Home Buying in 60653>Question Details

Bane, Renter in Chicago, IL

Recent graduate (real estate novice) - Questioning whether I should mortgage or rent.

Asked by Bane, Chicago, IL Thu Aug 16, 2012

I'm from Chicago. Recently graduated with a BA in May and landed a pretty nice 68k starting salary. I've been on the housing hunt ever since. Currently residing with my parents in the south burbs and the commute to the northside is killing me. At first, I was searching for apts in the south loop area (willing to pay 1200/mo max). I then came on Trulia and discovered there are many foreclosed condos for sale in the Kenwood/Hyde Park area. Some for around 75k. Used a mortgage calculator (5% down w/a high 7% interest rate) and found out it would only take 800/mo to mortgage a condo in this area. However, i'm just now building my credit. I'm worried that a lender or loan officer might not pre-approve me because i have so little credit, and also I've only been at this job for about a month.
I guess I'm asking what my course of action should be? I'm a novice, but the 800/mo to mortgage/own piques my interest way more than just throwing away 1200/mo to a rental company.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Bane.
Congrats on the new degree!
Whether you should rent or buy depends on many factors.
Currently, homes are very affordable and interest rates
are at historic lows. But on the flip side, prices are
still declining in some areas and there is a backlog of foreclosures
waiting to hit the market. However, if you are planning to live in your
property for more than 5 years, and view your home as a long term
investment, then buying is still a great idea.

Based on what you have stated, I think it will be difficult to qualify for
conventional financing. Most condos will require conventional financing. Generally speaking, conventional financing will require high credit scores (680+).

Also, most lenders will want you to verify the last two years of income. You just started a new job, so your income will not be viewed as stable yet. Of course, they might be willing to work with you if you put down a larger down payment.

Also, some bank owned condos are difficult to get financed. The prices are low for a reason. And that reason is most of the condo buildings won't qualify for conventional financing. That is because the condo association is not active. Or the condo association is not well funded and has low reserves. Also if the building has too many foreclosures, most banks will not finance units there. Be sure to look at the association dues and the taxes. Some condos in the Kenwood area have high taxes and assessments. Most of the low priced foreclosed condos are cash deals only.

The rental market is very strong right now. There is high demand for quality rental units that are affordable in the Kenwood area. Average rental rates will likely increase over the next few years. If you are undecided, it probably makes sense to rent for a year. This will give you time to thoroughly research your options and build your credit. For $1200 per month, you should be able to get a nice
2 bedroom unit in the Kenwood area.

But I would recommend contacting a Realtor or a loan officer that can evaluate your current situation and advise you accordingly.
By the way, I work with rentals and properties for sale in the Kenwood, Hyde Park, and Bronzeville areas.

Mark Killion
Keller Williams Realty CCG
716 E 47th Street - Chicago, IL 60653

3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Hey Bane,

That's exactly why I bought my place - I could get a 2BD condo-quality place with parking for the same price as my 1BD with no frills or parking. One quick tip: In the future when doing mortgage calculators, use 4% as your interest rate - 7% isn't even close to the interest rate that we're at - fortunately!

First step is to talk to a mortgage lender because they can stop the uncertainty and tell you right now if you can get approved for a mortgage - it's really simple and all you have to do is provide them with some financial info. Email me if you want a couple good referrals.

Once you talk to the mortgage lender then we can chat about next steps and we can get started with the condo search.

Jeff Stewart
REALTOR®, @properties
3101 N. Greenview Avenue | Chicago, IL 60657
309-269-3499 CELL | 773-305-0480 FAX
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Good Morning Bane,

You couldn't have picked a better time to consider purchasing a home. It is definately a buyers market with low housing prices and interest rates.

The first thing you will want to do is contact a experienced mortgage lender who can review your income, credit... and find out how much home you can qualify for. This should be done at no charge to you. If you need to do anything to improve your credit, the lender should be able to show you what to do. Also ask the lender about any first time homebuyer programs that will give you downpayment/closing cost assistance (Specifically ask about IHDA Smart Move that gives you up to $6,000.00 toward down payment and/or closing costs).

