How Long Does the Residential Real Estate
Closing Process Take in Illinois?
When deciding to buy or sell a home or a condominium, most people contact a real estate agent who works in the area, making finding a counterpart buyer or seller easier. However, the agent’s role is to make the deal go forward, rather than to make sure that all aspects of the transaction, including any financing, are agreeable to and appropriate for the buyer and seller. Therefore, it is best for both the buyer and seller to each hire their own lawyer to better protect their own interests. Additionally, Illinois law allows lawyers to prepare legal documents such as deeds, not real estate agents.
Illinois has a standard Real Estate Sale Contract, developed by Illinois real estate lawyers, which most real estate agents use. However, it is best to go ahead and hire a lawyer before you sign the contract, since some of the standard provisions may be confusing or even inappropriate for your situation. If you do sign the standard contract first, you should hire a lawyer immediately afterwards since your lawyer usually has only 5 days after you sign the standard contract to review it to make sure it is acceptable, and then only 10 days to renegotiate any unacceptable terms. This is known as the “attorney review” period, and once it ends, it is much more difficult to get out of the contract without legal or financial penalties.
Once the contract is signed by both buyer and seller, the “inspection period” begins. The standard contract calls for a 5 to 10 day inspection period for the buyer to have various home inspection and environmental reports prepared. Usually this process will take longer, so buyer and seller will have to renegotiate this section of the contract, in writing, for the deal to go forward. Additionally, the seller is given a reasonable amount of time to correct any problems found with the property, such as repairing leaky pipes or broken heaters, which may further delay closing. Good real estate lawyers are trained to quickly and efficiently prepare any documents needed to renegotiate the standard contract and date of closing.
Generally, the standard contract will call for the seller to have a title report and survey prepared within 10 days after the date the contract is signed. Depending on how complex the sale and mortgage history of the property is, this process may actually take several weeks to complete. It is essential to have a lawyer review the survey and title report, since buying a home subject to multiple liens or code violations, or which has poor street or utility access, can be a really bad investment. Finally, the seller is allowed a reasonable amount of time to correct any problems with the title report, such as paying off any old liens caused by code violations, which can further delay closing.
Most buyers need a mortgage to finance their purchase of residential real estate. The loan process will take at least three weeks, but it usually takes longer. The amount of time the loan process takes will depend on the buyer’s credit, the amount of the loan, the complexity of the loan, and the acceptability of the property in question. Closing will simply not occur until the lender approves the mortgage, so the original closing date may have to be renegotiated in writing more than once.
When signing the standard contract, most buyers and sellers jump the gun and agree for closing to take place within one to two months. Given the need for buyer financing, home inspections and resulting repairs, title reports and any resulting corrections, closing may be delayed for at least a few days, if not more. A good real estate lawyer will stay in constant contact with the other party, the lender, inspectors, and title company to move the process along as quickly and efficiently as possible.
At the closing itself, your Illinois real estate lawyer should explain everything you are asked to sign. Especially if you are the buyer, you will literally be signing scores of documents. Your attorney is also there to make sure that you are actually signing what you agreed to and to work out any last minute hiccups. This is common if there was a “final walkthrough” the morning of the closing and a new issue has come up.
After closing occurs, the title company must record the deed and mortgage, and also issue the title insurance policy to the buyer and lender. Most title companies will record the deed and mortgage either the day of or the day after closing. Depending on how quickly the county recorder’s office operates, actual recording may take anywhere from an hour to several weeks. Once recording is final, most title companies will issue the title policies within 20 days. A good real estate lawyer will monitor this process and make sure that it is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Since buying or selling residential real estate can be complicated and will involve many documents, it is best to retain a lawyer who can guide you through the process. If you are looking for a lawyer to assist you with a residential real estate closing, please complete our contact us form or call us a t (800) 517-1614 and one of our attorneys will try to guide you.
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