chicago real estate news alert: CONSIDERING A CHICAGO CONDO? Many Prospective Buyers Stopped by Tight Lender Requirements! - 09/14/08 01:49 PM
Good Evening, AR!
We all know that the Federal takeover of U.S. Mortgage Investors and Guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac early last week had a positive impact on mortgage interest rates very quickly.  On Monday alone, average rates for 30-year fixed rate loans here in Chicago dropped nearly 0.5% on the news.
What you did not hear is that only the most credit qualified buyers, with larger down payments, get these primo rates.  Fannie and Freddie fees for borrowers with lower money down, or with less-than-top FICO Credit Scores, have to pay more.  Sometimes, as high as the rates in place before the … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FANNIE/FREDDIE TAKEOVER, CONTINUED - Underlying Housing Market Problems Remain! - 09/10/08 01:52 AM
Good Morning, All!
Did anyone think the U.S. Treasury takeover this weekend of major mortgage investors and guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solve all of our housing woes?
Few did - although many feel this drastic step was necessary to prevent a massive meltdown in the mortgage markets.
But the action still kept many of the root causes of the current housing slump, here in Chicago and in many parts of the U.S., still intact.
Despite the fact that many mortgage products greeted the takeover with sharp drops - nearly 0.4% on Monday on several mortgage products in Chicago - … (0 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: HERE'S A CREATIVE WAY to Tap Home Equity - But You'll Pay in the End! - 09/08/08 02:53 PM
Ah, entrepreneurship!  Creativity!  It never ceases to amaze me!
Here's a way to draw equity from your home, without a mortgage lien, that's even available as traditional lenders are drastically curtailing their Home Equity Line of Credit products.  It is now available to select homeowners in Chicago and across Illinois.
REX, a San Francisco CA based firm, offers up to $70,000 in cash to the owner of a $900,000 home who is willing to share 30% of future home equity with the firm.  They would offer $117,000 for a 50% share of future equity.  Not included in their formula are current … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: TAKEOVER - Will New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Turn Around The Housing Market? - 09/08/08 02:35 PM
Within the last 48 hours, dozens of articles, perhaps scores of posts, have been written detailing the U.S. Treasury Department takeover of Mortgage Giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.   Here in Chicago, it's all the buzz as well!
But . . . what happens now?
Beginning last night, experts predicted the greater security created by a U.S. Government-headed Fannie and Freddie will filter down into lower interest rates.   Indeed, they apparently have - earlier today, the Average 30-Year Fixed Rate dropped to 6.04%, from 6.34% at the start of the day, according to HSH Associates.
Several mortgage experts, including Mark Zandi, … (9 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: NEW CITY OF CHICAGO PROGRAM Aids Buyers Considering Homes on Former Public Housing Sites! - 09/07/08 05:52 AM
Hi, Gang!  One more post, and I'm off to enjoy one beautiful Chicago afternoon.  We won't get too many more of these before the weather starts getting cold again, you know!
I'm sure many cities across North America have similar programs, but a new City of Chicago program, aimed at encouraging homeowner investment in sites formerly occupied by Chicago Housing Authority Public Housing grabbed my interest.
Chicago's new "Find Your Place" program will combine down payment assistance, financial aid, and price reductions provided by Harris Bank, the non-profit Partnership for New Communities, and private developers.  No new City of Chicago money … (0 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: PAST-DUE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS, FORECLOSURES CONTINUE TO RISE. Will Home Prices Fall Faster? - 09/07/08 05:33 AM
The drumbeat goes on!  Foreclosures increase!  Late Mortgage Payments on the rise!
The new, 2nd Quarter Mortgage Bankers Association Delinquency Survey was released this week, and it shows that nearly one-tenth of all homeowers are either one-month behind in their mortgage payments, or in some stage of the foreclosure process.
The worst states for late pays and foreclosures - California and Florida, as you may have guessed.  Other higher-than-average U.S. States include Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Rhode Island and Ohio.  The State of Illinois is also on the list, with the problem not as pronounced here as in other states, however.
But … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: THERE ARE TONS OF RESOURCES ON THE WEB! Do I Really Need a Realtor? - 09/04/08 06:38 PM
Hey, Hey AR!  Hope all is well with you!
It's been raining all day here in Chicago.  The remnants of Hurricane Gustav, we've been told.
Man, have you ever heard this in today's market, "Why should I hire an expensive Realtor.  I'm really low on cash.  Can't I find everything I need on the Internet?"
