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Purchasing Your Chicago Home

I specialize in Near North Chicago neighborhoods and know how to find specific information in these areas.  Whether you need more details about schools, transportation, entertainment options, or more, I can get this information to you.

As your agent, I will make finding your new home in Chicago as easy as possible.  With so many different neighborhoods and unique housing styles in Chicago, it is important to have a little background, so that you can make an informed decision about which neighborhood will suite your lifestyle.

By using a computerized Multiple Listing Service to sort through the thousands of active listings in Chicago, I can determine your specific needs and will find properties in neighborhoods that meet your housing requirements.  I specialize in Chicago neighborhoods, and am very resourceful in finding specific information in your desired areas, such as school information, entertainment options, and public transportation access.

Once you have found your new home, I will guide you through every step of the process from making the initial offer to the closing table.  A financial counselor will also meet with you, if desired, to discuss your financing options.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Q. How is financing handled in Chicago?
If you plan to obtain financing for your new home purchase, it is necessary to make a formal application with a lender of your choice shortly after reaching a final agreement with the seller.  It is a good idea to start the application process at the beginning of your home search.  Rubloff Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, RWF, offers the most competitive rates, fees, and programs available when it comes to home financing.  If you have questions regarding mortgages, please feel free to contact

Q. How do I find an attorney to represent us at closing?

A.  Illinois is an Attorney State.  This means that under Illinois law, only attorneys may interpret the legal language of sales contracts, give opinions on matters of title and provide legal counsel at closing, etc.  If you require a referral for an Illinois real estate attorney, I can provide you with a  list.  

Q. How do I complete the real estate sale?

A. Chicago uses standard real estate purchase contracts familiar to all real estate attorneys and brokers working in the city of Chicago.  I will assist you in preparing the contract which will then be presented to the seller of the property.  In Chicago, it is customary for the buyer to deposit “initial earnest money” with the agent at the time that an offer is presented.  This amount is negotiable. Once an offer is accepted, I will continue to assist you in following through with the terms and conditions of the sale as agreed to by all parties involved.

Q. How are real estate closings handled in Chicago?

A. Generally, closings are conducted at title companies.  The buyers, sellers, attorneys (for both parties), the real estate brokers, and a closing officer from the title company are all present.  During the course of the closing, all documents are reviewed by both attorneys, signed by the Purchaser and the Seller, monies are exchanged, and the entire transaction is reviewed and recorded by the closing officer.

Q. What are Closing Costs?

A. Closing costs are approximately 5% of the amount borrowed. These fees cover the following:

a. Application Fee: Usually, at the time that you apply for a loan, the lender will collect a non-refundable fee from you to cover the cost of the credit report and the appraisal of the property. 

b. Title Guarantee Insurance: This is a one time premium paid to the title company protecting the mortgagee against loss because of claims on a title.

c. Pre-paid Interest: At the time of closing, the lender will charge you interest on the loan for the period from the date of the closing up to the date of the first mortgage payment.

d. Transfer Tax: The City of Chicago levies a transaction tax in the amount of $7.50 for every $1000 of the purchase price.  The cost is paid by the purchaser at the time of closing.  County and state taxes are also required with the transfer of real estate in Illinois. These taxes are the seller’s responsibility. The county tax is $ .50 per $1000 of the purchase price and the state tax is 1.00 per $1000 of the purchase price.

 NOTE: At the time of the application, the lender is required to provide you with a statement of estimated charges and credits; at the closing you will receive a final statement with the accurate amount.  At the closing, the Purchaser is required to have a certified or a cashier’s check for the balance due to the Seller.



Q. How are Illinois real estate taxes handled?

A. Illinois property taxes are paid in arrears. This means that taxes are collected for ownership in the previous year.  Consequently, each year, the previous year’s taxes are paid in two installments, March 1st and September 1st.  At the time of purchase you will receive a credit from the Seller for any unpaid taxes up to the date of closing. A determination is made at this time as to what the tax bill is likely to be.  This is achieved by taking the most recent bill and adding a "cushion" of 10% (or more if a reassessment has taken place).  This credit is called tax proration and is based on the most recent ascertainable taxes.

Illinois residents are eligible for a Homeowners' Exemption on their primary residence which reduces the estimated property valuation by about $3,500 if residency criteria are met.

Q. How do I know if there are real estate practices in Illinois that are different from those where I am living now?

A. There are a few practices that are standard in Illinois but may not be for other areas. They are:

  • Appliances which are not built in, such as stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers and window air conditioners are generally included in the purchase of real estate but must be specifically enumerated in the contract; a built-in appliance, however, would be included.
  • Window Furnishings, rugs and tacked-down carpeting are not necessarily included but are often negotiated in the purchase.
  • In Illinois, most real estate titles are insured by private title insurance companies.
  • In Illinois each individual sale contract must have specification as to when buyer possession will take place. 
  • If you are obtaining a mortgage for your new home, time must be allowed for:
    1. Approval of your credit.
    2. Mortgage papers to be prepared after approval, signed by the buyers(s), notarized and returned to the mortgage lender.
    3. After receiving the paperwork, the mortgage lender can order a report on the title.  The title insurance company may require as many as 10 days to secure the commitment for title insurance.  The mortgage money does not pay out the proceeds of the loan until the mortgage is recorded and shows in the title report.



Q. How do I set up utilities?

A. Most utilities can be set up either online or via the phone.  Below are links to several of the main utilities' websites.  For water service, the process must be done in writing.

Electric: Commonwealth Edison

Gas Service: People’s Gas (city)

All Connect  


Bureau of Water, 312.747.7956.  New accounts are only created through written authorization. You must send a request with your name and address to:

Water Collection, Rm 101
City Hall
121 N. Lasalle St.
Chicago, IL 60602



Carol Duran
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
Ph: 312-368-5963  -  Fax: 312 242-5613
1800 N. Clybourn
Chicago, IL 60614

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