Chicago Related Realtor specializes in Homes that Welcome Fur Babies

Chicago Pet Friendly Real Estate finds homes for the whole family

We are so proud of Related Realty broker Jason Feldman! Inman published a story featuring Jason’s pet friendly niche in the Chicago market that focuses on finding homes for the whole family. Click below to read the article.

International Home Buying in Chicago

Chicago is a very attractive option for affluent foreign homebuyers. Read what Related Realty broker Kristine Chen Frost has to say about the state of international home buying in Chicagoland in Chicago Agent Magazines cover story! Click here for the full story.

What to Know About Buying Real Estate in South Loop

Are you thinking about buying a home in the South Loop? Heres what you need to know about this fast-growing neighborhood and the real estate in South Loop Chicago!

Lofts and Location

South Loop is generally dominated by high-rise buildings that are dedicated to a variety of loft living arrangements. These lofts tend to be both fun and full of character, as many of been converted from old printing and publishing houses, giving many places an industrial style. Brick and concrete are dominant materials on the outside, but timber supports are often used indoors.

Space in this area is very valuable, but if a loft is a little too small for your tastes there are also a number of newer and renovated brick townhouses for you to consider. When it comes to location, you have close proximity to Grant Park, Lake Michigan activities, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Buckingham Fountain, and more.

Hip and Historical

South Loop has a reputation as a youthful, energetic neighborhood. This is probably because it is so close to a number of different college campuses, including DePaul University, Roosevelt University, and Columbia College.

However, the Loop is also known for its historical value. Not only is it in the center of a variety of museums including the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry, it also shows its own history with all of those converted buildings.

Lots of Activity

The Loop continues to transition into a more residential area as more and more buildings are converted to apartments and homes. This is good news for those looking for South Loop condos, but it also means that prices are on the rise – recently homes here have jumped in price by around 50% in just one year! This trend is likely to continue, so the sooner you act the more you may be able to save when it comes to picking out your ideal loft.

To find out more about South Loop condos and what the hottest neighborhoods are, contact a Chicago real estate agent today!

Moving to a New Neighborhood? Tips to Get Familiarized with the Area

Moving to a new neighborhood can be tough when you don’t know anyone and you’re not familiar with the area. Once you’ve settled into your new home, getting to know your community should be next on your agenda. With these tips, you can meet your neighbors and learn the lay of the land.

Host a party

Hosting a little get-together is a great way to meet the people around you and, in the process, learn more about Lincoln Park Chicago real estate and the surrounding area. If you’re in a condo, it’s easy to post a notice of the place and time. In a traditional neighborhood, you may want to knock on a few nearby doors or leave a flier letting people know the details. Don’t forget to include your email address or phone number for contacting you.

Take a walk

Grab a friend or the dog, or head out on your own. Walking around the area can quickly familiarize you with the hottest shopping spots, best dining venues and most popular coffee shops. You’ll also learn where to find essentials like the library and post office, and you might even meet a neighbor.

Get involved

Jumping into some community activities is a great way to learn your way around and meet people. Join a book club, volunteer or turn out for a community yard sale or bake sale; your Lincoln Park Chicago Realtor can provide suggestions.

With these simple tips, you can quickly get acquainted with your new neighborhood and start feeling at home in no time. For more information about homes for sale in Lincoln Park Chicago, contact us today.

What You Need to Know About Private Transfer Fees

Exhilaration permeates the process of purchasing a Chicago condo or your dream home. However, the pathway towards becoming a homeowner lies riddled with fees for multiple reasons, and a few of these fees may be more exorbitant than others, such as Private Transfer Fees. Before you sign your name to a mortgage or rental agreement, take the time to understand what these fees reference, their average cost, and how recent government regulations impact Private Transfer Fees.

What Are Private Transfer Fees?

During construction, the developer uses his resources to acquire all of the necessary building supplies, contractors, and workers to complete the project, which reflect within the purchase price of the structure. However, some developers may ask for a fee for development with each subsequent selling of the property following completion.

