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

You’re getting close to the finish line and will soon be the owner of your first home. Just a few more steps to go…

1. Homeowner’s insurance policy

Adequate homeowner’s insurance is a requirement of all lenders, and it is certainly in your best interests to protect the investment you’ll be making in your Chicago home. To find the policy that is right for you, you should shop around for the best value. Check online for quotes from at least three reputable agencies. Be aware that some companies offer a discount of 30%-40% if you buy online. Other possible discounts can result from insuring both your home and the contents or by insuring your home and your car with the same company. Check to see if you need flood insurance, as many properties in Chicago do.  Know the replacement value of your home, taking into consideration any unique features. Think about probable inflation increases at renewal time. Will your insurance agency automatically adjust your coverage, or will you have to request a change?

2. Preparations before closing

As the settlement date approaches, check with your lender and your closing attorney to make certain all necessary documents are in order and are being prepared. You will also want to contact utility services such as gas, electric, water, cable, and telephone to set up service in your name. Be sure to ask your real estate agent about the type of acceptable payment (usually a certified check) and amount to bring to the closing for any unpaid fees. It is also a good idea to gather all paperwork associated with your purchase (estimates, contract, proof of title search and insurance, home appraisal, and inspection reports) to take to the closing in case a question arises.

3. The walk-through

You are entitled to a walk-through inspection of the property a day or two before closing. This is your final chance to make sure that all conveyed items are present, there is no new damage, agreed-to repairs have been completed, and the home is in good working order. Your Realtor will have a checklist. Items to be checked out are numerous and include the exterior of the home (grading, roof and gutters, garage, siding, paint, concrete, brickwork, doorbell, e.g.) as well as the interior (lighting and fans, appliances, toilets, heating and cooling systems, faucets, electrical outlets, thermostat, fireplace, etc.). The house should be empty, except for conveyed items, and “broom swept“ clean. If any problems are discovered, your realtor will notify the seller and request repairs or monetary compensation for these items

4. And finally…the closing!

You should have recently received a settlement statement listing all the costs you’ll be required to pay at the settlement table, such as an escrow deposit for taxes and insurance. In most cases you’ll be required to bring a certified check and a photo ID with you. Try to relax at the closing. The attorney, who has most likely conducted many previous settlements, will briefly explain each document you are asked to sign. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take time to read a particular paper. The attorney will also arrange for the collection and disbursement of all funds

AND, after all these steps have been completed, you will be handed the keys to your first Chicago home! Congratulations!

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

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