Chicago Condos For Sale

Chicago Condos For Sale – 7 Steps To Get You From Looking at Condos For Sale In Chicago To Owning One

At any time, there are many Chicago condos for sale. Sometimes, there are more Chicago condos for sale than people who want to buy condos in Chicago. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. No matter what the situation, it helps if you are very clear on a few things before you start looking at any Chicago condos for sale, if you understand what needs to happen from the time you start looking at Chicago condos for sale till you close on one.

Before we go any further, if you’re buying a condo and need a mortgage to do so, make sure you watch The Chicago Mortgage Broker’s Guide to Getting a Condo When You Need a Mortgage.

(That is the link to the video on  And, since I figured out how to embed it on my page, you can also watch it by clicking play below.)

Chicago Condos For Sale –Step 1

Chicago condos for sale image of the John Hancock building - you find Chicago condos for sale oftenDon’t just go looking at Chicago condos for sale. Go looking at them prepared. Make yourself a list with what the ideal Chicago condo looks like and has. Then mark the items on that list that you must absolutely have.

Consider both the neighborhood, the condo complex/building and the condo unit itself. Take that list with you every time you go to look at Chicago condos for sale. Don’t get attached to any neighborhood yet. Chicago has many neighborhoods, many of which offer similar amenities. If you narrow too much too soon, you might miss out on some great deals.

Drive (walk) through the neighborhoods that interest you, to get a feel for them, both during the day and at night. Ask yourself questions like:

1.    How do I get to work and everywhere else I need to get?
2.    If you have kids, how easy is it for them to get to school?
3.    Are there shopping and the basic local services within close distance?
4.    How much are the above answers worth to you, in relation to the prices. You can find Chicago condos for sale that are overpriced for you even though they’re not for the rest of Chicago.

Chicago Condos For Sale – Step 2

Once you’ve identified your neighborhoods, you will need to look at condos for sales. Chicago real estate agents can help you and do not cost you a penny as they’re paid by the condo seller. A good Chicago real estate agent, Realtor or broker will

A.    Help you evaluate neighborhoods (You can find condos for sale in Chicago that are great, in great neighborhoods, but in a sub-section of the neighborhood that’s not so great.  Agents know about neighborhood sub-sections)
B.    Sort through all the Chicago condos for sale, selecting the ones that match your criteria
C.    Help you understand mortgage offers
D.    Get you complete information about the seller, the condo and the project/association (Some Chicago condos for sale are amazing, but they’re located in complexes that have problems.  Agents are better prepared to find about such problems than you.)
E.    Help you negotiate and write a good offer
F.    Tell you what’s a good offer, what’s a good price (Chicago condos for sale within a block of one another can have prices far apart – sometimes with good reasons, sometimes without.  Agents who’ve got their own Chicago condos for sale listings can really help here.)

If you’re looking at Chicago condos for sale by owners, your agent will make sure the owner do what they’re supposed to do:

A.    Make sure the FSBO seller takes care of everything that is generally the seller’s responsibility
B.    Alert you to possible problems about the condo, the seller, the negotiation
C.    Make sure the closing goes smoothly.

So, how do you find a good one?

Your Chicago-condos-for-sale voyage will be more fruitful if the agent you choose to represent you has had a lot of experience in the neighborhoods that interest you. So, ask them how many condos they have had listed for sale in whatever Chicago neighborhood that interests you, how many people have they helped buy in the same area. The more, the better.  Some agents have dealt with lots of Chicago condos for sale in the recent past but all were located 10 miles away from the neighborhood that interests you.  Investigate further.

Don’t rely only on your agent to find you condos for sale worth looking at. No matter what anyone else says, some things get lost in translation, no matter how good your agent, they might miss something. These days it’s easy to set up an online MLS search.  Of course, unless you know the neighborhood well, you can’t rely on the MLS alone either when looking at condos for sale in Chicago, you need a real estate agent.

Chicago Condos For Sale –Step 3

While you’re determining which neighborhoods appeal to you, it’s time to determine how much condo you can afford. The best way is to find yourself a Chicago mortgage broker and get yourself pre-approved.  If you’ve already selected a real estate agent to help you look at Chicago condos for sale, don’t be shy, ask if they know of a good mortgage broker (and why they think whatever they think about them.  If you happen to have a mortgage broker in mind when you start thinking about Chicago condos for sale, ditto: ask them if they know a good real estate agent and why they think the agent is good.)

Why a Chicago mortgage broker and not any mortgage broker? Because they have a better idea about the market and can save you some time and/or headaches.

Why pre-approved and not pre-qualified? Pre-qualification tells you how much you can borrow, it’s true. But it has less weight than a pre-approval with Chicago sellers and their real estate agents. I’m willing to bet that’s the case in other areas, but I only know for a fact that this is the case with Chicago property sellers and real estate agents.