How Much Are Private Transfer Fees?

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Private Transfer Fees routinely represent 1% of the homes value and cover a period of 99 years. However, the FHFA recently sought to amend the processes of charging Private Transfer Fees when government-backed housing giants are involved.

Private Fees Changed for the Better.

In 2010, the FHFA began working on modifying how Private Transfer Fees are charged and set forth a precedent for the housing market. With a final ruling in 2012, housing giants, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and other Federal Home Loan Banks, were effectively stripped of the ability to charge Private Transfer Fees when the fees do not improve the community, and therefore, directly benefit the homebuyer. As a result, the majority of Private Transfer Fees were halted on most Chicago real estate transactions.

Private Transfer fees may go by many names, including Covenant Private Transfer Fees or Property Development Securities. However, the 2012 ruling by the FHFA guarantees that any such fees may not be charged by a federally-backed bank unless the fee does not result in lost equity. If youd like to learn more about these fees or a home without such fees, contact us today, and a Chicago realtor will be happy to assist you.

Top 5 Home-Buying Costs You Need to Know About

When looking into Chicago real estate, theres a few costs you should become familiar with before the property becomes yours to own. Thankfully, heres a list of five home buying costs you should know about before unpacking in a new residence.

Earnest Money Deposit An earnest money deposit is basically where you put your money where your mouth is. Its usually expected that a potential homeowner pay at least one to two percent of the total property cost as a deposit.

Escrow Account Mortgage companies set up escrow accounts to make sure a potential homeowner has the reliable funds to pay for a home. Whether covering taxes and the mortgage insurance, this amount depends on the type of loan, location, and business dealt with the lender.

Inspection  An inspection confirms that the home not only looks great, but makes sure theres no cracks, leaks, or possibility of pests living inside the home.

Appraisal An appraisal is information needed by the loan company, so lenders have an idea of the fair value of the property being purchased.

Credit Check A credit check is mandatory. Although may are free, a loan company will check all three. This is relatively inexpensive compared to buying a home.

Now these are just a handful of issues youll encounter when buying a new place, but contact a Chicago realtor for a Chicago condo for more information.

Tips to Win the Hearts and Minds of a Home Seller

Purchasing a home can be very emotional for not only the home buyer, but also for the home seller as well. It is important to keep the seller in mind when attempting to purchase home if you want to get the right deal that you deserve on your desired property. The first step towards winning over the seller is to make sure you come forward with a fair offer. A Chicago realtor can help you come up with a fair offer by doing what is called a comparative market analysis, or a CMA. This will show you what similar homes in the Chicago real estate market have recently sold for, giving you a good idea of the real market value of the home you intend to purchase. Additionally, sellers tend to find certain buyers more attractive than others if they are either cash buyers, already have a pre-approval for a mortgage, or dont have to sell their own home before being able to purchase from the seller. Whether you are looking for a Chicago condo, apartment or house, contact us today to find out more about the home buying process and how we can help make it as smooth as possible.

How to Avoid Overpaying for Your South Loop Chicago Mortgage

A busy professional interested in buying a new residence couldnt do better than homes for sale in the South Loop. The area offers all of the amenities of living in the best part of the city: easy access to transportation, museums, and restaurants, as well as the culture and social events that make Chicago great. South Loop Chicago real estate offers a wide range of prices and sizes, to fit the small family or single family lifestyle.

Finance Matters: How to Make Sure Youre Not Overpaying On Your Mortgage

Once you find the perfect place, its time to double check the points of your mortgage. Being well informed is the best way to make your decisions. Here are some key points you should be aware of when comparing lenders offers:

  • Interest Rate. In short, the interest rate is the rate of interest youre charged to borrow the money needed to secure your home.
  • APR. A lot of people completely overlook this when deciding on their price for a home, only looking at the interest rate. The APR is the cost of the loan in total, including all of the fees and points that might vary from lender to lender this is the real number you should be paying attention to when comparing.
  • Fees. Mortgage loans generally come with a variety of fees. Ask them to separate and itemize these fees for you, so that you can better compare one lender with another. Some fees may be negotiable, dont just acquiesce to a loan when youre not comfortable with the terms.
  • Lock the Rate. Locking the rate is important because it will fix your rate and fees, giving you time to finalize and close on the home.

