The Effects of the Coronavirus Crisis on Illinois Real Estate Transactions

coronavirus, Wheaton real estate attorneysAs a novel (new) coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and around the world, governmental authorities and agencies have taken serious steps to limit the reach of the virus. Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker first ordered the closure of non-essential businesses, eventually to be followed by a “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” order that became effective last weekend.

For many families, the COVID-19 outbreak coincided with their search for new homes or their attempts to sell their current homes. If this describes your situation, you may be wondering about the status of your transaction, as well as what the road ahead might look like.

Real Estate Is an Essential Industry

According to the governor’s list of essential and non-essential businesses, the real estate industry is considered essential. Under the Illinois shelter in place executive order, real estate businesses—including real estate brokers and attorneys—are permitted to remain operational, but they must remain compliant with social distancing and other required preventative measures. This means keeping a safe distance from other people, conducting as much business as possible using telephone, email, or video conferencing, and absolutely staying home if you feel sick.

With all of this mind, many real estate-related companies are putting their operations on hold for the time being. Similarly, many families have done the same with their plans while they focus on keeping their loved ones safe and secure at home. Real estate startups like Zillow, Opendoor, and Redfin have stopped making offers on homes until the uncertainty associated with the coronavirus subsides. The federal government has even ordered a freeze on all foreclosure and eviction proceedings.

You Can Still Reach Us

At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we recognize the challenges that you and your family may be facing in light of the COVID-19 health crisis. You might be especially concerned if you have a deal in the works to buy or sell a home. We would like to assure you that we are still here for you.

To remain in compliance with the orders and guidelines issued by proper authorities, we are limiting our in-office and in-person interactions. Instead, we are focusing on teleconferencing and other forms of electronic communication to stay in touch with our clients. While we look forward to being able to serve our clients in person again soon, we are here and ready to help you address the concerns you might have about your pending real estate matter.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

From all of us at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we send our best wishes to all of our friends and neighbors, as well as to anyone else who is suffering as a result of the coronavirus. If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced DuPage County real estate lawyers. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.



Potential Red Flags When Buying a New Home

buying, Wheaton real estate lawyersBuying a new home can be a very exciting undertaking. However, there are also many potential pitfalls, and it is important to not take the process lightly. If you are in the market for a new home, it is a good idea to take your time and make sure that you are making the best possible decision for your situation. You should also enlist the help of a qualified residential real estate lawyer to assist you along the way. As you begin your home search, be on the lookout for red flags that might be indicators that the house you are thinking about buying would be a big mistake.

Difficulties With Inspections

A home inspection is an essential part of the home-buying process. The point of the inspection is to make sure that a prospective buyer is fully aware of any problems that exist with the home. Roof issues, water damage, outdated electrical wiring, plumbing concerns, and a variety of other problems are not always immediately noticeable without an inspection by a fully qualified inspector.

Unfortunately, not all homeowners are cooperative with the inspection process. An owner might try to influence the inspector or dissuade you from using your own inspector. If the current owner of the home you are considering is standing in the way of a comprehensive inspection, it could be a sign that the owner is attempting to conceal serious problems.

Missing Work Permits

If the home you are considering has had major work done on it—including additions or renovations—you and your lawyer should request a copy of the Report of Residential Building Record. Also called the 3R report, this report includes all of the municipally-issued permits for work done on the home since it was first built. If there was substantial work done without the appropriate permits, it could be an indicator that the work was not completed to code by a professional. As a result, the work may have been done poorly, leading to possible safety concerns.

Sounds and Smells

When you walked through the home for the first time, did it smell clean and fresh, or were there overpowering scents being created by potpourri or candles? If it was the latter, the owner or the listing agent could be trying to cover up permanent bad odors. Such odors could be caused by mold, pets, or a number of other sources.

Likewise, if there louder-than-expected music or any type of white noise, the seller could be trying to conceal noise—either from the neighborhood or the home itself. Before you make a decision to buy, ask the seller to turn off fans, air conditioners, and music so that you can hear what the home and neighborhood actually sounds like.

Contact a DuPage County Real Estate Lawyer

A new home will probably be one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Therefore, you need to take the process of buying a home very seriously. For guidance, contact an experienced Wheaton residential real estate attorney at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.



What You Should Know About Selling Your Home This Winter

winter, Wheaton real estate attorneysMost real estate agents and attorneys will tell you that that the spring and summer are the most popular seasons for buying a new home. As a result, they are also the seasons during which many people will sell their home, since, without a home that is for sale, the buyer cannot buy, obviously.

While it is true that spring and summer are traditionally the prime home-buying seasons, if you are ready to move now, there is no reason to wait until winter is over. With the right guidance, selling your home during the colder months could help you realize an excellent return on your investment.

A Smaller, More Competitive Market

Since springtime is allegedly the “best” time to sell a home, many owners throughout the region are likely to wait until the weather breaks before they list their homes. This means that if you decide to wait as well, your home will be on the market with dozens, if not hundreds, of homes, many of which will probably be in and around your neighborhood.

If you list your home now, there will be fewer homes available compared to a few months from now. As a result, your home will be able to stand out from the crowd. With fewer available options, potential buyers are more likely to end up looking in your direction.

Fewer Browsers and More Buyers

The “slower” home sales season also means that fewer buyers will be out and about looking for new homes. Those who are looking, however, are likely to be much more serious than those you might encounter during the warmer months. When the weather is nice, engaged couples and families often start browsing the real estate listings and attending open houses without any real intention to make an offer. During the colder months, you will have to spend less time and energy on “lookers” or “browsers,” allowing you to focus on well-intentioned buyers.

Highlighting the Features of Your Home

Meticulous landscaping and lush, green grass can certainly give your home curb appeal in the spring and summer, but the winter provides an opportunity to show would-be buyers that your home is equipped to handle the elements. If you have recently installed new windows or a high-efficiency furnace, for example, it is easier to show the benefits of such features during a cold-weather showing. Amenities such as hot tubs or fireplaces could also offer substantial appeal during the winter months.

Finally, nearly every home looks its best after it has been decorated for the winter holidays. Shimmering lights and colorful decorations create a welcoming atmosphere. When would-be buyers or open house guests feel at home, they are often more inclined to make a serious offer.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Lawyer

While selling your home is possible during the winter, you will still have many legal issues to address before the new owner can move in. Contact a skilled and experienced DuPage County real estate attorney to get the help you need. Call Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC at 630-665-2500 for a personal consultation today.