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When I buy a Condo / Townhome / Single Family home, I might want to rent it out after I live in it for a few years.  What should I be I aware of when looking at homes?

If you're considering purchasing a property to use as a possible investment - that is to say, you'll be renting it to tenants - there are some things you'll want to research first. While it's certainly important to check rental prices in a given area, there are a few steps you'll want to take first to ensure a successful investment. 

There are plenty of options in the Chicagoland area for investors - condos, townhomes, single family homes, etc. However, it's not always as easy as making the purchase and marketing it to tenants. We'll start with the simpler option - single family home. 

You may think that owning a SFH allows you to do what you want with it - AirBnB to tourists, short term leases to traveling nurses, or a 12-month lease for a family. Typically, that's true and why this particular investment is so enticing to investors. However, you'll want to check with the municipality, county, and/or the subdivision for any rules that would prevent particular leases or tenants. For instance, Addison, IL prohibits certain dog breeds. You would want to be aware of this rule to avoid any fines from the city. Similarly, a single family home within a subdivision that does not allow rentals could pose a problem. Make sure your Realtor is finding out about any rental restrictions before you submit an offer. 

As for a property that is part of an HOA - often times there is at least one rule against rentals. Buildings in Chicago that allow AirBnB, or short-term leases, are harder and harder to come by. Many HOAs restrict a lease shorter than 6 months and some require a minimum of 12 months. Other HOAs require that an owner use the property as their primary residence for 1-5 years. Sometimes a building lets you rent at any time, but there's a waitlist because the percentage of owner-occupancy has to be over a certain point. 

The nice thing about HOA rules against rentals is that they must be communicated to any potential buyer in the Rules and Regulations docs. Even if a listing agent provides misinformation about a potential investment and you go under contract, you are allowed to review these documents with your Realtor and Attorney. If you purchase a property that allows rentals, and then the HOA votes to remove that option, you may be grandfathered in to keep your property as a rental. However, it's a good idea to ask if any of these changes are being discussed. 

Once you've made the purchase of an investment property, be sure to research County, City and State tenant laws as well.  
Bikes and Music News
We need BIKES!!  Please let us know if you have any kid or adult bikes you'd like to donate.  We have partnered with two local organizations, Home of the Sparrow and RefugeeONE, and together they need over 100 bikes for kids and teens. We'll take any bikes of any size and condition. AND, we'll come pick them up! 

So far, we have received about 45% of our goal in bike donations. Thank you to everyone that has donated so far!! 

Visit or email for more info or to schedule a bike (or instrument) pick up!
Interesting Statistics
This month we wanted to take a closer look at a consistently popular neighborhood in Chicago, Portage Park, and how it has changed in the last three years. Portage Park is a diverse neighborhood with a rich history. The location is attractive for the proximity to the Expressway, Milwaukee Avenue, the shopping at Six Corners and its namesake, the beautiful Portage Park, plus so much more. The majority of homes here are the classic Chicago bungalow, housing nearly 70,000 residents. 
Even in 2019, the Median Sales Price in Portage Park was on the higher end, landing at $295K. The market was impacted similarly to what we've seen these last couple of years, prices rising as time progresses. However, a change of nearly 6% is quite steep, and seems to only keep growing. But what is driving the prices consistently upwards?
Another familiar trend, inventory was stable until we entered the Covid pandemic in 2020, at which point inventory steeply dropped for nearly an entire year until leveling off in early 2021. However, inventory has still not recovered and remains relatively low for the area. With so few homes available, the demand has been a leading factor in driving home prices up. The supply has clearly not been able to keep up. 
As we can see with homes going under contract, the trend matches what's going on in this market. Fairly stable in 2019, a big drop in early 2020 pre-pandemic, and then the current events of the time helping drive interest in home purchases. Between May 2020 and May 2021, hundreds of homes were going under contract every month. Finally, in May 2021 through August, we saw under contract homes drop off, though not by much. Ever since August, it's been fairly steady but the interest in this area is definitely still going strong.  The thirst for single family homes continue and this neighborhood is popular for those that aren't quite ready for the trek to the suburbs, or have a job that requires them to live within city limits.
Kevin's Korner
How to finance an investment home
This section centers around home buyers looking to buy homes as investment without living in the home first (different than our 'Answer to the Question' section above). While many homeowners consider their homes to be investments, an investment home refers to a specific type of property. An investment home is a home that is leased out to a renter to generate a stream of rental income for the owner. Just as investment homes are a special type of property, investment home mortgages also have unique aspects and requirements.

Applying for investment home financing is similar to applying for a traditional mortgage, with a few key differences. Firstly, an investment property mortgage typically has stricter requirements than primary
home financing, such as requiring a larger down payment, stronger credit score, more assets in reserve and higher interest rate. However, rental income from the property itself can typically be used to help
the borrower meet debt-to-income qualification requirements.

While loan programs and requirements vary from lender to lender and are subject to change, below is an overview of the requirements of the two categories of investment home financing offered by Draper and Kramer Mortgage.

Investment Home Financing for Individuals

Many people invest in investment homes in an individual capacity rather than as businesses, and there are financing solutions available just for them. These include loans for “departing residence” situations where a homeowner is financing a new home to move into so they can convert their current home into an investment home.
DTI, or debt-to-income, is the ratio of a borrower’s monthly debt payments to monthly gross income. When a borrower applies for an investment home loan, their expected debt payments (including the
new mortgage) and expected income (including future rental income) are generally included in their DTI calculation. Lenders typically allow 75% of current or expected rental income to be used toward DTI.