The other thing to do is make sure you have a experienced real estate agent who can help you find the home of your dreams and write the contract that will help you get that home.

Good Luck in your home search. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at the below phone number or email.

Nick Nelson (NMLS#384413)
Mortgage Loan Officer
1st Step Mortgage Group, Inc.
6876 Spring Creek Road, Suite 124
Rockford, IL. 61114
815-289-0880 - Phone
nickn@1stepmortgage.com - email
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
Before you move into a condo, especially one with 'cheap prices', make sure you hang out by the gate and chat with current owners. Often times these buildings are under serious duress, and things are a mess (regarding reserves and current condition of building). Not only will these be an unnecessary headache, but you will not get an FHA loan and have to put much more money down (not 5%, at least 20%).

In terms of being new to the job, underwriting standards have usually allowed college graduates who are employed in a profession related to their studies, even if it is for short term, but directly out of school, to purchase a property provided you have the right debt to income ratio.

Being young, you may want to forgo real estate entirely, pack your bags, and go spend the next year enjoying life in Argentina or Thailand. Live in beach shack and grow a mohawk. You've got the rest of your life to work. You just spent all your previous years in school. SLOW DOWN. GET OFF TRULIA. HAVE SOME FUN.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2012
Great Bane, you are asking the right questions. I agree with the others that now is the time to buy. I woul dcertanily be willing to speak with you about your options for a mortgage. I work with a great deal of first time homebuyers. YOu may fit a program that we have that offers up to $6000 in closing cost credits. Let me know if I can help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 17, 2012

You can't go wrong if you buy right, and rates are so low that it's almost free to borrow. I would recommend buying if the price makes sense compared to renting.

Sohail A. Salahuddin | Broker Associate | Visionary

Innovative Property Consultants Team | Sales and Leasing

Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

425 W. North Ave. | Chicago, IL 60610 

O: 312.335.3230 | C: 312.437.7799 | F: 847.805.6030


"Locally Known, Globally Recognized"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 17, 2012
Hi Bane-

As almost everyone has said, start with a conversation with a mortgage professional to see if looking right now can lead to a purchase. Good advice.

Certainly a fine time from a price standpoint to consider a purchase, but there is more than just price involved here.

Lots of "what ifs" to consider.
On the lifestyle side, what does your student loan debt look like? How about a car and car payments? Is there anyone in your personal life that might be a bigger part of it in the future?
Any possibility a transfer out of area is a consideration as part of your employment, either where you are now, or with another firm?
Do you have at least 6 months worth of savings to cover an unexpected loss of income and the mortgage obligation?

Yes, many condos down there, but many issues go with deeply discounted condominiums. Remember, you are buying into an association and your unit's worth is determined in part by the financial health of the other unit owners and the ability of others to get a loan to buy your unit in the future.
There is no free lunch here, and there are many solid financial reasons behind those prices you are seeing.
You might want to consider the differential between rent and mortgage payments to be insurance on your future financial health instead of a throw away. You certainly will not be retiring the loan debt by anywhere near that amount in the first few years.
Prices have stabilized, but in many areas, they are far from going up much any time soon. You have time to make a good decision that is right for you.
A good Realtor and some thoughtful consideration of what is going on in your life right now will get you the best possible outcome.

Dave Hanna
Realty Executives Source One & Realty Executives Service
Past President and Realtor of the Year, The Chicago Association of Realtors
"Striving to be the best every day"
Offices in Chicago and the Suburbs, find me at 2125 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago, IL. 60618

Call or text (773) 732-9123
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
First thing is first. Speak with a lender. See how much you can get approved for. Once you figure that part out, see what areas you can afford with that price range. I would team up with an agent after that. Its free to use our services. If you want a lender referral I would be happy to provide one.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Hello Bane,