I would assume that most would agree that we Real Estate Practitioners perform an invaluable service for our clients especially in this tough real estate market, 2008.  Coaching.  Negotiating. Clearing Contract Contingencies.  And on . . . and on!
Indeed, although most home buyers and sellers … (35 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FALLING HOME INVENTORY, LOWER PRICES - But Stringent Mortgage Requirements Dampen Housing Turnaround! - 08/31/08 04:27 PM
Hey, AR!  Hope you're enjoying your Labor Day Weekend!
Statistics here in Chicago indicate median prices here have fallen 9.5% versus last year.  The median price drop across the country has approached 16%.
But, still, in many parts of the U.S., the housing slump continues.
Does this makes sense?  After all, in a perfect world, wouldn't lower prices, coupled with high inventory, stimulate demand, and at least begin to turn things around in real estate?
Some feel that the recent improvement in the pace of the median price drop indicates the market, in general, may be finding a bottom.  Karl Case, … (6 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: STUBBORN CHICAGO HOMESELERS KEEP THEIR PRICES TOO HIGH, and the Buyers Just Seem to Wait! - 08/28/08 04:54 PM
Hello, fellow AR folks! 
We're in a good mood here in Chicago, as our beloved Cubs pulled a come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.  The win came in dramatic fashion, as Cubs Third-Baseman Aramis Ramirez belted a Grand Slam Home Run in the 8th Inning. 
Wow - my head is still spinning, and I was there!
Walking the six blocks home, I kept thinking about a Chicago Tribune article I read today, saying that, even now, many Chicago and Chicago Area Homesellers still think the sluggishness of the real estate market here is grossly overstated. 
Indeed, many presume, prices have not … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS - U.S. Home Sales Rise in July, But Interest Rates, Inventory, Lender Scrutiny Still High! - 08/27/08 03:17 AM
Hey - where's the bottom of the housing market?  Precisely, now, when will it occur?   Or, has it occurred already?
In Chicago - we don't know when it will bottom, and all indications are it has yet to happen.  Things are brightening up a bit here, it seems, but we still have a way to go.
Across the country, sales of existing homes rose 3.1% for July, 2008, versus June - to an annualized rate of  5 Million Units, from 4.86 Million Units the prior month.  However, the national inventory of homes for sale increased 3.9%, to 4.67 Million - an … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: MORE SUBTLY, NOW - Appraisers Still Pressured to Have Property "Appraise Out"! - 08/27/08 03:06 AM
Good morning, AR!
Inflated appraisals during the hot Real Estate Market.  I'm sure they occured here in Chicago, and in your market area as well. 
Many experts blame these overstated valuations for a big part of the weakness in the Real Estate Market today.  Overstated values led to phantom equity, which quickly disappeared after things turned sour in housing all over the U.S. 
Many homeowners now owe more than their home is worth today, as the amount of their mortgage loans were based on their supposedly-inflated property appraisals.  Adjustable rate resets compound the problem, as refinancing no longer becomes an option, … (0 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: As Sub-Prime Conventional Borrowing Disappears, FHA Loans Continue to Grow! - 08/24/08 05:16 AM
Man oh man, times have changed in the world of home financing!
A couple of years ago, FHA insured loans were shunned.  Conventional Sub-Prime Loans were as available as the air, to virtually every borrower.  They allowed those with blemished credit and low down payments to purchase virtually any home they wanted to buy - well, almost.
Piggy Back Loans were also the rage! Using the Piggy Back Option, a borrower could take out a large loan for 80% of the home's market value, plus get an immediate second mortgage for as much as another 15%.
Fast forward to today - August, 2008! 

chicago real estate news alert: HERE IN CHICAGO, ELSEWHERE, Drop in Equity Affects All - Especially Pay Option ARM Borrowers! - 08/24/08 05:02 AM
Hope you're enjoying your Sunday, AR!   It's cool and pleasant here in Chicago today - far more comfortable than the mid-90's humidity of yesterday afternoon.
As we know, the housing boom created any number of creative home financing options.  One of those riskier options - Pay Option ARM Loans - are now creating some pain for home borrowers who financed using them.
Pay Option ARM's allowed the borrower to pay either his full 30 or 15 year amortized payment each month, or the option of paying a specified minimum payment, or interest due only.
There was a problem here, however - … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC TO INCREASE LOAN FEES FOR MANY - Bad News, Bad Timing! - 08/19/08 10:00 AM
Good Afternoon, AR, from the Beautiful North Side of Chicago!
