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IL real estate lawyerThere are many different legal and financial issues that may play a role in a residential real estate transaction. Before a home can be sold, any encumbrances against the property must be cleared. In many cases, these encumbrances take the form of liens or debts that the current property owner owes to another party. Mechanic’s liens are one type of encumbrance that many people may not be aware of, and by understanding these types of liens, property owners can be sure they are prepared to address them properly and avoid any issues that may affect their ability to sell their home.

What Is a Mechanic’s Lien?

When work is performed on a home or property, a contractor has the right to seek repayment for this work. If a homeowner or property owner does not fully pay for work, the contractor may place a mechanic’s lien on the property to recover what is owed. Subcontractors or suppliers may also use mechanic’s liens to recover money that was not paid to them by a general contractor, meaning that in some cases, homeowners may be responsible for paying these amounts, even if they paid their contractor in full.

A contractor must generally file a mechanic’s lien within four months after completing work. Mechanic’s liens may also be filed within two years after the completion of work, but other liens or encumbrances against the property will take priority over liens filed outside of the four-month window. Liens must be filed with the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property in question is located. To protect the rights of the homeowner, a general contractor must provide them with a sworn statement listing all subcontractors and suppliers before receiving their first payment.


IL real estate lawyerHomeowners generally take a great deal of pride in their property and residence. When the new home enjoyment is diminished by construction defects that lessen the functionality and value of the real estate, it may be challenging for homeowners to know what steps to take next. To accurately establish who is responsible for these flaws and effectively repair the home, it may be in the homeowner’s best interest to solicit the help of a real estate attorney who can help.

Categorizing Construction Defects

Defects that occur during the construction process can range from minor faults that are barely noticeable to extensive issues that could lead to substantial expenses for the homeowner.

Each phase of the construction project allows for the possibility of defects. When the land is initially acquired, oversights can lead to an inaccurate analysis of soil and environmental issues. Flaws in the design phase can result in structural deficiencies and project delays due to necessary modifications. Negligence on the part of a contractor or subcontractor often leads to the use of lower quality materials and contributes to an overall lower caliber of product for the customer. Issues including electrical, piping, or heating defects can contribute to water seepage, mold, and electrical failures. Flaws in a home’s foundation, including cracks in the walls, roof, or floor may also lead to a construction defect case. Alternatively, in cases that do not involve residences or buildings, defect claims may arise from roadway repairs, design, and construction.


IL real estate lawyerWhen an individual falls behind on his or her mortgage payments, the lender may foreclose on the home and the home may be sold at auction. If you are interested in buying a home, you may be interested in participating in one of these foreclosure auctions. The process of buying a home at an auction is much more complicated than it may seem. It is important for anyone considering this option to fully evaluate the possible risks and benefits associated with buying a home at auction.

You May Not Be Able to See the Home Before You Buy It

One of the biggest risks associated with buying a house at auction is that potential buyers often have little information to go off of. The auction notice may offer some property information. However, there is no way to know exactly what type of condition the property is in. Potential buyers cannot have the home inspected. In most cases, they are not even allowed to walk through the home to evaluate the interior of the house. Many enthusiastic buyers have been shocked to realize that a home they thought was a great deal actually needs tens of thousands of dollars of cleaning and repairs. Because you cannot see the condition of the home, it is very difficult to accurately estimate the value of the home and offer a reasonable bid.

The Property May Contain Liens or Encumbrances

Another major risk associated with buying a foreclosure is that the property may have liens or encumbrances on it. If the home was foreclosed because of unpaid property taxes, the foreclosure may eliminate any liens on the property. If a home is foreclosed because of a delinquent mortgage, superior property liens may survive the foreclosure. Banks may pursue the home’s new owners for a lien settlement. Consequently, it is essential for potential buyers to perform a title search to learn about any liens and obligations the buyers will be responsible for. If you are thinking of buying a foreclosed home, working with a skilled real estate attorney is the best way to ensure that you do not end up responsible for liens and encumbrances you did not know about.


IL real estate lawyerWhen you are a first-time homebuyer, the experience of shopping for your home can be confusing and overwhelming. While you are probably excited to find a place that you can make your home, you are also likely to be very cognizant of the financial side of things. Things such as the interest rate of your mortgage, taxes on the property, and the cost of the home itself can all affect how much you can expect to pay for your home. However, there are also other costs that many people forget about during the home buying process - closing costs. Understanding what your closing costs are and what the funds are used for is an important step toward purchasing a home.

What Are Closing Costs?

When you purchase a home, there are certain fees associated with the closing, or finalization, of the purchase. These costs together are typically referred to as closing costs and include a variety of fees and charges. In general, closing costs usually total to be around 2 to 5 percent of the total purchase price of the home, though the final costs largely depend on the location you are purchasing the home and other factors.

What Is Covered by Closing Costs?

There are a variety of things that the closing costs pay for. You will be able to see all of these itemized costs listed out on the estimate given to you by your lender, but typically they include things such as appraising the home, the cost associated with performing a title search, etc. Items that are often lumped together under the umbrella term of closing costs can include:


IL real estate lawyerShopping for a new home is an exciting process, especially once you find a home that fits everything on your checklist. Purchasing a home is a big accomplishment for many people, but the process that you must go through can be confusing and overwhelming for many people. Before you can move into your new home, there are a few things that you need to take care of on the legal side. No home sale can be completed without a contract, also referred to as the purchase agreement, in addition to an array of other forms and documents. Your purchase agreement is one of the most important documents involved in the home-buying process. Once you and all applicable parties sign the agreement, it is considered to be legally binding, which is why you should know what is included in the agreement you are signing.

Components of a Home Purchase Agreement

Once you have found your dream home, you will have to submit your offer to the buyer in written format. Certain information is always included in the purchase agreement, such as the contact information for both the buyer and the seller, a description of the property, including the property’s address, the purchase price, the condition of the property, and any items that may be included in the sale, like the appliances. In most cases, there will be other conditions that need to be met before the agreement can be valid. These are called contingencies, which spell out the rights and obligations of both the seller and buyer. Some of the most common contingencies include:

  • Being able to obtain certain financing terms
  • Any requested seller assist, which usually involves closing costs
  • Results of the home inspection
  • Your desired closing date
  • Your date of possession
  • Selling your existing home

If certain contingencies are not met, your sale will not be completed. You can have your attorney write the terms of the contingencies into the contract, such as your right to walk away from the sale if the contingencies are not met.

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