't be happier. We gave him a list of criteria and this place fit the bill exactly! I would highly recommend Seth if what you want in an agent is experience, an eye for character, patience, persistence, and very personable
K. & E. Jiang
I'll say to you what I've said to friends and family- you have to work with Seth. And they say that, maybe like you, they're not ready to commit to working with an agent, they don't even really know what they want, maybe there's not even anything out there in their price range. And to them I say, all the more reason to give Seth a call.
We purchased our house (our house! Still gets me!) in January, at the end of a long hard winter and an even longer, harder closing process. If you choose not to pay cash, purchasing a home for the first time comes along with a lot of other firsts- such as hiring a lawyer, hiring a contractor, inspector, HUD consultant, navigating the world of the 203k renovation loan, calling in favors, getting homeowners insurance, locating ancient tax documents and pay stubs (yes, I've realized adults keep track of these things), having that talk with your boyfriend about how this is gonna work. All this was new to me. And through it all, Seth was there to answer my questions, listen to my concerns, talk me out of things, and into things, and get us to closing- to which he arrived with party hats. Actual literal party hats. When Seth says he'll get you to closing, he means it. When he says he'll bring the party, he means it.
We could not be more thrilled, shocked, and thankful to be at home in Pilsen. I wish you luck in your home search because, like any new homeowner, I feel like I got the very best home, the last great place in all of Chicago. If you want to prove me wrong, you'll need Seth's help.
Claire & Schuyler
We worked with Seth in fall 2014 to find a single family vintage house on the north side of Chicago. We had bought our first home, a single family Victorian frame house in Roscoe Village, nearly 20 years ago, and were ready for a change.
We found Seth’s website (Captain Realty) when researching buyer’s agents specializing in vintage homes. We learned early on in our dealings with Seth that ANYONE interested in older houses and unusual properties that can be converted for residential use will DEFINITELY be in GREAT hands with him.
Seth’s knowledge and understanding of Chicago’s houses is extensive. He was able to tell us a lot about how to evaluate the houses we saw with his expert understanding of how they work. So, when we loved the look of a particular house, he helped us understand how solid its “hidden” features were.
His knowledge of the city’s neighborhoods is also very wide ranging. He told us details about neighborhoods block by block, so we could consider not just the house itself, but also its surrounding area.
To introduce us to the neighborhoods we had pinpointed as of interest, Seth initially set up several “walking tours” for us, during which we saw several houses within walking distance of each other. After these tours, we got a feel not only for the types of houses in these particular neighborhoods, but also for the neighborhoods themselves.
One thing that sets Seth apart is how he handled the process of making an offer for us when we finally found the home of our dreams (a beautiful brick octagon bungalow in Portage Park). We have no doubt that we have Seth to thank for the fact that we GOT it.
After we saw the house and immediately fell in love with it (as we had with no other house that we had yet seen), he told us that there were multiple offers and we had to act quickly. He then proceeded to toil away into the wee hours of the night to prepare as quickly as possible all the information that we needed to make an informed decision about what sort of offer to make. He did so by providing several comparable listings for us to consider, a four-tier range of offers we should make, and the underlying reasons for them.
We had to wait a week before we learned that our offer was accepted -- or, as Seth told us, that we had “won.” We will never know why we were the lucky ones who got the house. But we DO know that Seth worked tirelessly to present us in the strongest light possible to the seller’s realtor as the party with the most to offer.
The only bad thing about getting our house just a month and a half after we started the house hunting process with Seth -- is that, given we had enjoyed his company and interacting with him so much -- we really missed him. (Of course, even after we had found our house and he could have easily rid himself of us, he continued to provide us with many helpful pieces of advice and information on matters related to being a new home owner; primarily, given our new house needed a lot of renovation, the names of various contractors and vendors who could provide their services for the wide-ranging areas we needed to address.)
Of course, being the very special person Seth is, we don’t intend to lose touch with him now that we have moved in to our dream house, and indeed we regard him as a friend. From reading his reviews, we have learned that many others for whom Seth has found a home feel the same way.
