So, you've entered into a real estate contract...now what?
Are you looking to buy or sell your home? Read on to hear some pointers on how to make the process as efficient as possible.
Find an Attorney Once the Contract is ExecutedWhether you are buying or selling, an attorney is usually recommended in Illinois to effectuate the real estate transaction. The purpose of an attorney in a sales transaction is to draft the closing documents and ensure that the title is clean. An attorney for the purchaser will review title and survey to make sure there are no encroachments, easements, colors of title that will affect your ownership. Both attorneys will work to negotiate any modifications to the contract on your behalf, including requesting any repairs to be made to the property in accordance with the recommendations of the inspection report. Choose an attorney who has experience with real estate, whether it's commercial or residential.
The reason to find an attorney upon contract execution is that both parties have five business days from the date of acceptance to accept or reject the contract. Once this expires, you are locked in. If you fail to hire an attorney prior to this stage, you may lose out on the opportunity to make and requests for repairs on the property and it will now be, essentially, "as is".
Get an Inspection DoneIf you are the buyer and your contract is NOT "as is", you have the right to have an inspection done on the property in the five business days from the date the contract was accepted. If you are planning on doing a radon test, you should consider doing this at the same time and hiring an inspector who does both so they can be done at the same time. (NOTE: even if your contract is "as is", you may still be able to do an inspection per the contract, but the seller will most likely not entertain any repair requests as a result).
If you are unable to have the property inspected during this window of time, let your attorney know so that an extension may be requested. Once the inspection is completed, the report will be generated usually within the next 24 hours after the inspection is complete. It is important to forward that to your attorney and speak with him or her soon after to discuss any possible repair requests to be made to the seller.
Don't Plan on Attending the Closing?If you are the buyer and it is financed, you will need to be present. If you are the buyer and it is a cash transaction, you may execute a Power of Attorney allowing your attorney to sign closing documents on your behalf. Just make sure you have wired or made other arrangements for your funds to arrive at the closing well in advance.
If you are the seller, you do not need to be present at the closing and can also have your attorney sign your closing document with an executed Power of Attorney signed ahead of time. The documents you will need to sign ahead of time, including the Power of Attorney, are the Deed, Affidavit of Title, and Bill of Sale. Be sure to let your attorney know how you want your proceeds to be delivered to you after the closing.