You’re about to begin the very exciting – and at times stressful – journey of selling your home! The seller (you), should have as much information as possible beforehand, including being aware of the the legal parameters of the situation. Every home sale and purchase includes drawing up a very detailed legal contract which involves seeking the help of an experienced lawyer. “Working with a knowledgeable real estate attorney will help ensure that you protect your investment and that the process of selling your home goes smoothly.”
Real estate attorneys help with the “hard to translate” legal details and jargon. Your attorney can even help you determine which repairs need to be made to your property before selling and provide you with recommendations of who to call. This is especially important because the condition of the home is a major deciding factor in the sale of the property. Real estate law varies from state to state, so it’s important to work with someone who is an expert in the area you live.
“An attorney will guide you through the paperwork, ensuring that you are complying with state law every step of the way. Your real estate attorney will also work closely with the title or settlement company and the buyer’s attorney to make sure that the transaction proceeds smoothly. A local real estate attorney is likely to have worked with the title company and opposing attorney on past transactions, making it even more likely that your deal will move forward without complications.” – FSBO
Before You Being Selling Your Home, First Take a Look at a Few Questions and Tips:
- Am I really ready to sell? Have I built enough equity in this house? Can I afford to sell and buy a new home right now?
- Find the right real estate agent, someone you feel you can trust. Search for reputable reviews.
- Choose the right time of year to sell. Work with your real estate agent to decide when the best time to put your house on the market.
- Get your home in tip-top shape for showings. Your real estate agent will provide pointers for how you can enhance your home’s appeal.
- Have you found an attorney that specializes in real estate law in your state?
Is your home ready to be sold? You’ve got equity on your side!
First things first: Dig up your latest mortgage statement and find your current mortgage balance. Next, you’ll need to know your home value. While it’s tempting to use figures from online valuation sites to determine how much your home is worth, they’re not always accurate. Ask an experienced real estate agent to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) for the best estimate. Once you have those two numbers in hand, simply subtract your current mortgage balance from your home’s estimated market value. The difference will give you a good idea of how much equity you have to work with!
“Home equity is the money value stored up in your house that exceeds the amount of debt you owe on it. In many ways, the equity in your house is like money in your savings account at the bank.” Illinois Attorney General
What Kind of Seller are You?
From first time sellers to experienced real estate developers, all sellers have one thing in common: THEY NEED an attorney who specializes in Real Estate Law to get the process of selling their home done smoothly and properly.
- House Flippers: People investing their money into properties they flipped to sell for larger amounts. Partner with a lawyer and create a long term business relationship that will carry over into future projects!
- First time flippers searching for a lawyer with experience: Did you take on a home that had loads of potential, and all it needed was extra love and care? Now that this project (which you’ve learned so much from) is done you’re ready to help the “perfect” family enjoy the fruits of your labor, Attorney Ben Weaver will guide you through all the legal contracts of selling your first project! All that hard work deserves great compensation!
- Real Estate Developers: Did you recently acquire homes or invest in new construction builds that you need to expedite on the market quickly? Hire a lawyer that is not only is familiar with the area you are trying to sell in, but also has great relationships with the local realtors! “When selling a home in Illinois, you must make certain disclosures to prospective buyers regarding the physical condition of the property. This is based on a relatively recent law – which went into effect in 1994 – and replaced prior court decisions that both sellers and buyers found confusing.” – NOLO – Illinois Law
“Ben was great! He helped push things along when they seemed to slow down. He was super professional and personable. We would definitely recommend him!” – Erin R.
Are you expanding your family while being a seller AND a buyer?
- Combined Families: Did your family just multiply in number? Maybe you’re a single parents with kids and you just married another single parent? Creating an even bigger, more beautiful family! People in these situations generally need to sell their current homes quickly to accommodate these new family members! These sales can also include purchasing new homes based on the sale of their previous home. Your real estate attorney will help you take on being a seller and buyer at the same time.
