The law offices of Hoy Sahlas LLC

Why You Need a Lawyer to Buy or Sell Real Estate in IL

In some States, lawyers are not involved in real estate closings.  However, in Illinois, especially the greater Chicago metro area, it is customary and prudent for buyers and sellers of real estate to hire a lawyer. 

Photo taken by Colleen L. Sahlas
 It is the unauthorized practice of law in Illinois for your real estate agent to do any of the following: 

  • give you legal advice and explain to you the legal meaning of your real estate contract;
  • review the title for defects and advise you of the same;
  • ensure that you receive good, merchantable title;
  • help you clear any potential title defects, such as:for example:
    • unpaid property taxes or assessments 
    • encroachments
    • easements and rights of way 
    • building set-back lines
    • governmental assessments
    • special service areas
    • homestead rights 
    • liens
    • lawsuits
    • judgments
    • foreclosure suits
    • unpermitted exceptions
    • building code violations 
    • governmental violations
    • restrictions which interfere with your use of the property
  • draft any Riders or Addendums to the Contract;
  • examine the survey and advise you about any defects or problems;
  • draft any legal documents, including the Deed, the Bill of Sale, the Affidavit of Title, etc.
  • review for accuracy and give you legal advice as to the meaning of the closing documents prepared by the Seller’s attorney;
  • draft any necessary agreements at closing, such as a tax re-proration agreement, a post-closing agreement;
  • cancel the contract on your behalf if necessary;
  • review your loan documents and advise you of the legal meaning of what you are signing.


Bar Associations Recommend Hiring a Lawyer:

The Illinois State Bar Association


The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association



The Illinois Supreme Court Prohibits a Real Estate Broker

from Performing the Tasks of a Lawyer:

Here’s the actual language from the legal ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court which prohibits the unauthorized practice of law by real estate brokers in The Chicago Bar Association v. Quinlan and Tyson, Inc. 34 Ill.2d 117, 1966.

“Drafting and attending to the execution of instruments relating to real-estate titles are within the practice of law. . . .   

“The drawing or filling in of blanks on deeds, mortgages and other legal instruments subsequently executed requires the peculiar skill of a lawyer and constitutes the practice of law. Such instruments are often muniments of title and become matters of permanent record. They are not ordinarily executed and delivered until after title has been examined and approved by the attorney for the purchaser. Their preparation is not incidental to the performance of brokerage services but falls outside the scope of the broker’s function.

“. . . The opinion of this court . . . prohibits explanation by the brokers of the provisions of the contract and bars them from preparing any other documents subsequent to the contract. 

“.. . The legal problems involved often depend upon the context in which the instrument is placed, and only a lawyer’s training gives assurance that they will be identified or pointed out.  The mere completion of a form can readily be done by a stenographer. But it requires a lawyer’s advice to determine whether it will accomplish the desired result under all the circumstances.

“A transaction which at first seems simple may upon investigation be found to be quite involved. . . . Mere simplicity cannot be the basis for drawing boundaries to the practice of a profession. A pharmacist, for example might be competent to prescribe for many of the simpler ailments, but it takes a medical background to recognize when the ailment is simple. Protection of the public requires that only licensed physicians may prescribe or treat for any ailment, regardless of complexity or simplicity. And protection of the public requires a similar approach when the practice of law is involved.”  The Chicago Bar Association v. Quinlan and Tyson,Inc.34 Ill.2d 117, 1966.


You Need a Lawyer for your Real Estate deal.

Contact the Real Estate Lawyers at

The Law Offices of Hoy & Sahlas, LLC.