Design tips every homebuyer should know

The inventory of homes for sale has increased in the past month or so, but the pickings can still be slim, and that means making compromises. The key is to really think through how the space of a home will be used, and then move forward with renovations and design, [...] Read more »

Preparing to Buy: The Five Factors of Your Credit Score

There are five factors that comprise your credit score. These are listed below in order of importance, just as an underwriter will look at the score: • Payment History: 35% impact. Paying your bills on time and in full has a positive impact. Late payments, judgments and charge-offs have a [...] Read more »

How to Use Gifts for a Down Payment on a New Chicago Home

In today’s real estate market, lenders are requiring higher down payments than before the bubble burst in 2006. To meet this requirement, potential homebuyers are asking relatives to help fund their down payments and/or closing costs. However, there are rules that apply when using gifts for these purposes. Gifts can [...] Read more »

Lifting the burden of a second loan

Thinking about refinancing? A second lien may be a factor in whether you can. If you’ve taken out a second lien on your home, it is subordinate to your primary mortgage and must be dealt with. It can’t be ignored, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a home equity line [...] Read more »

Housing market heats up — and it’s just getting started

If you tried to buy a home in Phoenix a year ago, you probably would have been able to land it for well under the asking price. Those days are gone. In a city that was hit hard after the housing bubble burst in 2007, you’re more likely to encounter [...] Read more »