The Chicago Home Luxury Chicago Real Estate

The Chicago Home

Prudential Rubloff




Buying in Chicago and the Chicagoland area requires some know how. As your real estate advisor, I explain the process of purchasing a property.  The paragraph below briefly describe this process.

After a buyer identifies a property to purchase, a real estate contract, disclosures and any other addendums/riders are initialed and signed after determining an offer price and terms. It is then submitted to the owner’s agent or owner directly. There is usually back and forth negotiation before agreement. Once agreement takes place, final price and term and initialed and signed and an executed contract is made. This contract gets submitted to all parties including buyer, seller, attorneys and lenders.  During the attorney review period, a professional home inspection takes place to identify any defects or repairs needed at the property. Repairs or repair credits may be requested via the attorney review along with other contract revisions. After attorney review is over, if there is a mortgage contingency, the loan process goes into high gear. It is at this point an appraisal is normally ordered and any additional loan documentation is requested by the lender. Once the lender provides the final loan commitment closing is scheduled and a final walk takes place. Finally, closing takes place where the money and home is transferred to the buyer.

One of the largest differences in the Chicagoland area is the cost of transfer tax stamps. This is the cost the city or town charges the buyer and/or seller for transferring property. For instance, when you buy a property in Chicago, a buyer pays a transfer tax rate of $7.50 per hundred dollars or $750 for every $100,000.


* In Illinois, we close using attorneys and usually closings take place at a title company open during weekly business hours. So, closings take place during the week. Checks over $50,000 need to be wired to the title company handling the transaction. If money is to be brought to the title company it needs to be in the form of a cashiers check made payable to the title company. The buyers attorney will provide the final amount needed for the buyer to bring to closing. The final number is usually provided to the buyer a few days or the day before closing.


*Before you do anything, it is key that you speak with a mortgage professional or lending institution in order for you to know what you could afford when you purchase a property. In most cases,  a pre-qualification letter is the first step a buyer needs as a seller will want to know they aren’t wasting their time with someone who can’t qualify for a loan. A pre-approval letter is the most asked for letter by agents and sellers because the buyer has gone through a thorough approval process by the lender or lenders agent.


*What you may not know is that all lenders perform a “soft pull” on buyers credit within 15 days of the purchase closing date. The soft pull does not get recorded as an official credit inquiry and does not affect their credit scores. The reason is to compare the buyers outstanding credit now versus when they applied for the mortgage loan. If a buyer has taken out new credit (new auto loan, new credit card, etc.)  it may affect their loan approval, even if the file has been cleared to close.


*Assets for the downpayment and for the purchase closing: Lenders want to know where your money is coming from for the buyers downpayment, their closing costs and any needed reserves for after closing. Lenders will ask for complete copies of the clients banking, investment and retirement statements for 2 complete months and evidence that the earnest money checks have been cashed and have cleared their account. Lenders will want to see if any gift funds that have been provided from their relatives and evidence that the fund have been deposited, along with a completed gift letter from the donor. The gift funds should definitely be given in the form of a cashiers check. If you are taking money from a 401K or rollover IRA, the lender will want a paper trail of those funds being transferred from the retirement account into their personal account.


* Make sure you have a real estate attorney on hand when purchasing a property in the Chicagoland area. There are several nuances from the time you enter into a real estate contract with a seller. I have worked with several outstanding experienced real estate attorneys in Illinois. Typical residential real estate transactions cost anywhere between $550-$1000 for an attorneys services.


*Appraisals-It’s important to know that the real purpose of a purchase property appraisal is intended for the lender and not for the buyer and seller. Since the report is ordered and paid for by the lending institution that is issuing a mortgage loan for the subject property, the purpose is to show what the collateral is worth that they are lending against, in case they ever need to sell or liquidate that property to collect on their mortgage debt. The lender is hoping that the appraisal report supports the purchase price on the subject property.

The appraisal report may take a few days or up to ten days to be completed.


A realtors tips for buying property in 2014

Here are my real estate tips on getting the best-priced real estate in Chicago land for 2014!

Year after year real estate does a roller coaster ride. It is typical for prices to fall in the winter and rise in the spring/summer. Here are four reasons why:


1. Sellers who have their properties still listed in the winter are very motivated to move their property. These sellers are usually more willing to negotiate on price because of the time of year.


2. In the Midwest, properties have less curb appeal in the winter as they do in spring/summer.


3. Kids are in school, so families will not consider a move until after the school year ends. There are less buyers to compete against.


4. If a property hasn’t sold by the start of a school year, realtors will request price reductions. These price reductions will usually continue until there is steady interest or an offer.



Single family homes that sold in 2013 illustrate that the lowest home prices occurred from January to March and the highest closed prices occurred from June-September.


(Below are average sold prices in the North Shore that take account sales in Glencoe, Wilmette, Winnetka, Northfield, Kenilworth, and Glenview-Golf)

(Average Sold Single Family Home Prices)


January 2013-$690,528

February 2013- $773,648

March- 2013- 688,398






How do you find real estate deals?


If your goal is to find a great deal in 2014, here are the various types of real estate sales you and your realtor should be looking at:


Relocation sales-Properties that involve a relocation typically means the owner of the property listed is moving out of the area or out of state. A third party relocation company is often hired and is responsible for many of the logistics of that new employees transition. This may include purchasing the property from the employee. The relocation company’s key objective is selling the property as soon as possible. Relocation pricing is fairly aggressive and usually properties are priced lower than what the market averages.


Foreclosures-Properties that are foreclosures (“Bank-Owned or Corporate Owned) have taken several years to go through a lengthy court process in Illinois.  Once a bank takes back a property, they have already lossed tens of thousands of dollars due to legal and court costs. The bank also has to maintain a vacant property and pay for expenses such as property taxes. The bank wants to unload these properties as quickly as possible. Foreclosures usually go under contract very quickly because they are priced well below the market. These properties are sold “As-Is” and the buyer has to assume any material defects that the property may have.


Guardianship/Estate sales-These properties are sold because the owner is either incapacitated or they are deceased. A trustee is selling the property on behalf of that owner. The process of selling one of these properties may take longer because many of these sales will require court approval. Guardianship sales are typically neglected and may require clean-up and updating by the new buyer.


Short Sales-This type of sale is also referred to an owner being “Upside Down” with their mortgage/s. Sellers owe more on their mortgage/s than what the property will command.  A bank will have to approve any short sale. Sellers typically will list their property beneath the list price of comparable properties that are on the market in order to get it under contract quickly so the bank approval process can take place.

Most short sale property sales will take a minimum of 90 days and sometimes over one year to close. Having multiple loans on a property, such as a first and a second loan (home equity loan), may convolute the process of getting a short sale completed and this can be incredibly frustrating to a buyer.



Unlisted Property-Sometimes knocking on a door, hearing someone wants to sell through a relative or friend, leaving a personal note in a owner’s mailbox will elicit a great buying opportunity.

Sellers typically believe that by saving to pay a commission that they are saving money, but usually the opposite is true. They end up selling their property an average of 10% less what the market will bear.



So, act now, contact your realtor and get that great real estate buy in 2014!