Making the Jump to Homeownership Easier if you Pay Attention to the Details

It’s no secret that buying a home is a huge financial responsibility. It’s not surprising, then, that making the move from renting to owning can be intimidating to younger, first-time buyers.


But that doesn’t mean that 20-somethings all over the Chicago area aren’t taking the homeownership plunge. And the same can be said across the country: Yes, Millennials are waiting longer to buy homes. But many of them are still making that jump, according to a recent feature story in the Chicago Tribune.


The Tribune story provides some good advice for younger buyers. If you’re thinking of buying your first Chicago condo or single-family home, the story is worth a read.


For instance, the story suggests that you think about the details before you buy. For instance, you might want to make sure that there is enough parking if you are buying a condo in the city. Walking a block or two to your condo isn’t so bad in the spring. You might not enjoy this trek, though, during the middle of winter.


Then there are the costs of buying. You know that you’ll have to come up with a down payment. But closing costs, the fees that mortgage lenders and others charge to close your mortgage loan, can add up, too. The Tribune story quotes research from Zillow saying that closing costs can run from 2 percent to 5 percent of your home’s purchase price. So before you buy, make sure you have enough money on hand to cover these often unexpected costs.


And if you’re buying a condo with a homeowners’ association, make sure you understand these rules, too, before buying. Homeowners’ associations, which basically govern a condo building, can enact rules that limit how you decorate your building and how owners will pay for needed expenses such as roof repairs or furnace replacements.


Finally, make sure you not only love your house, but your neighborhood, too. As the Tribune story says, it’s easy to fall in love with a home’s modern kitchen and spacious master bedroom. But if you don’t like the neighborhood? All those in-home amenities won’t mean as much.