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When Can I Lock My Interest Rate?
There are a lot of words that float around when a home buyer decides to take the step towards making a home purchase, and for anyone new to the process, it can become overwhelming. From Contingency to Escrow to Homestead - your vocabulary is sure to improve! But one of the most important words to learn is Rate Lock. What does it mean and what does it do?

Interest rates fluctuate up and down multiple times a DAY. They generally hover around an average percentage point but even the smallest change will have an impact on a borrower's payment when you consider that a typical mortgage is estimated to last 30 years. 

Several factors can impact what someone's rate will be (credit score, economy, global events, stock market, 10 Year Treasury Bill, Fed purchase of mortgage backed securities, etc.) but no one can predict where the rates will be, whether it's later that day or 6 months from now. 

However, a rate lock can give you peace of mind that once you lock a rate, it won't go up (or down) before closing as well as the life of the loan (unless you went with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage). A rate lock can be issued when an offer is accepted, but it does have an expiration date.  They are usually good for 45 days.  After 45 days, it costs money to extend the lock.

As for locking in a rate, here's an example: you sign a contract to purchase a home on Monday. On Tuesday, you call your lender and they will ask you if you want to lock in your rate.  How the hell are you supposed to know if locking in a rate on that Tuesday is a good idea.  Is a jobs report coming out that week? Ukraine - Russia war coming to an end or getting worse? Inflation numbers coming out that week?  You'll either lock in a rate or let it float for a bit, meaning you'll lock later because you think some event is happening soon that will cause interest rates to move down.  Most folks just lock in the rate on that Tuesday.  Looking at the above graph, that's not a bad idea.
As many Chicagoans know, we experience a good amount of snow and rainfall throughout the year. Rapidly melting snow or a period of heavy rain could cause water problems in the basement or crawlspace in a home. It's important to check if a home you're interested in purchasing has a drain tile system installed to help keep the water from ever getting inside. Ask your Realtor if a home you're interested in already has this system installed (and/or if the home has ever experienced water in the basement). Interior or outside drain tile system?  There are ways to tell, your agent will help you.

Learn more about Drain Tile Systems HERE
Bikes and Music News
On Saturday, March 12th, Bikes and Music participated in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Downtown Palatine! We had so much fun with the New Orleans' inspired Four Star Brass Band joining us! 

We need BIKES!!  Please let us know if you have a bike or two you'd like to donate.  We have several non-profits in need of teenage sized bikes, but we'll take any size.  AND, we'll pick it up.

Visit or email
Interesting Statistics
This month we wanted to compare two popular suburban cities, Palatine in the NW area of Chicagoland, and Glen Ellyn, a Western suburb. All homes were listed or sold for $800K or lower. 
While inventory in both areas followed a similar trajectory, it's interesting to note that Palatine had a much higher amount of homes for sale throughout 2021. When you look at the difference in population, it makes sense. Over 68,000 people call Palatine home, while just over 27,000 reside in Glen Ellyn. However, how does the amount of homes for sale in either given area affect demand and price?
Cost of homes in Glen Ellyn fluctuated more often, while prices in Palatine were more stable. Both are considered one of the best places to live in Illinois (according to and have a mix of urban and suburban feel. Both have plenty of parks, restaurants, and shopping. But the market in Glen Ellyn this past year was more volatile, although median price consistently stayed higher than Palatine. 
Finally we inspect the demand in both areas. First, Palatine - having more inventory to choose from, and lower priced homes, it's no wonder that more buyers went under contract in this market, though as the year progressed, we can see the decline. Over in Glen Ellyn, homes under contract remained relatively low. 

One other important thing to note, the median price increase in these two areas are significantly different. In Glen Ellyn, the median sale price increased 3% while in Palatine it was an increase of 9%. While the Single Family Home in the suburbs is a hot commodity right now, we're still seeing a different impact across the various markets. 
Kevin's Korner

How To Get Rid of Private Mortgage Insurance Early

If you’re paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI) on your home loan, you may qualify to remove it early. Since mortgage insurance only protects your loan servicer (the company you make your mortgage payments to), not you, the sooner you can get rid of it and stop paying monthly premiums, the better. Here’s an overview of the options for removing mortgage insurance.

