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coronavirus, Wheaton real estate attorneysAs a novel (new) coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and around the world, governmental authorities and agencies have taken serious steps to limit the reach of the virus. Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker first ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, eventually to be followed by a “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” order that became effective last weekend.

For many families, the COVID-19 outbreak coincided with their search for new homes or their attempts to sell their current homes. If this describes your situation, you may be wondering about the status of your transaction, as well as what the road ahead might look like.

Real Estate Is an Essential Industry

According to the governor’s list of essential and non-essential businesses, the real estate industry is considered essential. Under the Illinois shelter in place executive order, real estate businesses—including real estate brokers and attorneys—are permitted to remain operational, but they must remain compliant with social distancing and other required preventative measures. This means keeping a safe distance from other people, conducting as much business as possible using telephone, email, or video conferencing, and absolutely staying home if you feel sick.

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Wheaton real estate lawyerFor many people, home ownership is a big part of living the proverbial “American Dream.” That being said, your home is probably the most valuable purchase you will ever make in your life. If you are buying a house for the first time, you might not realize all of the steps that are involved and how complex each of them can be. Throughout the process, there will be many variables to take into account and problems to avoid.

In many cases, homebuyers work with a real estate broker or an agent to help them find the right home and to streamline the process. Your agent, however, is only a part of the bigger picture. A qualified real estate lawyer can provide the legal protection you need along the by:

  • Acting as an advocate. Your real estate agent might be friendly, helpful, and charismatic, but the main goal of an agent to facilitate the sale of the home. This means he or she will often be an intermediary between the buyer and the seller. A lawyer, by comparison, is dedicated to protecting your interests, regardless of whether a sale takes place;
  • Offering legal advice. No matter how knowledgeable your agent might be, he or she is not allowed to give you case-specific legal advice. Doing so could cost the agent his or her real estate license. An attorney is fully qualified to review state laws, local ordinances, and other rules that might affect your transaction and to provide you with reliable guidance at every stage of the process;
  • Translating legalese in contracts. Legal documents are almost written using confusing language and terms that are unfamiliar to the average homebuyer. Without a lawyer, you might struggle to understand the terms, conditions, rights, and responsibilities of not only your purchase contract but also of your mortgage agreement and any other applicable legal paperwork; and
  • Researching the property. Real estate transactions are usually public record, but tracking down the history of a particular property can be difficult and time-consuming. A real estate lawyer has the tools and resources to research the chain of title for the home, any previous sales, and any problems that may have come up in the past. Your attorney’s work could help you negotiate a better deal on the property or show you that you might need to reconsider altogether.

Making a mistake when buying a home could lead to serious problems down the road, possibly costing thousands of dollars and many hours of aggravation. Working closely with an experienced real estate lawyer could help you save money, time, and stress.

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short sale, Wheaton real estate attorneysWhile the economy has steadily improved over the course of the last decade or so, things are still not where they should be in many respects. As people experience financial hardships, some are forced to sell off assets, houses included—often for less than they are worth. This is referred to in real estate as a short sale, and it can be quite complex to navigate through on your own.

Short Sale Requirements

Many people are vastly unaware as to how complex a short sale can be, but it can be because there are not only questions regarding the nature of the asset for sale, but also the remainder of the debt or loan that is not being resolved by the short sale. Short sales are only successful if everyone involved (the seller, the bank or other entity holding the loan, and anyone else) agrees to take less money than they might otherwise make. However, a lender does not actually have to agree to a short sale in order for one to go forward, at least in Illinois; only the mortgage holder must agree, and the two are not always the same.

There are four items generally required in order to complete a short sale and obtain the mortgage lender’s permission. They are:

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Illinois real estate lawyersIf you want to win over the millennial generation and expand your real estate portfolio, it may be time to let your properties go to the dogs - literally. Recent surveys indicate that this generation is  not looking for design features or your typical amenities when deciding where to rent or buy. Instead, they are focused on finding a home that caters to their furry friends. Learn how you can better cater to this generation by adding more dog-friendly amenities, and discover how a seasoned real estate lawyer can help you to further expand your real estate portfolio to secure a better, healthier financial future. 

Real Estate Has Gone to the Dogs

The millennial generation has finally reached the age where they are not just renting, but also purchasing homes. The reason is not to start a family, however. Instead, millennials are looking to give their dogs the best life possible. In fact, one survey found that 33 percent of the millennials who purchased a home did so because of their pets, which outranked marriage (25 percent) and the possibility of a child (19 percent). Another 42 percent of millennials who do not yet own homes say they are planning to eventually purchase one to accommodate a dog.

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DuPage County real estate lawyersThinking of expanding your investment portfolio this fall? Student housing saw a 10 percent increase in value over the past year, even as several other commercial real estate (CRE) sectors experienced a decline. The student housing market is also projected to continue in an upward trend over the next several years. Learn more about how to invest this growing market, and discover how a seasoned real estate lawyer can help you make the first steps. 

Why Invest in Student Housing? 

Student housing is unlike any other CRE sector. It tends to be less volatile since students typically continue to enroll in college, despite (and sometimes because of) economic downturns. Another major advantage to this market is that students typically only sign year-long leases, so landlords can analyze the market each year and increase their rental rates accordingly. Since the rent costs are typically shared between roommates, landlords can also typically charge more per square foot in a student housing unit - especially if they are in a highly desirable location. Lease renewals may also be easier to obtain in areas nearest to campus since students often know well in advance whether they will be returning the following year. 

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