3 Ways To Avoid Overpaying For A Mortgage

The housing market is in the midst of a significant rebound, and as such, Chicago property is in great demand. Prospective homeowners, eager to find wonderful homes for sale in Chicago, are currently willing to take on mortgages that, as of a few years ago, would have been summarily rejected. Although the desire to score that dream home is understandable, it is important to take care while negotiating a mortgage. The following three tips will make it easy to avoid overpaying for a mortgage:

1. Consider how long you plan on sticking around.

Discount points are not ideal for short-term property investments. However, this approach allows long-term buyers to enjoy significant savings through reduced interest rates.

2. Compare APR rates and fees.

It is definitely not a good idea to automatically opt for the first lender that comes to mind. Instead, prospective homeowners are advised to shop around, paying careful attention to each lenders APR rates and associated fees. After examining all good faith estimates, consider negotiating with preferred lenders to score lower rates and fees.

3. Be careful when making a first offer.

The art of negotiating a mortgage is complex, but if there is one move that should be avoided at all costs, its revealing exactly how much you are willing to pay for a given home. Ideally, multiple offers should take place and the first offer should be significantly lower than the final offer.

This is an exciting time to look for homes for sale in Chicago. Feel free to contact us to learn how a Chicago real estate agent can help you as you hunt for your dream home.

Top Three Hottest Neighborhoods For Chicago Real Estate

If you are thinking about buying a home in Chicago, youre not alone. Chicago is full of culture and is the third most populated city in the country. Additionally, Chicago is home to many Fortune 500 companies making it an even more appealing place to live. Whether youre looking for a Chicago condo or any other type of Chicago real estate, you will definitely want to consider looking at homes in some of the hottest neighborhoods in area.

The Top Three Hottest Neighborhoods For Chicago Real Estate

These locations have great homes and low crime rates and thats why they made the list of top three hottest neighborhoods in Chicago.

1. EdgewaterThis neighborhood includes Andersonville and Lakewood Balmoral and has a total population of 56,500 with a median household income of $48,300. The median home sale price in this area is $490,000 and $150,000 for a condo. In the Lakewood Balmoral district of this neighborhood you will find 19th-century homes on large lots in many different styles such as Gothic, Flemish and Queen Anne.

2. Edison ParkThis neighborhood has a total population of 11,200 with a median household income of $77,000. The median home sale price in this area is $325,000 and $94,000 for a condo. Edison is a classic Chicago neighborhood that is very family friendly and has plenty of bungalows and Craftsman cottages on well-manicured lots.

3. BeverlyThis neighborhood has a total population of 20,000 with a median household income of $90,200. The median home sale price in this area is $223,000. Beverly is a historically Irish neighborhood with fantastic affordable cottages and split-level homes on large lots.

If you would like more information about buying a home in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago, give us a call today. We look forward to helping you find your new home.

Seven Things Must Learn If You Want To Flip Chicago Real Estate

Flipping Chicago real estate has become a very enticing venture for many people. With all the latest television shows making the process seem so simple and many of them telling you that you can flip a house with no money down. Sometimes its hard to know who or what to believe. Buying a home in Chicago to flip can be done, but you really need to learn the facts before you begin.

Seven Things You Need To Know About Flipping Houses

1. You are going to need cash if you want to buy and flip luxury Chicago real estate.

2. You will need a team to help you. Its almost impossible to try to do everything yourself.

3. Thoroughly study the market trends and the market comps before you buy anything.

4. Find an undervalued property and, if possible, thoroughly inspect it before you submit a bid.

5. Learn and follow the 70% rule.

6. The quicker you get the house completed and sold, the more money you will keep in your pocket.

7. Expect the unexpected. No matter how hard to try to prepare for possible contingencies, sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you will have to shell out some money to take care of those issues, even if you didnt budget for them.

Flipping houses can be exciting, but you really shouldnt go it alone. If you are interested in flipping houses in Chicago, please contact us today.

Whats in your wallet?


If you’re thinking about buying a home this year, resist the instinctual urge to contact a lender or Realtor, and take a few minutes to first review what’s in your wallet. This includes those hauling around a 20-pound purse, a.k.a. a “life office”.

Our wallets and purses hold the content to our unique personal and financial stories. Both stories are equally important in qualifying for a home mortgage. Wallets contain identification, credit cards, debit cards, cash, checks, and Starbucks cards. We carry around bills that if not paid on time get reported to the credit bureaus as collections faster than we phone in to dispute the items.

Consider what’s in your wallet and take it a step further by preparing for the mortgage pre-approval process.

Credit cards – Know your credit limits. Balances should never be higher than 50% of the credit limits; even if balances are paid in full monthly. If you max out your credit cards for max “rewards,” call to have your limit increased by 50% of your average monthly balance. Your scores will tank with high balances similar to if you were to make a late payment.

Debit cards –Reflect on bank account activity. You will need to source large, non-income deposits. Be prepared to explain and source with documentation.

Cash –Lenders cannot document cash transactions and do not allow cash deposits as sufficient assets for down payment or closing costs. Keep cash in the bank so that it can be verified.

