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What Is a Mechanic’s Lien?

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Inverness real estate lien attorneyIn any real estate transaction, there are a variety of legal issues that can arise that will affect the parties’ ability to complete the sale. If there are any encumbrances on the property, they will restrict the owner’s ability to transfer the title. Mechanic’s liens are one type of encumbrance that people may not be aware of, and property owners should be sure to understand how these liens can affect them.

Mechanic’s Liens in Illinois

A mechanic’s lien can be placed on a property by a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier if they were not paid for improvements which were made to the property. This could occur because a contractor was not fully paid for the work they did or because a contractor failed to pay a subcontractor or supplier. A mechanic’s lien is a cloud on title that must be resolved before the property can be sold or refinanced.

In Illinois, a contractor must file a mechanic’s lien within four months after the work was completed. A subcontractor must record a lien within 90 days of the date that they last worked on the property. A claim must include a statement of the work performed according to the contract, the amount due to the claimant, and a description of the property. A claimant must file a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien within two years after the completion of work. If the lawsuit is successful, the claimant will be entitled to receive the amount due, as well as interest at the rate of 10% per year.

Subcontractors must meet some additional reporting requirements before they can file a mechanic’s lien. Within 60 days after commencing work on the property, they must provide a notice to the property owner specifying the name and address of the subcontractor, the type of work to be performed or the materials to be provided, the date work began, and the name of the contractor who hired the subcontractor. 

A mechanic’s lien can be removed when the claimant releases the lien, usually after receiving payment. If a claim has been filed, but a lawsuit has not been commenced, a property owner can serve notice to the claimant requiring them to file a lawsuit within 30 days, and if the claimant fails to do so within that period, they will forfeit their rights to the lien.

Contact a Schaumburg Real Estate Attorney

If you need help resolving issues related to mechanic’s liens or other encumbrances during a real estate transaction, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you meet your legal requirements and work with you to complete your transaction successfully. Contact our Rolling Meadows real estate lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.



Sources:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2254&ChapterID=63
http://www.gorequire.com/blog/understanding-mechanics-liens-what-they-are-and-how-they-impact-property-title

IRS Code Section 1031 Exchanges

Web Admin - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

IRS Code Section 1031 exchanges, Illinois real estate attorneyUsually, when an individual sells an investment property and enjoys a gain on the sale, that gain is taxed. However, it may be possible to postpone having to pay that tax under certain conditions. This is because of a special provision of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) related to “like-kind” exchanges of property. 

Like-Kind Exchanges

Under IRC §1031, an exception to the tax on the sale of an investment property is made for transactions that involve a like-kind exchange. This type of transaction occurs when the property being sold and the property being acquired meet certain requirements. First, both properties must be held for investment purposes. This means that property held for personal use does not qualify as a like-kind exchange. 

The second requirement is that the sold property and the acquired property must be sufficiently similar to each other. Property that is like-kind must have the same nature, character, or class. Generally speaking, real estate is like-kind to other real estate. But, property within the United States is not like-kind to property outside of the United States. Both real and personal property can be like-kind, but they are not like-kind to each other. 

Some types of property specifically excluded from §1031 include, but are not limited to: 

1. Property held primarily for sale;

2. Stocks, bonds or notes;

3. Partnership interests; and

4. Certificates of trust. 

§1031 allows an individual to delay the payment of tax on a gain from the sale of property so long as the proceeds are reinvested in similar property. It is important to note that this allows for the payment of tax to be deferred. It does not mean that the individual will never have to pay tax on the gain. 

Reporting to the IRS 

When an individual completes a like-kind exchange, it must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To do this, the individual must fill out Form 8824 and file it along with his or her tax return for the year in which the exchange occurred. Form 8824 requires the individual to provide the following information: 

1. A description of the properties involved;

2. Date the properties were exchanged;

3. Whether a relationship exists between the parties involved in the exchange;

4. Value of both properties;Gain or loss on non-like-kind property involved;

5. Cash accepted or paid;

6. liabilities relieved or taken on; and

7. The adjusted basis of the property relinquished and any realized gain. It is important to follow the reporting requirements, as failing to do so can lead to the assessment of tax, penalties, or interest on the transaction. 