“If you own your current home outright (meaning you don’t have a mortgage or any liens) or you have enough cash to cover the purchase of a new home without depending on the profit from selling your current home, then good for you. But if you’re like most people, you need to sell before you buy – unless you’re prepared to carry two mortgages. Hopefully you’ll make a sizable profit from the sale and can use it to cover the upfront expenses on your new home, including the closing costs, down payment and moving expenses.” – HGTV
“We sold our home last year. We picked the time we were available to sit down with Mr Weaver, and he came to our home at our convenience to go over details. Ben Weaver made our selling transaction effortless. Thank you, Ben Weaver.” – The Gibson’s
- Expecting a Baby: For many years, it’s just been you, your spouse, and only child. Now an exciting new family member is on the way and you’ve realized your current home doesn’t have enough bedrooms. The process of selling before the baby comes can be stressful, but that’s where an experienced attorney can help! You will need a quick and stress free sale to help you afford the purchase of your larger new home. Ben Weaver has worked with many new families and has successfully guided them through this at times turbulent process!
“Spring and summer are typically the best times to sell your home, as families want to move before the school year starts, and nice weather makes for easier home viewings and inspections. But increased inventory means spring and summer buyers can afford to be pickier, and the climate in different areas can affect the best time to sell a house, too.” – Trulia
“Ben was a huge help with the whole home buying process. He was able to free us of one home that had all kinds of inspection issues and then was a big help with negotiations for the home we did end up with. At closing he was very professional and explained everything we were signing so that it made sense.” – The Fischer’s
When all the Birds Have Left the Nest:
- Empty Nesters: The children are all grown up with families of their own. You and your spouse are ready to take on that retirement bucket list and ditch your home for an RV to go on adventures! Or maybe you’d just like a smaller home or townhouse because it’s easier to manage and you rather spend your golden years making new memories – not worrying about home maintenance! You need a trustworthy attorney who will not only get you the most money back, but also show respect for the home you’ve had for generations. Older homes have longer histories of damages that need to be disclosed to ensure a proper sale. Real Estate attorneys will help to protect you from liabilities by ensuring you give the right amount of property history for your sales.
“The old Illinois law did not require sellers to volunteer information about the property to prospective buyers, but often held a seller liable for damages for giving too little information in response to buyers’ questions. Home buyers had to ask all the right questions to be entitled to information about the property from the seller.” – NOLO – Illinois Law
“He was super quick with his responses and I felt his rates were very fair if not cheaper than some competitors I looked into. He came highly recommended by my realtor and from this experience with him, I agree 100%!” – Karen C.
Here’s a basic “Sellers Checklist” of what Attorney Ben Weaver can assist you with in the process of selling your home:
Making Disclosures About Your House
- Disclosures include any environmental, legal, physical, or other defects in the house or property.
- This includes things such as whether lead-based paint or asbestos are present in the house, if there are cracks in the foundation, the home’s location in relation to a nearby airport, fire station, train tracks, or sporting venue cause noise.
- Disclosures are important to the integrity of the sale.
Receiving and Accepting Offers From Potential Buyers
- Prospective buyers will submit offers on your home.
- Once the offers are submitted, your attorney will help review them with you and guide you through the process of elimination.
- The attorney will represent you in negotiating and making counter offers with the buyer’s agent.
Allowing a Home Inspection
- The buyers will likely ask, as a condition of closing the sale, to have your home inspected. A licensed inspector (chosen by the buyer) will walk through your house and prepare a written report on any problems – perhaps even ones you weren’t aware of.
- The inspection can cause many challenges within the process of sale. If problems with the home arise during the inspection, your attorney will help to quickly solve them.
Following Through on Seller’s Obligations During Escrow Period
- As the seller, you will need to respond to any issues that come up during escrow and make your home available for the appraisal and any other inspections. If issues arise during escrow, such as the discovery of a lien on your property title, then you will need to respond to these as quickly as you can.
- The response of the seller (you) is crucial for the sale to continue. Your lawyer will speak on your behalf after reviewing the facts with you.
- Documents may include the title policy, the deed, the survey, and if there is a mortgage outstanding on the property, a copy of the current mortgage statement along with a loan.
Attending the Closing
- During the closing of the sale, both parties review and sign all of the paperwork, including title and funds transfer. The buyers and sellers may do this at the same time and place or separately.
- Your attorney can even attend the closing as your proxy (in your place).