Foreign investor in Chicago - mortgage advice

Asked by Louise, Ireland, WV Wed Jan 21, 2009

I am an Irish citizen living in Ireland. I purchased a condo in Chicago as an investment and it is due to finish construction soon (I bought before the world turned on it's head). Is it possible to get a mortgage with a 20-25% downpayment. The realtor has set up meetings with Bank of America but i understand from the realtor that they require a 30% downpayment - would there be room for negotation would anyone know? Or suggest an alternative route? thanks

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Christopher…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Wed Jan 21, 2009
Dear Louise,

It sounds like you already have a Realtor. Do they have a CIPS designation? Or another continuing education certification that suggests that they specialize in International transacations?

This is certainly not required, but I've found that agents with this or similar designations tend to have a bit more expertise with transactions involving either International clients or properties.

If your agent does not have this designation, then you might want to ask them if any other agents in their brokerage do have it. But I am not suggesting that you try to change agents.

If your agent is or locates an agent with this specialty certification, then they might have more specific experience with lenders who can help you price compete your loan. In this particular interest rate environment (at least in the U.S.) 30% down does sound a bit high. But I don't yet specialize in International real estate or mortgage services, so I would not know if you can get more favorable terms at this point in time.

I could suggest some lenders that you may want to speak with, but I'm also not sure of their specific experience with respect to International clients. However they are all very good lenders and if they could not assist you would be happy to refer you to someone who could.

Good luck and let me know if I could be of further assistance.

Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty
773-418-0640 (cell)
1 vote
Timothy Fitz…, , Joliet, IL
Wed Jan 21, 2009
Unless you have an extremley poor credit score, 20% should be a sufficient down payment. I am not quite sure, to be honest if your non-citizen (U.S.) status has anything to do with that though. GO IRISH!
1 vote
Ken Dooley, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Hi Louise,

I have the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation and have helped many buyers in your situation. The Realtor you refer to is likely the Realtor for the seller and not your Realtor. The 30% downpayment is in-line with what other buyers have been quoted but the appraisal is key for such loans at this time.

In addition to the advice that I can provide you with, I have Lenders that can review your situation and Attorneys that may be able to look into your contract more closely and suggest options you may not have considered. Take a look at previous answers I've posted in relation to foreign buyer questions and you should get a feel for my understanding of International Transactions.………

Call me to discuss anytime. I can provide referrences for others I've helped in the past couple of weeks in your situation.

Best of Luck, Ken Dooley CIPS, ABR, TRC
(312) 305 4919 cell
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