As you consider buying a Peoria home, especially for the first time, there are several things to consider.  You may have questions, and may be a little apprehensive.

That’s ok.  Donna Jones Craig and her team are here to Help Every Step of the Way.

Becoming informed about the home buying process will help you feel more confident, and enable you to progress more smoothly towards your goal of owning a great new home.

Consider if Buying a Home is Right For You

1. Consider the price of homes similar to the ones that you would be interested in.  Check out my listings here, or research others on sites like, then contact me.

2. See what you can afford. You can use a mortgage calculator, such as the one here, to see what your monthly payment would be, based on the total cost of the home, time and interest rate on the mortgage.

3. In order to decide about buying a Peoria home, you should estimate what your total monthly costs will be.  In order to do this, you will need to estimate your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Remember that there may be some variations between what homeowners are currently paying in taxes, and what you will actually pay.

You can find property tax information for homes in your area by contacting Donna or Lindsay.

To estimate your homeowner’s insurance, you could contact a local insurance agent. We have a great resource in this arena, our friend, Rocky Darnell, with American Family insurance. He is always happy to help our clients with gathering information about insuring their new home. You can reach him at  309-685-5522 or  309-313-3737 or at Of course, there are many agents available to quote information on insuring your home. If you would like a more detailed list, please feel free to contact us and we can provide them.

4. Figure in closing costs. Donna can help estimate closing costs for the type of home that you are considering.

5. Total your monthly costs for a new home, and compare with your budget.  A good guideline can be found in Fannie Mae’s suggestion of spending no more than 28% of your monthly income on housing.

Time-Saving Steps Before you Buy a Home

1. Order a Free Credit Report

By obtaining a free credit report, you can save time, and clear any discrepancies in your credit history before going to a lender.  This will also allow you to review your amount of current overall debt you have before you start the loan approval process.

2. Find a Lender, and Obtain a Pre-Approval Letter

Start with your own bank or credit union, then compare the mortgage rates and fees offered by others in your area.  One mortgage loan expert we often work with is Seth Lopotko of Herget Bank.

“There are a tremendous amount of options when buying your new home. The mortgage industry is changing rapidly, as new rules and regulation will continue to change the industry. Also, new loan programs will continue to be introduced to help make funds for your purchase more readily available.

“I have been a mortgage loan expert for many years right here in the Peoria Area, and I really enjoy helping purchase homes. I would love to help you understand the options, and provide examples of programs that will best fit your needs. I can walk you through your very first home purchase, or help with your next purchase. It‘s a great time to buy as a first time homeowner, as there are many grants available to you. These grants will provide you with money to use towards your down payment. To understand these programs, please give me a call. I would be happy to discuss your options.”

Seth Lopotko, Mortgage Loan Originator
Herget Bank, Peoria

Once you approved, you can obtain a pre-approval letter, which you can then show to a seller to give you an edge in negotiations, and speed up the offer process.

3.  Consider FHA and VA Loans

If you quality, VA loans can give you a favorable interest rate and terms on your mortgage.  Also, FHA loans have competitive interest rates, often have smaller down payment requirements, and allow sellers to pay some or all of your closing costs.

Why use a Jim Maloof Realtor Buyer’s Agent?

  • My services are FREE! The seller pays my commission at closing.
  • I will evaluate your specific needs and wants and locate properties that fit those specifications.
  • I can show you any property that is listed in the MLS. I can even arrange showings  for homes for sale by owners.
  • I can save you time. Our MLS system can automatically send you emails as soon as homes  come on the market.
  • I can research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help you make an informed decision, prior to making an offer to purchase the property.
  • I can negotiate on. your behalf to help obtain the identified property, keeping your best interest in mind.
  • Provide a list of qualified vendors (ie. home inspectors, attorneys, movers, carpenters, etc.) if needed.
  • I will be there to lean on after the sale, if a problem arises.
  • I can guide you through the entire home buying experience, from finding that perfect Peoria home to handing over the keys.
  • I look forward to working with you!

Donna Jones Craig

Cell: (309) 253-9902
Office: (309) 690-4283
Fax: (309)692-9363