Help with Real Estate Issues 

Often, the sale of investment property leads to a significant tax event. By utilizing this special provision of the tax code, you can delay having to pay that tax. For more information related to the tax implications of buying and selling investment property, contact a skilled Illinois real estate attorney today. Our firm provides help to individuals in the communities of Inverness, Palatine, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Kenilworth, Riverwoods, Barrington, South Barrington, and Mount Prospect.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.



Source:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/1031

Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions

Web Admin - Friday, October 09, 2015

Illinois real estate attorney, forcible entry, eviction noticeIn some disputes involving a rental of property, it is possible for a landlord to evict a tenant. In order to successfully evict a tenant, the landlord must comply with the laws governing eviction proceedings. These laws are intended to provide for a means of obtaining evictions, while simultaneously protecting tenants from unjustified eviction attempts. 

Eviction Process 

Pursuant to Illinois law, under certain circumstances, it is possible for a landlord to file a claim, known as a forcible entry and detainer lawsuit, to evict a tenant. Some of the reasons a landlord may be justified in seeking eviction include, but are not limited to, the following: 

1. Failure to pay rent;

2. Violation of the lease terms; or

3. Remaining in the property after the agreed upon lease term has passed. 

In some cases when issues arise, the tenant may voluntarily leave the property. However, if the tenant refuses to relinquish the property, the landlord may be forced to file a forcible entry and detainer lawsuit to initiate eviction proceedings. The first step in the process is to serve notice on the tenant of the intention to terminate the lease. The best way to satisfy the service requirement is to personally hand the tenant the notice. Alternatively, it can be left with someone that lives in the property who is at least 13 years of age. The notice requirement is not satisfied if the notice is left with a guest or visitor to the property. 

If personal notice is not possible, constructive notice is also sufficient. Constructive notice can be accomplished by mailing it by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. If there is no one in actual possession of the property, the notice can be attached to the property. After notice has been properly served and the issue has not been corrected or the tenant has not moved out, the lawsuit to evict can be filed.

A forcible entry and detainer claim seeks to obtain an “Order for Possession” from the court, which grants the landlord the right to take possession of the property. If the Order for Possession is granted, in most cases, the court will also grant a “stay of enforcement” in order to give the tenant time to find a new place to live. After the stay expires, the Sheriff’s Department will assist the landlord in removing the tenant from the property. 

In addition to the claim for the property, the landlord can join a claim to obtain rent due. However, if constructive notice was used to satisfy the service requirement and the tenant does not appear, the court can only rule on the possession claim and not whether any rent should be paid to the landlord. If the possession claim is decided, it is final, enforceable, and appealable. If the landlord wishes to continue with the rent claim, it remains pending. 

Real Estate Attorneys

Unfortunately, disputes between landlords and tenants do arise. When those issues are significant enough, eviction of the tenant may be sought. If you have questions about the rental of property, contact an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. Our firm provides representation for individuals located throughout the northwest suburbs, including the communities of Long Grove, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Palatine, Inverness, Kenilworth, Riverwoods, Barrington, South Barrington, and Mount Prospect. 

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+IX&ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=66600000&SeqEnd=74400000


Importance of Funding Your Living Trust

Web Admin - Friday, September 25, 2015

funding your living trust, Illinois estate planning attorney

The creation of living trusts in order to transfer property to beneficiaries is becoming increasingly popular. One of the major benefits of using a living trust is the avoidance of probate. However, if the maker of the trust (called the grantor) does not actually fund the trust with property or other assets, the grantor’s estate will likely have to go through probate. 

Living Trusts 

A revocable living trust is a form of estate planning that allows a grantor to determine who gets his or her property upon their death. A trust that is revocable can be altered, changed, or revoked during the life of the grantor. Upon the grantor’s death, the trust becomes irrevocable. After the trust becomes irrevocable, it cannot be changed and the trustee must follow the distribution plan made by the grantor. Alternatively, an irrevocable living trust is one that cannot be revoked once it is finalized. Both of these forms of trusts are called “living” trusts because they are formed during the life of the grantor. 

