Q: Could you give me some general guidelines on purchasing a house that I am currently renting? Do I need a real estate agent? Do I need a real estate lawyer? Do I need a home inspection? What items or steps do I need to follow?

A: The first thing you have to figure out is if your landlord is willing to sell you the property. And if so, how much he or she wants for it.

If your landlord has asked you to come up with a fair price, you’ll need to spend some time with a local real estate agent, visiting open houses in the area and trying to establish a value for your rental house.

As far as doing a home inspection, I always think it’s a good idea to check out a house from top to bottom, even if you’re already living there. If nothing else, the home inspector can give you a good idea of any problems there may be with the property down the line, so you can start saving for the maintenance bills that come along with homeownership.

You probably don’t need a real estate agent to buy this house. But you will need a real estate attorney. To find one contact the Chicago Bar Association and ask for the head of the real estate committee. This individual should be a competent real estate attorney who can give you some referrals to find an attorney who will handle the negotiation and closing for a fixed fee.