Can I sign my real estate contract before my lawyer reviews it?

"If I sign the real estate contract before my lawyer looks at it, I could be in hot water; on the other hand, if I wait for my lawyer, can't I blow the deal?" Thus begins the dilemna for home buyers and sellers who want to get into the contract asap. Illinois proudly uses lawyers for real estate transactions, and for good reason! Don't let the experience start out stressful wondering about what comes first: the lawyer or the contract.

Make sure, with absolute certainty, that the real estate contract has an "Attorney review" provision. This is usually stated something along the lines of "buyer has X number of days to have an attorney review the contract and the contract is subject to attorney approval". What that does is gives you an out if, after your lawyer looks at it, you don't want to be bound by its terms. More often than not though, rather than reject the contract outright, your lawyer may just need to negotiate more favorable terms for you. If you are dealing with a bank owned property, its ridiculously unlikely that the contract is going to change at all (the banks take the "take it or leave it" approach most of the time, that has been my experience). Like any contract, you want to know what you are agreeing to before you are legally bound to its terms.

The best approach, if you are buying or selling a home in the Chicago area, is to have a real estate lawyer lined up in advance. That way, you won't be scrambling for a good lawyer once you have the contract in your hands. Located in Schaumburg and Itasca, O'Connor Cadiz Law serves residential real estate clients throughout the Chicago area. If you have questions and are looking for representation, call to set up a free phone consultation for residential real estate sale and purchase questions. Looking forward to speak to you soon!


Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Injury & Accidents, Disability Insurance.