Larger Loan Limits in 2018

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018 will increase. In most of the country, the 2018 maximum loan limit for one-unit properties (for single-family homes) will be $453,100, an increase from $424,100. In higher-cost areas, higher loan limits will be in effect.

According to William Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, “Today’s conforming loan limit increase is a much-needed recognition of rising home prices in high-cost markets, and a help to first-time and lower-income borrowers looking to utilize an FHA mortgage,” Brown said. “Credit remains tight, but this decision will help more qualified buyers address the hurdles and high costs standing between them and the dream of homeownership.”

Questions about this loan increase? Call A and N Mortgage, your Chicago mortgage broker, at 773-305-5626!


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Renting Versus Buying: What Can You Afford?

Are you entertaining the idea of buying a house? You’re probably tired of renting, but unsure if you can really afford a house. Find out if it’s better to buy or rent, and what’s more suitable for you before you apply for a home loan.


Renting Costs

When you rent, your costs are often more condensed than the costs of homeownership. When it comes to upfront costs, you pay a security deposit. You may also be responsible for a broker’s fee if you find your rental through an agency, which requires compensation. Then you have monthly fees of lease payments and renter’s insurance. Below are the top renting vs. buying pros and cons.

Renting Pros

  • Security deposits are much smaller than most mortgage down payments.
  • No maintenance costs (usually).
  • You don’t have to sell in order to leave.
  • No property taxes to pay.
  • Credit requirements aren’t as rigid.
  • Utilities are sometimes included.

Renting Cons

  • You must wait for your landlord to do maintenance.
  • You don’t build equity as you pay in.
  • You don’t strengthen your credit history.
  • You cannot make changes to the property unless the landlord okays it.
  • The landlord can raise the rent as they wish to.
  • You can’t claim it on your taxes.
  • You may have to pay to do your laundry—either on premises or at a laundromat.


Costs of Buying a House

The upfront costs of buying a home are definitely larger than those associated with Rent vs Buying a Homerenting, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Many people refer to buying a house as the next big step in their lives or their relationship. It’s something many people work hard to save for and take great pride in. On the surface, buying a house can seem like an intimidating task, but it has many rewards. Just remember, you’ll want to do the calculations to make sure buying a home is right for you.

Buying Pros

  • You build equity and your credit.
  • If you decide to sell, you may be able to earn a profit.
  • You can make a profit renting it out if you choose.
  • You get tax benefits through write-offs and deductions.
  • You can refinance to pay less interest.
  • You can refinance to lower your monthly payment.
  • There’s no need to get approval for pets or to pay a deposit for them.
  • Remodeling, additions, gardening, painting, etc. are all things you can do without needing a landlord’s approval.
  • It’s something to take pride in.

Buying Cons

  • You’re responsible for house maintenance.
  • It’s financially more risky than renting.
  • It’s generally a long-term commitment.
  • There are closing costs—like the first year’s home insurance payment.


Costs to Consider When Buying a House

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to buying a house, but you may be wondering what costs you should consider when buying. Beyond the down payment, there are some other fees and costs you’ll have to have ready. These things are earnest money (a percentage of the purchase price you put down to show you’re serious), appraisal fee, inspection fee, lender’s fees, title fees, and the first year’s home insurance.


Do the Calculations with a Rent vs. Buy Mortgage Calculator

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to whether it’s better to rent or to buy. It’s really quite a personal thing. There are, however, some factors you should consider before making a decision. The first is the house price. You’ll need to calculate what an equivalent rent price1 is and see if that works for you. The next thing you should think about is how long you plan to stay. The longer you stay, the more the upfront fees are offset.

Another item to ponder is what your mortgage will look like. When factoring in interest, down payment, and length of the mortgage, how does this compare to renting? Then there are other buy vs. rent equivalent factors to consider, like closing costs, maintenance fees, and taxes. You’ll need to calculate a realistic figure you can afford on a monthly basis and understand what the rent equivalent would be. Remember, there’s no right answer; only what option is best for you.