Living trusts provide the benefit of the avoidance of probate, which is a court process in which a determination is made as to how property is distributed upon the death of an individual. Probate, which is governed under Illinois law by the Probate Act of 1975, is often expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, it often means that property is not divided in accordance with how the deceased individual would have desired. 

In order to avoid probate, the grantor must correctly form the trust and fund the trust. A trust is formed through the creation of a written trust document that is signed by the creator of the trust and a notary public. The trust document must include a list of the property that is covered by the trust, name a trustee, and name the beneficiaries of the property included in the trust. 

The grantor must transfer the property that is to be covered by the trust into the trust. For most property, a trust is funded simply by including a list of covered property in the trust document. However, real estate must be retitled in the name of the trust in order to be correctly transferred. A trust that has not had assets properly transferred to it is called an unfunded living trust. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for grantors to fail to fund their trust. This may occur when a grantor plans to get around to it in the future but never actually does it. Alternatively, a grantor may incorrectly believe that the creation of the trust document was sufficient. For example, in the case of real estate, the creation of the trust document is not enough due to the retitling rule. If a trust is not properly funded, the goals of the estate plan will not be achieved and the estate will have to go through probate. 

Help with Estate Planning 

Planning for what will happen to your property and assets is important for you and your loved ones. If you would like more information or help in forming a living trust, contact an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney today. Our firm proudly serves the communities of Inverness, Palatine, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Kenilworth, Riverwoods, Barrington, South Barrington, and Mount Prospect.

About the Author:

Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60


Considerations for Owning a Vacation Home

Web Admin - Monday, August 31, 2015

Illinois real estate lawyerWhen owning a vacation home, there are several issues that need to be considered, including estate planning, how the property will be owned, and potential tax implications. If you plan on purchasing a vacation home with a friend or a family member, deciding how the property will be owned is important. Ordinarily, this type of ownership is what is known as tenancy in common. Under a tenancy in common ownership, each owner is named on the deed, along with each owner’s respective ownership percentage.

An alternative is for all of the prospective owners to form a limited liability company (LLC) and have it purchase and own the home. While this does create the additional task of forming the LLC, the individual assets of each member of the LLC are protected. A disadvantage is that the individuals of the LLC cannot claim property tax or mortgage interest deductions.

Tax Issues

The capital gains tax applies to the portion of the proceeds (upon the sale of a home) that exceeds the purchase price of the property plus the cost of any improvements made. For most taxpayers, the tax rate for long-term capital gains is 15 percent. An important provision of the tax code is the primary residence exclusion to the capital gains tax. This exclusion allows for married couples to exclude up to $500,000 ($250,000 for single owners) in capital gains for the sale of a principal residence.

Critically, the home must have been the principal residence (where you and your spouse live) for two of the last five years. This period does not need to be consecutively; rather, the home must have been the principal residence for a total of 24 months out of the last five years. The primary residence exclusion can be used multiple times, but cannot be used more than once every two years.

In relation to vacation homes, ordinarily the primary residence exclusion cannot be used (as a vacation home is normally not the principal residence). However, if the vacation home is established as the principal residence (by satisfying the two out of the past five year rule), the exclusion can be used. This may be very beneficial if a vacation home significantly increased in value.  

Passing Home to Heirs

Often, owners of vacation homes desire to keep those homes within the family. As a result, this requires planning for how the home will be passed down. There are numerous different methods of leaving property to a beneficiary. Each of those methods has different advantages and disadvantages. It is important to keep in mind that the following only briefly describes just three of the methods for passing on property. For more detailed information about estate planning, you should speak with an attorney.

For example, property can be passed to children or other heirs upon the owner’s death. This creates a step-up in basis for the beneficiary, which is a large advantage should the beneficiary sell the property. It also allows for the owner to retain complete control until death. However, it is not a tax-friendly option for the owner.

Alternatively, an owner can give the property as an outright gift. Under this method, the owner transfers the property by deed to the beneficiary. This accomplishes an immediate transfer of ownership. However, the federal gift tax limits the amount that can be transferred. Additionally, the step-up in basis is lost.

