Selling A Home

Selling a home is risky, but I can help you both manage and reduce those risks. Here are two issues you will likely encounter: (1) you will be required to issue a “Warranty Deed” this means that you will promise that you are selling good title to the property and promising that nobody, for all time, has done anything to impinge upon that title; and (2) you may encounter wire fraud where transfer instructions are sent electronically, intercepted by a nefarious third-party and then all funds are moved outside of the country. Fortunately, I have procedures and practices in place to fix these problems.

What legal work do I need?

  1. Contract Review, a line-by-line review of your real estate contract to sell conducted by an attorney. The standard form real estate contracts in Illinois contain a variety of options, conditions and provisions. There are often several contingencies where the contract can fall apart. For example, if the buyer cannot get a mortgage under the terms of the contract they can often walk away. Other parts of the contract, for example the amount by which taxes are pro-rated, can be negotiated even after signing under attorney approval.
  2. Document Drafting. The seller is responsible for drafting most of the documents associated with the closing including, but not limited to: a bill of sale, a warranty deed, an affidavit of title, an ALTA statement and creating the figures used for the closing itself.
  3. Municipal Work. Each county and municipality in Illinois has its own rules about real estate. In some counties the buyer needs to pay tax to that municipality when purchasing. In other municipalities, the seller pays the tax. Occasionally, this tax is split between the seller and the buyer. I research the municipality with each transaction, contacting said municipality and work to ensure that all government entities are satisfied with the transaction. Also, I will check what are called the tax pro-rations to ensure that the buyer is not manipulating the numbers to his/her advantage.
  4. Working with your association– the buyer will want to know that your association has signed off on the deal and that nothing is owed to the association. This is accomplished by ordering a document called a “Paid Assessment Letter.” Occasionally, home owners associations can be very difficult to work with and I can usually resolve those issues.
  5. Clearing title for insurance. Your buyer is going to require that you purchase a title insurance policy for him/her. Fortunately, buying this insurance policy is also one of the best ways to reduce the risk of signing a warranty deed. The title insurance company bears the risk of problems with title occurring after the sale so that you can sign a warranty deed and sleep well at night. I will be your insurance agent to acquire this title policy and research your property and its history to convince that company to issue insurance.
  6. Negotiation and Attorney Approval. Under most contracts in Illinois, the buyer has an opportunity to inspect the property and then request that the seller to make repairs or give the buyer a credit. The seller has the right to reject this request. This negotiation needs to be based on the condition of the property and cannot be a re-negotiation of the price of the property. The buyer typically loses this right within five (5) business days. As a result, it’s very important to hire an attorney early in this process so that I can help negotiate with your buyer and buyer’s attorney.

What does this cost?

TMB Law will charge you $300.00 per real estate sale. However, this is on the condition that TMB Law is the insurance agent for the title policy issued on your behalf. Usually, attorneys act in two roles on a sale: (1) as attorney for the seller and (2) as an agent for a title company.

What sets TMB Law apart from the competition?

An attorney, Timothy M. Barnes, will handle all aspects of your case. I will personally check on the municipality, review documents, draft letters and communicate with you. As a seller, our attention to detail is your savings and peace of mind. I will also be direct about the full compensation the firm receives for your case.

In contrast, most law firms delegate residential real estate purchases and sales to uneducated “paralegals” or assistants. Neither degree nor training program is required to become a legal assistant or paralegal. Often, these individuals are very limited in both their abilities and knowledge. A paralegal or assistant is usually paid hourly or by salary and has no financial incentive to strive for excellence. As a result, the quality of work done on your case and attention that you personally receive will probably be of substantially lower quality at other firms.

As always, please contact me with your questions and concerns.