Looking For Real Estate? Your Checklist for Finding a Home in Chicago
Looking for a new home is very exciting, particularly if it’s your first. But if making a real estate purchase is new to you, you may not be familiar with everything involved. If that’s the case, we’ve prepared this checklist for finding Chicago homes for sale.
Look At Your Financials
The first step is to have a good understanding of what you can afford. There’s nothing more disheartening than to fall in love with a home that seems ideal for you and your family only to later find out that it’s outside of your price range.
Calculate your current monthly income and debt. Find out what your credit score is, as this will have an effect of what kind of mortgage you will be eligible for and what your interest rate will be. Calculate how much of a down payment you will be able to make. With this information, you can use an online mortgage calculator to find out what mortgage amount you will be able to afford and how much of a monthly payment it will represent.
There are many different mortgage products available in the market. You can now start researching what kind of mortgage will best suit your situation. It’s a good idea to speak with several potential lenders and brokers in order to get the best possible rate.
Find out if you qualify for any special loan types (like a VA loan), or state or federal financing opportunities. Once you’ve settled on a mortgage provider, get pre-approved. This will make you more competitive as a potential buyer.
Consider What You Need and What You Want
This is where the process starts getting really fun. Make a list of everything your new home must have and everything you’d like it to have. Consider if you want to be downtown or in the suburbs, if you’re looking for a single-family home, a condo, or a townhouse. What amenities do you want to be close to (schools, public transit, shopping, etc.)?
Then, think about what features you want in a Chicago home for sale. How many bedrooms will you need? Is there a particular architectural type of feature you want?
Make sure you distinguish between what are “absolute must-haves” and what would be “nice to haves”. That will help you and your agent eliminate unsuitable candidates and zero in on the homes that will best meet your needs.
Research Your Preferred Chicago Real Estate Neighborhoods
You might already have an idea of what part of town you want to focus your search for Chicago homes for sale. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to do your research on those neighborhoods as well as others that may have all the amenities you’re looking for.
Things to consider when looking at potential neighborhoods include your commute to work, proximity to schools and other local features such as parks, shops, and restaurants, as well as local crime rates, traffic, and zoning.
Find the Right Real Estate Resource
Now that you have a good idea of what kind of Chicago real estate you want, how much you can afford and where you would like it to be located, it’s a good time to find a real estate agent to work with. It’s always a good idea to get an agent who is familiar with the neighborhood you are targeting. Your relationship with your agent will be very important, so you may want to ask potential agents to provide you with some referrals.
With all this completed, you’re now ready to start visiting homes to ultimately put in an offer on 'the one'. Your agent will educate you on the buying process for a smooth transaction from start to finish. Good luck and happy house hunting!