Why exactly is that? Why do we say that he is a “very special person”? Well, to be more precise, he is very charismatic and just simply fun to be around. Not only is he intelligent, witty and charming, but he is also a very curious individual who is interested in the world around him and is always hoping to learn more about it -- most particularly, of course, about the houses and the neighborhoods he presents to his clients.
It is also worth noting that Seth is an individual and realtor of great integrity. We had absolute trust and confidence in Seth. This is how all home buyers should feel about their realtors.
In short, for all the reasons we have mentioned, if Seth is the real estate agent for you, he is THE agent for you. There is no one else who compares.
Howard & Laurie
When I started thinking about buying a home last fall, I really had no idea where to start or what I was looking for. Mostly, I didn’t want to pay rent anymore. And I had a feeling that, if I were able to afford a multi-unit building, I could handle being a landlord. That’s all. It was just an idea I had been playing around with. However, as a young single person with no experience buying property, it seemed prohibitively complicated. At this point, nothing had taught me that a multi-unit house was even within my grasp as a first-time buyer. Was it a lot of work? Nobody I knew had ever done it. Nobody had even suggested it. I didn’t really know if I could afford it. But despite all this, I wanted to at least take a look at what was out there. So for a long time I searched the Internet for an agent who could give me some honest answers about what it would take to be a landlord. When I came across Seth’s profile, I knew he would be my best bet.
Seth was immediately helpful from the very first email exchange. He gave me some reassurance that I would be able to pull it off. “My first building was a three flat,” he said. “And I didn’t come from money or a handyman, and I was only a few years older than you. Worked out great.”
So we started scheduling showings and touring buildings in the neighborhoods I was interested in. Some were nice, some were in very rough shape. At times, I had to step outside of my comfort zone a bit, and see beyond the furnishings and finishes to the full potential of a building. This took a bit of practice, but Seth is an expert at this. Never did I feel pressured at all to buy a place I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. It’s all part of the process, as he would say.
My home buying experience, as I’m sure it is for most of Seth’s clients, was less about any particular house and more about weighing out difficult tradeoffs and planning out a future lifestyle. It’s a deeply personal decision and Seth respects that fact. He wants to see you in the right building, and he wants you to be able to easily afford it. During the nine months or so that we worked together, we had to navigate a brutal seller’s market. There were a few multiple-offer situations that I lost out on. But Seth remained persistent and upbeat. He would eventually help me buy a wonderful two-flat in an extremely desirable neighborhood — a neighborhood that I had completely written off as unattainable. But with my new supplemental rental income, I’m able to live comfortably and pay less than I previously did in rent. Being a landlord? Turns out it’s even easier than I thought. Seth is a huge proponent of owner-occupied rental properties and now it’s easy to see why.
Seth, at least for me, was far more than a real estate agent. I don’t think I would have fared nearly as well without him. He was an advocate, a mentor, and a guide. He understands the cultural and architectural landscape of Chicago very well. His enthusiasm for all aspects of property ownership is contagious. And if you’re the type of person who breaks the mold in one way or another, you’ll likely find that Seth is a great fit. If you’re lucky enough to work with him on your first home purchase, you’ll find yourself with a great house and all the support you’ll need to thrive there.
I come from a humble background, and so I was never sure I would own anything. My story in the realty market is dramatic and full of twists and turns. I really believe that I would not own a building if it were not for the patience and fortitude of my very distinctive realtor, Seth Captain.
Seth listened. That was the single biggest difference. And he had insights about the market, about my insecurity, and about the parts that excited me. I had originally said that it made me nervous to begin ownership tied to the role of landlord. Seth talked me through the pluses and minuses. He introduced me to other people who were looking. He encouraged me to begin visiting places even if it felt like the property was wrong for some reason. Part of the process is learning the market, and you don’t learn by avoiding. Seth listened to me as I expressed interest in a co-op purchase. But he also talked me through some of the potential down sides.
