As a followup to getting pre-approved for a loan, being a first time home buyer sucks. Either you get screwed with Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) or you pay out the nose for a second mortgage to cover the 20%. However, shopping around is a good thing! I initially went to Citibank since I do most of my banking there anyways. So far, they’ve been the highest. Lendingtree has actually been pretty helpful in finding better deals. Oh, and the best way to find a deal is definitely with a local company. Chicago gives a lot of benefits and incentives to first time home buyers in my price range, and the large companies don’t know anything about them.
Oh, and I’ll be looking downtown, most likely West Loop, West Town, Wicker Park, or Bucktown.