THE CONTRACT

WHAT IS ATTORNEY REVIEW?

Attorney review refers to the time frame buyers have to hire an attorney, have them review the contract, and either cancel it for any reason other than purchase price, or suggest modifications to it. It is typically five business days from the date the seller signed the contract, but it can be extended if needed.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT?

You may cancel the contract for any reason, other than purchase price, in the first five business days. This time frame can be extended by having us send a letter to the seller’s attorney requesting an extension.

DOES LOMONACO LAW MAKE CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS TO THE STANDARD MULTI-BOARD CONTRACT?

Yes.  The standard multi-board contract has a few provisions that are challenging for a lot of buyers to comply with.  We have a standard letter that we send that makes these provisions easier for you to adhere to.

MY REALTOR SAID I NEED A LAWYER, IS THAT CORRECT?

In Illinois the majority of buyers and sellers of real estate hire attorneys to handle their closings.  It is not illegal to not have an attorney, but the system in Illinois is designed to have attorneys handle closings.

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR A CLOSING?

See our Instant Quote Tool on our website.

CAN YOUR FEES EVER INCREASE?

Yes.  Sometimes our clients ask us to write a large amount of letters, counter-offers and addendums and as a result we must raise our fees. Additionally, if the amount of emails or telephone calls we receive from our clients becomes excessive we will charge additional fees for all emails or phone calls.  Our clients will be notified before this occurs.

HOW DO YOUR FEES GET PAID?

Our fees are paid at the closing and are simply added to all other fees you pay at the closing. You only need to bring one check, payable to the title company, to the closing.  The title company then pays the attorneys, the realtors, the lenders and the seller.

THERE ARE ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY THAT MY REALTOR FORGOT TO CHECK ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE CONTRACT, WHAT DO I DO?

Tell our office ASAP and we will amend the contract.

THE CONTRACT SAYS I OWE ADDITIONAL EARNEST MONEY X DAYS AFTER A/I OR AA, WHAT IS THAT?

A/I and AA refer to attorney review and inspection time frames.  It means your earnest money is due after the both lawyers have reached an agreement about all repair requests.

WHO HOLDS THE EARNEST MONEY?

The realtors if you have them.  Otherwise, our office can hold the earnest money in our trust account. There is an additional $100 fee for this service.

MY REALTOR IS ACTING AS A DUAL AGENT. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND IS IT NORMAL?

It means your realtor represents both you and the seller.

WHO IS GOING TO BE ON TITLE?

Whoever is listed as the buyer on the contract is who will take title at closing. If you wish to add another person to the title, you must have this approved by your lender in writing.

I WANT MY SPOUSE TO BE ON THE TITLE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT ON THE MORTGAGE, IS THAT OK?

It depends entirely on your lender, some allow it and other do not.  After you speak with your lender, if they agree that your spouse can be on the title without being on the mortgage, let us know and we will handle it at closing.

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THE INSPECTION

DO I NEED AN INSPECTION?

In Illinois, inspections are not required, but almost all purchasers have one performed.  When you purchase a home in Illinois, you are buying it “as is” and the inspection can reveal the major deficiencies in the home.

WHEN SHOULD I HAVE THE INSPECTION PERFORMED?

Immediately.  Ask your realtor or us for referrals to quality home inspectors in your area as soon as the seller signs the contract.  Ideally, you should have the inspection performed within three days of the seller signing the contract.

WILL THE SELLER FIX ALL THE ITEMS MY INSPECTOR NOTED ON THE INSPECTION SUMMARY REPORT?

No.  The standard contract in Illinois only allows buyers to ask the sellers to repair a very limited set of items.  This includes only the major components (i.e., electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) that are defective or non-operational at the time of the inspection.  The contract specifically states that just because an item is old or at the end of its useful life, does not mean it is defective, and therefore is not cannot be requested to be repaired or replaced per the contract. Often, non-lawyers will encourage buyers to ask for cosmetic or other non-covered repairs.  This can often result in excessive negotiation which will can increase your legal fees and costs and which has no legal basis in your contract. Remember that items of routine maintenance such as HVAC servicing or cleanings are NOT part of your inspection contingency.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS DEFECTIVE OR NON-OPERATIONAL?

Your inspector should provide you with a summary report of the inspection, which will identify the major concerns or hazards of the home. If they did not- you should ask for them make a separate summary page.

WILL YOU SEND THE ENTIRE INSPECTION REPORT TO THE SELLERS?

Sometimes.  It depends on how many items you are asking the Seller to fix and where those items are addressed in the report.

WILL YOU OR MY REALTOR HELP ME FIGURE OUT WHAT TO ASK THE SELLER’S TO REPAIR?

Yes and no.  Realtors and lawyers have seen a lot of inspections before, but we are not licensed contractors and we cannot tell you if something is major or how much it may cost to repair.  However, we can help you understand what your contract allows you to ask for and what is specifically does not.

MY INSPECTOR NOTED SOMETHING SERIOUS DURING THE INSPECTION AND I WANT A PROFESSIONAL TO ASSESS IT BEFORE I DECIDE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS PURCHASE, CAN I DO THAT?

