Buying a Home in Illinois
Illinois has it all, big cities and endless fields, hence its nickname as the Prairie State. Buying a home in Illinois starts with knowing whether you are a country mouse or a city mouse.
Illinois has a population of nearly 13 million. Nearly one in four live in Chicago, with another one in fifteen living in the state’s five next biggest cities:
- Springfield (state capital)
Buying a home in Illinois can be an adventure. Illinois could be affordable, but plenty of luxury homes exist. Illinois ranks 29th in US homes for sale at average price, and 9th for homes over $1,000,000. Apply for mortgage preapproval before you start looking at home listings in Illinois, so you don’t waste time outside your budget.
Programs administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) can assist first-time homebuyers in purchasing a home in Illinois. Through IHDA’s Access Mortgage initiative, Illinois residents gain access to fixed-rate loans offered through a network of partner lenders.
The IHDA Access Forgivable Mortgage provides closing costs and down payment assistance equal to $6,000 or 4% of the purchase price, whichever is lesser. This assistance doesn’t need to be paid back after you’ve lived in the home for 10 years.
The IHDA Access Deferred Mortgage provides closing costs and down payment assistance equal to $7,500 or 5% of the purchase price, whichever is lesser. This assistance is an interest-free loan, and doesn’t need to be paid back until the loan matures or the home is sold or refinanced.
The IHDA Access Repayable Mortgage provides closing costs and down payment assistance equal to $10,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is lesser. This loan is designed to be repaid in monthly installments over 10 years.
To qualify for an IHDA you must:
- Have a minimum credit score of 640
- Meet certain income and purchase price limits
- Take a homeowners course (in some cases)
Refinancing in Illinois
Low Illinois mortgage rates can make refinancing an attractive option. You can do any of the following:
- Save on interest over the life of the loan
- Lowering your monthly payment
- Cash-out equity
- Remove PMI (private mortgage insurance) requirements
A streamlined refinance is often an option for specific loan types. Ask your lender for more information.