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Chicago Real Estate News

How to Save for a Down Payment

Saving for a down payment is usually the most difficult part of transitioning from renter to homeowner. Even with blemish-free credit and little debt to your name, setting aside the money needed to purchase a Chicago condo while balancing student loan payments and life’s general expenses isn’t always feasible.

The first thing to do is determine how much you’ll need for a down payment. For a median-priced Lincoln Park condo of $445,000, expect to shell out nearly $90,000 upfront. That doesn’t include closing costs, which could tack on another $10,000 (2 to 5 percent of the purchase price) or more.

These figures assume at least 20 percent down, a general suggestion for an ideal interest rate, but not necessarily a firm prerequisite. You could put

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Benefits of Chicago New Construction Condos

Chicago reached another major new development milestone this week. With a total of 53 tower cranes in operation over the last nine months, 2017 is the most active high-rise construction year since the recession, according to an announcement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Buildings. Approximately 31 tower cranes are active at this very moment and another seven are awaiting installation. Not only is the city outpacing its previous post-recession record of 52 cranes reached in 2016, Chicago also has the most number of residential construction cranes of any major city in the nation.

Understandably, this massive wave of new development has led many Chicago home buyers (and renters) to weigh the benefits of new construction homeownership.

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Chicago Apartments vs. Condos: Which Should You Rent?

Chicago luxury apartments veer contemporary with clean lines and sleek finishes / Image source: Z Chicago

When it comes to renting, professionally-managed apartments and privately-owned condos tend to differ drastically. In fact, some Chicago lessees have a definite preference based on experience or recommendation. However, recent college graduates or seasoned renters who’ve lived in the same place for an extended period are probably less familiar with the disparities.

To fully prepare for your next rental search, consider a few of the differences between renting Chicago apartments versus renting from private owners.

Move-in costs

From a general standpoint, the initial costs of moving into a professionally-managed apartment complex are

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Rent to Own Chicago

The clear majority (80 percent) of American millennials plan to buy a home one day, according to a study from Apartment List. But, over two-thirds of them have saved less than $1,000 for a down payment. Nearly half (44 percent) haven't saved anything yet.

For aspiring homeowners who don’t have enough money to cover the upfront costs, or those battling a poor credit score, rent to own agreements are enticing. Before you start a rent to own search, consider the terms, advantages and potential drawbacks involved.

How Does Rent to Own Work?

There are two primary types of rent to own agreements. The most popular is called a lease agreement with an option to purchase. The tenant pays a fee at the start of their lease that gives them the opportunity

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Tips for New Chicago Homeowners

So, you’ve purchased your first home in Chicago – congratulations! Although those initial feelings of being a homeowner are unparalleled, don’t erroneously assume that the hard work is over just yet. Homeowners face a slew of additional responsibilities and considerations that apartment dwellers do not. But, preparing in advance is the easiest way to avoid emotional and financial stress as you make the exciting transition from renter to buyer.

If you're a new Chicago homeowner – or plan to become one in the near future – keep these best practices in mind: 

Budget for maintenance expenses

There’s more to owning a home than paying your mortgage. No longer can you rely on your landlord to pick up the bill for plumbing issues, electrical mishaps

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6 Ways to Save on New Furniture

Furnishing a new Chicago apartment or condo can be pricey, especially for recent graduates or individuals parting ways with past roommates. Once you’ve paid the initial costs of moving, finding spare funds for a sectional or dining table isn’t always feasible. With today’s technology, however, renters and first-time homeowners don’t have to spend a fortune outfitting their new digs. Nor do they have to rummage relatives’ basements for rickety odds and ends in desperate need of purging. 

After moving into your next Chicago apartment or condo, use the following tips to save on new furniture:

Bed in a Box

Brand name mattress sets from well-known shops or even department stores usually cost thousands or more when you factor in the frame and box

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July in Chicago was another popular condo buying period, with houses in the city selling faster than they have in a decade at an average market time of 74 days. Thanks to lack of for-sale inventory, the number of homes sold in July dipped 6 percent between June and July. Still, the median sales price for Chicago condos reached $325,000 in July - up 1.6 percent compared to July 2016 (Illinois REALTORS®).

Chicago real estate market update

Leading in month-over-month median condo price increases was the Loop, where home prices swelled an impressive 4.7 percent since June. The median price on Lakeview and West Loop condos also boosted 2.8 and 2.2 percent, respectively. Similarly, West Town saw a sizable monthly surge in median condo sales price at 2.6 percent. All other neighborhoods

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Chicago Home Equity

Today, one in four U.S. properties with a mortgage is considered “equity-rich.” Equity-rich is a term used to describe borrowers (homeowners with mortgages) who have a combined loan amount that is 50 percent or less than their home’s estimated market value. One-quarter of all households with a mortgage, totaling more than 14 million homes, own more than they owe, according to Attom Data Solutions. In 2016, just 22.1 percent of homes in the U.S. were equity-rich.  

The share of seriously underwater properties in the second quarter of 2017 dropped dramatically year-over-year. Seriously underwater is a term used to describe homes that owe more than they own with a combined loan amount that’s at least 25 percent higher than the home’s estimated market

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Chicago FSBOs

Sellers sometimes think the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route saves money, but rarely does selling a home without professional guidance end up a profitable or stress-free endeavor. Dedicated real estate agents know what it takes to market properties – it’s our full-time job. Our primary goal is to help homeowners realize the largest return on investment (ROI) possible. Consequently, it’s not surprising that recent data supports the notion that commissions are typically offset by higher sales prices. 

A new study from automated valuation model provider (AVM) Collateral Analytics reveals that agents tend to achieve higher sales prices for properties compared to FSBO listings. After analyzing more than 200,000 FSBO sales and one million MLS

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steps before buying a home

Did you know that over 40 percent of Americans say they regret their current home or the process they went through to obtain it? Buyer’s remorse is an unfortunate possibility in any transaction – even the largest one you’ll make in a lifetime. However, home buyers can protect their peace of mind and curb the odds of real estate regret with ample due diligence.

Before making an offer, ensure the home is an ideal match by checking off the following real estate must-dos:

  1.      Consider your expenses

You may be able to afford that $500,000 home now and came prepared with your mortgage pre-approval letter as proof – but how will that impact your financial decisions a few years from now? Parents with teenagers gearing up for college or

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