Easy to Use Calculators

Now that you know a bit about what buying a house entails, use one of our calculators2 to learn if renting or buying is right for you. If you’d like to buy, try out some of our mortgage calculators to see what options are a good fit for you.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about mortgages, call A and N Mortgage, your Chicago mortgage broker, at 773-305-5626!





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5-Point Checklist for Getting Back to Normal After a Hurricane

In the aftermath of devastating hurricanes like Harvey and Irma or other natural disasters, it’s important to access the resources you need to return to normalcy and safety as soon as possible. These are key actions to take:

1. Contact your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance carrierHow to get back to normal after a disaster

Review the coverage of your policy with your agent, and begin the process of filing your insurance claim. If your home is inhabitable,your homeowner’s policy’s “loss of use” clause covers the costs of temporary housing. Keep all receipts regarding related expenses.

Even if you don’t have flood insurance, your policy may cover water and wind damage.

As a homeowner with a mortgage, you are required to have comprehensive homeowner’s insurance which normally doesn’t cover flood damage. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, your policy may cover water and wind damage. Consider having a separate flood insurance policy in the future. The average annual cost is $700. The average annual cost of earthquake insurance is $100 to $300 outside of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused devastating flooding from storm surges and unprecedented amounts of rain and flash flooding. Approximately 40,000 homes were destroyed in Houston. The damage from Irma in Florida is still being tallied.

2. Call your mortgage company about payments

Your phone call is important because it sets in motion how your mortgage company will help you. Mortgage companies may differ in how they work with customers after a major disaster, so don’t assume you know.

In general, mortgage lenders will waive late fees and defer payments following a disaster for a few months.

FHA-backed loans usually provide a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures to give the homeowner more time to work with the lender and insurance carrier to assess the damage and understand the situation. If your home isn’t damaged but you lost your job due to the disaster, you may qualify for delayed mortgage payments.

In general, mortgage lenders will waive late fees and defer payments following a disaster for a few months. Then customers will have to pay a lump sum or arrange a payment plan.


3. Contact your auto/vehicle/boat insurance carrier

Report your vehicle claim as soon as possible. Insurance agents are already busy handling claims from Harvey’s damage. Write down your claim number and keep notes of every contact with your insurance agent, including the agent’s name. Make immediate arrangements for a rental car if your policy covers it.

Flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey destroyed about one-million cars, but it’s too soon to know the full impact in Florida and other areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

4. Write an inventory list of property and belongingsChecklist for disasters like hurricanes

If you already have a list, double-check it to make sure it is up to date. You can create a detailed inventory list online using the Insurance Information Institute’s award-winning Know Your Plan mobile app. Many insurance companies also have their own inventory apps.

5. Apply for disaster assistance from FEMA.

If you have no insurance, you can apply for a range of state, federal, and voluntary disaster assistance programs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Call 800-621-FEMA(3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. Or register online at or through the FEMA App. You can also contact nonprofit groups for assistance. Some companies also provide emergency aid to employees.

Be Prepared
The best protection against natural disasters is being fully prepared. If your plan fell short of protecting you from Harvey or Irma, take a close look at how you can prepare better for future disasters and emergencies.

A and N Mortgage Services Inc in Chicago, IL provides you with high-quality loan programs tailored to fit your unique situation with some of the most competitive rates in the nation. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, relocating to a new job, or buying an investment property, our expert team will help you use your new mortgage as a smart financial tool.

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Why Buying a Home in Chicago Is Great for Young Couples

Young people and millennials like living and working in bigger cities like Chicago because there are lots of things to do and see. Once they decide to take their relationships to the next level and start cohabitating or decide to get married, things can change, in regards to housing needs, as they start considering a move to the suburbs.

