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IL real estate lawyerConsider the following scenario: “About nine months ago, my wife and I sold our house in Aurora and moved to Mesa, Arizona. We were just beginning to settle in when we were blindsided by a letter from a lawyer. She wants us to pay the new owners $20,000 to compensate them for some foundation work they had done. What are our options?”

In this situation, the lawyer appears to be threatening to take action under the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (RRPDA). When real property is sold or transferred, the current owners must disclose any structural problems or related issues, like water leaks, menacing tree roots, and other defects. Legally speaking, a seller has a duty to disclose when “equity and good conscience” requires such a disclosure. The theory is that the current owners of the property are in a position to not only know about latent defects in a house that can cost the new owners thousands of dollars in repairs, but they are also in a position to conceal these defects.

One of the forms buried deep within the mound of paperwork at closing was probably a “Residential Real Property Disclosure Report” form. Essentially, the seller must declare that the house is in good condition or that the buyer is aware of any existing defects. If the seller does not disclose a known patent or latent defect, the buyer could potentially sue.

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lake county residential real estate attorneyIf you are currently on the hunt for your next home—and possibly your forever home—you are not alone. Since roughly the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, home prices have been on the rise, and the market has been historically hot. Experts expect the market to come back closer to normal over the next year or so, but there are no indicators that prices are coming down anytime soon.

With this in mind, you need to make sure that you fully understand what you are getting into when you submit a bid on a new home. As excited as you might be to start your life’s next chapter, it is critical to know that you can afford the price tag that comes along with it.

Working With Your Lender

The bank or financial institution that ultimately issues your mortgage will largely be responsible for establishing what your budget will need to be for your next home. Your lender will determine your loan amount, term, and interest rate based on a number of variables, including your credit score, tax obligations, and other details. It is not uncommon, however, for a lender to approve a mortgage that the borrower cannot reasonably afford. In fact, these types of approvals were among the primary reasons for the housing market crash in the late ‘00s.

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"libertyvilleIf you have been paying any attention whatsoever to the real estate market, you probably realize that the last two years have been an uphill battle for homebuyers—and first-time homebuyers, in particular. At the very beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis in early 2020, the residential real estate market started somewhat sluggish, but it very quickly took off and has only gotten hotter since then. In late 2020 and through 2021, the housing market continued to sizzle, and existing-home sales hit their highest annual mark in 15 years, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The red-hot housing market is a boon for sellers but a bane for buyers. Those who are looking to buy for the first time have been especially affected since they do not have any way to capitalize on the seller’s market before buying a home. Unfortunately, if you have been waiting for the market to cool off a little before jumping in, experts suggest that 2022 might not be your year either.

A Seller’s Market

Throughout the country, home prices have risen, and in many areas, we have seen double-digit appreciation. Anecdotal examples have been reported in which homes are selling for much higher than the asking prices—hundreds of thousands of dollars higher, in some cases—and often with no contingencies. On top of this, supply chain concerns have slowed home renovations and raised prices on building materials, flooring, and just about everything else.

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lake county foreclosure defense lawyerAccording to information collected by local news outlets, the end of the eviction moratorium in Illinois did not trigger the “tsunami of evictions” in the city of Chicago and Cook County at large that many were expecting. The statewide ban on evictions was initiated in March 2020 following the stay-at-home orders issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker at the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis. The moratorium was repeatedly extended by the governor until it ultimately came to an end on October 3, 2021.

A Look at the Numbers

The office of Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans provided preliminary information to WTTW, a Chicago-area PBS affiliate. According to that data, the total number of commercial and residential evictions in Chicago and Cook County was nearly one-third lower in October 2021 compared to October 2019. October represented the first full month in which there were no restrictions related to the enforcement of eviction judgments in the state.

Records indicate that 1,278 residential eviction judgments were approved in the city of Chicago in October of 2021, along with 42 commercial evictions. Suburban Cook County added another 566 households and 22 businesses for a countywide total of 1,866. These numbers represent a significant jump from October 2020, in which the courts only approved a total of 322 evictions.

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grayslake real estate lawyerUnfortunately, there are many cases where people may experience financial difficulties that make it impossible for them to continue owning a home. To make matters worse, economic downturns have caused many homes to lose value, and this means that a homeowner may be in a situation where they owe more money on their mortgage than their house is actually worth. If you are in this situation, you may be able to complete a short sale, which will allow you to sell your home and find new living arrangements that you can afford. By understanding whether doing so will provide you with benefits, you can prepare to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that you will be able to regain financial stability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Short Sales

In many cases, a short sale will need to be approved by the mortgage lender. While lenders may be understandably reluctant to allow a home to sell for less than what is owed, this may be the best option for them, since it may allow them to minimize their financial losses and avoid the costs and legal requirements of a foreclosure. In order to demonstrate that a short sale is necessary, a homeowner will usually need to provide their mortgage lender with a hardship lender detailing the reasons why they are unable to continue making mortgage payments, such as the loss of a job or increased medical expenses. They will also need to provide supporting documents showing their income and the assets they own, as well as a comparative market analysis showing the expected purchase price of the home.

Completing a short sale can provide a number of benefits for a homeowner. It will allow them to avoid the difficulty of going through a foreclosure, and in most cases, a lender will agree to forgive a deficiency, or the amount remaining on the mortgage after selling the home. The fees and closing costs involved in selling the home will be paid by the lender, providing the homeowner with some savings that can be used to secure new living arrangements. While a short sale will have some effect on a person’s credit score, it will not be as harmful as a foreclosure, and a person may be able to obtain a new home loan within a few years.

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