The City of Chicago's and Chicagoland Housing Market is Gaining Strength

     Back in January of this year, a report from Standard and Poor's/Case-Shiller showed that Chicago and the Chicagoland Suburbs housing market was "lagging behind" other U.S. metropolitan cities as it related to the housing recovery.  And through my contact with other real estate and mortgage professionals outside of our area, I certainly agreed with that assessment at that time.  

     Although our Chicago and Chicagoland housing market did seem healthier to me at that point than it had previously, I didn't sense that I was seeing the number of interested Home Buyers or the rebound in sales and prices that professionals in other markets were reporting.  I remained hopeful that changes were coming.

     And after what seemed like forever,  many of those changes have arrived.  Our local housing market is showing positive signs that indicate we're healing and moving in a better direction.
         The Illinois Association of REALTORS  has reported that during the month of July, 2013 ... sales in the City of Chicago were up 31.1% year-over-year.  And the median price for a home was up 25% from the same time a year ago.

     Perhaps one of the strongest indicators of our area's healthier housing market was found within the sub-market pertaining to the City of Chicago's Condo market.  Condo prices rose 13.8%, with "average time on the market" down to 48 days, representing a 30.4% drop from 2012's average.

     In the surrounding 9-County Chicagoland suburban area, sales were up 36.1%.  Just short of 12,000 homes sold during July.  Prices were up 18.3% ... and the time it took to sell a home was dramatically down.  On average it was taking 61 days to sell a property versus 83 days last year.  

     Inventory of properties for sale remains an issue in the City of Chicago and Chicagoland area.  Although the number of available properties has grown since the low reported in January of this year, even more sellers are needed.  With prices up, sales times down, and a more active and an eager number of potential Home Buyers, hopefully future statistics will show improvement on Chicago and Chicagoland housing inventory soon.

     But finally ... finally ... the City of Chicago's and the Chicagoland real estate market is gaining strength and heading in a positive direction.  And there is still more good news.  Potential Home Buyers still have plenty of time to buy and close on purchases made prior to the Holidays.  And they will be able to enjoy the beautiful weather arriving in Chicago and Chicagoland while out viewing homes for sale during the coming Fall months.  

     Chicago ... Chicagoland ... great housing markets ... Interest Rates are still low ... housing prices are still advantageous ... and beautiful Fall weather.  Perfect! 

     The City of Chicago's and Chicagoland Housing Market is Gaining Strength ... Contact me now for your FREE Mortgage consultation ... FREE Pre-Qualification ... and to get your home's successful mortgage financing started.

     *  Looking to Buy a Home or Refinance in the City of Chicago or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area?  Contact me!  I'll put my 36 years of mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.
     I can be easily reached at:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell/Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
Click  HERE  for a FREE Mortgage Consultation!
Ready to Apply for your Mortgage?




Questions and Attention to Detail Make For Successful Chicagoland Mortgage Closings

Questions and Attention to Detail Make For 
Successful Chicagoland Mortgage Closings

"It's the little details that are vital.  
Little things make big things happen" ...  John Wooden 
     I've been blessed with some very intelligent and highly-engaged Mortgage clients.  From our very first communication, these clients have been completely immersed in the details of their mortgage process and thoroughly educated about it.  

     They've questioned me about every step of their process too.  Why this?  Why that?  And it has been welcomed ...
     One client, after receiving his Appraisal Report, actually took the time to read the full Report in its entirety.  He asked me detailed questions about the terminology used within the Report, specifically terminology that pertained to his financing.  Every question he asked was well thought out.  I was blown away by it.

     Another Buyer wanted to know why I cared so much about the background and details of the Condominium Association he was buying in.  He also wanted to know why I needed a Condominium Association Questionnaire completed and why I examined the Questionnaire so thoroughly upon receiving it.  

     As I explained that his interests in his Condominium Unit, his finances could be impacted by the numbers and info reported on that Questionnaire ... I virtually saw the recognition of that importance cross his face. 