The basics of PMI cancellation

Your PMI will automatically be removed when your loan balance is scheduled to reach 78% of your home’s original value (your home’s sale price or its appraised value when you obtained your financing, whichever is lower). However, you can request to have your mortgage insurance removed early when you’re scheduled to reach 80% of your home’s original value. For example, if your home’s original value was $250,000, you could request PMI cancellation when your loan balance is schedule to reach $200,000 (80%) rather than $195,000 (78%).

What you need to qualify for early PMI cancellation

  • A conventional mortgage with PMI (not a government mortgage such as an FHA loan)
  • A good payment history (no payments 30-days late in the past 12 months and no 60-day late payments in the past 24 months)
  • No other liens on the home (including second mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit)
  • Proof of your home’s value (ask your servicer for their rules – a specific home appraisal process may be required, or a real estate broker’s price opinion may suffice)

How to request early PMI cancellation

  • Make a written request to your servicer for early PMI cancellation several months before your loan balance is scheduled to hit 80% of your home’s original value.
  • Follow any further steps required from your lender.
  • Enjoy the savings from your early PMI cancellation!

Additional PMI cancellation options

  • In some situations, you may be allowed to use your home’s current value rather than its original value to determine when your PMI can be removed. This may be preferable if your home’s value has increased or you’ve made improvements to your home. Ask your servicer if they allow this option and what the requirements are.
  • If you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, you may be able to remove PMI if your new loan’s balance is less than or equal to 80% of your home’s current value. Refinancing is also the only way to eliminate the expense of mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) from an FHA loan.

With this knowhow, you may be able to cancel your mortgage insurance early and avoid paying unnecessary premiums. Get in touch anytime for advice about your mortgage strategy.

Information provided by:
Kevin P. Koykar, CFP®, ChFC®
Senior Loan Officer
C: 224-639-5100


Featured Listings
Home Buyer Seminars Coming in April! 
Ryan's Review 
The Batman

This rendition of The Batman franchise can be considered film noir.  It's another dark, brutal adaptation of the story. There's no away around referencing The Dark Knight when considering this version - it wouldn't have been the same look, the moodiness and torture of Bruce Wayne (played this time around by Robert Pattinson). Is that a bad thing?  No, as long as the movie delivers - and it did.  I did feel this Batman showed Bruce Wayne the least - maybe like 20 minutes the whole movie (or at least that's what it felt like). I was surprised by that, and I thought Pattinson was fantastic. If you take the top Batman actors of all time, how does he compare? In the top tier for sure.  If I was to sum Pattinson's Bruce Wayne / Batman (sorry if I spoiled it for you) in one word - Violent.

The movie begins with Batman as an outcast. The Police force isn't a fan, they don't trust him, except for cop James Gordon, who in this story is still a lieutenant. The movie starts the police investigating a high-profile murder scene, and the Batman, having inserted himself, receives a note with a riddle. The movie starts right off this way and really doesn't slow for the next three hours. Hearing it would be this long, I was automatically exhausted, but for me, I never looked at my watch.  It was nonstop. Seeing it in the theaters, without a mask, was a great return to the theater, catapulting us to two years ago. It was definitely the right movie to make our return. 

Zoe Kravitz did an amazing job as Catwoman. She'll be huge if she isn't already. Collin Farrell played The Penguin, which you would never guess is him. Another sidenote - how many Batman villians do you think would have played a great Batman themselves? I think Collin Farrell could have been a really great option, when he was in his 30s. I didn't know the director, Matt Reeves, but he did great. He's actually been in the industry for decades, having directed 'Cloverfield' and a couple of the 'Planet of the Apes' remakes. Though 'The Batman' can be considered his most acclaimed feature. Going up against Christopher Nolan, who is in a whole other league, is quite the accomplishment. More importantly, he passed with flying colors. Especially when you think about the Zack Snyder/Ben Affleck interpretations, which I wasn't a fan of (and Ben Affleck in fact dropped out of this rendition, allowing Reeves to make it completely his own.)

There have already been two sequels planned, and two TV series in development for HBO Max.  But see this movie in the theater.  I'm not a fan of car chases, especially after 'The French Connection' and 'Blues Brothers' perfected the often attempted scene and resulting in mediocrity at best.  However, the car chase in 'The Batman' got an applause from me - but it needs to be seen on the big screen.  Enjoy!!
Thanks for Reading! 
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