What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do for Buyers and Sellers?

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do for Buyers and Sellers?

If you are in the market to purchase or sell a property, even if you have done it before, the process can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and downright confusing. Sure, it is exciting as well, but the truth is that you need to be confident in making the best decision possible. Most homeowners and future homeowners don’t know the ins and outs of real estate law or expectations. 

It is imperative that you find a team of professionals who can give you the information you need while expertly guiding you through the process. While most people know to include a Realtor on their team, too many forget the importance of partnering with an attorney. It is incredibly beneficial to have a real estate attorney to guide you through the process.

Benefits to Sellers

A real estate attorney is there to protect your best interests and make sure all bases are covered as you sell your home or property. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out during the sale of your property, but having the right real estate attorney on your side can help ease this burden and get you to closing quickly. For sellers, the real estate attorney is there to make sure all necessary paperwork is in order, from signing the contract to closing. They ensure the selling process runs smoothly with no surprises. If there are surprises, your attorney will guide you through it and provide advice that puts your interests at the forefront.

Benefits to Buyers

Oftentimes, buyers carry the brunt of the work in the home buying process. A real estate attorney is there to protect one of the most important, and expensive, purchases of your life. They are responsible for ensuring all documents are in order, and that title searches and transfer of funds are completed correctly. They can also help during the inspection process, should there be any issues. Further, having experienced legal representation at closing can help ease your mind that your purchase will be done correctly and in a timely manner.

real estate attorney is a definite asset for both buyers and sellers. At the end of the day, if something goes wrong on either end, you have a professional ready to take care of any problems and get the process back on track. 

If you are finding yourself looking to buy or sell make sure to give the experienced professionals at Bell Law a call. They are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have to get the process started the right way.

What Happens During a Real Estate Closing?

What Happens During a Real Estate Closing?

Congratulations you bought a house! Homeownership is exciting every time, whether this is your first house purchase or your tenth. However, along with the excitement comes a lot of uncertainty. Will the home pass inspection? Will the paperwork process go smoothly? Will the closing be easy? 

Closing on a house is certainly an exciting time. However, it can get frustrating if you aren’t properly prepared. Knowing the steps involved, documents needed and time it will take can make the whole process run more smoothly. You’ll also feel more confident the more you know about the process.

The First Few Steps

You’ve found your dream house and agreed with the seller on a price. But what happens now? The time you are under contract for a home purchase to your closing date can take 4-8 weeks to complete. That can seem like an eternity when all you want to do is move into your new home. However, you and the seller need this time to prepare for the transaction.

During this time, you will want to set up a third-party escrow account to cover closing costs and the down payment. This time prior to closing will also be a time for the home inspector to visit the home and make any recommendations. You’ll have time to negotiate the findings as well, asking the seller to make any repairs as needed.

Approaching the Closing Date              

As the big day approaches you will need to ensure all home inspections have been completed and passed. Any repairs that the seller had agreed to must be done to your satisfaction, as per any negotiation. 

As the closing date approaches, it is time to revise or increase your home insurance policy. If you haven’t owned a home before, you will be starting from scratch. If you have homeowner insurance currently, you will need to work with your agent to adjust the parameters for your new home.

Finally, during these last few weeks prior to closing, be cautious with your spending. Avoid any major purchases or opening any new lines of credit. Lenders and sellers do not typically like abrupt changes and major financial activity can cause a delay in your closing. 

The Day of the Closing

The final walkthrough is finished, all repairs are done, and now it’s time to close. Be sure you are prepared with a cashier’s check for the down payment and any closing costs. You will also want to bring along your checkbook for any additional fees or costs that arise during the process.

The closing process can be confusing, and there is a lot of paperwork involved. You can feel more confident that your best interests are taken into account when you work with a real estate attorney. At Bell Law, we excel at real estate transactions, meaning our clients have no surprises during their closing dates. We are there during the closing process to make sure everything runs efficiently and to explain what is happening to our clients. Our team is also there to negotiate any additional fees or costs that pop up during the process.

You don’t have to wait for your closing or contract to work with our experienced team of attorneys. Instead, call us as you begin your home search so that we can advocate for you throughout the entire process.

Call us today to get started.

Costs Associated with Buying and Selling a Home

Costs Associated with Buying and Selling a Home

Buying or selling a property is exciting. But it is also expensive. Most purchasers or sellers are unaware of the costs that are associated with the process. Whether you are buying a new home or selling a home it is important to know exactly what to expect at closing. Unfortunately, many buyers and sellers are unaware of the extra costs associated with purchasing and selling a home. Fees can add up quite fast, and no one likes being surprised with an increased budget. Being prepared can go help make the transaction much smoother for both parties. 

When Selling Your Home

One of the most stressful parts of selling a property is pricing the property correctly. A price that is too high will keep buyers away and keep your home on the market for far too long. In contrast, a price that is too low will decrease your profit potential. As you price your home or property, keep in mind the additional costs that could pop up and add those into your original price point. 