      The Questionnaire on the property he was interested in, had revealed a very important fact.  One entity owned and represented 40% of the payments made into the Condominium Association's monthly budget.  All my pesky "rules of Lending", my many questions to his agent, my attention to the details surrounding this Association ... they all seemed to make a bit more sense to him after I pointed out that one very important fact to him.  

     What was so important about it??

     If the entity responsible for 40% of the Condominium Dues stopped or failed to make payment of their Dues, the remaining 60% ownership would be asked to make up the difference.  The remaining 60% (of which he'd be a part) would then become responsible for a full 100% of the Association's budget.  

     Click!  That's where and when the light came on for my young Condo Buyer.  He now fully understood that this newly uncovered "detail" .... one that up until now he deemed "pesky" ... could directly impact HIS wallet, both short term and long.   
   My point for relating the above stories?

     I know that the Mortgage Process can seem long and tedious.  I understand it can seem filled with too many questions, too many requests for documents and copies, and too many nagging details. 

     But while I understand the frustrations that accompany all the above, you need to understand:  Many of today's Underwriting and Mortgage Lending rules and requirements are based upon or come as the result of past transactions and experiences.  

     And so often (see my young Buyer), there is a valid and important reason as to why I'm asking you (or others) for info or documentation.  

     Questions and Attention to Detail Make For Successful Chicagoland Mortgage Closings ... should you not understand something I'm saying or don't understand why I'm making a request ... ask questions, just as my clients did.  

     Asking questions will help you understand the benefits and protections that will come your way when seeing to those details and through fulfilling the requests ...  

     *  Buying a Home or hoping to Refinance in Will County or elsewhere in ChicagolandContact me today!  I'll put my 37 years of mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your your behalf.
     I can be easily found at:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Text/Cell:  708.921.6331
eFax:  8715.524.2281

  Twitter Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   LinkedIn Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Facebook Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Pinterest Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   
 Trulia Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Zillow Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Gene's Chicagoland Blog/Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender 
Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender, a Lender with 37 years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL

Your Referrals are Greatly Appreciated!




What Helps a Chicagoland Appraisal and its Comparables Survive the Scrutiny of Underwriting?

     Mention the words Appraisal and Underwriting together in the same sentence these days ... and you likely better stand back.  The reaction you receive could be fast and furious!

     In Mortgage Lending and Underwriting, nothing is taken
at face value.  Verification of everything is called for.  Re-checks and reviews are the norm.  And the Appraisal (the collateral for the Mortgage financing) is certainly a key component and focus of today's Underwriting.  

     Most Chicagoland Mortgage Lenders and Agents will tell you that they suffer a bit of anxiety regarding Appraisals currently.  That it's one thing to receive the Appraisal Report with a stated view of Value.  It's quite another thing for that Appraisal Report to stand-up to an Underwriter's review of the data and narrative contained within the Report.  

     Agent and Mortgage Lender both worry ... will the data contained on the Appraisal Report prove accurate and trustworthy?  Will the narratives and explanations make sense to the Underwriter?  And will any adjustments shown within the Report survive the Underwriter's scrutiny?

     While there are a number of important elements that make up an Appraisal Report, the heart of the Appraisal remains the Value Estimate.  On any Appraisal, an Underwriter is going to want to review and know:
  •  Was the Value Estimate supported by factual sales data?  
  •  Was that sales data relevant to the Subject Property?
  •  Were the "best" Comparables utilized?
  •  Were better or more relevant Comparables overlooked?
  •  Was the Appraiser "uninfluenced" by the transaction's Sales Price? 
  •  Was there a market for the use of "unique" properties to be considered?  
  •  And the list of considerations goes on and on ...      
     Much of what is commonly seen from Underwriters as "acceptable criteria" for Chicagoland Comparable Sales and Listings is below.  I don't pretend to be able to cover every possible scenario.  These days, I can't even come close.  But I've included some basics I think might help when considering how Appraisers and Underwriters may eventually view a Listed Property:
     A Search for Chicagoland Comparables should include:
  •      Sold and Closed properties within the last 6 months.  Some cases as recent as last 3 months.  

