While Illinois doesn’t have any strict legal requirement to have an attorney present during real estate closings, hiring one is still a good idea. A real estate attorney helps you throughout the process of buying or selling real estate by:
- Preparing and reviewing documents
- Handling disputes
- Providing legal guidance
We’ll go into more detail on each of these roles as well as discuss what to look for in a real estate lawyer.
Preparing and Reviewing Documents
Real estate transactions involve reams of paperwork, all of which need to be handled correctly. Agreements, contracts, and other documents are especially important, and while these documents may not all necessarily be the same from one transaction to the next, they do need to adhere to best practices in order to be fair and effective.
One of the primary roles of a real estate lawyer is to prepare and review these documents. Such documents may include:
- Purchase agreements
- Title documents
- Mortgage documents
- Closing documents
- Transfer of funds papers
The idea is to make sure each document is legal, binding, and fair, all while adhering to specific laws where applicable.
In the event that a dispute arises in the course of negotiations, a real estate attorney will represent you and your interests. Disputes may arise from issues such as property lines, a chain of title, or terms in the contract.
For example, if you’re buying a house and an inspection shows that the building has structural damage in the basement, the matter of who pays for those repairs or how the damage might affect the pricing could give rise to a dispute. Your attorney will advocate for your best interests in this situation, giving you the legal weight you need to secure fair terms.
Providing Legal Guidance
A final role a real estate attorney plays is to provide legal guidance. This function is especially important in commercial real estate transactions, which involve numerous moving parts, regulations, and laws.
For instance, if you’re considering purchasing a developed piece of commercial property, your attorney would help you assess whether the property currently meets local zoning laws, thereby allowing you to avoid taking on unnecessary liability from the transaction.
Choosing the Right Real Estate Attorney
To choose the right real estate attorney, you’ll want to find someone who is fully qualified and has sufficient resources at their disposal to perform their role. Questions you might ask an attorney might include:
- How long have you been practicing real estate law?
- Have you handled this type of real estate transaction before?
- What kinds of strategies would you use in my case?
- Who else will be working on this case?
- Who will my point of contact be?
- What references can you provide?
With these questions, you’ll be looking for someone who has prior experience handling real estate transactions and a sound knowledge of how the process works. In addition, they should be easy to reach and come highly recommended.
Hart David Carson LLP has extensive experience with all aspects of real estate law, and we can help you throughout the buying or selling process. For more information, contact us today.