chicago area

What Questions Should You Ask Your Lender When Applying for a Loan?

                  When shopping for renovation loans and FHA 203k renovation loans, what questions should you ask your lender to be sure they are qualified and ensure a smooth process? Renovation loans are popular because they are flexible: you can take a property in need of a lot of work, and turn it into a good-as-new home, or find a home needing minor updates and make it the way you want. Checking Lender Experience While many lenders say they do renovation loans, it is important to find out how many they’ve actually done. One of the most important things to determine is the amount of experience your lender has with renovation loans. Renovation loans are different than traditional mortgages. Not only does the borrower need to be approved, but contractors doing the renovations need to be involved as well. Everything that needs to…

Read More

What Can You Do with a Renovation Loan?

What specifically are you allowed to do with a renovation loan? The real question is, “What can’t you do?” because there is a lot of flexibility with this type of loan. There are many different ways to use this program. There are three basic types to look at: FHA 203k renovation loan: a great way to get a government-insured property with as little as 3.5% down, including costs of repairs Homestyle renovation loan: better if you have a bit more of a down payment VA renovation loan: includes special benefits for veterans and disabled veterans The good thing about renovation loans is their flexibility: you can use it for something that just needs a little bit of work or a home that needs a tremendous amount of work. It doesn’t matter what the condition of the property is currently in, but what the condition will be once you finish making…

Read More

Are You Thinking About Buying a Chicago Area Home in 2017?

                    With 2016 behind us, and the beginning of 2017 underway, many folks take a step back and look at their New Year’s resolutions and what they would like to accomplish in the coming year. While reflecting on their aspirations for the year, many renters and first-time buyers have the goal of purchasing a new home in 2017. If buying a home is one of your New Year’s resolutions, take some time to figure out and assess where you are now, and where you need to be in order to buy a home. Doing an assessment with a qualified mortgage loan officer will help you determine where you are at financially, and things you can to do to help you prepare to buy a home. Examining Your Savings, Debt and Credit An important aspect of your financial picture is your amount…

Read More

Chicago FHA loans, IL Area – FHA is the New Conventional

Last year, when the Sub Prime market was imploding, there was a lot of talk about how FHA, a Government backed loan, was going to be the new Sub Prime. It hasn’t worked out quite that way. In fact, the real truth is that FHA is the new conventional mortgage. Sub Prime mortgages were loans for borrowers who couldn’t qualify for the more stringent conventional guidelines. This often meant borrowers who had credit problems, or it could mean borrowers who couldn’t prove their income. The thing about Sub Prime loans is they were profitable for the lenders (if they got rid of them quickly). These loans were often structured as 2 or 3 year adjustable rate mortgages, and they were priced several points higher than a conventional fixed rate would be. When the market was hot, defaults were low, so these loans were money machines for the lenders who offered…

Read More

Debt Consolidation Refinancing can Save You Hundreds Each Month and Help You Get Out of Debt – If You Do it Right

I read a lot about the economy and what the experts say about it, but I get the best feel for what is happening from talking with my clients. People need mortgage money whether the economy is up, or down, but they need it for different reasons. When the economy was flying high, a typical phone call would be about buying a new, bigger home, starting an addition to their current home or buying a vacation home. I’m still doing a fair amount of new purchases, but a lot of my calls now are about cash out refinances to consolidate debt. It always makes sense to make sure your mortgage is in line with your overall finances, but it is especially important when money is tight. A debt consolidation loan can help you to restructure your debt in a way that puts more money in your pocket and gives you…

Read More

Jumbo Mortgages in Illinois – Options to Keep Your Interest Rate and Payments Down

If you are a home buyer here in the Chicago area or around Illinois, and are looking for a Jumbo mortgage, your options aren’t what they used to be. A Jumbo loan is a mortgage higher than the conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big purchasers of loans on the mortgage after-market. The current Fannie Mae limit here in the Chicago area is $417,000 for a single family home, so anything above that is considered a Jumbo mortgage. Because these loans aren’t covered by Fannie and Freddie, Jumbo loans are considered slightly riskier than conventional loans and have always been a little more expensive. Last summer, before the credit crunch (also known as the sub-prime melt down) hit the mortgage industry, the premium on a Jumbo 30 year fixed rate was just a ¼ point higher than a conforming fixed rate. This made sense…

Read More

Why Buying Your Own Home is a Smart Move for Chicago Area First Time Home Buyers

As we head into the Spring home buying market, first time home buyers in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois will be making their first tentative steps toward buying a home of their own. It’s conventional wisdom that buying a home makes sense, even now with all the bad news on the housing front. But the question is, does owning a home make sense for you? Some of the reasons you might want to buy are more intangible but emotionally compelling – the pride of having a place of your own, a chance to establish your roots, the joy of having a real home where you can express your own personality and style. These are real reasons for buying your first home. But the some of the best reasons to buy may be financial. In fact, buying a home may be the smartest financial decision you will make in your…

Read More

Top 10 Ways to Come Up With a Down Payment for Your First Chicago Area Home

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday. This is always an exciting time of the year for me, and I’m not just talking about the big game. I expect New England will dominate, and hopefully the Giants will make a game out of it, and we won’t stay tuned just for the commercials. I enjoy the beer and the food and the chance to visit with friends. But that’s not why I’m excited either. Here in Chicago, Super Bowl Sunday traditionally represents the start of the Spring home buying season. As a mortgage banker who loves working with first time home buyers, that’s a great reason to get excited. Are you a first time home buyer in the market for a new home? With the Chicago area home market slow, and interest rates low, this could be the best time in years to buy your first home. It is a buyer’s…

Read More