We know that buying a home is one of life’s most significant purchases. Even as a seller, it’s not as easy as finding a buyer and collecting a check. Everything must be handled systematically, contracts need to be read and understood, and if anything goes awry, both buyers and sellers need legal protection.
Purchasing a Home
For most home purchases, a seller contracts with a real estate agent, usually in writing. This contract is called a brokerage contract. When the agent (also referred to as the broker) locates a buyer, any negotiations that need to take place are done through the broker because the broker is responsible for acting as an intermediary between the two parties, the buyer and seller.
Once the parties have reached an informal agreement on an offer, a formal written contract is drawn up and signed. The buyer must then pay or obtain financing if they don’t have it already. A title search, inspection, and appraisal are performed. Eventually, the buyer takes possession of the property, and the seller receives the agreed upon amount of money.
Like any purchase, there can be issues. For example, some houses, like cars, can turn out to be lemons. This is when and why you need a real estate lawyer in Illinois.
A real estate lawyer will help you avoid problematic terms in the sale of your home. Some of these problems begin with the brokerage agreements. Many real estate agents use standard forms. These forms can lead to problems. For example, if there is no agreement to the contrary, the seller may have to pay a brokerage commission, even if the property doesn’t sell. Also, the seller can end up paying more than one commission.
Using a residential real estate attorney can help ensure that options are available to you as either the buyer or the seller. A real estate lawyer can ensure that a seller or buyer has the right to negotiate on his or her behalf. Lawyers can also help if there are issues, and the seller needs to withdraw from the contract.
There are a number of laws and issues that a real estate lawyer in Illinois can prevent, and they can help prepare buyers and sellers. Real estate lawyers also ensure that their clients are better aware of what their contracts mean and whether it is really in their best interest to sign. If you need a real estate lawyer, contact us here at O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates in Joliet.
Even if one not necessary during negotiations, the buyer or seller may want to consult with a real estate lawyer regarding the tax consequences of the sale. Income tax for the seller can be substantial. A great reason why you need a real estate lawyer prior to the sale is to learn about and take advantage of various tax provisions to lessen the impact.
The single most important document in a property sale is the purchase agreement. Using a real estate lawyer in Illinois to step through the purchase agreement for the sale can help offer an opportunity to tailor the agreement to better address the needs of the parties involved.
Here are some common examples of things a real estate lawyer can help determine:
- Was there a lawful addition to the property or has the property been altered?
- Will future changes to the property that the buyer wants to make be legally allowed?
- If an inspection reveals lead-based paint, termites, asbestos, or radon, what will happen?
- What will occur if the property is found to contain hazardous waste?
- If the closing fails to take place, what happens? What are the legal consequences? What happens to the earnest money and down payment?
- Will the down payment be held in an escrow account? Will a lawyer oversee the escrow account? What are the escrow instructions and are they appropriate?
Does closing depend on the buyer getting financing? Is the condition appropriate for this sale? Most buyers need to finance most of the purchase price for a home with a mortgage. The purchase agreement should include a carefully worded condition that the purchase agreement is contingent upon the buyer obtaining financing.
Once a purchase agreement is signed, it is appropriate to determine the title for the property. It is important that both the buyer and the financial institution offering to finance are satisfied with the results of the title search. It is also important to ensure that the legal description is accurate and that there are no issues with prior or adjoining owners.
Review of the title and ensuring the accuracy of the legal description can be confusing which is why you need a real estate lawyer. They can help determine if there are any exceptions to the title or whether there are potential problems.
A real estate lawyer can also ensure that you are aware of any zoning issues. The title search does not include any zoning information. If there are future for improvement, the real estate lawyer in Illinois can help determine whether any zoning ordinances would be violated.
Even the finish line can be problematic. All closing papers must be prepared, as well as the sale transaction. A real estate lawyer can help a buyer or seller with all the closing paperwork and ensure that everything is appropriate and properly executed.
It is also helpful to have a real estate lawyer present just in case any last-minute disputes arise. If other parties involved have a lawyer present and you are without one, your interests could be unprotected.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you need a real estate lawyer in Illinois, so make sure your interests are protected during one of biggest events in your life. At O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates in Joliet, we want to make sure that the buying or selling of your home is a positive experience. Let us guide you through the process and provide peace of mind.