Many couples at this stage still want the benefits of big city living to have access to:Young Girl Buying a House

  • Public Transport
  • Bike Riding
  • Sporting Events
  • Art Galleries
  • Museums
  • Cultural Centers/Events
  • Seasonal Festivals
  • Theater Productions
  • Concerts

In addition, they like living in cities with diverse cultures and easy access to a wide variety of cuisines. As such, some of the best Chicago neighborhoods for young couples are in the Chicago suburbs.

A good number of Chicago suburbs have a large percentage of people who fall into the twenty-something category, as well as others that include young people in their early thirties. This makes it easier to make new neighbors and friends with various community events in the different suburbs.

Another plus for people that need to commute to downtown Chicago or other nearby areas is there are several communities that have Metra rail station stops or easy access to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

Most young people like this access because it means they do not have to worry about the added costs of purchasing a vehicle, finding parking in the city, and other aspects associated with car ownership. Instead, they can use this money toward purchasing a home in the suburbs and, often, can afford to spend more on a home since they do not have the added burden of car payments.

Some of the currently popular suburb neighborhoods with young people and couples, in no particular order, include:Couple Buying a House in Chicago

  • Palatine
  • Lisle
  • Lake Villa
  • Evanston
  • Mokena
  • Woodridge
  • Tinley Park
  • Buffalo Grove
  • Round Lake
  • Lombard
  • Round Lake
  • New Lenox
  • Monee
  • Cary
  • La Grange
  • Lake in the Hills
  • Glencoe
  • Mundelein
  • Winfield

Many of these communities have a lower cost of living, compared to living in Downtown Chicago, which means homebuyers can afford more home per square foot. Not to mention, many of these neighborhoods are also great places to start a family when the time is right, as many are considered to have some of the best schools in the greater Chicago area.

As for those of us who live in the Chicago area, we know not all Chicago suburbs are created equal. It is well worth your time to explore what each one has to offer and make a list of the ones that appeal the most to your needs and housing requirements.

Once you are ready to start shopping for your new home, A and N Mortgage is a great resource for first-time home buyers and provides assistance in getting pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage through one of our various first-time home buyer programs. For further questions about buying a home in the Chicago suburbs or to start the mortgage process, please feel free to contact us at (773) 305-LOAN (773-305-5626) today!

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Should I Talk to a Realtor or Mortgage Broker First?

There are several vital professionals you will require in order to find a home you want to buy, apply for a home loan, and purchase it. Most people are not sure whether they should talk to a realtor or mortgage broker first. To help you decide, let’s look at the pros and cons below.

Realtor First?

If you like hitting up open houses to get a feel of current homes in your area, you will Mortgage Broker vs Realtorencounter a realtor first, and this okay. Just keep in mind, the realtor you meet is the seller’s agent and is there to sell the home.

At some point, you will need your own realtor to act as your buyer’s agent. After an initial consultation to determine your needs, they will almost always request you sign a contract, typically for a 6-month period, during which time you cannot enlist the services of another realtor until your contract expires.


  • Lets you find out what types of homes are currently available on the market and their price ranges.
  • Helps you determine whether you have saved up a large enough down payment.


  • You and your realtor do not have an accurate picture of how much home you can afford.
  • You could be wasting time looking at properties outside of your price range.

Mortgage Broker First?

Ideally, you will want to contact a mortgage broker first, before finding a realtor. Purchasing a home is a major purchase and involves your personal finances. Your broker is a valuable resource of information to learn more about the processes of buying a home, including appraisals, closing costs, points, and so on.


  • You can get pre-approved or pre-authorized for your mortgage. Pre-approvals give you an estimate of how much home you can afford. Pre-authorizations provide you a dollar amount to work with while shopping for your new home.
  • You learn about the different rules regarding the different costs of buying a home. Your broker will explain various rules in the real estate and mortgage industries. For instance, you cannot borrow money and use this for your down payment, yet you can use monetary gifts, as long as they are documented, for the down payment.
  • You will have a solid mortgage team in place ahead of time. Home buyers that put this process off until later tend to run into issues when it comes time to obtain financing.


