Archive for June, 2015

5 Awesome Tips for First Time Home Buyers

June 26, 2015

If you are in the market for your first home then you are likely super excited and ready to move in before you even begin your search.

first-time home buyerThere are a 5 awesome tips you need to keep in mind when you are a first time home buyer.

  • Check out what the houses in the area in which you are going to look for your new home are selling for. You can also talk with your Realtor to see what comps are like in the area in which you want to live. By doing this you are going to be able to more quickly narrow down not only where you want to live but more importantly where you can afford to live.
  • Use a mortgage calculator to find out how much of a payment you can afford.
  • Have a budget already in place before you even think about becoming a new home buyer. This will help you to know exactly how much of a home you can afford and will make it super easy to jump right in and start paying for your dream home.
  • Talk with your Realtor to find out what type of mortgage you will be able to qualify for. You may be able to get a USDA and therefore won’t have to worry about coming up with a down payment. You can also weigh the pros and cons of each mortgage type to see which one best works for you.
  • Find a mortgage broker that you will find easy to work with. Not all mortgage brokers are created equal so do your homework and pick one that will work perfectly with you and your family.

The process of finding your first home may take some time and should not be rushed. Don’t get discouraged. You WILL find the home you are looking for and once you hear the words “under contract” you will be able to know that it won’t be long before you and your family will be moving in and enjoying your home for many years to come!

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467  Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Chicago Real Estate Market Trends – May 2015

June 19, 2015

Take a look at May’s real estate sales statistics.

Chicago Real Estate Market Trends – May 2015

Chicago Real Estate Sales – Detached Single Homes

Neighborhoods included in these statistics are: Avondale, Albany Park, Edgewater, Irving Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Loop, Near North Side, Near South Side, Near West Side, North Park, North Center, Rogers Park, Uptown, West Ridge, West Town.

The number of Chicago detached single homes selling in May 2015 increased 30.8% for the month compared to May 2014. The average selling price increased by 6.2% to $814,139 and the average market time increased by 30 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.

Date

Sold Listings

Average
Sold Price

SP:LP

Average
Market Time

May 2015

208

$814,139

98%

81

May 2014

159

$766,256

98%

51


Chicago Real Estate Sales – Attached Single Homes

The number of Chicago attached single homes selling in May 2015 increased by 9.8% for the month when compared to May 2014. The average selling price increased 4.31% to $413,688 and the average market time increased by 7 days. Homes sold for 98% of the listed price.

Date

Sold Listings

Average
Sold Price

SP:LP

Average
Market Time

May 2015

1,504

$413,688

98%

71

May 2014

1,369

$396,577

98%

64


Chicago Real Estate Sales – 2-4 Flats

The number of Chicago multi-family properties selling in May 2015 decreased by 13.9% from May 2014. The average selling price increased 8.74% from May 2014 prices, and the average market time increased by 12 days. Homes sold for 97% of the listed price.

Date

Sold Listings

Average
Sold Price

SP:LP

Average
Market Time

May 2015

84

$530,538

97%

74

May 2014

96

$487,872

99%

62

Curious about the value of your home? Get your home’s value here!

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties

Good News and Bad News About FHA Loans

June 12, 2015

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). FHA is not a lender. It provides an insurance fund fha loanthat protects lenders against borrower loan defaults. Therefore, to obtain an FHA loan, a homebuyer must get their loan through an FHA-approved lender. The actual loan and mortgage for your home is actually with a commercial lender.

Not all FHA-approved lenders offer the same interest rates and costs, even for the same loan. Therefore, borrowers need to shop around with multiple lenders for the best total package for an FHA loan.

Here’s some good news…

  • Perfect credit is not a requirement of FHA. The FHA does not dictate a minimum credit score. However, lenders can overlay their own requirements on top of what FHA requires. FHA provides leeway in underwriting for the lender by insuring the loan, but the final decision about the loan is in the lenders hands.

The lenders’ underwriting of a loan is targeted at ensuring that the homebuyer “has the willingness and capability to repay the loan, but we do have flexibility beyond pure credit score to look at the borrower’s financial situation,” according to Vicki Bott, HUD deputy assistant secretary.

  • The minimum down payment is 3.5% of the purchase price of the home. Borrowers can use their own savings for the down payment. But, they can also use other sources such as a gift from a family member.
  • Closing costs may also be covered. FHA allows home sellers, builders, and lenders to pay some of the borrower’s closing costs. However, lenders often charge a higher interest rate if they agree to pay closing costs.

Here are some cautions…

  • Homebuyers should get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of closing costs from the lender when shopping for their loan.
  • Mortgage Insurance is a must. Two premiums are required on all FHA loans: first, an upfront premium of 2.25%, charged when the homebuyer gets the loan (but may be financed in the loan); and second, an annual premium of 0.55% paid monthly with the mortgage payment.

Many homebuyers feel this all sounds expensive. However, the alternative is potentially not qualifying for a loan at all. The borrower must compare total costs of the purchase with the equity that potentially is possible in the long haul…along with careful shopping for the loan. Click here for more details.

