As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake the confidence of the American economy, our elected officials scramble to get ahead of the virus with statewide stay-in-place and social distancing directives. Current trends in real estate indicate that buyers are less inclined to purchase a home, while sellers are more inclined to take a home off the market or not list it at all.
Although these current conditions may seem discouraging, they do present silver linings and novel opportunities. Governor Pritzker's executive order deems real estate transactions an "essential business," allowing buyers, sellers and their agents to continue transactions, subject to various social distancing guidelines. For buyers, mortgage interest rates continue to track historical lows, as emergency liquidity provided by the Federal Reserve System spreads throughout the economy. Buyers may also take advantage of falling prices in the housing market, and eager sellers may finally find their buyer under these unique conditions.
What Every Buyer Should Know
Many buyers of residential real estate have committed themselves to spend more money on a single purchase than ever before in their lives. Yet most buyers do not contact an attorney until after the seller has accepted their offer on the home. Buyers who do not quickly retain counsel to interpret the provisions of the real estate contract may waive critical rights contained within the contract, including the opportunity to inspect the home and request repairs, modifications or closing cost credits during attorney review.
Buyers should also seek financing from a reputable lender on a payment schedule that is responsible and tailored to the buyer's financial ability. Buyers may rely on their attorney for the names of such lenders, as well as reputable title companies, home insurance providers and inspection services. Illinois law protects the buyer's right to select a title company of his or her choice and prohibits lenders from requiring the use of a specific title company as a condition of the loan.
What Every Seller Should Know
Sellers of residential real estate must satisfy several obligations, and it is equally important that they retain competent counsel to help facilitate the deal. Sellers must understand the time constraints and contingencies built into the contract, as well as the contractual obligation to procure an owner's policy of title insurance to the buyer. Sellers may also retain a real estate agent to list their property, and they have the right to negotiate the fees for the agent's services. Lastly, sellers should retain a competent real estate attorney to prepare documents critical to the transaction, including the deed to be transferred to the buyer.
Jerome T. Murphy
Tressler attorney Jerome T. Murphy frequently assuages the anxiety of buyers and sellers of real estate by walking clients through the process step by step. He is proud to offer complimentary video or phone consultations to new clients. You can buy or sell your home in these conditions, and Jerome stands by willing to help you accomplish that goal.