10 Things Sellers Should Know About a Residential Real Estate Closing

Web Admin - Monday, June 18, 2018
Arlington Heights residential real estate lawyerSelling a home can be a stressful process, but once a buyer has made an offer and agreed to buy your house, the end of the process is in sight. However, there are still a variety of issues which may need to be resolved and matters which will need to be settled before the sale is complete. Here are 10 things you should take care of as you complete your residential real estate closing:

1. Address home inspection issues - The buyer will pay for a home inspection, which may uncover a variety of issues that they may ask you to correct or repair. You can preempt some of the issues by having your own home inspection completed prior to listing. This will give you an idea of the issues that may be raised later or minor issues that you can resolve prior to accepting an offer. Be sure to complete any agreed repairs prior to the date of closing and provide paid receipts to show that the required work has been done. 
2. Review the property survey - The standard Illinois contracts require the seller to provide the buyer with a survey of the property. If you have an existing survey, you should be sure to review this survey to make sure that the boundaries of the property are defined correctly and there are no issues that may arise with the new survey. Some buyers, especially in cash deals, will accept the existing survey, if no new improvements have been made. 
3. Get ready for the final walkthrough - Buyers will typically visit the home prior to closing to check the property and make sure repairs have been done. Be sure everything has been taken care of before this walkthrough and make sure no unexpected issues arise. If necessary, you may need to address issues the buyers find or negotiate a payment for problems they discover.
4. Review your settlement - Your closing documents will include a seller’s closing statement detailing the money being paid and received. Be sure to review this statement for accuracy including the payoff amounts of any of your loans or mortgages.
5. Bring documentation to closing - At closing, be sure to bring your photo ID, the paid receipts for repairs, and any information the buyer will need, such as codes to security systems.
6. Resolve last-minute details - If something is not in the same condition at walkthrough as it was when the offer was accepted, that item will need to be resolved at the closing table, or the closing may need to be postponed.
7. Be prepared to pay closing costs - You will typically be required to pay for certain items, such as commissions for real estate agents, outstanding property taxes or utility bills, and related fees, including title fees and attorney’s fees. Your realtor or attorney should inform you of the exact amount that you will need to pay at closing.
8. Transfer utilities - Utilities should be kept active until after the closing, at which point you can transfer service to the buyer.
9. Cancel homeowner’s insurance - Once closing is complete, you can cancel your homeowner’s insurance policy. You may receive a refund for any remaining months which you have already paid.
10. Keep your paperwork in a safe place - Be sure to keep all of the papers from the closing in a place where you can easily access them in case any questions or issues arise.

Contact a Riverwoods Residential Real Estate Attorney

If you have any questions about the processes followed during your home closing, or if you need an attorney’s assistance when selling your home, contact a Kenilworth real estate lawyer at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Call our office at 847-934-6000 to schedule a 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.


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.

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.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for a Mortgage Loan

Web Admin - Thursday, February 20, 2014

illinois mortgage loan lawyerFor many first-time home buyers, the process of applying for a mortgage can seem complex. This guide will explain the basics of the process, such as the timeline for applying for a mortgage, the documents that applicants should procure and bring, and the credit score and down payment that applicants should expect.

The Mortgage Timeline

The mortgage process begins with a pre-approval application. The purpose of the preapproval process is to let the bank or lender look into the applicant’s finances, in order to make sure that they can afford a loan. This is when banks ask for most of the documentation. Often they want things such as:

- a list of addresses and landlords;
- a list of previous employers;
- pay-stubs from the previous one or two months, with a person’s year-to-date earnings included as well;
- the last two year’s W-2 forms;
- two months of bank statements for all accounts;
- a list of all debts not on the applicant’s credit report; and
- a list of all other real estate that the applicant already owns.

If the applicant has already found a house that they like, and their offer has been accepted, then the bank will also want the seller’s contact information and a copy of the contract. Being ready to provide these documents can help speed up the mortgage process.

Once a person goes through the pre-approval process and has made an offer on a house, the bank will order an appraisal on it. The appraiser will go through the house and determine the value, and then the bank will take their assessment into account when calculating how large a loan they can offer. Generally speaking, the bank will base their offer on either the appraisal value or the purchase price, depending on which is lower.

After the appraisal, the loan underwriter will look at all the documentation to make sure the loan is a good investment for the bank. From start to finish, the whole process usually takes about four to six weeks on the bank’s end, but timelines may vary, and asking the lender in the beginning may be a good idea.

Credit Scores and Down Payments

In addition to the array of documentation, lenders will also expect borrowers to have good credit scores and money available to make a down payment on the house. The rule of thumb for a conventional loan, according to U.S. News, is that a borrower would need a credit score of at least 650. Conventional loans also require, on average, a down payment of around 20 percent. Borrowers may have an alternative in the Fair Housing Act loan, which is a loan insured by the federal government. These loans offer a 3.5 percent down payment with a 580 credit score, and a 10 percent down payment with a 500 credit score.

If you are going through the process of buying a home, contact an Illinois real estate attorney today. Our team serves people in many northwest suburban areas including Inverness, Barrington and Long Grove.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is 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.

Recent Changes to the Mortgage Process

Web Admin - Friday, January 24, 2014

By: Jay A. Andrew
(847) 934-6000

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is an agency that Congress tasked with regulating companies in the financial sector, such as banks and hedge funds, to ensure that consumers do not find themselves treated unfairly by such institutions. To that end, the CFPB passed a qualified mortgage rule. This rule places certain restrictions on the types of loans that banks can authorize, but it also provides them some protection against consumer lawsuits.

In addition to creating the CFPB, Congress also responded to the financial crisis by passing The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (MFDRA). This Act had prevented people from being taxed on mortgage debt that banks forgave. However, the Act expired on December 31st, and Congress did not choose to extend it. This expiration impacts consumers dealing with foreclosures and short sales.

Qualified Mortgages

Qualified mortgages are a feature of the CFPB’s “ability-to-repay” rule, which requires lenders to verify a person’s income and other financial details to ensure that they can afford the mortgage they want. The CFPB put this regulation in place to stop banks from recklessly giving out mortgages without checking people’s financials. The rule also prohibits a variety of loan features that contributed to the 2008 crash, like interest only loans or terms lasting more than 30 years. If the bank complies with all of these requirements, they receive legal protection for the loan.

The law places different levels of protection depending on whether the loan was prime or subprime. Consumers will find it difficult to sue on prime loans if they meet the qualified mortgage requirements. But, if they have a subprime mortgage, they may still be able to show the court that the bank did not comply with the ability-to-repay requirements, which may help them in a lawsuit.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

Congress passed the MFDRA in order to help people struggling under mortgage debt during the financial crisis. The Act helped people who owed more money on their homes than the homes were worth by lowering their tax burden. Before the Act, if a bank forgave a person’s debt, the government would tax the person on the forgiven debt as if it were income. The Act put a stop to that for the purposes of some mortgage debt.

However, the Act expired at the end of 2013, and though some members of Congress of are still talking about renewing it, that has not happened, which means that the tax break no longer exists. Now, if a person has their mortgage debt forgiven as part of a foreclosure or short sale, they may end up owing taxes on the forgiven debt.

If you have questions about your mortgage, contact a Des Plaines real estate lawyer today. Call 847-934-6000 to reach out to our firm. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Arlington Heights, Deer Park, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, and other nearby communities.

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