  •      Stable or Increasing Value Markets are likely okay at 6 months out, sometimes even up to a year ... IF PROPERLY EXPLAINED OR JUSTIFIED BY THE APPRAISER. 

  •      Declining Value Markets will require sales data within 3 months (possibly 6 months).  Again this is subject to the local market activity and proper narrative as to the frequency of Comparable properties coming on the market.
      Properties generally should be:  

     A.  Within a 1-Mile Radius of the Subject Property
     B.  In the same City, County (if rural), and School District, if at all possible.
     C.  Within the geographical boundaries of the Subject Property, as defined in the Appraisal Report by the Appraiser.  (Boundaries are often Rivers, Highways, City Limits, School District lines, etc.)
     D.  Of the same or similar construction quality, design, style, age, and room counts.
     E.  Living areas (Square Feet) should be within a 300-500 square foot variation from the Subject.  Bedroom counts should be similar (thoroughly explained when not).  Amenities such as Basements, Garages, and options should be similar, as well.
     F.  Ownership Types should match.  This is especially important when Condominiums and Townhomes are being Appraised.  Comparisons should be apples to apples, not mixed.  Example:  Condos should be compared to Condos.  Not Townhomes that are P.U.D.'s, and vice versa.
     G.  Comparables ideally will *"bracket" the estimated Value, before and after adjustments are made for differences between the Subject Property details and those Comparables used in the Appraisal Report.  (* Bracketing, is defined as: “A process in which the an Appraiser determines a probable range of values for a property by applying qualitative techniques of comparative analysis to a group of comparable sales. The array of comparable sales may be divided into two groups – those superior to the subject and those inferior to the subject. The adjusted sales prices reflected by these two groups limit the probable range of value for the subject and identify a bracket in which the final value opinion will fall.”)
     In other words, an Underwriter should see and clearly understand the information presented, along with any adjustments made, when viewing the Appraisal Report.  

     What helps promote that understanding? Properties that sold for less than the Subject Property should be inferior in size, quality, condition, room counts, amenities.  If not, the reason must be clear and supportable as to why a Seller discounted a Sales Price. 

     Likewise, properties that sell for more than the Subject Property must possess superior features to the Subject.  And ideally, the Comparables Sales utilized within the Appraisal Report must occur within a market of properties in the same price range as the property being Appraised has sold for, or is valued at. 

     H.  Unique Properties create the biggest concern for Underwriters, Appraisers, Lenders, and Agents alike, and for mostly the very same reason because the question is raised:  What's the property truly worth?  Are there any like properties to conclude what the market is for the Subject Property, let alone its Value or Sales Price?      

     When in doubt, consider what defines a Comparable: "Is the Sale or Listing "like" your Property"?  I add that 2 questions regarding this definition (and the thought process surrounding it) should be asked as well.  #1.  Has the Appraiser accounted for all factors that may affect the value of the Subject Property within their Appraisal Report?  And, #2.  Would the Comparable appeal to the same Buyer that is considering the Subject Property?

     What Helps a Chicagoland Appraisal and its Comparables Survive the Scrutiny of Underwriting?  If an Appraisal Report addresses and clearly makes the case supporting the facts and opinions it offers, Underwriters viewing the Report will raise fewer questions.  And that is what we ultimately ALL seek, whether Buyer, Seller, Agent, Mortgage Lender, or Appraiser.   

     *  Looking to Buy a Home or Refinance in the Lincoln-Way Region, Will County, DuPage County, or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area?  Contact Me.  I will put my 36 years of mortgage experience and appraisal background and expertise hard to work on your behalf.  Both will help you find and realize the success you seek.
     I can be easily found at the following:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell/Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
Click HERE for a FREE Chicagoland 
Mortgage Consultation! 
Ready to Apply for your Chicagoland Mortgage?


