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CHICAGO: TIPS ON BUYING A HOME IN TODAY’S MARKET; FOLLOW THESE BASIC STEPS TO SAVE TIME

Important Steps to Buying a New Home 

Get pre-approved for a mortgage with a professional lender.  It is important to have a pre-approval letter in advance of search; it will be required when submitting a contract.

Inform your realtor of the features important to you in your new home.

  • Price Range
  • Preferred location
  • Square footage/ Amount of Bedrooms/Baths
  • Proximity to public transportation
  • Parking or garage space
  • In-home Washer/Dryer
  • Preferred style of home
  • Your real estate agent will send a list of homes for your review.  Select your top choices by marking them as “interested”.
  •  BEGIN YOUR HOME SEARCH!
  • Once you find a property, discuss with your agent the price you would like to offer the seller.  Your agent will provide area comps so that you can make an educated decision.
  • Remember, if you are purchasing a short sale they can take 60-120 days from start to closing.  It is a long process, but if you have time to wait and are extremely patient, great deals are available.  They are typically sold “as is” so buyer is responsible for repairs.
  • If you are purchasing a foreclosed property, make sure to read the notes carefully.   Many need a lot of work, may have code violations and are sold “as is”.  Buyer is responsible for repairs in most cases.
  • Your agent will then present the offer to the seller’s agent. The seller will either accept or respond with a counteroffer.  Be prepared to counter multiple times.
  • CONTRACT IS APPROVED!
  • After you have agreed on a final price, the seller will ask that you write an earnest money deposit check (initial down payment) typically for $1,000 to $5,000 to hold the property.  It is in the form of a Cashier’s Check and your agent will inform you of the exact figure.
  • Be sure to make a copy of the earnest money check for your lender in advance of submitting.
  • It is strongly recommended that you hire a real estate attorney to assist with negotiations.  Your attorney will review the purchase contract and review the final documents at closing.  Their fees vary and are paid at closing, ask them in advance.
  • The purchase contract is signed by you and the seller.  Your agent will fax it to your lender and attorney for review.
  • The “Attorney Review” period now begins.  Typically the contract has to be reviewed and approved within 5-7 business days of accepted contract date.
  • During attorney review, it is recommended that home inspection by a certified inspector be performed.  This should be ordered immediately after the initial contract is signed.
  • HOME INSPECTIONS
  • If the home inspection uncovers any issues with the property, your attorney can try to negotiate the contract to ensure any necessary repairs are made or credits for repairs are given.  Unless home is sold “as is”.
  • If you are buying a brand new property it will typically come with a 1-year warranty therefore a home inspection is optional.
  • Meet with your  Loan Officer to sign a loan application and review the mortgage approval process.
  • Do not make any major purchases, apply for credit cards, etc. until AFTER CLOSING.  This additional activity may lead to your credit report being pulled which will lower your credit score.
  • Once your attorney approves the purchase contract and inspection is complete, your lender will order an appraisal.
  • Per the Purchase Contract, additional earnest money may or may not be required by the purchase contract (ask your agent).  If you do provide additional earnest money, be sure to make a copy of the check and fax it to your lender.
  • When the purchase contract is signed a “Financing Commitment Contingency” date is approximately 30-45 days and must be met. If your loan approval needs additional time, make certain to inform your attorney so he may request an extension.
  • The mortgage commitment will be sent to your attorney who will work with the seller’s attorney to schedule the closing date, time and location.
  • GETTING READY FOR CLOSING
  • Prior to closing, you will need to obtain the necessary homeowners insurance.  Contact a professional insurance company and obtain several quotes, prior to securing.
  • Typically the day before your closing your lender or attorney will advise you of how much money you will need to bring to the closing.
  • Once you know the dollar amount, you will need to obtain a cashier’s check made payable to the Title Company.  A wire transfer of funds is also required in some circumstances.
  • At the closing you will need to bring the following:
  • Cashier’s check (unless you process via wire transfer)
  • Valid driver’s license or state ID
  • Personal Checkbook (just in case the figures are slightly off which is common)
  • Your attorney will be at the closing and will review all the closing documents with you.
  • YOUR KEYS ARE PROVIDED AT CLOSING AND IT IS TIME TO MOVE IN!

IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE WITH BUYING A HOME IN CHICAGO, CONTACT BRITTA RIVERA VENTURE GROUP AT 312.806.3297.  

