Archive for June, 2010

Chicago Real Estate: The Home Inspection

June 28, 2010

So you’ve finally found the piece of Chicago real estate you’ve searched for months! What next? Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains a home inspection contingency, a clause stating that your offer is contingent dependent on the results of a home inspection.

A home inspection is of primary importance because it allows you to obtain an unbiased professional assessment of all the components of the property. It is a step necessary for you to chicago real estatedecide if you will stay with your original offer, renegotiate based on documented issues and needed repairs, or back away from the purchase of that piece of Chicago real estate altogether.

Selecting a qualified inspector is vital. Your realtor can provide you with the names of reputable firms, or you can go online to research services offered and credentials. Specific information you should know about the inspector and the inspection process included the following:

      1. Credentials and background: Is he/she licensed in your state? Is he affiliated with any respected organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors? Membership in these groups requires that inspectors follow strict guidelines about ethics and continuing education. Be sure to inquire about experience and training. A construction-based background is a plus, as is attending a college with an emphasis on construction or attending a home inspection school.

    2. Fees: Although you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily, this is not a place to scrimp. Your house purchase is a very large investment, and you need to know as much as you can about it. Do remember that money spent on a quality inspection now will be returned to you by avoiding unexpected costly repairs in the future.  The price of an average inspection varies depending on the age, size, and condition of the house. Some inspectors base their fees on the list price of the Chicago real estate. Get estimates from all you contact, but don’t assume that the lowest priced is the best choice for you.

    3. Type of report: Some inspectors use computer generated onsite reporting, some a handwritten checklist, and others a computer generated report you won’t receive for few days. By and large, the last option is in your best interests since it gives the inspector time to review his findings, look up any questions he may have, and send you a detailed, descriptive report. He should also be able to provide you with pictures of the problem areas. Feel free to ask him for a sample report.

    4. The actual inspection: Make sure that you will be allowed to accompany the inspector and ask questions as he checks out the house and grounds. This is a good time for you to become familiar with the home‘s inner workings, locate shut-off valve and breaker panels, and pick up tips on operating and maintaining different systems.

A thorough home inspection of an average home should take between 2 ½ and 4 hours and should cover both internal and external components of the property. Major items examined should include:

            a. Siding, foundation, brickwork, etc.

            b. Insulation

            c. Deck, roof, garage

            d. Attic/basement

            e. Driveway and walkways

            f. Electrical system

            g. Plumbing

            h. Doors and windows

            i. Heater, air conditioner, and hot water heater

            j. Ceilings, walls, and moldings

Having your Chicago real estate inspected will allow you to make an informed decision about the purchase of a house and will provide you with both essential knowledge and peace of mind.

HAFA – What Does It Mean For Chicago Home Owners?

June 18, 2010

HAFA or Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, is a program initiated by President Obama on November 30, 2009. HAFA helps families in distress who are having difficulty selling their homes. HAFA along with HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program, to revitalize the real estate market.

HAFA provides incentives to families to take advantage of selling their Chicago home by means of a short sale (the home is sold for less than the value of the loan), or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (the home owner voluntarily gives the deed to the lender.

HAFA helps families quickly sell their Chicago homes by giving them pre-approved short sales terms before listing the property. They are fully released from future liability for the first mortgage debt, and can receive $1,500 for borrower relocation assistance. HAFA also allows investors and servicers to receive financial assistance for administrative costs, processing fees, etc. The program sounds simple, but is actually quite complex with many guidelines and rules. HAFA officially began on Monday, April 5, 2010 and will end on Monday, December 31, 2012.

Here you can watch ‘An Animated HAFA Story’, an informative video explaining HAFA…

I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), trained in helping families in distress avoid foreclosure. Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments? You do have options! A short sale may be what is needed to save your, your family and your credit. Please contact me anytime for a private consultation.

Chicago Real Estate Tips For Seniors

June 9, 2010

To sell or not to sell? That is a question with which many seniors are wrestling these days. One the one hand, older homeowners are faced with rising maintenance costs, personal physical constraints, a desire to live a more carefree and less complicated lifestyle, a realistic look at future needs, such as being near public transportation and/or quality health care, and living in a “too-large” home. On the other hand, they are reluctant to leave a neighborhood where they are known and respected, move further from friends and family, consider downsizing and parting with treasured items, and undertaking the seemingly overwhelming job of emptying one home and setting up another. In addition, they don’t want to give up the security or the memories tied to their current home.

chicago real estateA knowledgeable and understanding real estate agent who is familiar with the needs and desires of the 55+ set, combined with the services of an attorney who specializes in both real estate and estate planning and an accountant who deals with senior tax implications, can be invaluable to you in looking at all aspects of selling your Chicago real estate and helping you determine what is best for you. Senior Expert Margie Behr also advises that you think about taking out a home equity loan before you put your house on the market and that you involve your whole family in the decision-making process.

If you do decide to sell, cautions you to first get a written market analysis and a financial evaluation which will help you and your team of advisors address the realities of the market, your investments, and tax objectives.