There are really no cons to speaking with a mortgage broker first. They will help save you time shopping for your new home because you will know:

  • How much home you can afford. Buying a Home in Chicago
  • How large of a down payment you will need.
  • An estimate of your closing costs.
  • An estimate of other related costs, like inspections.
  • Different loan program options.

To learn more about mortgage processes, including getting pre-approved, please feel free to contact A and N Mortgage at (773) 305-LOAN (773-305-5626) to speak with one of our Chicago mortgage brokers today!

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Tips and Tricks on How to Buy a Home in a Hurry

Buying a home is a journey, but sometimes you can’t afford to patiently see it through. What do buyers do when they’re relocating or need to be out before their lease is up?  We’ll teach you great shortcuts like getting preapproved by a Chicago mortgage broker like A and N Mortgage, We’ll give you a few tips and tricks to get through the process in a hurry!

Take Care to Make Informed Decisions

With speed comes much room for error. When you have to move forward quickly due to outside forces like a lease expiring or relocation, you may make decisions on the fly without weighing all of the facts. While speed might be necessary, don’t forget to ask questions. Do your research before jumping in with both feet. Take a moment to fully think through the potential consequences before moving forward.

Get Pre-Approved

If you’re in a hurry, then you’ll want to start your home search by getting a pre-approval. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as being prequalified. Preapproval means you will need to provide information such as W2s, bank statements, and debt information. Getting through this part of the process prior to searching for a home will allow you to move forward much more rapidly once you find the home that’s right for you.

Not only will pre-approval help you buy a home in a hurry, it will also increase the chances of the homeowners accepting your bid. Pre-approval means that you’re a serious buyer and will reduce the number of issues that could delay the buying process. The best part is you can often apply for a home loan online to get the pre-approval process started quickly.

Know What You Want

Indecision can halt the home buying process in its tracks. Create a list of features that are must-haves in a home. Then figure out the wish list items you could sacrifice if it hindered your search. Knowing what you want up front will help both you and your realtor search for and, ultimately, select a home.

Real Estate Agents—Sometimes You Need More Than One

When you’re in a time crunch, you’ll want to have multiple people on your side. This is doubly true of real estate agents. Generally, people only utilize one, but putting together a team can help you cover a larger search area more quickly. Plus, they can pool their expertise to find houses that are on par with your requirements.

Line Up Your Experts

Another way to save time is to line up your experts before you need them. Talk with your real estate agent and friends and search internet reviews. Choose qualified home inspectors, lawyers, and other experts you may need. Call them to see if their schedules will be open to accommodating your needs. If they’re all ready to go, you’ll save time finding an expert you can trust who has time to help you.

Be Flexible

If you need to buy a house in a hurry, know that you may have to give some things up. Often, real estate contracts are built on contingencies such as buying the home after repairs have been completed. This takes time, and a seller may want to negotiate on these terms. The negotiation process can take time as you and the seller both decide on what you find acceptable.

When you’re looking at houses, keep an eye on what may need to be repaired and think about how important it is to you. It may be better to bid lower and have your bid rejected then get stuck in a contract process that moves slowly due to repairs.

At the end of the day, know that hurrying through buying a home can be dangerous. You may make rash or uninformed decisions. You may settle for a house rather than finding the one that’s right for you. So, take as much time as you can instead of just throwing caution to the wind.  Remember, no matter what you do, processes can stall and take more time than you’d like.

To learn more about how to prequalify for a home loan with A and N Mortgage, call us at 773-305-5626!

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Do You Know How Much Home Can You Afford Before You Apply for a Home Loan?

Many people are often disappointed when they discover they cannot afford as much home as they initially believed after they apply for a home loan to get qualified for a mortgage. How Much Can You Afford When Applying for a HomeNot to mention, by this point, they have already spent countless hours shopping for homes they thought were in their price range and may have even made a purchase offer without realizing they were stretching themselves too thin.

