Friday, January 27, 2006

Chicago Home Buying Tips

The following is a list illustrating the average steps when buying real estate in Chicago. It was compiled by a top producer I worked with. I find this helpful, especially when consulting first time buyers.

Initial Consultation (Screen/Interview Buyers Agents) *
Mortgage Preapproval *
View Prospective Homes *
Identify a Property *
Present Purchase Contract To Listing Agent *
Initial Earnest Money ($1,000 Made Out To Listing Office) *
Negotiate Offer (Counteroffer, Price, Terms, Close Date) *
Acceptance Of Offer by Seller (Agreement) *
Final Signatures And Initials On Original Contract *
Contact, Fax Documents To Attorneys, Lenders, Etc. * Contingency Periods Begin (Mortgage, Home Sale--Ususally 30 Days) *
Attorney Period Begins (Usually 5-10 Business Days From Acceptance) *
Acquire Budget And By-Laws (Condominium) *
Professional Home Inspection *
Attorney Approval on Contract (5-10 Business Days After Acceptance) *
Balance of Earnest Money Due to Listing Office (5-10%) *
Appraisal (Lender) *
Loan Committment *
Communicate With All Parties *
Acquire Homeowners Insurance Policy *
Interview With Condo/Co-Op Board (Usually In Highrise Buildings) *
Await Closing *
Transfer Utilities & Change Of Address *
Schedule Movers *
Estimate Of Funds Needed At Closing (Good Faith From Lender including $7.50 per $1,000 City Transfer Stamp to be paid by Buyer) *
Final Walk Through Or Punch List (New Construction) *
Closing *
Celebrate! You're A Home Owner!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

REAL problems... now what?

The Realtor Deal with Eric Rojas

How many issues can come up in a real estate transaction? Answer: More than I can count on my fingers and toes. How does that saying go? Oh yes, "There are only two things guaranteed in this life; death and surprises in your real estate transaction. Take today for instance. I have three sets of happy clients with "mostly" executed contracts. One has accepted a sales contract on her condo and two other couples are moving towards their closing dates on their recent purchase offers. Smooth sailing right?

Well, first Client A who is selling her condo... We have a buyer inspection slated for 10AM on her condo that is recently under contract. The buyer has a very scrutinizing demeanor. What will the home inspector find? How will the minor, or (uh oh) major, defects affect the transaction? Also, my client has a home sale contingency on her purchase offer for another condo that has expired... we now have a sales contract on her condo but she still must agree to waive all contingencies on her purchase of the new condo we negotiated before the New Year. If the buyer backs out of our sale, or does not get a loan, my client gets stuck with two homes. Both closings are in 30 days. How did things progress this far?

Second, Clients B. I still have not received a signed copy of the accepted transaction from the seller's agent. The deal was agreed upon several days ago. The closing is in 30 days and the mortgage broker and attorney need to begin their work. Then the phone rings... the seller's agent calls (not good). The deeded parking spot my clients picked out is incorrectly recorded. They may not get the spot they thought they purchased. I don't know about you, but if my parking space was in jeapordy heads would roll.

Third, Clients C. I still have not received an executed contract agreed upon over the weekend. Sound familiar? My clients are wondering where it is... their mortgage broker needs to figure out a rate lock date and the attorney needs to review the terms. Plus, I am assured in negotiations that a certain upgrade will be included and written on the front page of the contract... but I notice my clients initialed a counter offer without it. The negotiations have already been tough and the clients are very happy with their new prospective home. But what about the upgrade missing from the contract?

It's only noon at this point folks.... tune in tomorrow to see how some of this turned out. We won't know the resolution to other issues for quite some time. Do you have the nerve to take this on by yourself?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cold January can be Hot Market in Chicago

It has been a terrific start to an unusually warm January for our brokerage. Our listings that went overlooked though December have either sold or attracted strong interest since the beginning of the year. It is quite obvious that we have weathered the tumultuous fall and all the negative media coverage to emerge in a normal, if not hot, real estate market. Katrina? Gas prices? Housing bubble? These failed to affect real home owners. A strong economy and the desire for home ownership have equaled great demand.

Since January, I have personally sold listings and negotiated transactions totaling over $1.5 million. My terrific lake front listing at 3600 Lake Shore Drive received almost double digit showings and two second showings before going under contract last week.

Great first time buyer clients of mine now enjoy more home then they imagined in affordable and appreciating North Park/Albany Park. I was able to secure them a sale price under list price and a buy-out credit for their current lease. Top floor, 1300 sq/ft, 2 car parking, great deck, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and storage all in an intimate three unit building.

Another terrific couple decided on a new Rogers Park conversion I brought them to last week. It is a duplex down, has secure gated parking, a balcony off the living room, spacious rooms, and all the modern finishes expected. I was able to secure upgraded cherry cabinets and security system wiring all for the standard package list price. The condo home is located in an area just North of Loyola University and by the Red Line transit. This is a very hot spot with conversions and new construction everywhere. What a great mix of the lake-front, college students, single family homes, condos owners, and neighbors who have been in homes there for years. With consultation, they were confident this was the better location of their short list of properties they considered.

These clients beat the increased competition of home buyers that come out in the spring. And make no mistake; the number of shoppers at my Open Houses has been proof enough that Chicago real estate is in great demand.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What Does Your Real Estate Attorney Do?

A real estate attorney works to protect your interest in a transaction. Be it opinion of title, tax proration, or release of earnest money, your real estate attorney is an important advocate in your home purchase.

Please contact Katie Murphy Attorney at Law, Powers and Oseid, LTD. She will answer your questions about your attorney's role in a real estate transaction.
OFFICE: 312-368-4665

Eric's Real Estate Blog

Eric's Real Estate Blog


It is my pleasure to assist your home purchase. However, it is important to seek consultation regarding your mortgage options. Mortgage calculators, advertisements, internet rate shopping... these "do it yourself" methods make mortgage decisions seem easy. Mortgages are not easy business. I recommend working with a mortgage professional that you can meet with on a face to face basis. My personal mortgage broker story, and the stories of a few of my past clients, suggest working with a trusted referral; be it from me or another confidant. My recommendations are of professionals that share my philosophy of educating the client.

Please contact Loan Officer Brad Parker at National City Mortgage to discuss your home buying budget, mortgage options, and tips for improving your credit score.
OFFICE: 773-327-2288

For mortgage education please visit

For your free annual credit report visit