Should You Skip the Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling a Home?
Why A Real Estate Attorney in Chicago May be a Better Choice
Buying a home is typically a six-figure proposition, and almost a quarter million exchange if you’re buying (or selling) in Chicago. When you’re investing this much money in anything, you want to make sure everything is done correctly. Remember the housing bubble? That was a product of misinformation, unrealistic expectations, and unscrupulous individuals on many levels. So many people were burned, and foreclosure and bankruptcy were common results.
You need to consider all this when buying or selling a home today. Most people think hiring a real estate agent is their only option when buying a home, but the truth is that you’re not required to hire an agent, and it may be in your best interest to skip them altogether!
What a Real Estate Agent Does
- Handles large volumes paperwork
- Hires inspectors
- Negotiates over who pays for needed repairs
- Keeps up good relations with the sellers (through their agent)
- Provides contacts with good inspectors, mortgage loan brokers, and others who can make your buying process easier
- Understands what’s considered appropriate behavior and practice in your geographical area
Why Hire a Real Estate Attorney
An experienced real estate attorney in Chicago can do all of the above, and much more! Here’s how an attorney can strengthen your real estate transaction:
- Errors and issues are best handled by an attorney: If legal issues arise that your real estate agent can’t answer, you’ll need an attorney’s help. Zoning issues, subleasing issues, contract interpretation issues, title discrepancies or similar complexities are probably outside the comfort zone for a real estate agent. While good agents know a lot about the negotiating and contracting part of the process, they can’t make judgments on legal questions (see next).
- A real estate agent is unauthorized to practice law in Illinois. This means that they can’t offer legal advice and they can’t draft legal documents such as the Deed, Riders to the Contract, Attorney Approval letters, amendments to extend the financing contingency in a contract, and more. The Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that Real Estate Agents can fill in blank lines on Standardized Contracts but cannot write in additional language, conditions, draft Amendments or Riders.
- Stringent bar association requirements monitor attorneys. According to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, about half of all states conduct background checks for real estate professions. Illinois is not on that list. This shows a major discrepancy between the two professions. There are certainly a large number of good realtors in Illinois, but the fact is that you can’t be sure who you’re working with.
- Agents are paid on commission have a built-in conflict of interest: Even an agent who represents only you, and not the seller, has a financial interest in seeing the deal go through. While experienced, reputable agents won’t let this interfere with their advice to you, it may cause less scrupulous agents to insist that you’ll never get the house unless you bid high, to recommend home inspectors who make light of potential problems, or to otherwise compromise your interests.
When You May Need a Real Estate Attorney:
- Residential Purchase and Sale Agreements
- Condominium Development
- Reviewing and Clearing Title
- Real Estate Closings
- Document Preparation
- Real Estate Litigation
Need Help With Real Estate Transactions in Illinois?
At Suburban Legal Group PC, we can help! Make sure your Chicago real estate transaction goes smoothly and protect your long-term investment with the help of an experienced real estate attorney.
Request a Free No-Obligation Real Estate Consultation Today to learn more about how our services can help you buy or sell a home. Real estate transactions can be complex, and having an experienced attorney in Illinois guide you through the process, from securing financing to helping with the closing, can make your life a lot easier.