Yes, but you need to ask for permission to extend the five-day period and you need permission to have a contractor come to the seller’s house first. You should talk to us about this ASAP if you think this is necessary.

THE INSPECTOR TOLD ME ABOUT A PROBLEM WITH THE HOUSE BUT FORGOT TO PUT IT ON THE INSPECTION REPORT. CAN I STILL ASK FOR IT TO BE REPAIRED?

No.  You can only ask for those items that are on the inspection report- call your inspector and have them change the report immediately.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR HAVING THE SELLER MAKE THE REPAIRS?

Buyers have five business days from the date the seller signed the contract to do the following:

  • Have an inspection performed;
  • Review the inspection report;
  • Send us an email with a list of all the items you want the seller to repair or address based on that inspection report;
  • Have our office send the seller’s attorney a formal letter requesting repairs be made.

WHAT IF I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO HAVE THE INSPECTION PERFORMED, GET THE REPORT, REVIEW IT AND SEND THE LIST TO YOU IN THE FIRST FIVE DAYS?

Let us know ASAP that you cannot meet this deadline and we will request an extension for you.  Note that most extensions are only a couple business days, so time is of the essence.

WHAT IF THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY ISSUES WITH THE HOME AND I DO NOT WANT TO BUY IT ANYMORE?

So long as you are still in the first five business days of the seller signing the contract, you may cancel the contract by notifying our office in sufficient time. Otherwise, a failure to reach agreement with the seller over repairs may enable a cancellation.

SHOULD I GET A RADON TEST?

That is completely your decision.  Your realtor can provide more information and literature about radon and the hazards it poses. You can also find a lot of information about radon online.

I HAD A RADON TEST PERFORMED AND THE RESULTS WON’T BE READY UNTIL FOR A FEW DAYS, SHOULD I STILL SEND YOU THE LIST OF ALL THE OTHER REPAIR ITEMS?

Yes.  Often times, we send the initial list of repair items to the seller and explain that we need an extension of the inspection time frame for the radon only.  It helps expedite the attorney review process to make sure you close on time.

I INITIALED THE PARAGRAPH OF THE CONTRACT THAT SAYS THE HOUSE IS “AS IS.” CAN I STILL HAVE THE SELLER REPAIR ITEMS I FOUND DURING THE INSPECTION?

No. You may still have an inspection performed, and you may cancel the contract in the first five business days if the inspection reveals major issues with the home, but you cannot ask the seller to repair any items or ask for a credit in lieu of repair.

HOW LONG DO THE SELLERS HAVE TO RESPOND TO OUR REPAIR REQUESTS?

There is no set time frame for them to respond but 2-3 business days is standard.  If both the buyers and sellers have not reached an agreement on the repair requests within ten business days of the seller signing the contract- then either party may cancel the contract and the buyer will get their earnest money back.

I WANT TO FORCE THE SELLER TO RESPOND QUICKLY, HOW CAN I DO THAT?

You cannot. The contract gives you five business days to send the inspection letter and the Seller five business days to respond.  If they do not respond, your only recourse is to terminate.

HOW DO WE KNOW THE SELLER MADE THE REPAIRS?

The sellers will provide receipts for the work performed unless otherwise noted.  You can also verify much of these repairs at the walk-through prior to closing.

CAN THE SELLER COUNTER-OFFER MY REPAIR REQUESTS?

Yes, and they often do.  We cannot predict what a seller will say or do, but most of them counter.

CAN THE SELLER CANCEL THE CONTRACT AFTER I REQUEST REPAIRS?

Yes and no.  The seller’s also have five business days to cancel the contract for any reason.  Beyond those five business days, if the buyers and sellers cannot resolve the inspection items within ten business days, then either the seller or buyer can cancel the deal.

IF THE DEAL FALLS THROUGH AS A RESULT OF THE INSPECTION ISSUES, WILL I GET MY EARNEST MONEY BACK?

Yes. Your realtor will help you get the money back after the cancellation notices are sent.

CAN I RECEIVE A CREDIT RATHER THAN HAVING THE SELLER FIX THE ITEM?

Yes, if the seller agrees to it.  In our attorney review letter, we can advise the seller that you are willing to accept a credit when you ask them for the repairs.

CAN I TELL THE SELLER WHOM THEY MUST HIRE TO MAKE THE REPAIR?

No, but you can specify that it be done by a licensed professional.

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE THE RECEIPTS FOR THE WORK PERFORMED?

Ideally, the buyer receives them a few days before the closing.  Practically, they are often not given until we get to the closing.

I WANT TO BE THERE WHEN THE CONTRACTOR DOES THE REPAIR TO THE HOME, IS THIS POSSIBLE?

No. Under no circumstances are buyers allowed to supervise work the seller does in the home.

CAN I COUNTER OFFER THE BUYER’S INSPECTION REQUESTS?

Yes. You may decline some or all of the items, but the buyer can cancel as a result of your response.

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