Resources

Helpful Links

Check out these links to learn more about Cook County Property Law!

FAQs

Do I need an attorney to represent me when I buy or sell a property?

Short answer, you don’t. But it’s still a good idea.

Buying/selling your home will be one of the biggest financial decisions you make in your life. It will also be one of the most complicated.  Having a seasoned professional guiding you through your options will ensure that you make the best choice and may help you save money in the long run.

Regardless of whether or not you have an attorney, it’d be a good idea to do the following.

  • Have a written contract.
  • Get your home inspected.
  • Have a survey (and know how to review it).
  • Order and review association documents.
  • Get familiar with the workings of mortgage and related documents.
  • Know your township’s legal requirements for real estate transactions.

How do I enter into a legal agreement with someone to buy/sell a property?

Draft a contract, then have everyone sign it. Parties can verbally agree to the terms of the contract, but verbal agreements aren’t recognized by the state. Get it in writing, then get it signed.

What is title insurance? (Do I really need it?)

Title insurance protects the buyer from potential title defects in cash transactions (liens, unpaid taxes, unrecorded mortgages, and encroachments).

And, no, according to the state you don’t technically need it. But if a lender is involved in a buyer obtaining the property’s mortgage is required in order to buy it.

Is there a difference between residential and commercial real estate?

Yes.

Aside from the obvious, (one you live in, the other you work in) the transaction itself looks different. With a commercial property transaction, you’ll find a more comprehensive contract and a lot more title insurance, village licensing, and EPA requirements. 

What do I need to know about getting a mortgage?

Don’t get stuck on the first thing you find. Explore your options. 

There are different loan types, Lenders with different interest rates, different upfront fees and credit requirements. Shop around and see what’s the best fit for you. 

Do I need to have a Realtor to buy or sell a property?

No required, but still a good idea.

A lot of people think that they can do a good job judging for themselves that they think is a good price by using sites like Zillow or Trulia. While sometimes these sites can get you a good deal, most of the time they are way off the mark.

Realtors have access to a tremendous amount of data, both for sold properties and properties currently for sale (all of which is more consistently accurate then home shopping websites).  Not only that, but Realtors will be able to see the details. Websites will tell you what your house is based on what houses nearby sold for. What they don’t tell you is what your house is worth based on the property value itself (square footage, conditions and updates, major items age and location specific considerations).

To put it simply, a website will tell you what the house is worth from looking at the front of the house. A Realtor will tell you what the house is worth from every square inch of the property.