Here's a case of bad news, and crumby timing, out of seemingly-cash-strapped, and possibly government-bailed-out, U.S. Loan Guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  For many, conventional loan processing fees are going up!
The increased fees officially take effect on October 1st, although many lenders are already figuring the increases into their Truth in Lending Disclosure quotes.  Fannie or Freddie guarantee just over 50% of mortgage loans written across the country.
Baseline fees for this national "adverse market," as they define it, will increase from the current level of $250 per $100,000 of mortgage loan amount, … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: CHICAGO BUDGET GAP WILL WIDEN - CITY LAYOFFS MAY RESULT! - 08/14/08 10:23 AM
Good Afternoon, AR!
The Internet and News Radio has been buzzing here in Chicago this afternoon as Mayor Richard Daley announced his estimated budget for 2009.  As you can imagine - it will be big - and, there is a large anticipated budget shortfall next year.
How much of a projected shortfall? 
Roughly, $420 Million.  Problem is, State of Illinois Law prohibits unbalanced municipal budgets across the state.  Therefore, it will have to be balanced.
How so?  Perhaps severe job cuts of city employees - maybe as high as 1,800 layoffs are possible, according to Chicago 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: CHICAGO HOMEOWNERS - Over One-Third Who Purchased in 2006, 2007 Have Negative Equity - Data! - 08/12/08 08:39 AM
Unfortunately, it seems, every passing day brings new, often distressing data about the U.S. Real Estate Market.  Today, the data comes from, and The Chicago Sun-Times, regarding the prevalence of Negative Equity here in the Chicago Real Estate Market.
Recent data indicates 37.8% of Chicago Area Homeowners who purchased their homes during 2006 may be upside down in their mortgage.  In other words, they owe more on their home loan than their house is worth today.
The figure is slightly more favorable for those who purchased in 2007 - only 31.1%of these homeowners have negative equity in their homes.  … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: Just-Released Data from FDIC Substantiates Mortgage Woes! - 08/08/08 12:48 AM
Good Morning, All!
I ran into some interesting data yesterday in The Wall Street Journal which summarizes very well how things have change in mortgage lending in a couple of years.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 0.91% of all prime loans that originated in 2007 were in "serious default" - 90 days or more.  For the comparable period in 2006, the delinquency figure was only 0.33%.  In summary, as of the end of April of 2008, 275% more prime mortgages were in default than a year before!
Mortgages issued by Freddie Mac also showed an alarming increase in delinquency … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: HOMEOWNERS AROUND CHICAGO STILL FACE ESCALATING RE TAXES, Despite Slower Market! - 08/06/08 08:36 AM
In and around Chicago, median home prices have fallen as much as 9% over the past year.  But why haven't real estate taxes followed?
Unfortunately for homeowners, Assessed Property Valuations are based on the prices of similar homes that sold within the past two or three years- and some of these comparables sold when the Chicago Real Estate Market was at its peak, in 2005, and 2006.
In Cook County, the county in which the City of Chicago is located, assessed values are calculated on a tri-ennial basis.  The last assessed value was determined for city residents for the 2006 Real … (3 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: YOUR MORTGAGE READY TO CLOSE? Maybe Not! - 08/06/08 04:16 AM
Good Morning, Folks!  Another hot day on tap for Chicago, after a crazy weather week - and very scary thunderstorms and high winds on Monday night.
These days, even a Mortgage Commitment Letter is not enough to assure a home closing.  Nearly-weekly changes to lending rules, and Private Mortgage Insurance Requirements, sometimes cause last-minute conditions that could get in the way of a successful closing.
The biggest of these - a requirement that a "Declining Market Premium", an additional 5% down payment - be added, often just a day or two before closing.
Look at it in this example, as we have, several … (0 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: NEW HOUSING RELIEF BILL - Here's a Fast Summary! - 07/31/08 04:30 PM
Hey, AR!
As we all know, President Bush, without much fanfare, signed the Housing Relief Bill into law yesterday morning in the White House.  Here is a brief summary of its most important provisions.
$300 Billion in new loan backing for distressed homeowners, many of which financed within the past few years using sub-prime mortgage loans. Nearly $4 Billion in U.S. Government Money to help local communities invest in blighted, foreclosed properties in their jurisdiction. A $7,500 Tax Credit, repayable over 15 years, for first-time home buyers. A new measure to allow certain distressed homeowners, meeting certain qualification requirements, to refinance … (0 comments)

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Dean Moss

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Chicago, IL

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