2nd Installment of Will County (IL) Property Tax Payments Due September 3rd, 2013


     The Second Installment of Will County Property Tax Payment is due on September 3rd, 2013.  

     Payments of your Second Installment Will County Property Taxes can be paid in a variety of ways:
  • Pay in Person at a Will County Bank or Credit Union.  A list of those banks and credit unions accepting Will County Property Tax Payments can be found:  HERE 
  • Pay by Discover Credit Card.  The form to do that is HERE.  (A convenience fee applies for payments made by Discover Credit Card)
  • Online at  A variety of methods, including other Credit Cards, are available for making payment.  eChecks and Debit Cards are also an accepted method for payment.  
      There is a fee involved for each online method of payment.  Those are as follows:

  • In person:  The Will County Treasurer's office located at 302 North Chicago St., Joliet, IL, has full-time cashiers available during tax payment time (May 1st to December 4th, 2013).  They accept Cash, Check, and Credit Cards.   

Will County Treasurer's Office Hours are:
Weekdays:  8:30 am -  4:30 pm
  • Payments can also be made at the Drop Box, located in the Will County Treasurer's office main parking lot at 302 North Chicago St., Joliet, IL.
  • You can also mail your payment to the Will County Treasurer's lockbox @:  P.O. Box 5000, Joliet, IL 60434-5000.  (Note: On-time payments are proven by U.S. Postal Service Postmark.)  
  • The Will County Treasurer's Android App.  To download and use the app, click HERE.  

     The last day you can pay Will County taxes with a check or non-certified fund in the Treasurer's Office itself is October 18th, 2013.  The last day to pay taxes via online methods is:  November 27th, 2013.  The last day to pay in person is:  December 3rd, 2013.

     Should you have further questions or needs regarding the payment of your Will County Property Taxes, you can contact the Will County Treasurer's office at:

Will County Treasurer’s Office
302 North Chicago Street, Joliet, IL  60432-4059
 Phone:  815-740-4675
To Contact via Email, Click  HERE   

     *  Looking to Buy a Home or Refinance in Will County, IL ... or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area?  Contact Me!  I'll put my 36 years of mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf. 

     I can be easily found at:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell/Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281
For a FREE Mortgage Consultation, click HERE!
Ready to Apply for your Mortgage?


Tackling Millennial Student-Loan Debt: Getting on Track to Buy a Home in Chicagoland

Tackling Millennial Student-Loan Debt:  
Getting on Track to 
Buy a Home in Chicagoland  

     Being the father of two Millennial-age sons, I can tell you from personal experience ... this age group is facing some serious financial issues.  

     One such issue is student-loan debt ...  

     It's much higher than my generation's was.  And student-loan debt is currently slowing, stalling, or keeping the younger generation out of the housing market.

     Luckily, one of my sons dodged this economic bullet.  College costs were limited and minimal because he received a college scholarship.  

     My other son did much the same while attaining his Bachelor's Degree.  But he decided to pursue further education and attended law school.  In New York.  Ouch!  

     He's made steady headway on repayment of his student loans, but the debt still takes a toll.  And to this point, it has kept him from buying a home.  

     Statistics prove he's not alone.  A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in April of 2013, showed that the homeownership rate of 30-year-old Home Buyers that also had student loan debt had decreased by over 10%.  That bucks historic trends that show those with more education have proven to be more active in the home buying market. 

     No matter how you slice it ... it's sad.  Especially when considering tandem statistics regarding the level of economic activity that could be stimulated by that Millennial demographic.  In just one area of the economy alone, that of home building, it's estimated by the National Association of Home Builders that: 

     If First-time Home Buyers purchased 143,000 newly-constructed homes, it would create 86,000 new jobs.  

