Illinois Sale Real Estate Closings

Real Estate Sale Primer
The sale of a home is often the largest transaction a person will undertake in a lifetime. The sale transaction involves a number of complex documents and real property concepts and should not be undertaken without the assistance of an experienced real estate closing attorney.  As a result, a prospective home seller should take all precautions possible to make sure that the deal concludes smoothly and correctly.

Real Estate Sale Process
The same “attorney modification clause” caveat that applies to buyers applies to sellers as well. In the best case scenario, the seller’s attorney should review a contract before it is signed. Any proposed modifications may be treated as a “counter offer” and the other party may decline to agree to changes and cancel the deal.

In reviewing a contract, a seller’s attorney will make sure that the buyer’s earnest money is sufficient, the buyer’s mortgage terms and time frame to acquire a mortgage are realistic to ensure that the home is not off the market for too long. The attorney will also review the terms of prorations to be sure that they are fair; the terms of the various warranties or representations of the seller to be sure that they are not too broad; and the penalties for default, to be sure that they are reasonable.

The seller’s attorney’s real work begins after the attorney modification period. It is at this time that the attorney will order title insurance, a survey (if required by the contract), association information and paid assessment letters, as well as to satisfy any municipal requirements (inspections, transfer stamps, or water, sewer, and septic tests) that may be necessary before the title company and the county will allow the recordation of a deed.

The “title commitment” is a written commitment to offer title insurance from a title company. The title company will do a search of the county and state records to determine the legal description and tax identification number of the property, who is currently in title to the property and what, if any, impediments to title exist. Once the title company returns its title commitment, the seller’s attorney may go about obtaining documentation to satisfy any “exceptions” to title. An exception is an item which may “cloud” the title and prevent the seller from passing “clear” title on to a buyer. Such items may be building lines and easements, mortgages, mechanic’s liens, municipal requirements or any number of covenants or restrictions contained in past deeds.

After satisfying all title exceptions, the attorney will prepare the various documents required to transfer title: a deed, bill of sale, affidavit of title, ALTA statement, closing statement and any other various documents required. These might include a deceased joint tenancy affidavit, a pay proceeds letter or a direction to convey. The list could go on and on! The seller’s attorney will either have the seller execute the documents in advance of closing or at the closing table. In many cases, sellers need not attend the closing.

After the flurry of activity that precedes the closing date, the actual closing is a test for the seller’s attorney. The buyer’s attorney will make sure that all documents are properly executed by the seller, answer any questions or concerns of the buyer, and settle any contractual disputes or problems that arise. The buyer’s attorney will be checking the seller’s attorney’s work to determine if it accurately conveys title to the buyer.

A diligent attorney can make the closing a quicker and less painful procedure from a seller. After all, the seller just wants a proceeds check, not a headache.

Services and Fees
We provide full service to real estate sellers for residential real property sale closings.  Among those services are contract Review (pre or post contract execution); the negotiation of Inspection contingency issues, if any; the negotion of attorney modification issues, if any; the tracking of any contingencies (appraisal, mortgage, home sale, if any); ordering title, clearing title, obtaining payoffs, ordering zoning and water certifications, munipal stamp issues, attendance at the closing on behalf of the Seller.

Fees vary depending on the transaction.  We provide services in FSBO (for sale by owner) purchases, existing residential real estate closings, new construction or developer conversion and rehab transactions, short sales, and REO (real estate owned) or foreclosure transactions.

How to Get Started
The first step to beginning the residential real estate sale closing process is to give us a call and arrange for a review of the real estate sale contract.  We are generally willing to have a short (5 to 15 minutes) initial discussion over the telephone to determine if we can assist in your situation and to determine if we might be an appropriate match to work with you.  Face to face Initial consultations are by appointment only and a consultation fee is generally charged. To get this process started, please feel free to contact Richard Magnone via email or by phone at 773-399-1122.