Buying Chicago Condos & Real Estate
With low mortgage rates and home prices, today’s real estate market presents a great opportunity for buying property. At Chicago Condo Finder we provide you with an individualized home buying experience. We understand that buying a home and moving can be highly stressful, so it is our goal to guarantee you a great experience that results in a smooth transaction. We will guide you through each step of the buying process, from sharing market knowledge, to making an offer, negotiating, and closing your transaction.
Our agents understand the Chicago real estate market and will help you find a condo, home or rental apartment that meets your specific needs and is geared to your lifestyle.
Our team of Chicago real estate agents will:
- Provide a buyer’s needs analysis and explanation of the home buying process
- Conduct a thorough market search that identifies all properties meeting your criteria
- Assist with the mortgage pre-qualification process and explore financing options
- Provide an overview of various neighborhoods, buildings, types of amenities and lifestyles offered
- Research and preview properties, and facilitate property showings
- Recommend mortgage professionals, attorneys and related vendors
- Analyze comprehensive market statistics, trends and property comparable valuations to determine competitive prices
- Strategize and negotiate contract terms and prices
- Coordinate closing details to ensure a successful transaction
We know that buying a condo or house is an important decision and we're here to help you every step of the way. Read about our professional guarantee.
Considerations for Buying a Chicago Condo
It will be helpful to consider the following when buying a condo in Chicago:
Selecting a Building: Once you determine your desired neighborhood, there are many things to consider. What amenities are offered? Does parking come with the unit and is it garaged or outdoors? What are the monthly home owner’s association dues? Does the unit have additional storage? What is the view of the unit and will future construction block your view? Does the unit need to be updated? If so, you must make sure to account for it in your offer.
Owner Occupancy Percentage: If the number of non-owner occupied units (rentals) is too high, typically more than 51%, it can affect your financing.
Condo Association Reserves: Are the condo reserves sufficient to cover unexpected building maintenance, operating expenses and repairs? During the attorney approval period your lawyer will review condo documents and budgets.
Special Assessments: Often buildings will have special assessments for major upgrades or general repairs. You will want to know about any outstanding special assessments so you can consider it in your offer.
Monthly Assessments: Condo buildings have monthly home owner assessments. These cover doormen, management salaries and overall maintenance. They can include electricity, heat, gas, air conditioning, trash removal, water, cable, internet, common insurance, snow removal, etc. It's important to know what is included and what additional expenses you will incur.
Pet Policy: Many condo buildings have restrictions in number and weight limits of the pets allowed. Since pets are family members, it is important that you communicate this to your agent. Many newer condo buildings provide dog runs to accommodate our furry friends.
Renting Out Your unit: If your space-needs change or you relocate, it's important to understand the condominium bylaw restrictions if you want to rent. Often the building has a certain percentage that they allow for rentals. There might also be a board approval process that you must adhere by.
Are you ready to get started? Contact us today to see how we can help you find your next condo.
Other Condo Purchase Process Considerations:
Obtain Mortgage Pre-Approval: You are in a stronger negotiating position if you have a pre-approval letter prior to making an offer. Before you seek pre-approval you should a) review your credit report and take care of outstanding balances or negative inquiries, b) make sure your gross income is at least three times the anticipated housing expenses (mortgage, monthly assessments, taxes and insurance), c) You should have at least 5-10% of the purchase price in liquid funds to place as a deposit.
Once your finances are in order you should meet with a mortgage professional. They will explain various mortgage types and help you figure out what you can afford to spend. As a rule of thumb, your total monthly payments on long term debt and mortgage should not exceed 36-40% of your gross monthly income.
Unit Inspection: Once a purchase contract is accepted, there is a five to seven business day due diligence period. It is critical to hire a third-party inspector to determine any defects for repair. The inspector will check if the building and unit is up to city code. Your attorney will review this information and determine if additional contract terms need to be negotiated.
Mortgage Contingency Clause: This clause may be written into the purchase contract. This helps ensure that if you apply for a loan from a qualified lender and don’t receive a finance commitment by a specified time period or within an interest rate ceiling, you may elect to cancel the contract and receive the return of the escrow down payment. Despite a pre-approval letter, a mortgage is not binding until your loan is underwritten.
Bank Appraisal: As part of the mortgage underwriting process, the bank will perform a real estate appraisal. This establishes a property’s market value and its pricing. The bank appraisal will affect the mortgage amount the bank is willing to lend, as the bank wants to ensure the property will sell for the money they are lending. If the unit does not appraise out and you are under a mortgage contingency period this could require re-negotiation of the purchase price.
To learn more about the buying process, call us at 312-953-0961. You can also find out how the market is doing by signing up for our free weekly market reports.
Ready to start house hunting? Use our advanced search options to view Chicago MLS listings that are right for you. You can search for single family homes, condominiums, rentals, and more! Register for free access to complete listing details.