And while you’re getting your credit pulled, make sure you take a look at your credit reports. Do it early. Even if your credit scores are high, your reports might have information that will prevent you from getting a loan. Generally speaking, though, it’s more likely that you find reporting errors about accounts you closed or even accounts you never had.  Don’t let something like this keep you from buying one of the many fine condos for sale in Chicago.

Keep in mind that, if all you qualify for is an FHA mortgage, you might to be extra diligent in your search for a mortgage lender…  Most don’t like condos: too many variables, and FHA mortgages are riskier even on the best property types (detached, single family houses).

Chicago condos for sale –Step 4

Now you’re ready to look at Chicago condos for sale and, should you find one you like, make an offer.

Looking at Chicago condos for sale means you look, really look. Don’t hurry, take notes. Make sure you have with you your list of the things your Chicago condo must have and use it.Don’t worry about what other people think, that you look odd checking every little thing. You’re going to buy it so you better know exactly what you’re buying.

Research the association, the complex, the unit. Take a look at the budget (make sure there are enough reserves, no major expenses coming up); know how many, if any, units can be rented at one time, who’s managing, is there any litigation going on or coming up?

Make sure no one has a lot of units in your building (ideally, less than 10%). If one person or company owns a lot of them, they have a lot of power as regards how resources are spent. If you’re buying from a builder, check on them, what reputation they have.

And, the whole time you look at Chicago condos for sale, don’t let anyone rush you.  There are always going to be more Chicago condos for sale, you’ll find another one you’ll like, one where everything will be perfect.

Chicago condos for sale –Step 5

Once you determine that one of the condos for sale in Chicago meets your criteria, it’s time to make an offer. Your Chicago real estate agent will come in handy right now as they have a good idea of values and of real estate offers and negotiations. Your offer will have:

1.    Down payment amount
2.    How you’re going to pay (your preapproval notice will be included)
3.    Who pays what closing costs
4.    What inspections need to be performed and how pays for them (Even though this is a condo, make sure you have a home inspector look at your unit and the building)
5.    Any repairs you want the seller to make (Most people I’ve met who were looking at Chicago condos for sale didn’t think much of this one.  If you like the location, the complex and the apartment but don’t like the kitchen floor, speak up, negotiate.)
6.    Contingencies that will protect you (typical one: the unit appraises but you can have other. Don’t be shy. But also know that the more contingencies you have the weaker your offer is going to be
7.    The time by which you will obtain the funds, the time by which there must be a closing (A lot of people looking at Chicago condos for sale end up not buying their first choice because deadlines are missed.)
8.    Seller disclosures (they’re supposed to tell you of all the problems with the unit or the building they’re aware of)
9.    An agreement that the condo will be delivered to you in the condition it was when you made your offer.

The seller may accept your offer or make a counter offer. If they accept, fine. If they counter-offer, you need to determine if you’re willing to go along. Assuming you do, you’re ready for:

Chicago condos for sale –Step 6

Once your offer on a Chicago condos for sale is approved, you need to:

A.    pay earnest money (they go into an escrow and I suggest you have your agent or your attorney keep the money in escrow. Yes, you should have a real estate attorney.)
B.    schedule (your real estate agent can do this too) the home inspection (also termite or other inspections necessary)
C.    set the closing date and location (your mortgage broker/lender will most likely do that, but there’s no rule against you choosing the closing company)
D.    buy homeowner’s insurance for at least one year (a good idea always; if you’re getting a mortgage it’s mandatory as per the mortgage agreement)
E.    the lender gets your condo appraised
F.    your title company does a title search
G.    a day or two before the closing, you do your final walk-through.

Chicago condos for sale –Step 7

The closing is rather long and boring. But you need to be there. Make sure your attorney is there too. Be prepared to review and sign a lot of papers. Your attorney will guide you through it. Ideally, you’ll see all the documents before the closing, so you have time to look at them carefully. The title company will make sure the transaction is recorded with the county.

This is a list of the documents you’ll be signing to end your Chicago-condos-for-sale search:

1.    Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
2.    Truth in Lending Disclosure says the lender has disclosed everything to you
3.    HUD-1 Form (shows you all the costs of the transaction… should be close to the Good Faith Estimate)
4.    Loan Application
5.    Home Inspection Report
6.    Mortgage Note (this is where you pledge to pay back the loan)
7.    Warranty Deed (it’s your proof that you’re the owner of your new condo unit)
8.    Escrow Analysis
9.    Tax Authorization form (if you choose to have your taxes be held in escrow; a good idea, in general)
10.   IRS forms
11.   Compliance form that says that you’ll sign everything again if an error is made this time around
12.   Form that says you swear that you’re you and you provided accurate information about you.

Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Don’t sign anything that doesn’t look right. Your search for Chicago condos for sale can turn into a nightmare if you do. When you’re done signing all those papers, you’re the new owner of the condo unit you chose. So, congratulations, you’re ready to go look at Chicago condos for sale!

Go to 11 Questions To Ask When Looking At Condos For Sale in Chicago
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