Are you tired of consistently increasing rents in the City? Is it time for you to root down and create some stability around your monthly housing expenses? If so, Leading Edge Realty Advisors is here to help you find your first Chicagoland condo and provide the guidance and support you need to make this a very easy process. After reading this article you will have a solid introduction to the condo purchasing process and will be able to take the next steps in your endeavor to purchase your first condo.
The first step is to get your financing lined up since money always dictates the deal. My recommendation is to get pre-approved with a lender, finding out what you can afford to purchase. Before you speak with a lender, it would be ideal to become more knowledgeable about the expenses that comprise a typical monthly condo payment:
- Mortgage Principal- The portion of each monthly payment dedicated to repayment of the principal.
- Mortgage Interest- The portion of each monthly payment dedicated to the lender for taking the risk and loaning money to the borrower.
- PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)- If you make a down payment of less than 20% of the condo’s purchase price, you will be charged PMI which is insurance that protects the lender in the event the borrower is unable to repay the loan.
- Home Owner’s Insurance- Protects the home and personal property contents from fire, theft and other disasters. You will be required to purchase your own policy before you own the property.
- Condo Assessments/Homeowner Association Fees- These are mandatory monthly payments to the association to pay for a share of common expenses arising from the operation and maintenance of common property.
- Real Estate Taxes- Assessed by governmental agencies and used to fund various public services. You will pay Cook County taxes twice a year, typically through your lender.
When you are ready to speak with a lender, be prepared to provide some personal information about yourself such as a couple years of recent tax returns and a few months of pay stubs. During your first discussion ask about the typical mortgage rates in the marketplace and the loan products they have to offer (i.e. 30 year fixed mortgage, 15 year fixed mortgage, 5/1 year ARM). It would also be a good idea to have the lender explain the typical fees to anticipate at closing. This would solely be an estimate at this point, although it doesn’t hurt to become more familiar.
Once the lender provides the pre-approval letter you now know your buying power and can now focus on the areas where you want to live. Start researching those neighborhoods and the associated amenities. Is there public transportation available, how about nightlife and restaurants? Is there low crime in your desired location?
Once you determine the target areas it is time to contact your trusted advisor at Leading Edge Realty Advisors at 847-361-3420 to schedule an initial consultation. An advisor would talk through your target neighborhood, unit specifications, desired amenities, square footage, ideal layouts with the goal of brainstorming and learning more about how we can best meet your needs. Searches on different neighborhoods would be setup via email alerting you of potential matches. If there are properties you would like to view we would then schedule tours at a mutually agreeable time. During those visits the advisor would learn more about your likes and dislikes, helping guide you to the perfect match.
When you find the property to purchase the team at Leading Edge Realty Advisors would prepare a standard contract and talk you through everything you are signing. We would take the time to answer all your questions, making sure you are comfortable making an offer. You would also identify your attorney that will represent you during the home purchasing process, providing you with another resource to help you through the process.
Once the contract is agreed upon by all parties you would schedule a home inspection with a licensed home inspector where they would identify any safety issues or material defects with the property. If there are items that need to be fixed, the repair would be requested during the attorney approval period to the seller. Also during this time it is recommended the attorney request more information about the condo unit and the Homeowner Association such as:
- Homeowners Association’s annual operating budget. This will help you understand which expenses the association pays for and which are the unit owners responsibility.
- Capital reserve balance and the 5 or 10 year capital plan. Become more familiar about the upcoming capital needs of the building. The association will also disclose if there are any upcoming special assessments.
- Association’s rules and regulations, becoming an expert on what is allowed and disallowed.
After the attorney approval period the lender will be working behind the scenes to secure the financing which includes obtaining an appraisal on the property, which the buyer is financially responsible for. If the appraisal comes in at or higher the proposed purchase price then the loan will continue to process. After a few more weeks, you will obtain a clear to close and a closing transaction date is scheduled.
Right before the closing, the advisor from Leading Edge Realty Advisors would conduct a final inspection of the unit, making sure all fixtures are still attached and there are no issues with moveout. It is the expectation the property to be turned over in broom clean condition. We would then go to the closing where your lawyer would talk you through all documents you are signing to consummate the transactions. After that, welcome to your brand-new home!
If you would like additional information around the condo purchasing process please feel free to give Leading Edge Realty Advisors a call at 847-361-3420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.