We understand that buying a home is one of the greatest financial and emotional investments you will make.
Owning a home has always been an essential part of the American dream. Synonymous with security, stability and self-reliance, homeownership is deeply rooted in almost every family’s tradition. After several tumultuous years the confidence is up again. With rental prices on the rise and the relatively low cost of owning a home, many home seekers choose buying vs. renting.
Benefits of owning a home:
- Why pay somebody else’s mortgage – when you can build equity in your own home
- Get a tax deduction – write off your mortgage interest and real estate taxes
- Leverage your investment – even though your investment is only a portion of the home value you will get appreciation on the full amount
- Save money – with rents at all-time highs owning a home is often less expensive
- Pride of ownership – you can improve your home, take care of it, make it your own
Looking for a home can be a daunting experience. Countless questions that come to mind:
- Where do I start?
- How do I know I am making the right financial decision?
- How does a home purchase fit with my long term financial goals?
- With a plethora of information available on online, how do I determine what sources are reliable and relevant?
- Who can help me navigate the home buying process so I find a home of my dreams acquired at the best price possible?
- How do I find someone with real expertise of the Chicago market who has my best interest at heart?
As a seasoned professional, I will become your trusted advisor and tireless advocate. I will help you decode the abundance of information you are bombarded with and transform it into an in-depth knowledge of how a real estate transaction works so you can be assured that you are making the right financial decision. I will help you get your ideal home at the best price possible. Whether you are buying a luxury home or your first condominium, you can expect the same level of professionalism, transparency, attention to detail and follow through.
Things I will do for you:
- Explain market trends and statistics; which neighborhoods are appreciating the fastest and where you can expect the greatest return; where the values are most stable and your investment will be the safest
- Explain how houses work – what to pay attention to when looking at homes, the most common pitfalls to avoid, hidden costs of homeownership
- Share with you my extensive knowledge of Chicago neighborhoods and communities – the best schools, transportation, yoga studios, hot restaurants, great shopping, water parks for your kids, doggie parks for your 4-legged kids
- Educate you on zoning issues that could affect your home value
- Make you aware of games that sellers’ agents and sellers play; strategize with you on how to gain leverage to secure the best deal for you
- Recommend the best inspectors, attorneys, contractors, insurance agents, movers, decorators, cleaning ladies (to name a few) based on relationships I have cultivated through the years and whose expertise you can trust
- Look for the best home for you daily – this also includes actively seeking homes sold privately, off the open market
- Do the legwork – determine which home best fits your needs and eliminate those that do not fit so your time is best spent looking at the right homes
- Guide you through every part of the transaction with highest commitment to your best interest
Step-by-step guide to a home buying:
- Get your financial records together. You will need your recent pay stubs, bank statements and tax documents to start the process. Your lender will ask for those to get you pre-approved for a loan. If there are any blemishes on your credit report now it’s time to take care of them. Your mortgage broker will be able to assist you if any fine-tunes are necessary.
- Get pre-approved by a lender. Not only will you know how much you can afford but you will also be able to find out what loan is best for you. Is a conventional loan most advantageous, do you need a Jumbo or FHA financing? Is a fixed or an adjustable loan a better option? When you know the total budget (including closing costs and fees), ask yourself: how much of a monthly payment am I comfortable with? Don’t forget to account of real estate taxes, insurance and utilities. Having a preapproval will give you the confidence to make a quick offer when you find the right home and will show the sellers that you are a serious, willing and able buyer.
- Your ideal home. Prioritize a list of must-haves and features you are willing to sacrifice. What is truly important to you and your family? Different types of homes come with their own challenges. Single family dwellings require routine exterior upkeep, landscaping and snow removal. In condo buildings those chores are handled collectively but, by the same token, you often have to seek a board approval to make any major alterations to your home. The more detailed you can get about your likes and dislikes, the easier it will be for your realtor to match you with a right home. But remember that no home is perfect so be prepared to be flexible.
- Location, location, location. The city has plenty of wonderful neighborhoods you can look in. It is important to find the one that will be the best fit for your needs. Are excellent schools your top priority? Do you need a quick access to the lakefront bike path and beaches? Do you want to live in a trendy area with shopping and nightlife? Or are you most concerned with making sure your commute is manageable? Keep your own needs as primary consideration but remember that your choice of community could affect your resale value down the road.
- Making an offer. Once you find the right home, you will need to make an offer to the seller. Your Realtor is going to help you figure out the best offer and negotiate with the seller to get the price you want. The asking price is only one of several key factors you will consider when making an offer. You should also look at sales trends for comparable houses in that neighborhood over the past six to twelve months. To give you the best picture of what the home you are considering is worth, your realtor can prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that relies on Multiple Listing Service data on active, sold, and pending listings in the community. She will also research the property tax records and mortgage data to give you background information on the seller’s financial standing. Keep in mind that if there are multiple offers on the property, you may have to bid higher than the list price.
- Get the home professionally inspected. Start by working with the developer or homeowner to find out what improvements or repairs are needed on the property. A complete home inspection will help get this process going. Once you know how much repairs and improvements are going to cost, you can plan your budget accordingly. While minor problems, like old paint or worn carpets, are easily fixed, other major issues can be deal breakers. You don’t want to have problems with the foundation, heating and wiring, or a roof after you buy. A home inspection is the best way to find any potential issues you may have missed on the initial house tour – and catch them before they become major problems. And once you know what problems the house has, your Realtor can negotiate with the seller around which problems need to be taken care of before the property is purchased.
- Attend the closing. The last step in completing a real estate transaction is closing the deal. This is when ownership of the property is transferred and any costs beyond the base price that were incurred by the seller or buyer are settled. This will be your opportunity to do a final walkthrough and inspection of the property. The closing will be scheduled by both parties’ attorneys and will take place at a title company. The lender’s loan package will be send there so you can execute it and the title will be transferred to your name. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID and proof of insurance!
- Congratulations – you own the home! Once the final paperwork is signed and you have a set of keys, it’s time to get ready to move in. You want that process to go smoothly, so it’s a good idea to make a moving checklist and ask your Realtor about any programs they have to offer that can help you get all the services you need to help you before, during, or after you buy your home!