The largest purchase that most Illinois residents make is buying a house. After spending a significant amount of time finding the house that’s perfect for you, the last thing you want is to find out after the purchase that a mistake happened, the seller failed to make a disclosure or the title has issues.
You may be thinking that you know plenty of people who bought a house without an attorney. On the other hand, you may know at least one person who either had issues with the purchase or found out later that something was wrong with the house or the title. You can take steps to make sure your purchase goes smoothly.
Reviewing and approving the purchase contract
The problems could begin with the purchase contract. First, most contracts contain a substantial amount of legal references that you may not quite understand. Some of the terms may be unclear. Before you sign on the dotted line, it wouldn’t hurt to have the contract fully explained to you. There could be provisions in it that you don’t agree with but would not have known without gaining an understanding of it.
You may also need to know the answers to the following questions:
- Is there hazardous waste on the property?
- Did the seller make any improvements or alterations to the property without the proper legal permissions?
- What happens if inspections of the property reveal problems?
- Can you legally make any changes to the property that you want to make?
- What happens if you don’t close the deal?
If you intend to take out a mortgage loan for the purchase, the contract should indicate that the closing is subject to you obtaining the financing you need.
Looking for title problems
You will need to be sure that the title is clear of defects, especially if you are taking out a mortgage loan, since your lender will more than likely require it. A review of the title may turn up other people who can make a claim to the property. An old mortgage loan from a previous owner may still be on the title.
These issues need fixing before you purchase the house. In some cases, it is necessary to file a quiet title action to have the court enter an order to clear the title defects. Otherwise, you may not legally own the home. There could also be easements and other agreements attached to the property. A real estate attorney can review these for you and explain them.
Getting through the closing
Having an attorney with you at the closing can help ensure that everything is in order before you sign. All the final documents need reviewing, including your mortgage loan documents, to ensure they reflect the agreements made with the seller and your lender. Hopefully, any issues clear up prior to this point, but a final review protects you. Something as simple as a typographical error could cause you issues in the future.