Real Estate Sales
Lucksinger Law is consistently retained to represent clients who are selling or buying a home. We represent those that are in foreclosure, and we do understand that people that are in foreclosure have, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs or are too ill to work. We also represent people who are buying and/or selling commercial property. We represent people who are litigating property issues and disputes in court, and we represent clients that are in foreclosure court.
STEP 1: Deciding Which Realtor to Hire
We at Lucksinger Law, P.C. are acutely aware that selling your home comes with a laundry list of emotions and decisions. The first decision is choosing the right realtor for the job. With over 25 years of real estate transaction experience, and after closing thousands and thousands of homes over the years, we have a tried-and-true list of highly experienced real estate agents that would be more than qualified and happy to assist you in listing your home.
STEP 2: The Offer
Once you receive an offer on your home, let us know and we will walk you through the intricacies of the offer and decide as a team whether what was presented to you will meet your goals. Once you decide to accept the offer, you will sign it and the offer now becomes a contract. It is now fully executed and legally binding against both parties. In Illinois, our real estate contracts do have a provision period for attorney review and inspection. Once the attorney review and inspection period has been negotiated and closed the parties both seller and buyer may not walk away from the contract as that would be considered a breach of contract. A breach of contract would subject the breaching party to litigation.
STEP 3: Bringing Down Title and Title Clearance
Once attorney review closes, we will order or bring down title. Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects lenders and homebuyers from financial loss incurred from title defects in the property. The owner’s title insurance is required and is paid for by the seller at closing to protect the buyer’s equity in the property.
The policy insures that, for example, all potential back taxes, liens, homeowner association fees and water and sanitary bills are paid. All properly transacted real estate closings in Illinois must transfer clear title from the seller to the buyer. The buyer’s lender will additionally require a lender’s title policy. The lender’s title policy is paid for by the buyer at the closing. The lender’s title policy is required in order to protect the lender in the event that the seller was not legally able to transfer the title of ownership rights. A lender’s policy only protects the lender against a potential loss.
The title company performs a search of the public records on the home searching for liens or any other potential encumbrances. This search also determines who owns the property. If a party in title is deceased, the title company will require that the seller presents a death certificate. If your home is held in a living trust or a land trust, the title company will require that you present the certificate of trust.
Upon completion of the search and our title agent review, the sellers title report will be sent to our office by the title company. We will email you a copy of the report and we will go over the report together by phone, virtually, or in person at our office.
A typical title report for our sellers will include vesting, all unpaid mortgages, all homeowner association transfer fees, and dues, any I.R.S. tax liens and other unpaid property taxes, liens, and easements. We will ask you to contact your lender and have the lender send a payoff statement to our office in order to clear and pay your outstanding mortgages.
Any other liens and other encumbrances will need payoff statements or satisfaction of judgment statements. We will guide you through title clearance each step of the way. Once we have all of the documents necessary to clear the title report, those items will be submitted to the title company in preparation for the closing.
STEP 5: Sellers Presign all Seller Documents
Several documents must be prepared by our office as your attorney in order to properly transfer ownership to the buyer. The most important of these documents are the warranty deed, the bill of sale, and the affidavit of title.
The general warranty deed, as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, is “The name of a covenant of warranty inserted in the deeds, by which the grantor binds himself, his heirs, etc., to “warrant and forever defend” to the grantee, his heirs, etc., the title thereby conveyed, against the lawful claims of all persons whatsoever.” Henry Campbell Black, M.A., Blacks Law Dictionary 1759 (West Pub. Co., 4th ed. 1979). The general warranty deed is signed by the sellers and notarized. The general warranty deed transfers the property out of the seller’s name and into the buyer’s name. This document is then recorded with the county recorders office in which the property is located.
The affidavit of title is a document signed and notarized by the sellers that essentially states that the sellers have not added any new liens or other encumbrances to the property since the date of signing the contract with the buyers. This document does not get recorded. The buyer takes the affidavit of title home with them once the closing has funded.
The bill of sale acts as a receipt for the property for the buyer and also transfers any personal property that the seller is transferring to the buyer. The first page of the residential property sales contract is attached to the bill of sale as evidence of the personal property which is sought to be transferred to the buyer. The sellers must sign the bill of sale in the presence of a notary. The bill of sale does not get recorded and the buyers take this document with them once the closing is completed.
Our office will make an appointment for our seller clients with the title company in order for the seller to go to the title company ahead of the closing to presign these documents in the presence of a title company notary. The seller will not attend the closing but will be kept apprised of the closings’ status and when it is completed. The seller’s proceeds will then be wired immediately to the seller once the closing has funded.