Wednesday, October 26, 2011

7 Tips for a Stress Free Home Buying Experience in the North Shore!

As a North Shore Real Estate agent, I often get asked if now is a good time to buy a home. With an array of beautiful homes currently on the North Shore Real Estate market, low mortgage rates and ideally priced homes, I encourage potential buyers that now is a great time to buy a North Shore home.

Whether you’re considering buying your first home in Deerfield, Glencoe, Highland Park, Northbrook, Winnetka or any of the other North Shore cities, or you’re considering buying up in the area; there are many details to consider. While visions of your new home are dancing in your head, it’s also important to take a few minutes to think through your expectations, the current market and your goals.

Buying a home in Chicago’s North Shore can be a very exciting time and can be a enjoyable experience if you are prepared. Take a look at the following seven tips to help ensure a stress free and efficient home buying process.

1. Know when it’s the right time in your life to buy- Decide whether to buy based on your life and what makes sense for you, your family, your plans and your finances. Then, use the news about what’s going on in the market to decide how to buy: what kind of house to buy, what sort of loan to use, how much to offer, and other strategies for executing your home buying plans.

2. Find the right North Shore Real Estate agent- Finding the right North Shore Real Estate agent can make all the difference! Be sure to look for the following: qualifications, experienced in the transaction you envision (short sale, high end property, etc…), great referrals and testimonials, is a problem solver, and appeals to your personality style (you could potentially be spending a lot of time with your realtor, so you want to make sure it’s a good fit).

3. Get a good understanding what to expect- Research as much as possible, but be sure to decide on a trusted North Shore Real Estate agent as soon as possible. They’ll be able to give you a layout of what you can expect from buying a North Shore home. Ask your North Shore Real Estate agent questions such as when you’re expected to show up so you can take time off work, and when you’re expected to write checks so you can be prepared.

4. Know the home you’re buying- You may have nightmares of coming home to a recent home purchase only to find it falling apart. Ways to avoid this are to thoroughly go over the disclosures which are required to list out issues or recent repairs within the home, get a home inspection, have contingencies in place when making your offer, maintain a home warranty policy that will cover many major malfunctions for a service call fee.

5. Learn how to prevent money surprises during escrow- When you first apply for a loan, you’ll receive a good faith estimate which is a standardized list of costs associated with obtaining the mortgage and a breakdown of the monthly mortgage payment due on the mortgage for which you were approved. Keep in mind this is just an estimate. When you close on escrow, you’ll pay prorated mortgage interest and property taxes from the date of closing till the end of the month. The date of closing can make a difference in thousands of dollars required to close. Ask your North Shore Real Estate agent to help you set your closing date in accordance with the cash you have at your disposal.

6. Solve the problem of how much you want to offer- This can be tricky, but there are some ways to determine the price of your offer. Your North Shore Real Estate agent can provide a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) which shows what other homes along the North Shore are selling for. You can also determine the price by the sellers’ motivation to sell as well as the current market factors- which happen to be in the buyers’ favor right now!

7. Know when to remove contingencies or waive objections- Removing contingencies or waiving objections usually puts thousands of dollars on the line, so it’s not a step to be taken lightly. Plus, by removing contingencies or waiving your objections, you are essentially telling the seller that you plan to close the deal — something you just shouldn’t do unless and until you are satisfied with the following items: title, disclosures and inspections, condition issues, appraisal and underwriting. Your North Shore Real Estate agent can help you determine if and when you need to take this step.

I hope these tips help you think through your expectations and will give you some insight into how to approach the current North Shore Real Estate market. Of course, I’m always here to help! Feel free to contact me anytime with any questions you have or to begin your home search.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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