Finally, one option that is becoming more popular is to place the property into a trust for named beneficiaries. Under this plan, the owner reserves the right to use the property for a specified period of time. After the trust term expires, the beneficiaries take ownership of the property, with significantly reduced, or eliminated, federal and state taxes. Critically, for this method to work, the person who formed the trust must out-live the trust term.

For more information about the ownership of a vacation home, reach out to an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. Our firm proudly represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs, including the communities of Inverness, South Barrington, Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Mount Prospect, Riverwoods, Schaumburg, and Kenilworth.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance

Web Admin - Friday, May 08, 2015

landlord tenant ordinance, Schaumburg real estate lawyerOver 60 percent of Chicago residents live in rental housing. As a result, the laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship are very important. The Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance governs a majority of the residential rental agreements within the city. The Ordinance places certain duties on both landlords and tenants.

What Does the Ordinance Do?

Generally, the Ordinance covers any rental units under written or oral leases. However, the Ordinance does not cover the following:

  • - Units in owner-occupied buildings that have less than six units;
  • - Units in hotels, motels, inns, or bed-and-breakfast establishments, unless rent is paid monthly and the unit is occupied by the tenant for more than 32 days;
  • - Dormitories or shelters; and
  • - Owner-occupied co-operatives.

The Ordinance requires that tenants abide by all of the obligations of the Municipal Code. Some of these duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • - Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (for example, by ensuring that working batteries are in the detectors);
  • - Keeping the unit as safe as the conditions of the premises permits;
  • - Avoiding disturbing other tenants; and
  • - Not causing any damage to the unit.

Landlords are also placed under duties by the Ordinance. A landlord is required to maintain the property in compliance with the Municipal Code. This includes maintaining heating facilities, the structural integrity of the building, and the building’s plumbing system, among numerous other items.

Further, a landlord cannot require a tenant to renew a lease agreement more than 90 days before an existing agreement ends. Additionally, a landlord must provide a tenant with at least 30 days written notice if the rental agreement will not be renewed. If this required notice is not given, a tenant may remain in the unit for 60 days under the same terms and conditions as the last month of the existing agreement.

Remedies for Defects

If a property has a minor defect, a tenant’s first step to remedy the issue is to provide written notice to the landlord indicating that if the landlord does not correct the defect, the tenant will have the defect corrected at the landlord’s expense. The landlord has 14 days to correct the issue before the tenant can take action. The cost to correct the issue cannot be more than the greater of $500 or one half of the monthly rent. After 14 days, if the landlord has not taken corrective action, the tenant can have the repairs completed. The tenant can then submit to the landlord a paid bill and deduct the cost of the work from the rent.

For a material noncompliance to maintain the premises, a tenant may withhold rent in an amount that reasonably reflects a reduction in value of the premises as a result of that material noncompliance. This withholding of rent may continue for as long as the material noncompliance continues. However, the withholding can only begin after 14 days have passed since the landlord was given written notice of the condition.  

If you would like more information about the rights and obligations of the parties involved in a residential rental relationship, you should speak with an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. Whether you are a landlord or tenant, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help. Our office proudly represents clients in the Schaumburg, Palatine, and Long Grove areas, among many others. 

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Makes Major Changes to Real Estate Closings

Web Admin - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Illinois real estate closing, Arlington Heights real estate attorneyA new rule goes into effect on August 1st that will make major changes in the way that real estate closings occur. The new rule was promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and is known as the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID). The TRID Rule alters the way that financial disclosures work in the context of mortgages. Previously, lenders had to use four separate disclosure forms. They had to provide Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure forms to loan applicants within three days of receiving the person's application. They also had to provide a Housing and Urban Development disclosure form and another TILA disclosure form three days prior to closing. The new rule combines these four documents into two: a loan estimate and a closing disclosure.

