You Need an Attorney for an Illinois Real Estate Closing
Have you signed a contract to buy or sell real estate in Illinois? Hiring a real estate agent is not enough.
You need an Attorney.
By Colleen L. Sahlas, Attorney
You need an Objective Advocate
Unlike your Real Estate Agent & Mortgage Broker, the State of Illinois does not allow licensed Attorneys to be paid by commission. This ethical rule protects you, the client, because the Attorney is free to advocate for your best interests rather than being enticed to “close the deal” to get a commission. The Attorney is the only one who can be your objective advocate.
You need a Legal Professional
Buying & selling real estate in Illinois is a LEGAL transaction.
A Real Estate Agent is Unauthorized to Practice Law in Illinois:
A real estate agent can’t draft legal documents such as the Deed, Riders to the Contract, Attorney Approval letters, amendments to the extend the financing contingency in a contract, etc. The Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that Real Estate Agents can fill in blank lines on Standardized Contracts but cannot write in additional language, conditions, draft Amendments or Riders. Only a lawyer can draft legal documents.
- A Real Estate Agent cannot give legal advice such as the legal ramifications of your Contract and your loan documents. Only a lawyer can give legal advice.
- A Real Estate Agent who is also a licensed Illinois Attorney cannot act in both roles/capacities when representing you. If you have hired them as your real estate agent, then it is unethical for your agent to act as your attorney in the same matter.
- Find Out the Meaning of What You Signed
An Attorney can advise you of the Legal implications in your Contract. Your Real Estate Agent cannot give you advice about the legal implications in your Contract. If you or the other party breach the contract, then your lawyer can tell you what rights either of you may have, such as the right to bring a lawsuit against the other or to forfeit the buyer’s earnest money as liquidated damages.
- Protect Yourself
An attorney can often help you avoid or minimize major risks in your contract if you have hired the attorney in a timely fashion.
- Find Out What Legal Promises You Made
An Attorney can Advise you of Your Legal Obligations - if you are unaware of what legal promises you made in the contract, then you could risk being sued by the other party. An attorney can advise you of the legal promises you must perform and help you avoid a lawsuit or other action.
- Discover Your Legal Rights
An attorney can advise you of your rights in the contract. You may assume that you have the right to cancel the deal for a particular reason, or to post-pone the closing if you need more time to get a loan. Your Contract may not allow for this. Often, an Attorney can preserve your rights or amend the contract to tailor it to your needs.
- In Case You Need to Cancel
Your Real Estate Agent cannot get you out of the contract – What happens if you are denied for a loan or after the inspection you have second thoughts? When promptly hired, your Attorney can assist you in meeting your mortgage application deadlines, preserving your rights to cancel the contract (for certain circumstances), and draft a cancellation of contract pursuant to contract terms.
For more information, read the advice from Bar Associations in Illinois:
- the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association article,“Why do I need a lawyer for a residential real estate purchase?"
- the Illinois State Bar Association’s article, "An Attorney’s Role in Purchasing a Home."
Are you buying real estate in Illinois?
Read about the legal services that the Illinois real estate attorneys
at The Law Offices of Hoy & Sahlas, Ltd. can provide to you.
Call (630) 575-0400 or fill out our online form.