In September 2021, the average number of days on the market before the sale of a single-family residence in the Illinois housing market stood at 22. That’s a short time frame in which to find the home of your dreams and beat other prospective buyers to closing the deal.
Given this high level of competition — days on market are down 40.5% from a year earlier — you may find yourself rushing through the buying process and ending up with unforeseen problems that could haunt you well after you settle into your new home.
If you’re in the market, or even closing a deal for a home in or around La Grange, Illinois or nearby in Chicago, Brookfield, Western Springs, or elsewhere, protect your interests by involving the knowledge and guidance of an experienced real estate attorney.
Contact us at Larson Law with all your real estate questions and concerns. Let us advise you in your purchase and review the documents involved to be sure you’re fully protected.
People looking for a home to purchase in Illinois will naturally seek the services of a real estate agent/broker to help them search for, find, and purchase a home that fits their needs and desires. What most buyers overlook is the parallel need to have a real estate attorney advising them during every step of the process and to review the terms and conditions of their purchase agreement.
That being said, say you’ve just made an offer on a home and it’s been accepted. This is now a contract to buy the home. The terms set forth in this contract — purchase price, earnest money deposit, closing date, financing terms, and more — are pretty much cast in legal stone from that point on.
That’s why you should have a real estate attorney prepare your offer for you to fully protect your rights. If not, when you make the offer, make it contingent upon a review by your attorney once the seller accepts it.
At this point, with a contract in place, the seller is legally required to provide you (the buyer) with a disclosure listing any material defects, potential hazards, and easement or boundary issues. Even with the disclosure document, you should employ an independent home inspector to verify the condition of the property. If you don’t do this prior to submitting your offer, you should make it a contingency in your offer.
Another factor to consider concerns when the seller will vacate the property if it is not already vacated. Say you want to close on the 10th of September, but the seller requests a later move-out date. Is this acceptable? If the owner stays an additional week or 10 days, and in the process causes damage to the walls or floors while vacating, you could be on the short end of the arrangement.
On the other side, if the home is vacant, you may want to consider asking for a pre-closing occupancy option. The seller is under no obligation to agree to this, but it may be a contingency that makes the purchase possible for you.
In either of these types of occupancy contingencies, an attorney can draft an agreement that will address such concerns as occupancy charges, utility payments, insurance considerations, maintenance and repairs, penalty provisions, and other consequences of non-owner occupancy.
A final factor is the ownership title. If there is more than one buyer, your attorney can explain the legal implications of the various title holding alternatives, which include tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety.
Before you sign the documents to finalize your purchase, you should request a final inspection of the property to ensure that it’s still in the shape it was when you entered into your contract, and also to see that the owner has completed any agreed-upon repairs.
If you’ve ever purchased property in the past, you realize how many dotted lines you’re going to have to sign on to close your deal. This is when details may slip by to your detriment.
For instance, there may be one document that commits the purchaser to take ownership of the property subject to all existing easements, covenants, reservations, and restrictions of record. If you sign this, you might find yourself stuck with, for instance, a neighbor’s fence that encroaches on your property.
Your title insurance policy should list any easements, building restrictions, setback lines, or other matters of record that affect the property. This is an important piece of the closing process, and your attorney should review the title insurance policy to protect your interests and ownership rights.
Your attorney should basically review all documents beginning with the offer and going forward to the close of the deal. Your attorney should also be present at your signing, perhaps even holding the closing at the attorney’s office.
Purchasing a home is usually the biggest investment people will make, so it is not something to be rushed through or taken lightly. In a hot market, time is of the essence, but that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind, so to speak.
If you’re looking for a home to buy, or are in the process of doing so, be sure to involve an experienced real estate attorney. Doing so will bring peace of mind in what can sometimes be a confusing, rushed process.
Larson Law serves clients in and around La Grange, Illinois, and in all neighboring communities. When you’re in the market for a home, contact us immediately, so we can make our knowledge and experience available to help you avoid any unforeseen or adverse consequences. Get in touch with our skilled team today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.