The Loan Estimate

The loan estimate acts as a combination of the Good Faith Estimate and the first TILA disclosure. Like the old documents, it still must be given to the loan application within three days of receiving the application. The loan estimate is a three-page document that includes a variety of information about the potential costs of the loan to the consumer. The first page includes general information such as the loan amount, the interest rate, and the payment schedule. The second page includes a detailed layout of the costs that the loan recipient will be responsible for at closing. The final page contains more miscellaneous information about the loan. This page includes things like metrics for comparing the loan with other offers, as well as other information such as late payment fees and appraisal rules.

The Closing Disclosure

The other new document created by the TRID rule is the closing disclosure, which combines the Housing and Urban Development settlement statement, along with the other TILA disclosure. Like its predecessor documents, the lender must still deliver the closing disclosure at least three days before the closing. The closing disclosure form is longer than the loan estimate form and contains more information. The first page of the disclosure is similar to the loan estimate form, and contains general information about the loan. The next page details the specific loan costs that the borrower is paying. The third page is an update to the closing costs from the loan estimate, highlighting any changes. The final two pages include other miscellaneous information about the loan, similar to what is on the final page of the loan estimate, but more expansive.

If you are looking to buy a house and want to make sure this high stakes transaction goes off like you are expecting, contact an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. Our firm serves clients in northwest suburban towns like Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Rolling Meadows, and Barrington.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

New Realtor Form Contract Comes into Use

Web Admin - Thursday, August 14, 2014

IRELA new real estate formThe Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (“IRELA”), along with a variety of other real estate organizations, maintains a form contract for realtors and their clients to use when selling a home. The IRELA recently released their new version of this, known as the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract version 6.0, and this new contract is now in use. The new version makes a variety of changes to the old 5.0 version, many of which are technical or procedurally based. However, the contract does have some new language of which buyers and sellers should be aware.

The contract now allows for more options when dealing with escrow during the closing. It also changes how professional inspections work, requiring sellers to request portions of inspection reports. The new contract also alters how the timeline for mortgage financing affects the seller’s ability to back out of the deal. Finally, the contract changes the seller's responsibilities as far as disclosing potential issues with the home. Importantly, these are just some of the changes made during the board's updating of the contract. It is important that you consult with a real estate attorney during any real estate transaction to make sure you understand the scope of the new contract.

Version 6.0 Changes

The new 6.0 version of the Multi-Board contract contains a variety of changes from the earlier 5.0 document. First, the 6.0 document contains a new paragraph regarding who holds on to the buyer's earnest money until the closing goes through. In the prior contract, options were only available for the buyer's broker or the seller's broker to manage that. Now, the contract allows for third parties, like title companies, to hold the money in escrow.

The new contract also modifies how buyers can void the contract after a failed inspection. The contract allows buyers to hire professional inspectors to check the house for problems like radon or insect infestations. If the inspectors discover such an issue, then the buyer has the option of voiding the sale contract. However, the new 6.0 version allows the seller to request the portion of the report that the buyer is using as grounds for cancellation.

The updated document also alters the timeline for the buyer to obtain mortgage financing. The old contract used to require a “firm written commitment” from the bank that financing would be forthcoming. However, banks seldom issue such statements quickly, so the new version merely requires the buyer to prove that they have submitted the loan for underwriting by a certain date, and that the bank has given them clearance to close by another date.

The contract also requires the seller to make a variety of representations to the buyer, such as stating that the home is not currently subject to a boundary line dispute. The new 6.0 version of the contract adds extra notification duties to the seller, forcing them to make all the same representations again at closing, which means that any changed circumstances would require an update.

Contact Our Real Estate Lawyers Today

If you are currently looking to buy a new house or another piece of property, contact an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our team of skilled professionals counsels clients in towns all over the northwest suburbs, including in Arlington Heights, Long Grove, and South Barrington.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

Commercial Leasing in the Chicago Suburbs

Web Admin - Thursday, May 22, 2014

The suburban Chicago commercial leasing market has seen a slight recovery as compared to the depths of the recession, but the revival appears to be sluggish. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the market currently has an overall vacancy of approximately 24.4 percent. That number is an improvement over the low point of the recession, 25.4 percent in 2010, but it is still a long way off from 2006, during which it fell below 20 percent.

