What You Should Know About a Short Sale

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:

  1. A hardship letter, with an explanation of why the mortgage is in default;
  2. Proof that the property’s current value is less than the cost of the mortgage and closing costs;
  3. A showing that a buyer for the property exists, and that buyer is not related to the seller; and
  4. Credible testimony that there is no better alternative.

The third item can be a concern in particular, as it is not unknown to simply transfer an asset to a friend or family member as a sort of surreptitious trust; such actions are illegal under the Illinois Fraudulent Transfer Act. These factors all being met do not necessarily guarantee a successful short sale, but they greatly increase the odds that all involved will be able to come to a consensus.

After a Short Sale

Assuming the sale itself goes according to plan, you will still be left with the question of the remaining balance on the mortgage. In Illinois, this may be disposed of in two ways. The lender will either forgive the debt—usually not out of a sense of altruism, but rather because it is possible for them to write it off—or they will try to seek a deficiency judgment. A deficiency judgment is just what it sounds like, where the lender files a civil suit in order in an attempt to collect the remaining balance due on the mortgage.

In a short sale, it is possible to insert language into the offer letter agreeing to waive any remaining liability, but unlike some other states, such as California, this is not required. If a deficiency judgment is entered against you, your wages may be garnished, your bank account may be levied (frozen) and in extreme cases, you may have assets or other financial instruments seized to make up the difference.

Contact a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

Real estate can be an extraordinarily complex area of law, and a short sale can be one of the most intricate and difficult enterprises to undertake, especially alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County real estate lawyer at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today. Our knowledgeable professionals can help guide you through the short sale process, and answer any questions you may have along the way.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2055&ChapterID=57

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc453.html

Construction Defects: Understanding Your Purchase Contract

construction defectBefore construction began on your new home, a purchase contract was established between you and the builder. The agreement specified the expectations for the construction of the home, closing of the purchase, and likely included plans or detailed specifications to be followed during the building process. What happens, however, if the builder fails to meet the terms of the contact or the home is found to have construction defects? While you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the builder, it important to first examine your contractual agreement, as it may potentially limit your available courses of action.

Implied Warranty of Habitability

As a purchaser of new construction, you generally have the right to expect that the construction will be completed in compliance within industry standards. Illinois courts have established over time an Implied Warranty of Habitability that offers a level of protection to new home purchasers who find latent defects in the home’s construction and have no other legal recourse. The scope of the implied warranty, however, is fairly narrow and applies only to defects that make the home reasonably unsuited for its intended use.

Express Warranty Offered by the Builder

Your contract may be accompanied by a clearly-defined guarantee of workmanship and materials known as an express warranty. As a condition of this type of warranty, you may be asked to waive your rights under the Implied Warranty of Habitability. In its place, an express warranty can clearly specify all of the terms and conditions of the builder’s potential liability. It may include specific types of covered construction defects, non-covered defects, your responsibilities for maintenance, and the procedures for filing a claim. Additionally, an express warranty typically limits the timeframe in which the purchaser’s rights are guaranteed, often one year.

Binding Arbitration Requirement

It is important to read your contract and express warranty carefully and to have them reviewed by your attorney prior to agreeing to their terms. Either document may include a clause waiving your right to file suit in a jurisdictional court. Instead, if the builder fails remedy a construction defect claim made under your warranty, you may only take your case before an arbitrator. An arbitrator is a third party with industry expertise hired to resolve disputes between purchasers and builders, and is often named by the builder in the contract or express warranty. By signing such a document, you agree that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding and that avenues of additional recourse will not be available.

A DuPage County Real Estate Lawyer Can Help with Your Purchase Contract

If you considering a new construction purchase or have questions about filing a construction defect claim, contact an experienced real estate attorney in Wheaton. Our knowledgeable team can help you review contracts, negotiate terms, ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/directories/construction_industry_knowledge_base/meetings/2015-annual/an15-wg-paper.pdf

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Binding+arbitration

Dual Agency in Real Estate – What Every Home Buyer and Seller Should Know About Their Real Estate Agent’s Interests

Wheaton real estate lawyersPeople often assume that a real estate agent is there to represent them and their interests. Sadly, this is not always the case. Neither state or federal law prohibits a real estate agents from having conflicting interests, and some exploit that loophole to the fullest extent possible. Learn more about “dual agency” among real estate agents, including how it could affect your next real estate transaction, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton real estate attorneys can minimize the risks. 

Dual Agency in Real Estate – What It Is and Why It Matters

In an ideal world, a real estate agent would work with only the buyer or the seller – never both. Sadly, dual agency is extremely common among agents. In this scenario, the agent provides services to both the buyer and the seller, and that allows them to keep the entire commission. In short, the only interests they are representing are their own, and that can create all kinds of issues in a real estate transaction. 

As an example, consider a situation in which the seller informs the agent that they recently learned of some foundation issues with the house. Instead of disclosing the full extent of the details to potential buyers of the house, the agent may then downplay the severity of the issue. As a result, the buyer loses money on a house that is unfairly priced.

Avoiding Dual Agency in Your Next Real Estate Transaction 

The one key thing that buyers and sellers can do to protect themselves from the consequences of dual agency is to ensure they know whose interest their agent is serving. Ask them, point blank, if they are representing you exclusively, and if they have a fiduciary duty to do so. These are known as single agents. Other types of real estate agents – most of which you will want to avoid – include subagents, who work with the buyer but have a duty to the seller; transactional agents, who facilitate the transaction but have no responsibility to either party; and dual agents, who are somehow supposed to represent the interests of both parties in a real estate transaction. 

Our Wheaton Real Estate Lawyers Can Protect Your Interests in a Sale or Purchase 

Finding a single agent can be difficult, so not all buyers and sellers can rely solely on the ability to do so. Instead, know that there are other ways to protect your interests during the purchase or sale of a home. The seasoned DuPage County real estate lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help. Call 630-655-2500 to schedule your consultation today.

Source:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-1223-kenneth-harney-20181223-story.html