Before you even start looking at home listings and houses for sale in your area, it is in your best interest to sit down and figure out approximately how much home you can afford. Knowing this information is not only beneficial for your realtor, as it lets them know what price range of homes for sale to show you, but, also, it saves you time because you will not be considering houses outside of your price range.

How to Calculate Ratios Used by Lenders

There are several different types of ratios used by mortgage lenders as a general guide, and there are exceptions. Understanding these ratios will give you a better idea of the price range of homes for which you should be shopping.


This ratio is the total amount spent on ALL debt payments, including housing, credit cards, car loans, student loans, utilities, and so on. It is calculated by taking your gross monthly income before deductions and the total amount of all your monthly debts.

To illustrate, you and your spouse have a combined monthly income of $15,000 and a total of $5,000 in debt payments. You would take $5,000 and divide it by $15,000 to calculate the debt-to-income ratio and, in this example, this would be equal to 0.3333, or 33.33%.


This ratio is sometimes referred to as the housing ratio, and it focuses entirely on your monthly housing costs, which should not exceed 28% of your gross income. Going back to our example, 28% of $15,000 is $4,200 ($15,000 x 0.28). The front-end ratio can be misleading because it does not account for your other monthly debts, so it should never be used by itself.


This ratio is similar to the debt-to-income ratio and is calculated the same way, but it should also include property taxes, house insurance, and homeowner’s fees as part of your monthly debts. Mortgage lenders like to see a ratio percentage around 36% or less.

How Strict Are Mortgage Companies/Lenders When It Comes to Ratios?

Most lenders use the above ratios as a guide, and there are always exceptions, depending Mortgage Programs for the Militaryon other factors like the amount of your down payment, your credit history, and so on. For instance, FHA and VA loans are what lenders considered “well-documented loans,” and their ratios are used for first time home buyer pre-approval.

These mortgage programs have certain federal regulations and protections, so lenders are willing to consider a higher back-end ratio of around 43% and sometimes will even go as high as 50%. In addition, there are also special types of home loan programs for people with high debt-to-income ratios for which you may qualify, too.

Other Considerations to Take into Account

Calculating the above ratios gives you a good starting point to determine how much your monthly housing payments could be—but not always the actual purchase price of the home. You need to be careful to remember there are other considerations you need to also take into account to ensure you do not over extend yourself and find yourself facing a financial crisis.

Down Payment

The amount of your down payment is an important factor in determining how much home you can afford. The larger the down payment, the smaller amount you need to borrow, so you could potentially afford more home—but this may not always be the best choice for you.

Economic Changes

If the cost of electricity, food, and gasoline were to all increase, would you still be able to afford your monthly housing expenses (i.e., house payment, taxes, insurance, etc.)? Many people were over-extended when the housing crisis hit, a decade ago, and they could not adjust to increases in other monthly expenses.

Lifestyle Influences

Do you like dining out several times a week or making weekly trips to the spa? Your Mortgage Lifestyle Changesspending habits beyond your monthly expenses need to be considered before committing to a home loan. Once you buy a house, you may have to cut back on these lifestyle expenses to make ends meet. If you are not ready to this, then it is okay to wait or consider a less expensive home.

Evaluate All Mortgage Program Options

Sometimes a conventional loan is not your best choice, and there could be special first-time buyers programs, government programs, or others that could offer you a better interest rate, a lower down payment, and other perks which can make qualifying for a loan easier.

Don’t Forget Maintenance Costs

Last, remember: You will have added maintenance and upkeep costs after you buy your home, so you may want to look at homes that cost less and leave a little extra you can set aside to cover these expenses.

For assistance in finding the best home loan program or help calculating how much home you can easily afford, do not hesitate to contact A and N Mortgage at (773) 305-LOAN (773-305-5626) to speak with one of our experienced Chicago mortgage brokers today!

