I'm selling my house and its under contract! Now what?

Is it time to sell your home? No matter the reason for putting your home on the market, the decision to sell is a big one. As the largest investment, purchase or sale that most people will ever make, it is important to make sure that not only are you getting a fair price, but that all of the other financial and legal aspects are handled correctly once you have found a buyer. You probably have a ton of questions about how it all works, especially if this is your first time selling. Feel free to browse around my website for straightforward information written to answer your questions and familiarize you with the process of selling your home.

The Real Estate Process

The process of selling a home is unique, unlike any other type of sale. It is a process with very specific things that routinely happen every step of the way for both the purchaser and the seller. For a seller, it begins with the decision to sell. Unless you are selling to someone that you know, chances are good that you will be using a Realtor, or a Real Estate Agent, to help you find a buyer. Your Realtor should know your market well and give you advice on how to make your home even more appealing to a buyer, how to market the home, and what price you can realistically expect to get. Once a potential buyer makes an offer, your Realtor will help you decide if it is an offer that you should at least consider.  Many sellers will find an attorney at this stage to evaluate beyond the sale price and evaluate the remaining provisions that a buyer may want to bring into the deal. For instance, is the buyer asking to be let out of the contract if they cannot sell their existing home? Is the buyer asking for you to kick in some money towards their closing costs? While most contracts will give you, the seller, a short (and I do mean short) amount of time to have an attorney review the contract, giving you the chance to suggest changes, it does make sense to get an attorney’s input before accepting the offer, assuming that you can do so quickly. Most lawyers will charge a fee for this service but will credit the amount paid to you if you do accept the contract and take it through to closing the deal.

Real Estate Contracts

Real estate transactions are done by way of written contracts. The rules for selling a house are in part determined by contract law. When you accept an offer from someone to purchase your home, you have just entered into a legally binding contract. So has your buyer.  It is critical that you understand exactly what obligations that contract places on you, as well as your rights under that contract. You should also understand what your purchaser is supposed to doing.  The contract will set very specific deadlines along the way - which again, requires the buyer and the seller to each do something. Each step in the process is meant to bring things one step closer to the day that everyone is waiting for- the home closing!

Why Your Need an Attorney for Your Real Estate Transaction

It is highly recommended that you team up with an experienced real estate attorney as early on in the process as possible. Not only will your attorney help you understand and fulfill your obligations under the contract but will also make sure that your buyer is doing the same, and make sure that the process moves forward as it is supposed to. Once under contract, your real estate attorney will also help you by reviewing the contract, negotiating inspection issues, doing a title search & clearing title objections so that you can deliver “clear title” as will be required before you can sell, informing you of any local requirements that might exist in your village and county before you can sell, calculating sets of figures which will determine your net proceeds, gathering necessary paperwork from third parties, preparing the closing documents, ordering a property survey if required, work with your homeowner’s association if you have one to satisfy their requirements, and attend the closing.  (Whew! Did you get all of that!?)

Your Illinois Location Matters in Real Estate

Home sales are handled differently in each state. That being said, the process can still differ geographically even within Illinois depending on local custom. In general, residential real estate transactions in Cook County and the “collar counties of Chicago” (DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, and Lake Counties) are similar while transactions in “downstate” Illinois differs even more.  The information on this website is intended to be specific to Illinois and in particular, focused on Chicago, its suburbs, and surrounding areas.  While this site is meant to answer general questions, please note that most everything will come down to the terms of your specific contract. Nothing on this site should be relied on as advice and while it is meant for general informational purposes that applies to the most frequently used contracts and provisions, you should always consult with a real estate attorney about your specific rights and obligations.

O'Connor Cadiz Law Can Help With Your Real Estate Needs

Carol O’Connor Cadiz has been personally handling real estate transactions for both buyers and sellers in Chicago and its suburbs since 2003. Call with questions at 888 878-5442 toll free or 630 250-8813. No obligation and no consultation fee to talk directly with me by phone if you need more information about what you should be doing if you are thinking of selling your home or if you have found a buyer! 



Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Bankruptcy, Injury, Real Estate & Mediation