Home Buying Basics for Illinois Residents

DuPage County real estate attorneysBuying a home is a significant milestone that can give you and your family years of joy and a lifetime of fond memories. Unfortunately, the process itself can be highly complex, and missteps along the way can delay home ownership. Thankfully, there are ways to smooth the process. The following information explains, and it provides details on where to find assistance with your next (or first) Illinois home purchase.

Working with a Realtor

While homeowners may want to skip the real estate agent to save money on the sale of their home, this decision can be a grave mistake for buyers. Real estate agents do more than just show potential homes. Knowledgeable on the communities, market conditions, and median home prices in the area you are searching in, real estate agents can work with your family's needs and budget. They can aid you in preparing pertinent documents, such as your viable offer. Best of all, the agent's commission is typically covered by the seller (covered in the purchase price) once the home closes. Just remember to shop around. Find one that has experience representing buyers, good references, and an understanding of the area.

Home Inspections and Seller Disclosures

Illinois state law requires that sellers provide potential homebuyers with a disclosure statement, which offers details on whether the home has any major issues that may impact the home's value. Examples include defects like:

  • Termite infestation (or recent treatments);
  • Cracks in the foundation;
  • Lead paint or pipes; and
  • Previous flooding or fire.

However, buyers should not rely solely on these disclosures. Sellers may not know the full history of the home, or may not be aware of new but potentially serious issues. A home inspection can ensure these potential problems are discovered before you complete your purchase. Just do not use one selected by either the realtor or the seller; instead, practice due diligence and find one that comes with experience and good references.

Why Hire a Real Estate Attorney?

Although home buyers in Illinois are not required to hire an attorney, it is still highly recommended (and it may become necessary if you run into title issues or other legal problems). Real estate attorneys can review your contract to check for any problems, and they can work with you during negotiations. They can even draft or review your real estate agent contract to ensure favorable terms.

If you are purchasing a home in Illinois, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County real estate lawyers will protect your interests, every step of the way. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a personalized consultation to get started today.






Illinois Woman is Suing Zillow for Inaccurate Zestimate

Illinois real estate lawyersZillow is facing a potential lawsuit for its infamous "zestimate" tool. Filed by an Illinois woman, the suit alleges that the company has undervalued her home and made it difficult to sell. She is also claiming that the company is wrongfully providing appraisals, which should be considered a violation of the law. The case is already picking up steam, gaining recognition and support across the country, and that could mean drastic changes for real estate buyers, sellers, and investors.

Details of the Case

In her suit, the Illinois woman alleges that she has been trying to sell her townhome for some time now, but with no success, despite its prime location. She claims that her roadblocks are a direct result of Zillow's inaccurate zestimate, which has allegedly valued her home using the sales of newly constructed homes in a less expensive part of the city. She is seeking an injunction and wishes for the company to either fix its inaccurate valuation or remove it entirely.

Zillow Defends Their Zestimate

Zillow claims they have done nothing wrong. Their zestimates are purportedly within 5 percent of the sale price of the homes they list a little more than 50 percent of the time, within 10 percent about 75 percent of the time, and within 20 percent almost 90 percent of the time. Further, their website explicitly states that they are not an appraisal service. That does not mean that visitors do not use their site for that purpose, however, and that could mean trouble since their accuracy rates leave much to be desired.

As an example, if Zillow were to fall within 20 percent of the purchase price on a $500,000 home, they have $100,000 of wiggle room. That amount is certainly enough to leave buyer's thinking a home is overpriced, and it could potentially cause a homeowner to drop their price far below market value, which could result in a significant financial loss. On the other hand, this could drive up the price of a less than desirable property, potentially leaving buyers surprised when they pursue an appraisal of the home.

Why the Lawsuit Matters

News sources indicate that the Illinois woman has already been approached by other homeowners and realtors who want to turn the case into a class action suit. Such action could ultimately change the way that homeowners, buyers, and investors search for real estate. At the very least, it may bring attention to an issue that has been of great concern for quite some time.

Whatever happens in this case, it is important for all real estate buyers, sellers, and investors to know the importance of accurate valuations and due diligence. The experienced DuPage County real estate lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help. Committed to your future and best interests, we can help you navigate the home buying, selling, or investing process. Schedule your consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.




Illinois Real Estate Group Takes Action on Behalf of Investors

Illinois real estate lawyersInvesting in the state of Illinois' real estate market is already risky business; the housing market is still lagging from the recession, and now the commercial real estate market is lagging and, perhaps, on the cusp of a crash. Unfortunately, this is not stopping legislatures from trying to impose rent control on both commercial and residential properties. What might this mean for you, the investor, and what actions are being taken to stop the advancement?

Examining the Rent Control Bill

As of right now, rent control is prohibited in the state of Illinois. In other words, property owners and investors can charge what they see fit for their property; generally, this is determined by calculating costs like taxes, the mortgage, maintenance, and insurance. After all that is configured, the investor is only likely to make a small profit. HB 2430, a House Bill that was recently proposed, would lift the prohibition and allow for rent control. In short, it would cut into the little bit of profit that investors currently make from their properties.

Understanding the Impact

As an investor, your goal is to make money off your properties. Of course, you may not make quite as much as everyone thinks you do – but the point is that you do turn a profit. Doing so not only increases your cash flow, but it also provides you with the funds needed to expand your portfolio. On the one hand, this might seem "greedy," but as most investors know, it is all about being prepared for the next dry spell or market crash.

So what happens if HB 2430 passes? Well, for starters, you might be limited in the amount of rent you can charge. In the best-case scenario, this would decrease your income from a property. In the worst-case scenario, you start losing money on your investment properties. That is why the realtor group is fighting so hard to stop it.

Real Estate Group Campaigning for Investors

Real estate salespersons have jobs that are intrinsically tied to yours, so perhaps they are only looking out for their best interest in their fight against HB 2430. In the grand scheme of things, their motives do not matter. What does matter is the action that you and your fellow investors take against the bill. Not only can this help mitigate the potential risk of rent control, but it can also help you determine what actions can be taken now to mitigate the damage, should the bill pass.

Contact Our DuPage County Real Estate Lawyers

Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC has decades of experience working within the real estate industry. Dedicated to your financial future, we can guide you in developing creative solutions and strategies for growing your portfolio. Schedule your consultation with our DuPage County real estate lawyers. Call 630-665-2500.