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What to Look for in a Potential Home for Expecting Parents

You’ve learned you’re expecting a child. The registry is set up and everything is in order, or is it? You look around your current home and realize it’s just not the place you see this child growing up in. That’s when you decide you should start looking for a new home for your family. Before you consult a Chicago mortgage broker like A and N Mortgage, there are a few things you should look for in your potential new home.

Factor in New Budget Constraints

You have a carefully laid out budget and a healthy savings account, but have you What To Look For in a Home for Expecting Parentscontemplated the changes a baby will bring to your budget? Regardless of whether or not you already have children, adding one to the mix will add a significant expense to your monthly budget. You’ll have diapers and other supplies to buy. If you’re going back to work, you’ll have to pay daycare costs too.

Sit down and write out a new budget, even if you’ve already created one previously. Be honest with yourself about what additional costs you’ll have with the new baby. This new estimate will help you gauge how much you can allot to a monthly mortgage payment. This is great to do before you start looking, so that you can look at houses in a realistic price range.


Carefully Weigh Layout

Layout is very important for many parents of small children. Ponder whether or not you’re okay with stairs. Don’t forget they accommodate a baby gate. Would you like an eat-in kitchen, or do you prefer a formal dining room? Is a playroom a must-have? Then there are the bedrooms. Reflect on how many children you may want to have and how many bedrooms you’ll need. Perhaps you have relatives who live far away and will need a place to stay when they visit.

How does your dream home meet up with the reality of a sick child at 4 a.m.? Running up the stairs to get to a baby every time they cry may not be ideal for you. An open kitchen may be key so that you can keep an eye on the little ones while preparing dinner. Layout may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes the devil is in the details.


Location Is Everything

The real estate mantra is “location, location, location,” and it really is true. Your neighborhood will be important to your family. It’s more than just being safe, but is it walkable? Are there other kids to play with in the neighborhood? What’s nearby? A park or playground is certainly a plus.

What other things are important to you? With a small child, you’ll want a grocery store and pharmacy close by just in case you need to grab something in an emergency. Other nice-to-haves might be a public library or a bowling alley. Think about the things you do every day and what will make your life easy and stress-free.


Schools and Children’s Programs

Last, you may not be thinking about this just yet but schools are important. When Buying a Home Near a Good Schoolwinnowing down possible locations, school ratings need to be factored in. Look for well-rated schools that have great reputations. Ask for advice from friends and relatives and check out forums.

It’s advisable to fully vet neighborhoods’ and cities’ school offerings prior to viewing homes, since as your children grow up it’ll be an integral part of their childhood experience. In the future, you’ll be happy you found the best schools for your children.

Not only are schools important but so are other educational opportunities. Cities that offer a wide variety of education programs and recreational activities outside of the school day will give your kids something to do no matter what time of the day or year it may be. Knowing your kids will have plenty of fun activities to choose from will set your mind at easy as they grow up.

Now that you know your priorities, the next steps are to find a real estate agent you can trust and obtain a mortgage prequalification.

To learn more about how to prequalify for a home loan or to get information on a residential mortgage, call us at 773-305-5626!

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What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

Illinois Intestacy Laws: Find out what happens to your estate if you die without a will in Dying Without a Willthe state of Illinois.

Throughout life, you may be thoroughly responsible with your finances. From investing money to applying for home loans with favorable interest rates, you carefully research options and save money to help benefit your family’s future. However, many people delay or overlook creating a will. Dying without a will creates unnecessary complications for loved ones. A will gives you control over where your assets go, and without a will, you simply relinquish this control to the state where you live. Your beneficiaries may also lose out on important tax benefits.

Dying Without a Will

If you die without a will, it means you have died “intestate.” The exact intestacy laws of your state will ultimately determine how the contents of your estate are divided. Real estate owned in a different state will be handled by the intestacy laws of that particular state. These laws differ, depending on whether you are single, married, and/or have children when you die.

