Learn about the home buying process

Buying a home is a big step. There are many things to consider. I want to provide you with the resources necessary to make an informed decision when you purchase your new home.

Step 1:

Find out how much you can afford. Knowing how much you can afford to pay in mortgage payments will help determine which homes are in your price range. Generally, your fixed expenses (mortgage payment, insurance and property taxes, but not maintenance and repairs) should not be more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income.

The real issue with real estate financing is not just getting a loan but getting the loan that's right for you -- the mortgage with the lowest cost and best terms.

Start the mortgage process as soon as possible. Irina suggests that her clients get “preapproved” well before making an offer on a home. Meeting with lenders, either online or face to face, and looking at loan options, you will find which programs best meet your needs and how much you can afford.

Irina recommends preapprovals for another reason: Purchase forms often require buyers to apply for financing within a given time period, in many cases, seven to 10 days. By meeting with loan officers in advance and identifying mortgage programs, it won't be necessary to quickly find a lender, check credit, and rush into a financing decision that may not be the best option.

"Preapproval" means you have met with a loan officer, your credit files have been reviewed and the loan officer believes you can readily qualify for a given loan amount with one or more specific mortgage programs. Based on this information, the lender will provide a preapproval letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several preapprovals, but keep in mind that each one carries with it a new credit check, which will show up on future credit reports.

Although not a final loan commitment, the preapproval letter can be used when bidding on a home. It demonstrates your financial strength and shows that you have the ability to go through with a purchase. This information is important to owners since they do not want to accept an offer that is likely to fail because financing cannot be obtained.

Real estate financing is available from numerous sources. Based on Irina’s experience, she may suggest one or more lenders with a history of offering competitive programs and delivering promised rates and terms.

The loan officer will carefully review your financial situation, including your credit report and other information. The lender will then suggest programs which most-closely meet your needs.

If you want to do some research on your own regarding how much you can afford in buying a home, use the following resources:


Step 2:

Contact Irina. She has knowledge and experience that is key to your successful real estate transaction. Irina has an enormous amount of valuable information, and critical data-- combined with her expertise, experience and training, she will be the essential key to your success.

Buying and selling real estate is a intricate matter. At first you might think that by checking local picture books or online sites you could quickly find the right home at the right price.

A fundamental rule in real estate is that all properties are unique. There are no two properties, even two identical models in the same building, exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Also, no two transactions are identical.

In this labyrinth of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with a professional, like Irina, who know the community and much more.

During your initial meeting with Irina, she will explain all the options available, describe how she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency disclosures (the ins and outs of your relationship with an agent in Illinois).

Working together to find you a home, she will provide you with information detailing current market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation. Remember: Because market conditions can change and the strategies that apply in one negotiation may be inappropriate in another, this information is not set in stone. During your home buying process, Irina will keep you updated and alert you to each step in the transaction process.

Step 3:

Find the right home. There are over 28,000 homes for sale in Chicago and with so many choices the challenge becomes finding the property which best meets your requirements.

The housing market is complicated and never static. The supply of homes for sale is always changing and it is impossible to have a complete list of every home for sale. New homes become available and properties for sale are put under contract every few minutes.

Because of this fluctuation in the market, it is important to work closely with Irina who knows her market very well.

Step 4:

Get Funding. Find the type of loan that fits your needs. Often the cost of real estate financing is routinely greater than the original purchase price of a home (after including interest and closing costs). Because financing is so important, you should have as much information as possible regarding mortgage options and costs.

To obtain a loan you must complete a written loan application and provide supporting documentation. Specific documents include recent pay stubs, rental checks and tax returns for the past two or three years if you are self-employed.

Step 5:

Sign a Contract. Irina will explain the general contracting process and make sure that the contract you put on a property allows you to arrange financing, inspect the home and negotiate any problems that you uncover.

Step 6:

Closing. The closing process ("settlement" or "escrow,") brings together a variety of parties who are part of the "transaction" process.

Step 7:

Move In. Congratulations! With Irina’s help, you've completed the home buying process with ease and success!

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