Despite this merely modest improvement, there has actually been a noticeable increase in asking rents, up 12 percent to an average of $21.94. Some experts believe that this rise in asking price relates to the fact that most owners who were in danger of losing their properties have either recovered or gotten out of the market by now. This means that current landholders are more apt to sit and wait than they are to engage in a race to the bottom over prices as they had done in the past. Consequently, hiring an attorney to help negotiate the lease can be even more beneficial.

The Benefits of Involving an Attorney

Both first time lessees and experienced business owners can benefit from investing in a savvy real estate attorney during lease negotiations. Leases are legal documents just like any other contract, and just like many other contracts, they can be filled with dense legalese. Lawyers specialize in dissecting such complex provisions, so that the business owner can be sure they understand exactly what they are agreeing to.

Yet the attorney can add more value than simply translating the lease. Experienced real estate attorneys understand the sorts of provisions likely to appear in a lease. This means that getting an attorney involved early can help negotiations move along more smoothly. Often, business owners, especially those new to commercial leasing, sketch out broad strokes of the lease in negotiations, focusing on key points like price and size of the space. Then, once they feel they have reached a final agreement, the landlord provides the full lease, and the lessee discovers other provisions like janitorial services that the initial negotiations did not cover.

This necessitates reopening negotiations after it appeared that everything had been finalized. Involving a lawyer earlier in the process can prevent such problems from arising. Lawyers with experience negotiating commercial leases can help business owners see the full field of lease terms and allow them to negotiate with confidence.         

Whether you are just beginning to think about buying space or you already have a potential lease ready for review, reach out to an Illinois commercial real estate attorney today. Our experienced team can help analyze your lease and aid you in negotiating the most advantageous deal possible. We serve clients across the northwest suburbs, including in Arlington Heights, Long Grove, and Mount Prospect.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Home Sale Contingencies in Real Estate Contracts

Web Admin - Thursday, April 10, 2014

illinois real estate contingencies lawyerBuying a new home is a complicated task that requires a lot of pieces to fall into place in just the right way. For many people, one of these pieces is the ability to sell their current home. Often, people need to sell their old home first to make sure they have enough cash on hand to afford the new one. Of course, sometimes that is not feasible, and people will want to put an offer down on a new house before they have managed to sell their old one. When this happens, people can use a “home sale contingency” clause in their contract to purchase the new home. In short, a home sale contingency clause voids the contract for the sale of the new house in the event that the buyer is unable to sell their old one.

Types of Home Sale Contingencies

There are two broad types of home sale contingencies that lawyers can build into a contract: a “sale and closing contingency” and a “closing contingency.” The sale and closing contingency is used in the event that the buyer has yet to find a prospective buyer for their own home. Conversely, buyers use closing contingencies when they have a prospective buyer who has made an offer for their home, but the sale has not yet closed. In this instance, the contingency acts as an insurance policy against the sale of the buyer’s home falling through at the last minute. While these two types of clauses function in largely the same way, both of them voiding the sale of the new house if the old one does not sell, the sale and closing contingencies are more likely to include a “kick out” clause.

Kick out clauses are a right of first refusal. They allow the seller to keep searching for other buyers for the house. In the event that one of these other buyers makes an offer, then the seller must notify the first buyer. The first buyer then has some period of time to sell their house or else the seller is allowed to make the sale to the new buyer instead.

Factors to Consider When Using a Home Sale Contingency

Buyers should consider two things when deciding whether to ask for a home sale contingency: the effect it will have on the new home’s price and the other costs of purchasing a house. For the first point, home sale contingency clauses will likely drive the price of the new home up. The buyer is asking the seller to take the risk that the buyer’s old home will not sell, and the seller will likely want compensation for bearing that risk.

For the second point, buyers can still end up sinking other costs into the attempted purchase of the new home. They can end up paying for things like home inspections, appraisal fees, and the like, even before they have sold their old house. In the event that the buyer fails to sell their home, then they have wasted any money spent on such things.

If you are in the market for a new house, find an Illinois real estate attorney to help ensure that you receive strong, fair contracts. We serve towns all across northwest Chicago including Palatine, South Barrington, and Mount Prospect.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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