If you’re thinking about where to park your savings account in 2012, this is a great year to take a look at Chicago real estate. Prices are still low, loan rates are still affordable, and there’s a large amount of housing stock on the market to choose from.
Not sure if this is the best time for you to buy? Here are some great tips from an experienced Realtor that might help you:
1. Your budget: How much can you buy for what you’re paying now? You’ll want to factor in a down payment plus principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. There are rent vs. buy charts available for most major metropolitan areas that may help.
2. Your local market: Are prices rising or falling? There’s no reason to buy in a market that’s still on the ropes. Foreclosure statistics offer one way of tracking trends, and they are easy to find online for your area.
3. Time frames: If you may move soon, don’t buy a house, it can be hard to sell in a hurry. Consider your job stability and prospects before a purchase.
4. Investment factors: Interest rates are the lowest in decades. Home payments can be a tax write-off. When prices rise, you may reap equity rewards with no effort. And maybe the roller coaster is still on the downslope. The big question is when will the market turn around. There’s lots of speculation about this, but no one’s crystal ball is 100 percent accurate.
5. The masochism meter: How hard are you willing to work? Can you do some things like painting and gardening yourself? There can be significant cost savings, but don’t take on more than you can handle. Leave the specialized stuff to experienced contractors.
Sound like you’d be biting off more than you can chew? Check out the Chicago apartments and look for a new apartment instead.