In Illinois, this specifically means:

Survived by a Spouse, No Children/Descendants

Your spouse will receive your entire estate.

Survived by a Spouse and Descendants

Your spouse will automatically receive half of your estate, and the remaining half will be split among your children or other descendants, per stirpes.

  • “Per stirpes” means that your beneficiaries inherit a share of your estate equal to the individual they are representing. For example, if you have two children and a spouse, your spouse will receive half of your estate and your children will each receive a fourth of your estate. However, if one child dies before you, their portion of your estate will be divided among their children (your grandchildren) equally.

Survived by Descendants, No Spouse

Your descendants will split your estate equally, also per stirpes.

No Surviving Spouse or Descendants

Your parents and siblings will divide your estate equally. If one parent dies before you, your surviving parent will receive double the amount. If a sibling dies before you, their descendants will split your deceased sibling’s share, per stirpes.

If you do not have any surviving parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings (nieces, nephews, etc.), half of your estate will be divided among your paternal family and half of your estate will be divided among your maternal family.

If you have no known family members, the State of Illinois will receive your estate.

Contact A and N Mortgage today at 773-305-LOAN to reach the best mortgage brokers in Chicago and save money on residential mortgage loans.




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Tips and Tricks for Saving on Property Taxes

If you’re ready to apply for a home loan, it’s essential to make sure your payments will still be affordable with property taxes included in the mix. These payments can be extremely burdensome, especially if you have an FHA mortgage and pay them on a monthly basis. However, with a little insight, you can drastically reduce your bill and make it that much easier come tax time.

Consider a Homeowner’s Exemption

In Cook County, many residents are eligible for what’s known as a Homeowner Exemption Tips and Tricks for Saving on Property Taxeson their property taxes. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this program and fail to take advantage of it. If you own one of the following, chances are you’ll be able to save between $250 to $2,000 per year:

  • Single-family home
  • Townhouse
  • Condominium
  • Co-op
  • Apartment building up to six units

The only other qualification is that you’ve occupied the property in question as of January 1. Once you apply successfully, the Assessor’s Office will automatically renew your exemption each year, allowing you to keep saving without any more work.

Appeal Your Property’s Assessed Value

Another method of paying less is to appeal the assessed value of your home. Less than five percent of people nationwide take the time to appeal their home’s value despite the fact that an estimated 30 to 60 percent of homes are over-assessed in value.

Look at Comparables

Often, the assessment will include comparable homes in your neighborhood. Check these to see how they really match up to yours. For example, if your home is valued at $300,000 and has two bedrooms, but your neighbor’s home has four bedrooms and is valued at $200,000, chances are there’s been an error in the calculation process.

Study Your Property Tax Card

Your property tax card contains all of the information the government has on your residence. It will include things like your lot size, number of rooms, or any renovations you’ve completed. Because the Assessor’s Office has so many properties to manage, mistakes can often be made. Always check to make sure your property is listed correctly in all aspects.

Meet the Deadline

The time of year you receive your assessment notice varies depending on the township you live in. However, keep in mind that you typically have about a month upon receiving it to make a case. Research the deadlines for your specific area and make sure you send in your appeal before then.

Limit Add-ons and Curb Appeal

Quite obviously, the more you upgrade your home, the higher your property assessment and taxes will rise. Since new structures such as pools, decks, or sheds all have to be approved by your local building departments, there’s no way to sneakily add-on to your home without the assessor finding out.

However, if you must add on, try to limit the curb appeal of your home. The assessor often bases their evaluation based on the aesthetical outward appearance of the property, so less beautiful properties will be assessed for less.

Looking for more ways to save on your property taxes? Give mortgage brokers A and N Mortgage a call today at 773-305-5626. As a Chicago mortgage broker, we can help you better understand Illinois regulations so you can keep your wallet happy.


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