Investment Property Financing for Businesses

Investment property financing is also available for businesses and LLCs. These include loans known as non-QM and debt-service coverage ratio mortgages, which are considered riskier to lenders and therefore often have higher interest rates. However, instead of having a max DTI limit, these loans typically only require that the rental income from the investment home covers between 75% to 100% of the monthly mortgage payment, and no financial documents are required from the borrower.

Deciding to buy an investment home requires thoughtful consideration. Owning this kind of property comes with added responsibilities, and obtaining financing is not easy for everyone. For those who are willing to accept these challenges, however, property investing can be a valuable tool for income generation and wealth creation. Programs included on this document are subject to approval based on individual program guidelines and borrower’s credit and underwriting approval. Contact your Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. professional for full program details and requirements. This content is provided “as is," and no representations are made that the content is error-free. Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. and its employees do not provide investment advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for such advice. Do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this material without first consulting a qualified professional for
First, I highly recommend StartingPoint Realty for anyone wanting exceptional service, Ryan has proven to be an excellent Real Estate agent. Working with him on both the purchase of my house and the sale of an estate condo was made easy and seamless by the team at StartingPoint Realty. Their group really went above and beyond helping me sell an inherited condo. They did EVERYTHING from setting up movers and cleaners to dealing with the home owners association.  It made the selling process simple and relaxed. Additionally, communication was great and responses were quick. Again, I think anyone looking for an exceptional real estate agent and company should highly consider Ryan and StartingPoint Realty.

-Rob S.
Featured Listings
All of our listings are under contract! Check our website for any updates! 
Home Buyer Seminars Coming in May! 
Ryan's Review 
Wilco - Auditorium Theater - Saturday, April 23rd

Who’s the band you know and love, but never quite made it?  Maybe they were on the verge of stardom, but never quite caught on with the masses. That’s ok because when they go on tour, you get to see them in a smaller venue, if they happen to still be around.  For me, it's bands like Tina and the B-Sides, JJ Grey and Mofro, and The Heartless Bastards.  Regarding the last two bands, many would say they've hit a level of success and they make a solid living playing and writing music.  I just listen to those bands so much more than the bands in the same genre that fill larger venues. Wilco could have been in the 'they should have made it', group of bands and I think the leader and lead singer of the band, Jeff Tweedy, probably would have been ok with that destiny - maybe expected it.  But Wilco made it a long time ago, and they're still putting out quality music. Wilco is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if they are, it seems you can’t get enough of them. I got into Wilco through the 'Blue Sky' album several years ago. I was late to the Wilco party compared to my other Wilco friends. My wife and I saw the Austin City Limits concert on TV shortly after that album came out and we were hooked. We had the music playing in the background every Saturday and Sunday for the next 6 months. A year or two later we saw them in Chicago at The Riviera, and again, they were great. 

At that point I started exploring their back catalog and learned more about the group. Jeff Tweedy is a great lead singer and has quite an ensemble of musicians surrounding him. Nels Kline is excellent on the guitar, Glenn Kotche jamming out on the drums. These are artists that would really stand out in other type of bands, been then they wouldn't play and hang out out with J Tweedy.

On April 23rd at the Auditorium Theatre, Wilco played the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (which was not one of my favorite albums, a bit artsy). The show's start was pretty mellow, picked up mid-set with songs like 'Heavy Metal Drummer' and 'I'm the Man Who Loves You'.  It drew back down again with some Yankee Hotel Foxtrot B-Side songs. Then hit their stride at the end with 'I Got You' and 'Outtasite'.  Again, I forgot Nels Kline was still in the band until the encore.  A guitarist that's not only capable but also has his own eclectic, jazz style - he's fine with hanging back until he's called.  And when he is, it's special.

By the end of the show, I can tell you my wife was not impressed, not super into the artsy songs and mellow B-Sides. But as the contrarian, I was super into it. 

But I think that's the vibe of the band and the fanbase -it's not for everybody. The people that I know that are into Wilco are some of the more intelligent music fans I know. And I can see why - there's just a vibe and talent that Wilco has. They're chill, bluegrass, country, rock'n roll, and Tweedy really makes it work - that's the staying power that he has. Oh yes, I think I saw 5 cell phones the whole night.  The audience was there to experience the show, not post selfies on Instagram or video two songs in a row to never watch again. 

I can tell you that after several years of not listening to Wilco, since April 23rd I've listened to most of their albums again, with some on repeat, and I've fallen in love again. After all, shouldn't that be the barometer of any live concert? 

  1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  2. Kamera
  3. Radio Cure
  4. War on War
  5. Jesus, Etc.
  6. Ashes of American Flags
  7. Heavy Metal Drummer
  8. I'm the Man Who Loves You
  9. Pot Kettle Black
  10. Poor Places
  11. Reservations
  12. Be Not So Fearful
  13. Pieholden Suite
  14. Cars Can't Escape
  15. A Magazine Called Sunset
  16. Hummingbird
  17. The Good Part
  18. I Got You (At the End of the Century)
  19. Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Client Appreciation Party! 
We have scheduled our 2022 Client Appreciation Party for Saturday, August 13th. We will be hanging with all of our past clients on the lawn at Ravinia to see the bands Dispatch, OAR, and G-Love! If you are a past client of ours, you should have received an invitation. If you haven't, please check your Spam inbox and/or email See you there!! 
Thanks for Reading! 
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