Identification – You won’t be able to purchase a home without current, valid identification. If you don’t have a local ID, be prepared to explain why, or make a trip to the local DMV.

Checks – When depositing checks for items sold, loans that friends have finally re-paid, or generous birthday gifts, be prepared to source: Snap a photo of the check, provide a bill of sale, or ask your grandparent for a gift letter.

 Bills – Pay them on time, or pay them now. Resolve all disputes quickly. If credit cards or collections are “in dispute” status, a lender cannot approve your mortgage until it’s resolved.

Know what’s in your wallet so that you know when you’re ready to purchase a home. You will also have a lighter purse, more control of your finances, and a faster mortgage pre-approval process.

Tips To Avoid Moving Nightmares

Buying a home can be an exciting and exhilarating experience, or it can be a stressful time that you would rather avoid. If you’re looking into homes for sale in Chicago in the near future, you will set yourself up for fewer pitfalls by knowing what you want before you shop. A Chicago realtor will help you find the best areas in which to purchase based upon good local schools, safe streets and convenient transportation.

Choose Your Desired Neighborhoods

Chicago has many diverse neighborhoods and suburbs. The prices of Chicago real estate are heavily reliant on the area in which a house or condo is located. Comparing data for the neighborhoods and suburbs will keep you from the nightmare of purchasing a home in an area that doesn’t suit your needs.

Get Your Pre-approval before You Go House Shopping

Being pre-qualified is not enough to bring to the table when you find the house or condo you want, among the many homes for sale in Chicago. Be sure to get pre-approved, which includes a commitment letter guaranteeing you a loan and a monthly payment amount.

Don’t Buy the Wrong House for You or Your Family

Even if a house appeals to you greatly during your initial walkthrough, look beyond the package. Will the house be suitable for you or your family? Will you have room to grow, or is the house larger than you need?

The most beautiful houses in the Chicago real estate offerings may not be suited for your unique needs. It’s unwise to buy too much house, or one with too little room. Use the services of a Chicago realtor to find a house that will function properly for your family, and offer you room to grow, if you need it. To find out more, contact us today.

Home Improvements and ROI

When it comes to buying or selling Lincoln Park Chicago real estate, a variety of factors matter. While pricing it right is important, so is maximizing what the home is worth. To do this, home sellers can consider home improvements. Yet, not all home improvements offer the same return on investment. If you plan to sell, where should you put your money?

A Close Look at Homes for Sale in Lincoln Park Chicago

Before you list your home, take a look at a few home improvement projects that tend to offer the biggest bang for your buck in ROI. The following are some of the most sought after:

  • Updated bathrooms: Clean, new bathrooms really do get the attention of home buyers. They love the fresh start.
  • Modern kitchens: A whole kitchen makeover isnt going to get you dollar for dollar increases, but it will attract buyers. Simple makeovers of cabinets and countertops make an impression.
  • Painting: Get rid of dirty walls with a fresh coat of paint for a complete return on investment.

Other areas to consider making changes to in order to boost your Lincoln Park Chicago real estate value include the landscaping and flooring. Even inexpensive updates can make a big difference. Talk to your local, expert real estate agent today about all of the options available to you. Let us help you to list your home for what its really worth with home improvements.

Helpful Tips for Finding “Family Friendly” Homes in Chicago

These days, more and more parents are staying in the city to raise their kids rather than moving to the suburbs. With so many terrific kid-friendly condo buildings and great neighborhoods for families in Chicago, parents have no shortage of housing options to choose from. Here are just a few considerations for families as they start to think about buying a “family friendly” home in Chicago:

  • AMENITIES: If you’re thinking about high-rise living, consider what building amenities would appeal to your family.
    • If you’re big fans of family movie night, a building with a great screening room would be a perfect fit.
    • Do your kids love to swim? Look for a building with an indoor pool so they can do so year-round, even in the cold-weather months.
    • Need more room for your kids to play?  Look for buildings that boast a children’s playroom in their amenity package.  (See below for photo of the playroom at The Grant, a Related Midwest condo building located at 1201 S. Prairie).
  • NEIGHBORHOOD ATTRIBUTES: Many families want to live in a neighborhood or building with plenty of other families (and kids!) around. Check out the neighborhood in the evening or on a weekend to see if it’s a family-friendly vibe. Another strategy is to look at buildings with a good percentage of larger units, which tend to attract more families.
  • LOCATION:  Time is golden for any busy parent, and that’s especially true in the city where it isn’t as easy to hop in the car and run a quick errand.
    • When you’re buying a home in Chicago, think about its proximity to not only your office and your kids’ schools, but also the grocery store, dry cleaner, gym and other places you go on a regular basis.
    • One of the big perks of city living is having a walkable lifestyle, so scope out any neighborhood you’re considering and see if you’ll be able to walk with your kids to the library, the park, the ice cream parlor or a great family-Children's Playroom at The Grantfriendly restaurant.

      You can count on the Related Realty team of expert brokers to help you discover all that Chicago real estate has to offer for families.  Call today to begin the process of finding your dream home!