Seth made the process fun. One of his first questions for me was regarding my comfort with motorcycles. He took me to nearly every property on his cycle. He was genuinely entertained by the looks we caught while riding this way through all sorts of neighborhoods. It was clear that many of the folks we were visiting assumed we were a couple, and more than a few of them were visibly uncomfortable with that observation. Seth worked to put them at ease, all the while laughing and joking comfortably with me, and even hamming up the physical closeness of the motorcycle rides as we made an exit.
All throughout the process, Seth continued to check in with me regarding my priorities. He helped me identify the value of a workspace connected to the living space—I am an artist so a studio or public exhibition space is a really valued amenity. In the beginning I thought the living space was barely within reach, but he found several places that could be converted into living spaces with some workspace that were in my price range. The desire for workspace ended up defining the search. Seth has an active imagination regarding structure and adjustment. We spent time in buildings looking at the obvious living quarters, but he would also project the possibility of an attic as a new studio or what the building would be like if a wall were moved or the surfaces changed. He also patiently took me into basements and talked me through the value of newer plumbing and electric indicators. He pointed out basement apartments that housed tenants but honestly indicated that some of the units were illegal. In other words, he made sure I saw things as they really were rather than hoping I wouldn’t notice major flaws.
Seth helped me find a great financial partner. I don’t know whether that is standard for a realtor, but it was nice that he found a loan person that I found relatable. We worked through the information, identified budgets and ended up finding the place. It was a storefront with a hideous living space behind and an entire floor of income producing living space. The building was solid but unattractive. It was in a great accessible neighborhood. There was a yard, garage, and has easily available access to transportation, grocery stores, and even restaurants. It seemed perfect. We worked together, made the bid, the bid was accepted and all systems were go. Until they weren't...
Seth kept working on solutions after being turned down (by Banks) again and again. He was willing to continue working though every adjustment made ended in him earning less money. We ended up finding a bank that would finance, but with some extraordinary caveats including the seller financing 20 percent of the deal on his own. Though I ended up with a loan a percentage and a half higher than the residential loan, there was no mortgage insurance required and the commercial financing included a modest re-hab budget. I was able to pay the higher down payment but with the re-hab money I was still able to immediately change the ugly building into the property I knew was possible.
One of the most dramatic turns in the story happened just before we got final approval for the financing. The apartment I lived in burned to the ground. As a true testament of Seth’s character, he was the first of all my friends to show up to help me and he insisted that I stay with him until I found other accommodations. He even spent a day helping me sift through the remains of the fire and move the belongings that survived. Seth ended up contacting the seller of my building who agreed to let me occupy the unit before the purchase was finalized. In a complexly ironic twist, the fact that I occupied the building helped me secure the final approval for financing.
I lost my job about a year ago. I have been overwhelmed by the stress of that, but I have been overwhelmingly grateful for the choices I made in my purchase. To date I have been able to keep up with my mortgage payments. This is due in no small part to consistent rental income. I may have had to tighten my belt, but with the rent dollars there is not an extraordinary difference between a rented one bedroom and what I pay each month. And I have the art space. The art space has been a life raft. There is no way I could support real professional activity if that space were not built into my life. I simply would not have the resources. But because it is here, I can demonstrate real accomplishment while I am searching for a new career.
If I had foreseen the difficult situations that I encountered, I would probably not own anything. But because of Seth’s patient involvement, and his willingness to teach me about different possibilities I end up in a building that is far more than a nice place to live. Further, there are new possibilities on the horizon left untapped or under developed in this place I have. I do credit this outcome with my own sense of vision, and an adventurous spirit, to be sure, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the many contributions Seth made to this outcome. He has vision when looking at a building. He listens. And he invests far more than what is expected from his role as a realtor. He knows communities, and he networks to listings that remain unseen or unexplored by most. And he cares about the net impact of his involvement in other people’s dealing. I cannot recommend him more highly.