Chicago home values continue to slide, making today the right time to buy

When you begin to consider investing in one of the homes for sale in Chicago, IL, you may want to take some time to prepare your finances. Purchasing real estate in hopes of making a profit down the line is much harder to do in today's marketplace, but if you're willing to put in the time, the end reward may be substantial and worth your time.

The first step to investing in property is to purchase an income-producing home, The Wall Street Journal reports. By owning a property that you have full authority over, you are free to make improvements as you wish, which may drive value up in the future. The downside to owning property as an investment is that the housing market is sensitive by nature, and often not as liquid as putting money into various other opportunities, according to the news source.

Nevertheless, if you're buying a home, consider the Greater Chicago area for its affordability. In Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, home prices, including those of distressed homes, declined by nearly 8.8 percent in March 2012 compared to a year earlier and declined 9.1 percent in February compared to the year before, Chicago Now reports.

Home prices may be declining in the Greater Chicago area, but they may not stay low for long, as the U.S. continues to create new jobs and improve its infrastructure. Investing in distressed property could prove to be worthwhile down the line, especially if homes are purchased for low premiums in areas primed for resurgence.

What's more, CoreLogic released its March Home Price Index report, which found home values nationwide fell on a year-over-year basis by 0.6 percent in March 2012 compared to a year ago. The fluctuations in Chicago are not much different than what is being noticed across the country, and lower prices give first-time buyers the opportunity to invest in homes in influential areas before the prices rise and become out of their price ranges.

Buying a house is one of the most important things for many people today, and if you want to experience home ownership, you may want to take advantage of record-low costs today before these coveted properties rise in price tomorrow. Finding a reliable lender can help you put a down payment on a home, but it's important to understand the risks and advantages of owning property before you go home with a closing.