Archive for October, 2010

Chicago Foreclosure Trends – September 2010

October 30, 2010

There were 37,070 Chicago foreclosure homes for sale with 4,180 new foreclosures in September 2010. The average selling price of a Chicago home was $273,471 in September and the average foreclosure selling price was $118,283, a savings of $155,187 according to RealtyTrac.com.

Chicago Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Chicago foreclosure activity in Sept was lower 0.12% higher than national statistics, 0.05% higher than Illinois statistics, and 0.05% lower than Cook County numbers.

Chicago Foreclosure Activity by Month

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Basic Steps for First-time Chicago Home Buyers – PART III

October 22, 2010

Okay, you’ve made your lists of: must have” and “would be nice” features, and you’ve identified desirable neighborhoods with the schools and amenities that meet your needs. Now it’s time to seriously shop for your first-time Chicago home.

Before you even step outside to begin the search, your agent will email to you listings which meet your criteria, and you can “visit” many of them online via a virtual tour. Once you have narrowed down your choices, your agent will arrange for you to look at–in person– your selected properties. A few bits of advice here:

  1. Take notes on each home you tour. Too often individual details blur after you’ve seen four (or more) houses in a day.
  2. Look past the owner’s furnishings and décor. Concentrate on the features you have identified as important and try to picture yourself actually living in the space.
  3. If you have decided that you don’t need a “move-in ready” residence, look at the potential of the property. Would simple cosmetic changes make a considerable difference?
  4. Listen to both your head and your heart. Sometimes a property really does “speak” to you, and you know you have found your new home.

Making An Offer

Now it’s time to make an offer! Your agent will provide you with comparable prices (comps) of similar homes which have recently sold in the neighborhood to help you decide how much you are willing to offer. He/she will prepare a contract which will include price; amount of down payment and deposit (earnest money); your financing arrangements; inspection rights; conveyance of any appliances, window treatments, furnishings, etc.; the settlement date; and any contingencies you might want to add.

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Buying a Home? Basic Steps for First-time Chicago Home Buyers – PART II

October 15, 2010

Part 2 of this four-part series dealt with analyzing your financial situation, getting prior loan approval, and determining your real needs/desires in a first home. All that having been accomplished, you will now want to look for a mortgage for you Chicago home and decide which is the most advantageous for you.

As with any major purchase, you will want to shop around for the best deal. Contact several lenders (bank, savings and loan, credit union, private mortgage company, or a state or federal government lender.) Before doing that, however, you need to familiarize yourself mortgage types, terminology, and options. Your real estate agent will be helpful in this mission, as will the internet. Keying in First-time house buyers, mortgage assistance, HUD, or Community Housing Partners, will result in innumerable informative sites, a wealth of information for you to consider, and, most likely, a list of questions for you to ask your Realtor and/or potential lender.

For help in determining which type of mortgage is best for you, check the chart found at http://mortgages.interest.com/content/first . In an easy-to-read format, the characteristics and suitability of many types of loans (fixed rate, step, balloon, adjusted rate –ARM) are simply and clearly explained. If, for instance, you plan to live in your Chicago home more than 10 years and desire stability in payment amounts, then a fixed rate mortgage is for you. If, however, your finances are currently strained, but you know that in 5 to 10 years your monetary situation will improve or that you will most likely move within 10 years, then an ARM or balloon mortgage may be better for you. Being familiar with these options allows you to discuss them intelligently with your real estate agent and/or lender and then select the type which best fits your circumstances.
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Chicago Foreclosure Trends – August 2010

October 8, 2010

There were 37,367 Chicago foreclosure homes for sale with 4,437 new foreclosures in August 2010. The average selling price of a Chicago home was $272,563 in August and the average foreclosure selling price was $120,405, a savings of $152,518 according to RealtyTrac.com.

Chicago Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Chicago foreclosure activity in August was lower 0.11% higher than national statistics, 0.05% higher than Illinois statistics, and 0.05% lower than Cook County numbers.

Chicago Foreclosure Activity by Month

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Buying a Home? Basic Steps for First-time Chicago Home Buyers

October 2, 2010

Congratulations! So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and purchase a place of your own. The home buying process may initially appear complicated and a bit daunting, but by using the skills of a buyer’s real estate agent, searching the internet, and familiarizing yourself with each of the steps involved, your experience can be a smooth and rewarding one.

1. Analyzing your financial situation.

The first thing to do is to learn how much you can afford to pay for your Chicago home. Generally speaking, mortgage costs, or PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), should not exceed 26-28% of your gross monthly income. Many internet web sites furnish free tools for calculating these expenses for you. You can search under “calculating mortgage costs.”  Remember that in addition to income, your credit rating, on-going monthly expenses, amount of the down payment, and the current interest rate must be factored into your financial analysis. Also take into consideration any HOA’s (homeowners’ association) dues, maintenance costs, and utilities you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis. You would be wise to investigate state and federal government programs which help qualifying first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs. Visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for specific information which could be quite beneficial to you.

2. Getting prior loan approval.

The next step, before you ever begin actually looking a home, is to secure pre-approval for a loan. In order to do this, you will need to provide a potential lender with all necessary information about your finances. Your realtor will help you do this.

After performing a thorough and positive analysis of your financial situation, the lender will issue you a letter of approval which states the amount for which you qualify. This letter assures buyers that you are guaranteed a sufficient loan and that they are guaranteed a sale with no unpleasant surprises.

3. Determining your needs and desires.
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