     Think about it.  All the jobs created by these purchases include:  

  • Home repair 
  • Real estate commissions 
  • Home staging 
  • Home insurance 
  • Furniture and appliance sales 
  • Construction material sales 
  • Mortgage lending 
  • Landscaping design and application 
  • Many more

     While a political debate rages over the handling of this issue, the problem remains as one that is real and affecting potential Millennial Home Buyers now.  

     So how do we in the Mortgage and Real Estate Industry help Millennial's tackle this problem?  How do we help potential and hopeful Millennials find solutions and become actual Home Buyers today ... and in the future?

     I believe the answer lies in Education, Conversation, and continuing Communication.  Education and opportunities to converse with Millennials about options that directly apply to them are invaluable.  

     Hopeful Millennial Buyers need to seek and talk to a Mortgage Originator (or an Agent) long before they hope to Buy a Home.  Then they must keep that communication going and pro-actively position themselves to buy a home.

     A Mortgage Originator can offer Millennials burdened with student debt concrete advice and direction as to how to pay down their debt(s).  This will help their debt-to-income ratios (an area of major concern when seeking Mortgage financing) immensely.  

     An Originator can also guide Millennials towards higher credit scores and position them for their future home purchase faster and more successfully.

     A Mortgage Originator can also educate about financing
options that will help Millennials achieve home ownership sooner than those that do not seek guidance and assistance.  One option that might be raised is that of Gift Money.  

     As a potential young Home Buyer, do you have someone willing to gift you money to advance a home purchase?  

     I can advise and direct those gift monies so they can serve you the highest purpose, whether that be towards the Down Payment for the home purchase itself or paying down of other debt.  (Depending on your financial scenario, one course of action may be more advantageous than the other.)

     Another option that could be considered is that of obtaining a Co-Signer.  I have written on this topic previously, but knowing the pros and cons of Co-Signing is important for both the recipient of the assistance and the Co-Signer themselves.  Again, gaining insight and education on this option well ahead of your considered home purchase is very important. 

     Millennials hoping to buy soon ... or at some point in the future, need to take advantage of the valuable credit info, financial advice, and guidance that is available to them. Being educated as to what will be expected of you regarding Credit Scores, from you as a Borrower, as well as the financial documentation required during Mortgage Application, is greatly beneficial too.  You can better prepare yourself and be organized as you work towards your Home Buying goal.  

     As a Mortgage Originator, I offer free consultations ... and opportunity to ask financing and credit questions ... for those hoping to buy currently, but also for those hoping to buy down the road.  This advice proves invaluable in getting you (and other hopeful Home Buyers) on the right track towards a successful home purchase.  

     Tackling Millennial Student-Loan Debt: Getting on Track to Buy a Home in Chicagoland.  Start the conversation.  Ask questions.  

     Don't hesitate or waste valuable time.  Contact Me.  The assistance and education you'll gain will prove beneficial to you in a myriad of ways. 

     Are your a Millennial-age hopeful Home Buyer in Chicagoland - IL - WI?  Contact Me today!  I'll be happy to discuss all your financial options and help you better position yourself to Buy a Home, whether it's now or in the future.
     I'm easily found at:

Gene Mundt

Mortgage Originator  -  NMLS #216987  -  IL Lic. #031.0006220  -  WI License #216987

American Portfolio Mortgage Corp.
NMLS #175656

Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell/Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281

  Twitter Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   LinkedIn Account of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Facebook Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   Pinterest Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender   
   Trulia Acct. of Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender     Gene's Chicagoland Blog/Gene Mundt, Mortgage Lender    
       Gene Mundt, Mortgage Originator, an Originator with 40+ years of mortgage experience, will offer you exemplary mortgage service and advice when seeking:  
Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA, and Portfolio Loans 
in Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region, including:  
The Lincoln-Way Area, Will County, (New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena, Manhattan, Joliet, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Naperville, etc.), DuPage County, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and elsewhere within IL & WI

Your referrals are always appreciated!

A Mortgage Message So Important, it Bears Repeating

A Mortgage Message So Important,  it Bears Repeating Home buying is often spoken of as an uphill, stressful challenge ... And while...