Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in Chicago's North Shore!

Chicago’s North Shore is a great area to settle in and call home. Beautiful homes, quaint neighborhoods, and vibrant communities create a welcoming environment and draw many to look for homes in these cities along the shore. Whether you choose to settle in Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Deerfield or Northbrook; you’ll find that each area offers a unique atmosphere and excellent quality of life.

If you’re a first time home buyer and are excited to begin your home search in Chicago’s North Shore; there are ten tips that will make the home buying process as smooth and stress free as possible!

1. Check Your Credit Score- Lenders will put a lot of weight on your credit score, so you want to make sure to have your credit in order. They will determine how much you qualify for in a mortgage based heavily on your credit.

2. Set Your Housing Budget- Have a clear understanding of your budget each month, and do not spend more than 30% of your gross monthly income on your North Shore home. This includes your interest, principal, homeowners insurance and taxes. You don’t want to put yourself in a financial bind that you are constantly struggling to maintain each month.

3. Start Saving and Stop Spending- Begin to save the difference between your monthly rent now and what you plan on your monthly mortgage being. This will prepare you for what the monthly payments will look like once you move into your home and help you make any needed lifestyle adjustments now.

4. Meet with a Lender- It is easy to want to begin searching online for your North Shore home, but without a sense of how much you qualify for; it’s easy to waste time looking at homes you might not be able to afford. Meet with a lender before you begin looking at homes and get pre-qualified. You’ll be able to search more effectively online and when you begin working with a North Shore Real Estate agent to find a home.

5. Find a Reputable North Shore Real Estate Agent- You’ll want to find a real estate agent who has experience in Chicago’s North Shore Real Estate market. A North Shore Real Estate agent who has years of experience in the area will be a great asset in helping you find a neighborhood and home that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

6. Narrow Your Priorities- You’ll want to make two separate lists based on your needs and wants. Your needs should be those things you absolutely need in your North Shore home. Your wants will be those items that you would prefer, but are willing to compromise on. Narrowing down and sorting out your needs and wants will help immensely when searching for a home. You’ll have a clear picture on what you are willing to compromise on, since you will most likely not find a home that has absolutely everything you would like. Know when to give and when to stand firm. You’ll quickly narrow down your home search this way!

7. Choose a Neighborhood- I feel that any you can’t go wrong in any North Shore neighborhood that you choose! However, I understand that each neighborhood does have a unique atmosphere and things to offer, so you’ll want to find the neighborhood that suits you the best. I have years of experience in the North Shore Real Estate market and will be able to assist you in finding your ideal neighborhood!

8. Make a Reasonable Offer- Your North Shore Real Estate agent will be able to give you a list of comparable homes in the area, and can help you determine an offer that is fair for the market. They will also make sure that you are being dealt with fairly as a first time home buyer.

9. Have a Home Inspection- This is very important! Even if the home looks perfect inside and out; there is no way of knowing what issues there may be without a home inspection. You don’t want to buy a home only to find that it needs the roof replaced or there is water damage. Having the home thoroughly inspected allows you to know exactly what you can expect in the home you buy.

10. Finalize the Details- Once the contract is signed; you’ll still want to stay in touch with your North Shore Real Estate agent and lender. There are always last minute finalizations that need to be made.

I hope these tips have been helpful as you begin the process of looking for and buying a home in the North Shore! If you have any questions about buying a home of the North Shore Real Estate market; please let me know. I enjoy helping first time home buyers find their first home and begin the new stage of life! I would be happy to meet with you and show you around Chicago’s North Shore!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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1 comment:

  1. When buying a home, there are things that one should consider and those tips that you've provided were very useful. Thanks for sharing!
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