How Can Your Illinois Attorney Help with the Home Buying Experience?
For many adults, buying a home is the largest, most significant purchase they will make in their lifetime. With significant money on the line, first-time buyers and experienced investors alike can benefit from having a skilled real estate attorney assist them in their purchase. This is particularly true since purchasing a home or another property involves specific, unique laws, potentially raising problems that are not present in other transactions. Real estate attorneys keep up with all applicable changes to local and state real estate laws, making them trained to handle such problems.
When you have an experienced real estate attorney from Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek, P.C. by your side, you have peace of mind, knowing any contract you sign will be properly prepared, legally accurate, and will take into consideration the tax consequences of your purchase. The Illinois real estate attorneys from Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek, P.C., will always ensure your rights are fully protected throughout your buying experience.
- The Process—The process of buying a home usually involves the buyer and seller entering into a formal written contract (known as a purchase agreement), the buyer obtains financing, a title search is conducted, an inspection may or may not be done, then the parties close on the deal at an escrow company, real estate company office, title company, or attorney’s office.
- Closing—During the closing process, all loan documents will be reviewed and signed, the buyer will provide documentation of homeowner’s insurance and home inspections, and a certified or cashier’s check will be given to cover the down payment, closing costs, prepaid interest, taxes, and insurance. The lender will distribute the funds, and, in some cases, escrow may be set up to cover property taxes and home insurance, added on to the monthly mortgage amount.
- Additional Items—It is important, when buying a home, that you fully understand the following:
- What is a Plat of Survey—and Why Is It So Important? A plat or property survey is a crucial part of buying a home. When the buyer is borrowing money, lending companies generally insist on a plat survey to ensure the property is worth what is being borrowed against it. A surveyor will research the property, including the history of the deed and a title search, to ensure there are no discrepancies regarding the owner of the land. The surveyor then goes to the property and measures out the boundaries, providing a map that details the legal metes and bounds of the property as well as a description of the property. Right-of-ways and easements are also included in a plat survey.
- How Can You Receive Your Deed at Closing, Not When the Home is Paid Off? In certain circumstances, a quitclaim deed could be given at closing, as a method of transferring property to the new owner. A quit-claim deed offers the property “as-is,” meaning there are no warranties against claims that the title is free and clear of liens or restrictions. There may also be no need for title insurance or a title search, which can leave the buyer vulnerable.
- What Should You Expect in Terms of Property Tax Proration and Property Tax Liability? If the taxes on the property were paid by the seller to a date that extends beyond the close of escrow, the taxes will be prorated from the close of escrow to the date to which the taxes are paid. This proration is a credit to the seller and a charge to the buyer. Property taxes are determined by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the tax rate, however, most buyers simply check the tax records to determine approximately what their property taxes will be.
- How Can You Protect Your Home from Property Fraud? Unfortunately, property fraud is much more common than you might think. Home title theft or deed theft involves a person stealing another’s identity, then using that to forge a deed to make it seem as though they are the property owner. The thief can then refinance the mortgage, cash out the equity in the home and walk away with money or open a home equity line of credit, then make no payments, potentially landing the unsuspecting homeowner in foreclosure. When the targeted home is unoccupied, the property may even be sold with a forged deed. To avoid property fraud, homeowners must always:
- Keep a close eye out for any missing bills
- Monitor credit reports closely
- Ensure the property is covered by title insurance
- How Can You Apply for Applicable Property Tax Exemptions? Many states offer certain property tax exemptions, such as a homestead exemption or an exemption for those over a certain age. These exemptions can significantly decrease the annual property tax bill. The state of Illinois has a variety of property tax exemptions, including: primary residence exemption, senior citizen exemption, disability exemption, home improvement exemption, disabled veteran and returning veteran exemptions, and an exemption for rebuilding a home after a natural disaster. The local tax assessor can provide complete details on these property exemptions.
- What Impact Does Purchasing a Property “As-Is” Have? Buying a property “as-is” can potentially save a great deal of money, however, buyers should always go into such a purchase with their eyes wide open. A home inspection should be done to ensure there are no additional problems other than the ones the buyer is aware of. Buying a home “as-is” does not negate the right of the buyer to certain disclosures as dictated by state and federal regulations. If a home needs extreme repairs, any savings garnered on the price of the home could be canceled out by the necessary repairs.
- What Expenses Should You Expect When Purchasing a Home? When buying a home, there are certain costs that should be expected. Closing costs typically range from 2-5% of the home’s purchase price ($4,000-$10,000 for a $200,000 home). Closing costs may include realtor fees, attorney fees, a loan application fee, escrow fees, a credit report fee, homeowner’s insurance, title insurance fees, appraisal fees, a pest inspection fee, pro-rated property taxes, a title search fee, and more.
Common Questions Associated with Buying a Home
- Can I afford the home I have fallen in love with? As a general rule of thumb, you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on home-related costs, and not more than 36 percent on your total debts, including mortgage, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans.
- How much will my down payment be? Putting down 20 percent of the purchase price of the home ensures you have a better chance of being approved for the loan, however, there are many types of loans that require much less down payment—even as little as 3 percent of the purchase price.
Can the Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek, P.C. Real Estate Attorneys Help You?
Buying a home can certainly be a stressful process—one that our experienced real estate attorneys can make much simpler. Our team members are the best in their fields with training to make sure they can handle any home-buying situation that might arise. Our skilled real estate attorneys can help review the title search, determine the legal description is accurate, explain the effects of easements, agreements, and restrictions, and even explain potential zoning prohibitions. To ensure peace of mind throughout your real estate transaction, contact Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek to speak to a highly experienced Illinois real estate attorney.
Be In The Know
The most important step in all this is to find a good lender that our real estate lawyers can help you with; these lenders are the people who will pay your mortgage. Contact us know and get all the information regarding the property that you need.
What Sets Us Apart
The highlight of our practice is the people within it, our team members are the very best in their fields with adequate training to make sure that they know how to handle situations. Their topmost priority is your comfort and your win.
- Familiarize your situation
- Impart logically sound advice, tailored to your case
- Keep the client up to date on all matters concerning their case
- To be the client’s biggest advocate and offer unrelenting support
- To strive and do all that is possible to ensure victory