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February 25, 2012 Posted by | CHICAGO REAL ESTATE, REAL ESTATE NEWS | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHICAGO 2011: 25% OF HOMEOWNERS “UNDER WATER”; BUYERS MARKET STILL IN PLAY

Crain’s reported today that approximately 25% of Chicago-area homes with mortgages, are now worth less than the debt owed on them.  This is certainly no surprise to the many homeowners feeling the pain of the recession.  What’s shocking is that the number is not higher, it seems like everyone knows someone either in the process of a short sale or foreclosure.

The number of short sales and foreclosures seem to be growing at an epidemic rate.  Real estate agents specializing in short sale transactions are busier than ever and vultures are scooping up investment properties throughout the city.

The detailed report was prepared by CoreLogic and shows a quarter of Chicagoland homeowners with mortgages, are either “under water” or had “negative equity”, during the second quarter.  The chief economist, for CoreLogic, Mark Fleming, was quoted as saying, “The hardest-hit markets have improved over the last year, primarily as a result of foreclosures.  But nationally, the level of mortgage debt remains high relative to home prices.”

This is a serious issue and with the high number of homeowners feeling the pinch, the end does not appear anywhere in sight.  There is good news for some; first-time buyers, investors, and longtime renters have the opportunity of a lifetime to secure a heavily discounted property at record low-interest rates.  

It is impossible to believe that anyone with semi-decent credit, steady employment and a minimal down payment would not apply for a FHA loan and secure a home now.  Renters still hanging on in this market would have to be those who are just not in the position to buy a home.  In the end, it is still better to own a home than to pay rent to a landlord.

If you are interested securing an amazing deal in Chicago, start viewing incredible homes now or register here for assistance.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | CHICAGO REAL ESTATE | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2011 HOUSING MARKET: TELL THE MEDIA TO “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!”

The housing market is still in recovery mode, but this is actually great news for potential buyers.  While many homeowners have decided to short sale their homes and foreclosure properties are coming on-line daily, it offers incredible deals for buyers.  A recent top bank executive suggested 800,000 more foreclosures may be released in Illinois, during the first quarter of 2012.  Unfortunately, this is a bad situation for sellers and banks but it is an amazing opportunity for someone looking for superior pricing.  However, the media seems to only promote the negative aspect of the current housing market.  It makes me want to scream “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!”

It is shocking to hear all the negative press about the stale housing market and very little about the historically low-interest rates and record low housing prices with savings up to 50% off.  Why aren’t they pushing the fact that this is the BEST time in history to buy on a daily basis?

The rental rates in Chicago have continued to rise at a record pace, some saying by about 10% by years end.  This is a ridiculous amount for the average renter and they are beginning to feel the pinch.  Who wants to pay over $1300 for a one bedroom and over $2000 for a two bedroom in the city when you can own for that amount?  It makes me sad each time I rent a home to a well qualified potential buyer, because it is clear they could purchase a home with a much lower mortgage payment than the rent they are willing to pay to a landlord.  Unfortunately, the media has scared them into becoming a renter so some are hesitant to buy.

While it is clear, some renters are just not yet in the position to buy a home, some networks give the impression the banks are not lending at all.  Additionally, they make you believe you need a huge down payment to qualify for a loan.  Is this a scheme to discourage  people from buying?  Why not talk about FHA (3.5% down) loans available on many homes, offering more relaxed guidelines?  Or NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) which is a non-for-profit organization offering extremely flexible loans with some of the LOWEST INTEREST RATES and no money down to qualified buyers?

Multiple neighborhoods throughout the city offer two bedrooms originally priced at $300k now selling for under $100k.  Why wouldn’t anyone  jump on these deals versus renting?   Well, there are many savvy buyers doing just that, and they smile each day they walk into their new home.  This is especially true for those who may have lost their home in a short sale a couple of years back; while they may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in that transaction, the bank probably took the bulk of the loss if not all of it.  These buyers can now feel redemption in buying a new home at a great price.

In the end, with all the boarded up foreclosed properties scattered throughout the city, it’s disappointing that the banks and Government did not come up with a better plan.  Had they taken the stimulus money and truly offered loan modifications to more homeowners, we probably would not be in this mess.

WHY DO YOU THINK THEY ARE NOT ENCOURAGING BUYING RIGHT NOW?  Why aren’t banks running a marketing campaign promoting loans available in the current market?  Do they want less mortgage loans on their books?

It is important to read this INCREDIBLE ARTICLE ON TOP REASONS TO BUY A HOME RIGHT NOW.  If you are interested in a list of available residences in the Chicagoland area start viewing incredible homes or register hereIn the years to come, you will be glad you did.  If you would like more information on NACA home buying programs, please call 312.475.4548.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | REAL ESTATE NEWS | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

   

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