These questions are informative and cover my 30 plus years of experience in real-estate. I like getting asked, I will be happy to answer your questions. Sometimes the whole process might be too overwhelming or confusing, I will be happy to clarify it for you as much as I can. Feel free to ask any question in the form below. I will email you back, and if you chose so, share the answer with the public.
BUYERS WANT TO KNOW…
The home buying process is something you should never navigate alone. Your buyer’s agent (aka, realtor) should be able to help you every step of the way–from narrowing down the best neighborhood for your needs, to scouting out the perfect properties (and if she’s a good agent–getting you into the best ones before they even hit the market.)
She’ll be a fierce advocate to negotiate the best deal possible, and knows Chicago’s neighborhoods inside and out. Once you’ve found your dream home, she’ll guide you through the mortgage approval process, and setting you up for success, and go above and beyond to make sure you’re comfortable and in-the-know at every turn.
In other words, she’s essentially the quarterback of the team–ensuring that the inspector, attorney, and lender meet deadlines for contract contingencies and she gets you to the closing table on time. Most importantly, your buyer’s agent is your fierce advocate.
Say you live in downtown Chicago, for example…
If your rent payment is $2500 per month, and you find a condo for $400,000 (yes, you can find a nice condo in Chicago for $400K), owning versus renting is to your benefit. Why? Let’s do the math…
To buy a $400,000 condo you would need a minimum of $50,000 to cover the downpayment, mortgage fees and closing costs. The all-in monthly cost would be $2600 ($1700 for the mortgage and mortgage insurance, $400 for HOA fees and $500 for property taxes).
Okay, you’re paying $100 extra per month–but there’s also the tax deduction you can take for mortgage interest and property taxes. Inevitable property appreciation would also be a major added bonus. Not to mention, you’ll get all of this money back when you decide to sell. (Rent? That’s out the window forever!)
Based on this, coupled with the uncertainty of rent prices (rent in Chicago has increased 5.2% per year since 2012) – I’d say buying vs. renting is a very safe choice.
You may also get access to properties not yet actively listed–which is especially important in a hot real estate market such as Chicago! Additionally, when working with an agent, you don’t just get access to her expertise – you get access to her entire network of advisors, lenders, contractors, and more.
Typically a buyer submits an offer for the property, and then waits for the lender and other lien-holders to approve taking less than they are owed. This process can take several months to close to a year and in the end the lender/lien-holder might say no to the offer price and terms. Patience is key when dealing with a short sale purchase, but the end result can make the process worth the wait.
SELLERS WANT TO KNOW…
To estimate the appropriate list price and likely selling price of your home, your realtor will analyze a data report called a Comparable Market Analysis or CMA. She will look at comparable homes (also referred to as “comps” ) in the immediate neighborhood that she believes are relevant to your home and that have sold within the past 3-6 months. And she will verify that all data is accurate. Be sure to verify the actual selling price. (What you heard from your neighbors does not mean it is accurate information!)