Residential Real Estate Transactions
Very often, I hear the following question: “Do you do real estate closings?” Of course, the answer is a little complex but very important. I prefer to say that I do real estate transactions. Why? Because the actual closing is just a part of the process. Representation of the client begins long before the closing day approaches. In a residential closing, it is wise to discuss every step of the process with an attorney experienced in such matters.
In addition, real estate transactions have been made more complicated. I have experience in conventional transactions, short sales, foreclosure sales, Bank sales (also known as REO transactions) and in single-family, condominium, and smaller multi-unit properties (larger multi-unit properties must be handled as commercial transactions please refer to the “commercial transactions” tab)
You may have questions before you even have a signed contract
Important questions often arise in a real estate transaction that arise at the very early stages before you even have a signed contract. These are just some of the questions:
-The Real Estate Listing Agreement or Agent Representation Agreement
-You may want to know what a Dual Agency is
-You may want to discuss how to answer questions on the Disclosure forms about prior repairs, mold, lead paint or water in the basement
-As a buyer, you may want to discuss how to fill in the contract forms and what your options might be.
-You may want to discuss how or when to might be able to take or relinquish possession of the real estate
-You may want to discuss the issues that sometimes arise with the purchase or sale of property that is part of a homeowner association, condo association or cooperative apartment, including how it may affect a buyer’s mortgage.
In representation of a Seller the work my office will perform will include the following:
1. Review of the contract and negotiate all changes;
2. Monitor contingency deadlines set forth in the contract and send notices requesting extensions of deadlines, or cancellation of the contract, if necessary;
3. Order the survey, pay-off statements, paid assessment letters and sanitary district letters, if applicable;
4. Order the title commitment, undertake title clearance research and coordinate with the parties to insure a clear title is presented to the Buyers.;
5. Prepare all seller documents necessary for the closing;
6. Schedule and attend the closing.
7. If you are not able to attend the closing, we will meet to secure the required signatures on the transactional documents and close the transaction using a Power of Attorney on your behalf.
In representation of a Buyer the work my office will perform will include the following:
1. Review the contract, consult with the client as to the contract, recommend modifications and negotiate all changes. For condominium and similar purchases, I will make inquiries concerning the documents and budget for any related condominium association, homeowner’s association and related materials and submit a supplemental information questionnaire to the property manager or association, where applicable.
2. Monitor contingency deadlines set forth in the contract and send notices requesting extensions of deadlines, or cancellation of the contract, if necessary.
3. Timely raise the initial inspection and final inspection walk through deficiencies that have been brought to my attention;
4. Schedule and attend the closing,
5. Review Sellers’ closing documents to ensure compliance with the contract, including the Seller’s closing documents, plat of survey where applicable, title insurance commitment and documents, and review of the final closing statement;
6. Review the loan documents where applicable to ensure they conform to with your mortgage loan commitment and Good Faith Estimate.
7. Coordinate with the Title or Escrow company to provide you with the closing figures and an explanation of how much you need to bring to the closing
8. At any time during the course of the transaction please feel free to call and discuss matters that are of concern to you.
Illinois law, in most cases requires that sums paid to the title company at closing must be in the form of CERTIFIED FUNDS OR WIRE TRANSFER ONLY. In cases where certified funds are used, most itle companies require the check be made payable to the title company. If funds to be paid directly from the borrower at closing (not your mortgage amount) exceed $50,000, Illinois law does NOT allow the use of a cashier’s check or bank check. Certain types of checks such as checks from a Title Company are allowed. Wire transfers may be the best option. Consult with me to discuss your alternatives.
Property Tax Assessments
I will provide a property tax analysis for the purposes of the transaction. This is required to determine if the agreed-upon tax prorations are fair. I will also determine the time for which your property is scheduled for reassessment. A township reassessment has a bearing on the real estate tax proration factor employed in the transaction. I would be happy to discuss the assessment and other tax-related issues with you.
Inspection of the Subject Real Estate
You are entitled to inspect the property to determine if it is in sufficiently acceptable condition for the purposes of continuing this transaction to conclusion. I strongly recommend that such an inspection be obtained. Typically a real estate contract allows for a period of time (usually five business days) to negotiate possible repairs or credits relating to deficiencies that may be discovered. Based on the results of that inspection, as well as consulting with you, I will represent you in that negotiation and discuss these matters with the attorney for the Buyer or the Seller. YOU MUST DISCUSS THESE OPTIONS WITH YOUR ATTORNEY WITHIN THE FIVE BUSINESS-DAY PERIOD SET FORTH IN THE CONTRACT.