Real Estate Sales –Through a Real Estate Agent
What We Need to Get Started? A copy of the real estate contract is usually faxed or emailed to me at tom@ lawsam.com or (Fax 847-359-1581) to review. I also need some information that you can furnish by clicking here or by fax, e-mail or in person to get started on a home sale:
- Copy of old title insurance policy (not homeowners insurance) or if that is not available a copy of the deed to the house.
- Name, phone number and loan number for mortgage co. This is needed to order a mortgage pay-off statement. Please include information for home equity loans as well.
- Copy of Old Survey. A new survey will be ordered, but it’s helpful to have the old one.
- Forwarding Address and Social Security Number.
- Is the Property on Well and Septic. We will need to order a well and septic test right away if it is on well and septic.
- Name and Phone of Association Management Co. We will need to get a letter from your association showing all of the dues are paid.
- FHA Mortgage, Land Trust or Living Trust. If you are paying off an FHA mortgage we need to know and if your property is in a land trust or living trust we need a copy of the agreement.
- Local Transfer Taxes. Many towns have local transfer taxes. This means you must get a final water reading, pay the water bill, fill out a transfer tax form and pay for the transfer stamps (usually between $1 and $3 per thousand). Check with us to see if your town does. Palatine, Barrington and Arlington Heights do not have a local tax. Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Mt. Prospect and many other towns do have a tax. We provide the forms needed for you to obtain the stamp prior to closing.
- Your email and Cell Phone Number. My office handles documents and faxes in the PDF format and can quickly send copies to your email address. This is a timesaver for all involved. I set up an extranet site so that communication is quick and easy among the parties.
When a realtor is involved, the attorney typically reviews the real estate contract AFTER it is signed. The contract has an attorney approval clause that allows the attorney to make changes, except for prices and dates, within a few days after the contract is signed. During this time, any changes to the contract are made between the attorneys by separate letter. This gives the client a chance to confer with the attorney after the contract is signed. Common changes are changes to the possession date or tax proration clauses.
Home Inspection Endured by Seller. All contracts have a home inspection clause for the benefit of the Buyer. The Buyer hires a professional inspector (not his or her cousin or friend) to inspect the property. The inspection takes about two hours. The Buyer’s attorney then sends a letter to the seller asking to repair certain items or give a cash credit. Sellers absolutely hate home inspections because some Buyers get too picky. The inspection is supposed to cover major systems only, but Buyers ask for all kinds of repairs.
Unfortunately for the Seller, if the inspection is not resolved the Buyer’s satisfaction, the Buyer can cancel the contract. The home inspection is a little painful for the Seller in the beginning, but it cuts down on post-closing problems because the Buyer knows the condition of the property before closing. Most inspections are resolved by the Seller agreeing to repair some items and give a credit of $300 or less.
Common items that Buyers ask to repair are the heat exchanger in the furnace, GFCI electrical outlets, “blown” window seals and, sometimes, the Buyer’s inspector finds that the roof is “at the end of its useful life” and requests a large credit to cover replacement. The Seller has to grin and bear it and be reasonable in responding to the inspection in order to get the deal closed.
Closing for Seller. The closing is scheduled after the Buyer is approved for financing. Most sellers (90 per cent or more) do not attend closing, but Buyers must attend. Sellers commonly complain that they get $2500.00 less at closing than they expected. That is because they don’t take into account the transfer taxes, title insurance, survey, attorneys fees and, most of all, the tax credit that they owe to the Buyer. Taxes are one year in arrears in Illinois (in 2010, you pay the 2009 tax bill), so the Seller must catch up on the taxes as closing. The sale closing must be coordinated with the Buy closing. Some people choose to rent back their current home for a day or so after closing. Other, more vigorous types, choose to give possession at closing. That means that you must close in the morning, have all of your stuff out at closing, close on the buy and then move in, all in the same day. It can be done, but it’s not easy. You really cannot do this, and remain sane, without a professional mover, unless you pack up and put everything on the truck the night before the closing and sleep on the floor.