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.


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.

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.

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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