Financing Your New Chicago Home or Condo

Finding The "Right" Chicago Mortgage Is No Accident!

The key is to find the lender who is going to work hard to get you the best deal on your Chicago mortgage! Don't think that all Chicago Mortgage loans or all lenders are the same! They're not. There are big differences in lenders, and those differences can cost you hundreds and maybe many thousands of dollars over the years!

Do your homework and talk to several lenders... know what's real and what's sleight of hand.

Your Goal: Pre-Approval

Pre-approval is a process of a thorough examination of your finances and your ability to handle the obligations of a mortgage loan. You want to walk out of that lender's office with a loan guarantee that says you will get a loan for a certain amount. And you want a locked-in rate. (Generally lenders will lock in for 30 or 60 days.)

Get the Facts First!

1. Find out about different types of loans and mortgages. If your lender doesn't want to take the time explain the process and answer all your questions, head for the door.

2. Don't assume all fees and costs are the same. There can be hundreds of dollars difference in lenders' fees. Get it in writing from each lender you interview.

3. Ask about ways to finance without a big down payment and how you can cut or reduce other fees. There are a lot of financial avenues to homeownership. The traditional 20% down is not your only route. Make sure you are getting information on all the cost-cutting strategies available to you. In many cases, the answer 'that's just what you have to pay" is not entirely true.

Yes, there is a lot to financing a new home or condo. But you don't have to be intimidated or discouraged. You just have to work with a lender who is on your side.

Here are some lenders you can count on.

There are three companies here in Chicago that we've worked with for years. We know these guys very well, and we know they have always played it straight. We'd send our own relatives to them, that's how confident we are, BUT you must do your own "due diligence" and check them out thoroughly. Talk to all three and compare the service and rates that they provide. You'll get real, unhurried and honest answers to your questions. They want you to understand the loan process.

You do have to be careful when you pick your lender.

And, by the way, our mortgage guys said to be sure we warn you to watch out for some tricks lenders will try. Here are some things our guys will never do:

1. Watch out for the rate that seems to good to be true. The best loan deal is not always the lowest rate! You loan package is your rate and terms plus all the fees you pay from origination through closing. That great rate can turn into a great rip-off if it comes with excessively high fees. That's how some lenders make their money, all the time it looks like they are giving you a really good deal. Ask for all the fees in writing.

2. An advertised rate is like that great job you find in the want ads. It won't actually be there when you try to get it. In other words, don't believe your eyes when it comes to unusually low loan rates in newspaper or web site ads.

When you call, you will be told that you missed it. The rate WAS available when the ad was placed, but the rates have changed, they will say. A variation on this theme is the phone quote that changes by the time paperwork is completed. If those low rates aren't really there or the lender won't lock in a quote, put down the phone and keep shopping.

3. If you've seen one lenders' fee, you have NOT seem them all. Fees can vary a lot! Ask each lender what the fees will be so you can compare before you make a decision. And don't settle for "estimates." If lenders are not willing to guarantee their fees through closing, that can mean the estimates will magically increase by the time you have to pay them.

4. "If you don't ask, I won't tell" seems to be the way some lenders want to do business with you. You ask about their fees, and they forget to tell you about all the other fees you will have to pay to get your loan and close on the property (transfer fees, attorney costs, etc). There are also ways you can reduce fees, or avoid some fees all together, but your lender may not offer this information if you don't know the right questions.

5. A lender may act like he is doing you a favor by telling you not to lock in your rate ahead of closing. Don't believe it! He or she probably wants to lock you in as a customer. If you find out the day before closing that your rate is higher, you won't have time to change lenders.

Buying your Chicago home or condo is a big step! It pays to put as much time and effort into finding the best Chicago mortgage as you are going to put into finding your dream home. Give all three of these Chicago lenders a call. They may have the best deal for you, they may not. But from our past experience with them...we think you'll get straight and honest answers every time.

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