First, most sellers will hire a real estate agent. An agent helps list and sell your home, which is invaluable. However, that service comes at a price. Typically, an agent receives a commission between 3%-6% of the selling price. 

There are additional expenses that go into ensuring a quick sale including lawn maintenance, painting, carpet cleaning, and other repair costs to get your home looking its best. The most expensive of these extra costs can be staging. This service can certainly pay off, making your home look amazing and appealing to buyers, but the cost to you can be more than $1,000. 

Once your home is sold, closing costs come into play. Typically, sellers pay far less than the buyer, but costs can be 2%-5% of the selling price. A seller needs to be prepared to pay pro-rated property taxes and HOA fees in addition to closing costs as well. Knowing that all these fees and expenses are necessary can help a seller be better prepared when the day comes.

When Buying Your Home 

The buyer can often have more costs to be aware of than the seller. Many of these fees come from the mortgage lender, who can charge loan origination fees and underwriter fees. Lenders will also request home inspections and title searches which can add to the extra fees associated with the home purchase. 

In addition to these fees, it is important to remember the costs of real estate agents and lawyer fees. When it is time to close, most lenders will require you to have a certain amount of money in an escrow account along with the down payment and closing costs, which can be 3%-4% of the home price. There are ways to help reduce some of these costs by rolling them into your mortgage, closing at the end of the month or applying for an FHA loan.

With so many factors going into buying and selling a property, it can begin to be quite overwhelming. Having an experienced real estate lawyer by your side is valuable. Your real estate attorney will advocate for your best interests and keep you in the communication loop. 

If you are looking to make your buying or selling experience as easy as possible, the professionals at  Bell Law are ready to become your partners during this exciting time. Call us today to get started.

Preparing Your Property for a 2020 Sale

Preparing Your Property for a 2020 Sale

It is common for homeowners to postpone putting their property up for sale during the holiday season. Between the hustle and bustle of the month of December, it is nearly impossible for buyers or sellers to coordinate showings and closings. However, December can be the ideal month to prepare your home to put on the market in the new year. Here are a few ways you can begin this process without adding extra stress this month.

 

Plan Your Timeline

While you can’t be sure how long your home will be on the market, the real estate environment is relatively healthy throughout the Chicagoland area right now. The average time a home sits on the market anywhere from 2 weeks (25% of Chicagoland homes sold in 2 weeks in 2019) to 6 months (50% of homes were sold within this time from in 2019). Before you can put your home on the market in the new year, you should take the time to plan out your desired timeline. For example, if you don’t want to move until the summer of 2020, perhaps you can wait a few months into the new year before putting your home officially on the market.

 

Make a Project List

Your home is probably not in perfect selling condition, and that’s okay! Take the time to walk around the interior and exterior of your home and develop a project list. Prioritize the tasks you need to get done before selling and which ones can wait until you have the extra time or money. Then, start making calls to professionals who can make the changes for you or begin your projects yourself if you are more of a DIYer.

 

Start to Look Around Your Neighborhood

Begin looking at homes that are for sale in your neighborhood as well as those homes that have sold recently. This can help you value your home appropriately as well as determine what home buyers are looking for.

 

Make Your Team

Finally, if you are planning on putting your home up for sale in 2020, begin making your support team now. Find a Realtor you want to work with as well as an experienced real estate attorney. The team here at Bell Law has experienced attorneys who are ready to work with you during your sale process. We will advocate for your best interests all the way through the closing process.

 

Call us today to get started!

 

Purchasing a Home Around the Holiday

Purchasing a Home Around the Holiday

If you are ready to purchase a home this time of year, it can feel especially festive. The holidays are a busy time, but the thought of beginning a new year in a new home drives many buyers to search for the perfect house this time of year. If you are in the market to purchase your next, or first, house, during the holiday season, be sure to remember these considerations.

 

Don’t Blow Your Budget

With all the holiday shopping and impulse buying, it is easy to forget your house budget while you are touring with your realtor. Make a commitment to stick within your budget so that you aren’t paying for your impulse purchase for years to come.

 

Don’t Fall for the Glitter

Homes can look especially beautiful during the holiday season, and it is easy to perhaps overlook certain details because the house you are touring has a beautiful tree or lovely twinkling lights. Stay focused when you are out and about. Admire the beautiful decorations, but continue with opening cabinets and looking at the water heater closet. These may be less beautiful spaces in the home, but after the lights are gone, you will want a water heater that works.

 

Drive-By During the Day

The days are much shorter and many home tours happen to take place once the sun has already set. Be sure you are taking time to drive by houses you are interested in during various times of day, including the morning and mid-day. You can see what type of light the house gets naturally as well as the general busyness of the area throughout the day.

 

Work with a Professional

When you are purchasing a home, it is wise to protect yourself by working with professionals who can guide you through the process. Choose your realtor wisely and connect with an experienced real estate law firm early on in the purchasing process. At Bell Law, we guide our clients and advise them throughout their home buying journey, including the inspection process and closing. Call us today to learn more about our services and how we can work with you.

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