The decision to buy

Market climate warms for house hunters

May 6, 2011

Market climate warms for house hunters

Traditionally, spring is when prospective homebuyers come out of hibernation and begin the hunt for their next residence. But with the economy still in flux, budget battles raging in Washington and a housing market on shaky ground, many house hunters are wondering whether it is the right time to buy.

Calculate the real cost of homeownership

April 29, 2011

Calculate the real cost of homeownership

Homes are more affordable these days, the selection is abundant, and interest rates are still fairly low. For some people, it could well be a great time to buy.

6 homebuying mistakes and how to avoid them

September 25, 2009

6 homebuying mistakes and how to avoid them

If you've been thinking about buying a home, especially if you're a first-time buyer, folks in the real estate industry want to send you a message: Come on in, the water's fine. This may indeed be a great time for you to buy. But learn about common buying errors before you jump in.

June 22, 2008

Mary Umberger: Agents and brokers are holding the foreclosure door wide open for buyers looking for a bargain

Two years ago, Jason Pietrucha read the foreclosure writing on the wall.

May 23, 2008

What to know before choosing a developer

With some home builders and developers buckling under the strain of slow sales, tight credit and falling prices, buyers worry about finding a financially sound seller that will be around to fulfill future promises.

May 9, 2008

Launch 4-step plan to save for first home

Housing prices have slipped in many neighborhoods. But that doesn't mean it's easy for everyone to become a homeowner. Many young singles and couples still struggle to obtain even the most basic entry-level home. To qualify, they must first slash their spending and build a savings account.

May 4, 2008

Is it time to buy or time to stand pat?

Some question to consider when deciding whether to buy a second home:

April 25, 2008

10 things every new homeowner should know

You bought the house and secured the keys. Now what?

April 13, 2008


Value, not price, key factor when looking to buy home

Today, buying a home may feel a lot like buying stocks: You'd prefer to wait until the market finally bottoms out.

April 6, 2008

How to ensure the bid is right

You love the fireplace, the hardwood floors, even the slightly dated kitchen.

February 24, 2008

Should you buy or should you hold off?

With humble apologies to William Shakespeare, the question in today's housing market is "To buy or not to buy?"

February 10, 2008

Tax hike burdens buyers

The cost of Mario Greco's new home just went up by $7,000.

January 18, 2008

Turning point

For those who believe that housing is going to stage a turnaround, the next month may be a last chance to get a home at a bargain price.

January 18, 2008

Bargain seekers stay on sidelines amid weak prices

Some people are cheering for a plunge in housing prices: Those who watched the market rocket skyward and waited patiently for the return trip, resisting the temptation to spend more than they could afford.

January 11, 2008

Realty group says it's time to get off sidelines and seek bargains

Home construction in 2008 is expected to fall for the second year in a row, but consumers aren't likely to see prices this low for years to come, according to Metrostudy, a housing research and construction firm.

December 23, 2007

'Bottom' proving elusive

With prices predicted to keep falling through the coming year or even longer, one might question the wisdom -- even the sanity -- of buying a home now when even better bargains probably await.

December 7, 2007


A warm reception

Tinsel and lights still gleamed on Christmas trees and New Year's Eve was only days away in 2006 when Richard Gustafson signed a contract to buy a condominium in Forest Park.

November 22, 2007


1st-timers can get bargains in buyer's market

It's no secret that home buyers can grab real-estate bargains during an economic down cycle. Even in many prime neighborhoods, homeowners who wouldn't budge on price just a few months ago are now willing to negotiate in earnest, says Mark Nash, a real estate broker and author of "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home."

November 18, 2007

Which is just right?

There it sits, like a big, inviting slice of cake at the all-you-can-eat-buffet: The heaping helping of mortgage that a lender says you're qualified to borrow. Should you put it on your plate?

November 18, 2007


Don't overlook taxes, insurance

The potential pitfalls of home buying don't disappear when the purchase offer has been accepted and the loan has been lined up.

November 18, 2007

Mary Umberger: Purchase price just the start

Separate from the monthly mortgage bill, would-be home buyers have to factor in numerous costs to determine their affordability comfort level, financial counselors say. Some of the considerations:

November 2, 2007


Cost considerations are No. 1 in home planning

What will it cost?

October 21, 2007


Incentives, prices, fine print worthy of car lot

Won-Ki Choi and his wife Janice had their eye on the Fairfax, Va., townhouse for some time. But the $536,449 price tag was much too high for them.

October 19, 2007

Proper planning is vital for buying second home

Like many people approaching retirement, Kathryn Scruggs and her husband dream of a second home in which to spend leisure time. Her dream is a house on a 550-acre lake in Orange County, Va., only about an hour and 15 minutes from her home in Arlington, Va.

October 5, 2007

Class open on foreclosures

Foreclosures class comes to order -- in the bustling public aisles of a records room in the Cook County Circuit Court clerk's office.

September 8, 2007



Free parking for one year! A free flat-screen plasma TV! Your choice of a free car or furnished condo!

August 31, 2007


Not all first-time buyers are 20-year-olds

Chalk it up to rising home prices. Or, the fact that people are getting married and starting their families later.

June 22, 2007


Budgeting, saving are keys to home ownership

Buying a home for the first time is a lot like bungee jumping, says Richard Cohen, author of "It's Not About Rate: The Right Way to Get a Mortgage."

June 7, 2007


Getting a good deal on a home

You've been thinking for a long time about buying a home but haven't done so because you tend to be risk-averse. But according to some real estate specialists, this could be an opportune time to shed your inhibitions and act.

May 17, 2007

Plan a move-up without becoming 'house poor'

The apartment Sheree Bykofsky owned in Manhattan was widely admired by her friends. It had two bedrooms, two baths and a fireplace -- plus a top-rung address, even by the patrician standards of her area.

May 6, 2007

The journey

Make retirement purchases before leaving work

Dreaming of retiring and then sailing the world? You may want to try it the other way around.

April 20, 2007

Buying a condo is not as simple as it may seem

New Yorkers consider themselves among the savviest and nerviest consumers in the world. But when it comes to buying real estate, what they forget to ask is startling.

April 19, 2007

Imagine lifestyle you want when picking home

The veterinarian and his wife, a teacher, knew they had to move because their house wasn't large enough to accommodate them and their five school-age children. Their only question was where to go.

March 29, 2007

Fixer-uppers aren't for faint of heart--or wallet

Like people, pets and gardens, old houses need love.

March 29, 2007


To have and to hold new home Save on wedding, spend on the house

Over an average lifetime, few transactions are more financially challenging than buying a first home or paying for a posh wedding. Imagine what it's like to get slammed with the costs of both almost simultaneously.

March 22, 2007

Buyer beware when it comes to 'as is' house

Whether you are a home buyer or seller during the peak home sales season of April through June, you will probably encounter the term "as-is" sale. Just as used-car dealers sell thousands of automobiles "as is" without any warranty or representations, houses and condominiums are sold using the same term.

February 4, 2007


Kelly and Matt Elvin with Sammy (from left), Mandy and Boomer. The Elvins relocated to Oak Park partly so their golden retriever would have a yard. They have since added two Labradors. Now they have a farm in Michigan, where the dogs can really romp.

January 21, 2007


Buying a home with no regrets

It's routine for buyers to hire a home inspector to scour a property for flaws that could haunt them later.

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