Many states in the US require a real estate attorney to be present at home closing events. Here in Illinois, it is not strictly required for home buyers or sellers to have an attorney – but it is often considered a de rigeur part of the process.
For sellers looking to ensure that their home sale goes off smoothly, quickly, fairly, and lucratively, an experienced real estate attorney is often going to be a key part of the puzzle.
The work of a skilled attorney can help ensure that sellers make it through every step of the real estate transaction with the support and critical assistance they need. An attorney can help ensure that a sale is “airtight,” allowing sellers to complete the transaction, save time and money, and protect themselves from future disputes, lawsuits, or other issues.
So, what are some of the ways that having a real estate attorney on board makes the real estate transaction easier for sellers? An attorney can offer assistance to sellers in many different ways, including:
Helping to Review Contracts, Conduct Negotiations, and Assist With Financial Matters
Selling a home necessarily means dealing with a mountain of documentation and paperwork. And the reality is that, for sellers and brokers, it can be a lot to sift through and understand alone.
A real estate attorney can be a vital resource for sellers, helping to read, review, process, and write contracts, agreements, and language for many of the different parts of the real estate transaction – from purchase agreements to insurance documents to tax records, and beyond. An attorney can help review all of the necessary information, looking out for errors and omissions and generally making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, while also ensuring that the right documents get in front of the right parties, at the right time.
During the period of the sale that is often called the “attorney review” period, lawyers can and do assist with negotiating and leading contract changes, remedy requests, and more. At the same time, attorneys can help lead communication and deal with issues that brokers may not be able to tackle, including reviewing fees and handling financial disbursements, as well as coordinating and leading the closing process and making sure that all elements of the closing are executed properly.
Bottom line? Attorneys have training and experience that helps them make short work of all the fine print and red tape. For sellers, having this key resource at your disposal can help make it significantly easier to tackle that pile of paperwork, coordinate between the many different parties involved in your sale, and go into negotiations and closing on more sound footing.
Dealing With Research and Title Issues
Clearing title is one of the most important – and most frequently overlooked – aspects of any real estate transaction.
Once the buyer’s offer has been accepted, one of the next, crucial steps in the real estate sale is the title search process. Over the course of this process, attorneys and title agents work to verify that the seller has a clear title on the home, meaning that it’s ready to transfer to the purchaser with no strings attached.
For sellers, an attorney can be an incredibly important part of this process, helping to gather and prepare all of the necessary information to help clear the title on the property. This often includes conducting thorough and extensive research on the history of the property, gathering information on any issues that may need to be addressed, such as outstanding mortgages, liens, and judgments on the residence and the land.
During this process, attorneys will also frequently assist with ordering a plat of survey, and looking into issues such as easements on the property, conflicts with adjoining properties, and so on. At this point, if no issues (or only minor, resolvable issues) are discovered, attorneys can help draw up new contracts, participate in negotiations, order title insurance, and otherwise help move the process forward.
If issues are discovered, attorneys may need to help sellers clear their properties of outstanding liens and judgments, contest easements, and so on. This may mean working with the title company to resolve an issue, or pursuing an alternative solution, depending on the circumstances.
Offering Guidance In Complex Transactions
Most real estate transactions tend to follow a similar blueprint. But it’s also important to remember that no two sales are ever going to be exactly alike.
If you anticipate that some aspect of your sale may be more difficult due to unique personal circumstances or some irregularity with your property, a real estate attorney can help you and your broker deal with the many moving parts and finer details as they come up, so that your sale can move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For instance? As the home information and resource site Homelight points out, an attorney can be a crucial partner and helpful resource if you’re experiencing a distressed sale (i.e., if you need to hold a short sale or you’re facing foreclosure), if the sale is part of a complicated estate transition, if the sale is part of a divorce or separation, or if there are tenants or renters on the property whose needs and rights must be addressed. In all of these situations and more, an experienced attorney can help you manage the unique wrinkles that may arise, allowing you to focus on moving your sale towards the finish line. Having an attorney on your team can help set you up for future success, allowing you to avoid the possibility for future disputes, manage your time more effectively, and even save money in the long run.
Want to Learn More?
For Illinois buyers and sellers alike, an attorney is a critical partner, one who can assist with the mountains of paperwork and countless negotiations that are part and parcel of all real estate transactions, from the simplest to the most complex. Attorneys bring a unique skillset and eye to the table, including a working knowledge of local laws and regulations, insight on tax and financial matters, and more.
Have any more questions about bringing on an attorney for a Chicagoland home sale? Ready to find out more?
The attorneys and staff of The Gunderson Law Firm specialize in helping individuals and businesses in the state of Illinois with real estate transactions insightfully, promptly, and professionally. Our team possesses unparalleled expertise and insight, reinforced by years of experience and long-term connections throughout Chicago’s real estate, finance, and insurance industries. The Gunderson Law Firm can assist in matters of:
- Residential Real Estate
- Commercial Real Estate
- Purchases and Sales
- Real Estate Litigation
- Title Insurance
- Title Examinations & Disputes
- Condominium Law
- Property Development
- … And more
Want to keep the conversation going? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions, or to arrange your free initial consultation.