Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Common North Shore Home Buyer Questions

With over 25 years of experience in North Shore real estate, I have encountered many home buyers.  So often North Shore home buyers have many questions regarding the process, especially first time buyers.  It’s always a good idea to educate yourself as much as you can when making a major life purchase, a home or otherwise.  I make it a priority to keep my clients informed at each step of buying their North Shore homes.  If you are considering the purchase of a home on Chicago’s North Shore, here are 5 questions that may be weighing on your mind.

What can afford?  Most lenders prefer that your mortgage payment, including interest, taxes and insurance, is no more than 28% of your gross monthly household income.  Think beyond just your mortgage payment though.  You also must have money for a downpayment and closing costs on hand, which can be as much as 25% of the purchase price of the home and in some situations even more.  Also take homeowner's association dues, maintenance, and utilities into account when determining your monthly housing budget.

Should I get pre-approved?  There are a few good reasons to get a mortgage pre-approval.  First, a pre-approval will allow you to establish a price range, also giving you an idea of how much you will need as a downpayment.  Second, it will make you more appealing a seller when you're ready to make an offer.  Since the seller will know that you are actually able to purchase the home, you will have the upper hand compared to a buyer without a pre-approval.  Finally, it will streamline the buying process by giving you the opportunity to resolve any issues that may arise during the approval process, preventing any holdups in the closing process.

How long does buying a take?  Obviously the time it takes a buyer to find a home varies depending on exactly what the buyer is looking for. With regard to the closing process, it will usually take a month to a month and a half.  Getting pre-approved is a great way to speed up the closing process.

What should I expect to pay in closing costs? Closing costs are usually in the neighborhood of 3% of the purchase price of the home but can vary from one buyer to the next for a variety of reasons.  A day before your closing you will be able to review your HUD-1 Settlement Statement which specifies all of the fees that make up your closing costs,  You will want to review the document for accuracy, and be sure to ask for clarification on anything that you don't understand.

Should I work with a buyer’s agent?  Having an agent on your side while going through the home buying process can alleviate much of the stress that can come along with it.  A buyer’s agent can handle most of your home search for you, supplying you with a list of homes that meet your needs and scheduling showings for you.  A buyer’s agent will also handle negotiations for you, if you would like him or her to do so.  Plus, a buyer's agent works at no cost to the buyer. 

I realize that these are probably only a few of the many questions that you may have, and you will probably have even more once you actually begin searching for your North Shore home.  Please contact me if you are interested in partnering with an experienced North Shore realtor to start your search.  I’m happy to answer all of your questions and will help you to find the perfect home on Chicago’s North Shore.  

Janie Bress
Your North Shore Real Estate Expert

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