Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or refinance your mortgage in Chicago, there’s good news: Home prices aren’t rising as quickly in The Windy City as they are across the country. The median selling price of a property in Chicago was $ 340,000 in August 2021, according to real estate broker Redfin – an increase of just 1.5% over the same period in 2020. The iconic city in the Midwest is a major draw, with an 18 mile trail. panoramic views of Lake Michigan and vibrant neighborhoods like Logan Square, Bucktown and Pilsen. If you’re looking to relocate to Chicago, here are some of the best mortgage lenders to consider.
To determine the best mortgage lenders by city, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including affordability (APR and fees); timeliness (approval and closing times); and experience (including customer service). In general, the best mortgage lenders have a high Bankrate Score and high ratings from borrowers.
The best mortgage lenders in Chicago
- Good if: You are looking for no fees and a fast closing
Better.com is consistently on Bankrate’s list of top mortgage lenders across the country, so it’s no surprise that the lender is also at the top for Chicago borrowers. Better.com offers 24/7 customer support as you prepare for closing, and you won’t pay any lender fees on closing either. This is a solid option for borrowers looking for a conventional or FHA loan on new properties in The Windy City.
- Pre-approvals within minutes and shutdowns within 21 days
- No commissions or lender fees
- Excellent online experience
- Does not offer FHA or USDA loans
- Requires a minimum credit score of 620
Interfirst Mortgage Company
- Good if: Looking to refinance
Interfirst Mortgage Company is based in Chicago, but you won’t have to go to a branch to sort documents. This online-only mortgage lender can be a particularly smart choice to limit upfront fees such as application or set-up fees. In fact, Interfirst doesn’t charge any of those pesky fees, which makes a big difference when you’re refinancing and looking to save money.
- No charges
- Easy online rate estimates in minutes
- Requires a minimum credit score of 620
- Requires a loan to value ratio (LTV) of 85% or less
Allied Mortgage Group
- Good if: You are self-employed or have an atypical financial situation
Being self-employed comes with the freedom to set your own hours of work, but it can come with the challenge of getting mortgage approval to buy a home. Allied Mortgage Group has loan programs that cater specifically to self-employed borrowers, as well as those who have lost their homes in recent years due to unemployment or medical bills.
- Flexibility to help those who do not have conventional employment situations
- Offers loans to investors
- Mortgage rates are not available on their website
- No branch in Chicago
Chase home loan
- Good if: You want to work with one of the biggest banks in Chicago (and the whole of the United States)
Chase has approximately 4,700 branches across the country, and many of them are located in parts of the city of Chicago. If you are looking to get your mortgage in the same place where you might have a checking account or credit card, this is a great option. Plus, if you already do business with the bank, you may be eligible for a discount on your interest rate.
- Locations across Chicago
- Potential discounts for bank customers
- Charge the lender a fee
- Higher credit score requirements (640 for FHA and VA loans)
Chicago Local Mortgage Lenders
There are many other Chicago based mortgage lenders with local branches who can provide you with the support you need when applying for a mortgage. If you are looking for in-person assistance, consider these options.
First Bank in the Midwest
- Good if: You need help paying a deposit
With several branches in Chicago and over 70 more in Illinois, you won’t have to travel far to find a First Midwest Bank location. The bank offers more than 50 mortgage options and offers down payment assistance between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000 to eligible borrowers.
- Good if: You want a fast, easy-to-use borrowing experience
If you live in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of the guaranteed rate: the name of the lender is plastered on the White Sox stadium in the south of the city. Although it is a nationally renowned mortgage company, the Guaranteed Rate has a local presence with seven branches in the city and many more scattered around the suburbs.
- Good if: You are accessing the property
Wintrust Mortgage grants over $ 4 billion in mortgages annually in the United States, but the bank has deep roots in the Chicago area and is headquartered in Rosemont. In addition to offering down payment assistance, it is one of the region’s top lenders, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency.
What you need to know to get a mortgage in Chicago
While house prices in Chicago aren’t going up as quickly as some other major markets, it’s important to set realistic expectations for the cost of a home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. The market share of homes priced between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 has declined significantly over the past year, and only 16% of homes are below $ 200,000 in the area, according to the Illinois Association. of Realtors.
As you work to budget for living in Chicago, you will also need to consider property taxes. The state of Illinois is known to have some of the highest property taxes in the country, and Cook County, where Chicago is located, helps bolster that reputation.
When you’re ready to search for homes, explore the local housing market to determine which neighborhood fits your lifestyle and price, but be sure to get pre-approved before you start viewing properties. Chicago homes were on the market for 22 days in August 2021, according to data from Redfin. You can set yourself apart as a buyer and potentially close a good deal if you are prepared in advance.