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467  Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

 

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for 2015 – Part II

June 8, 2015

In Part 1 of ‘Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends’ we looked at five trends from a recently published survey by Houzz, the popular design and remodeling website. Here are more of the hottest kitchen design elements to consider for your kitchen…

  • kitchen remodelingStainless Steel: A majority of survey respondents, 65% favored stainless steel appliances. Only 12% favored white or color appliances.
  • Islands: Islands are popular but not a must have. The main reason is limited floor space availability. A successful kitchen layout requires the ability to move around the kitchen between workstations. The ideal layout forms a triangle between sink, refrigerator, and stove. Counter prep areas occur in between the primary stations. If an island fits into that pattern and allows plenty of movement it will be a success. If the island is too big for the floor space and interferes with the movement of your workflow you will end up unhappy.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association also conducted a survey recently and highlighted three additional trends in kitchen design…

  • Transitional style: This style is a blend of traditional and contemporary and has grown in popularity in recent years. It is a style that harkens back to tried and true traditional elements with modern convenience touches.
  • White cabinets: A surprising 73% of respondents favored white and off-white color schemes for their kitchens. This seems to have been a response to most people wanting their kitchens to be light and bright and clean looking.
  • Gray color schemes: Gray color schemes have been steadily gaining in popularity over the last three years, and are still trending that way.

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen there are a lot things to think about. Your kitchen is an important workspace and gathering space in your home. Therefore, it should function well and reflect your lifestyle.

Mike Close, president of Spinnaker Development in Newport Beach, CA, offered good advice: “Always try to keep in mind you’re doing the work for yourself, but at some point, somebody else will be in the house. Don’t do something so radical…that in five years you’ll look at each other and say, ‘What were we thinking?’”

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467  Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for 2015 – Part II

June 5, 2015

In Part 1 of ‘Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends’ we looked at five trends from a recently published survey by Houzz, the popular design and remodeling website. Here are more of the hottest kitchen design elements to consider for your kitchen…

  • kitchen remodelingStainless Steel: A majority of survey respondents, 65% favored stainless steel appliances. Only 12% favored white or color appliances.
  • Islands: Islands are popular but not a must have. The main reason is limited floor space availability. A successful kitchen layout requires the ability to move around the kitchen between workstations. The ideal layout forms a triangle between sink, refrigerator, and stove. Counter prep areas occur in between the primary stations. If an island fits into that pattern and allows plenty of movement it will be a success. If the island is too big for the floor space and interferes with the movement of your workflow you will end up unhappy.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association also conducted a survey recently and highlighted three additional trends in kitchen design…

  • Transitional style: This style is a blend of traditional and contemporary and has grown in popularity in recent years. It is a style that harkens back to tried and true traditional elements with modern convenience touches.
  • White cabinets: A surprising 73% of respondents favored white and off-white color schemes for their kitchens. This seems to have been a response to most people wanting their kitchens to be light and bright and clean looking.
  • Gray color schemes: Gray color schemes have been steadily gaining in popularity over the last three years, and are still trending that way.

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen there are a lot things to think about. Your kitchen is an important workspace and gathering space in your home. Therefore, it should function well and reflect your lifestyle.

Mike Close, president of Spinnaker Development in Newport Beach, CA, offered good advice: “Always try to keep in mind you’re doing the work for yourself, but at some point, somebody else will be in the house. Don’t do something so radical…that in five years you’ll look at each other and say, ‘What were we thinking?’”

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467  Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for 2015

June 5, 2015

If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, your decisions may be influenced by how long you intend to stay in your home. Keeping up with trends can be very interesting and fun. They also kitchenare, well, trendy. If you’re going to stay in your home less than five years, here are some hot trends to consider implementing.

The popular design and remodeling website, Houzz, recently published the results of a survey of 7,812 new homeowners who were remodeling their kitchens within three months of buying. Of that group, nearly half were remodeling their kitchens. Here are their hottest items to consider…

  1. Chef’s stoves: 32 percent considered professional-grade ranges as their dream appliance. Options such as a flat griddle or a cook-top to accommodate a searing pan or wok topped the list.
  1. Eco-friendly features: Nearly half said, “Using eco-friendly appliances and materials in their kitchens are important.” However, Houzz contributors also observed that changes in our habits, rather than just buying the right appliances are important. They cited the use of cloth rather than paper towels, replacing plastic containers with glass, and using non-toxic cleaners are very important.
  1. Granite and quartz counter-tops: 94% of the survey respondents said they were changing their counter-tops. Granite topped the list, followed by quartz. Granite is hard and provides a clean look. Granite also requires sealing and taking care not to put certain items on the surface. Quartz is gaining popularity because it is also very hard and durable and looks clean. Quartz tops are resistant to scratches and stains and do not need to be sealed. Click here for more detail.
  1. Tile back-splashes: Tile was the top choice for back-splash accents. Houzz editor, Sheila Schmitz, observed, “A lot of people are using the back-splash as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen. That’s where they’ll put that splash of color.” Some respondents actually found the choice of back-splash design to be the toughest decision they had to make.
  1. Floors: Hardwood floors topped the list of the most popular materials, with tile making a strong second showing. Wood floors are easier on the feet than tile and have a warmer look to them. There is no need to worry about wood floors getting wet with the many finishes and sealers available on the market.

Watch for Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends – Part 2 coming soon.

Information courtesy of Chicago Realtor Karen Breen Elia.

MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Karen Breen Elia & Louis M. Elia, REALTORS®, are brokers for homes, condos, and multi-unit properties on Chicago’s North Side.

ChicagoCityHomes, RE/MAX Exclusive Properties
2951 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60657
Toll Free: (866) 404-3585 Fax: (773) 938-1467  Send An Email

We know Chicago Real Estate!  Call us today!