To find out more about homes for sale, contact your South Loop realtor today!

5 Things To Look For In A Chicago Condo

Chicago real estate is full of a wide array of interesting properties that reflect the diverse communities the city has to offer. It is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own special brand of flavor and culture to fit any taste. With such an eclectic selection to choose from, looking for just the right condo to call home can seem overwhelming.

Here are our top 5 things to look for when choosing your new condo:

  1. Neighborhood. Before you even get going, you want to really study the city and decide which neighborhoods you would feel most at home in. This choice might be based on proximity to work or the demographics of the area.
  2. Parking. As with most cities, parking can be a huge issue. Even if you dont drive, it still might be problematic for guests that come visit and should be something you consider before purchasing.
  3. Transit. One big perk to Chicago is the transit system. Even if you dont currently use it, you might find a local el or bus is a much better way to get across the city at rush hour.
  4. Building Maintenance/Homeowners Associations. Many condos have Homeowners Associations, so youll want to really pay attention to their rules and regulations before committing to a purchase. You also want to pay special attention to the maintenance in the common areas of the building.
  5. School and Park Districts. While buyers who dont have children often pay little attention to the school district, its something to consider when purchasing because it will have a direct effect on the resale value of the property. Park districts are also important, especially if you want to join in local events and participate in activities.

To find out more, contact your Related Realty Chicago realtor today!

3 Things to Know About Mortgage Costs in Chicago

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is planning on reducing borrowing costs for prospective Chicago homeowners; such news is notable, given that it comes after a long line of cost increases from the cash-strapped agency.

What are the specifics of the FHA’s plan, and how will it impact your clients looking for FHA mortgages in Chicago?Here are the three things you should keep in mind:

  1. The FHA’s Plan Will Tackle Mortgage Insurance – The FHA, which is overseen by HUD and insures mortgages with down payments as low as 3.5 percent, finances its operations via mortgage insurance, which borrowers pay in addition to their monthly Chicago mortgage. So, according to the FHA, a low-down payment mortgage comes with a few more fees as a result. But the FHA will lower those premiums, reportedly dropping them from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent.
  2. The FHA Can Afford It – Given that the FHA increased Chicago mortgage premiums in 2013 because of shaky finances, is it really a good idea for them to lower those premiums now in 2015? Though critics are stating that the FHA should keep its premiums at their current level, the agency’s finances have improved dramatically in the last year.  According to an independent audit in November, the FHA’s insurance fund (a rainy-day fund of sorts that mortgage premiums fund) was valued at $4.8 billion; that’s up from a $1.1 billion deficit in 2013, and spurred many industry advocates (including NAR and the MBA) to lobby for lower premiums in Chicago.
  3. Its Impact May be Marginal – It’s unlikely that lower mortgage premiums at the FHA will lead to any kind of surge in homebuyer demand, simply because the savings from the lower premiums may not amount to that much money. According to an analysis by Sterne Agee, a borrower with a 30-year, $100,000 mortgage insured by the FHA would save roughly $25, at most, in their monthly mortgage payments in Chicago. Though Sterne Agee admitted that its analysis was more back-of-the-envelope than anything else, it argued, “This savings will pull some marginal borrowers into homeownership, but it isn’t enough, in our view, to assume single family housing demand increases above our current assumption.”

Most importantly, lower FHA mortgage premiums do not change the greater economic forces currently impacting the housing market in Chicago, namely low savings rates and even lower wage growth. Some consumers will undoubtedly benefit from lower premiums, but it’s unlikely that housing will kick into high gear as a result of the policy.