There are many pros and cons to owning your own property. Take the time to seek some expert advice with two or three seasoned realtors. If they are good, they will ask what your future plans are and if you can see yourself living in the area for a long period of time. You are going through a life change and these and other questions should be on your mind. If you need the name of some agents who are experts in that particular area feel free to reach out to me. Congratulations and good luck!!!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Good luck and congrats on getting a nice job.excuse the long distance advice, I used to live in the area.
You must check with a lender/broker who has access to many lenders, not just one bank with its own loan strategy; too narrow. A low down payment for a condo is not possible in many complexes. Then a real estate agent will be able to find quaified and approved complexes for FHA financing, the lowest down. You could find the condo first but then check a loan broker for a wide selection of programs, not just one direct lender. An agent who has sold units in a complex should know what is going on for loans there.. Buying for the same out of pocket as rent is attractive, but not always possible. Most people don't look at their owned home as a problem when they want to sell it. They think their unit is a pot of gold and someone is trying to take it from them. Being able to re-sell is important and not easy to predict. A complex with many foreclosures is not a good sign for re-saleablity. A local expert is a must for you. Again, good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Regardless whether you decide to buy or rent initially, talking with a mortgage broker/lender should be your first step. It will give you a clear picture of the steps you need to take to become a homeowner. It will also give you a better understanding of all of the costs involved in buying a home (there are always more than you think). I would be happy to recommend 1 or 2 trusted mortgage brokers.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
My web site has some lender references., You should speak with a few of them to see what, if anything, you might qualify for now. There is no charge to speak with them. I think you might need to rent a year and I do not think the values in Kenwood-HP will change much by next year and once you get a better feel for that and other neigborhoods in the next year you will be in a better (more comfortable) position to make a decision.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
Good for you in thinking about your future and what to do.

Step #1: Get pre approved. Speak with a lender so that your current financial situation can be thoroughly analyzed

Your credit, employment and amount of down payment will be analyzed.

Real Estate prices and Interest Rates are at very low levels. Since you have nothing to sell, you are in the ideal situation to purchase (if you want and can afford it).

Should you need any help with the process feel free to contact me.

Bill J Deligiannis
First Centennial Mortgage
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
On second thought, the best advice here is Seth Captain, below. A condo complex with lots of foreclosures is not a good sign. And the down payment there will be 20 to 30% with interest rates to 7%. If a lender offers 5% down but rates of 7% it is because of the risk.
One more thing, "you can't go wrong", is probably the worse advice you will receive. Good luck and be careful out there. Carl
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 21, 2012
Hi Bane,

I will advice you to with mortgage instead of going for rent, such investing money in property is always be beneficial for you. In the future you can sell it on good price but in the case of rent instead of paying huge amount the property is not going to be yours. Lastly i like to say that you are well mature enough to think so use your brain and take good decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 21, 2012

Now is a great time to buy. Rents in Chicago have been going up almost 10% a year the past couple of years, while Mortgage rates are below 4%

I can recommend some awesome lenders to talk to about a pre-approval. In many areas you can own for about 30-40% less than renting.

Best of Luck,
Ivan Sagel
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 20, 2012
I'm no mortgage expert, but I do know see credit reports all the time of young people. Surprisingly, you can have great credit even with very little established. It's late payments, collections, inquiries, etc that bring your score down. Car loans, student loans, and credit cards all create a credit history for you. Now the length of your employment might be the bigger factor in getting a loan, but that is something to ask a mortgage lender. Just out of curiosity, where did you get the 7% interest rate???
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2012
Congratulations on your graduation!

Start by speaking with a lender. Call Matt Bukovy @ Wintrust Mortgage 773-416-7107. Matt is great with first time home buyers.

He will walk you through the process and explain what you will need to do in order to "beef up" your credit. Also, if there are any issues he will identify them and help you resovle them by providing you with a plan of action.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 17, 2012
buy a 3 flat in westown with your parents
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 16, 2012
What's a 3 flat? Where's westown? What do you mean buy it with my parents? And why ?
Flag Thu Aug 16, 2012
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