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IL real estate lawyerSince the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, businesses in Illinois and throughout the United States have encountered financial difficulties. As the country is beginning to return to normalcy, some businesses have been able to resume their regular activities and continue operating successfully. However, many businesses are still struggling as they determine how to respond to the loss of revenue that occurred due to the pandemic. These issues have affected many commercial leases, and both landlords and tenants may need to determine how to address situations where a business has been unable to pay rent on a short-term or long-term basis.

Negotiating Lease Modifications for Commercial Landlords and Tenants

As commercial tenants have encountered financial struggles, this has put many landlords in a difficult position. While some landlords have pursued lease enforcement actions, others may have been hesitant to do so due to the difficulty of finding new tenants in the current marketplace. Rather than pursue evictions or take steps to terminate a lease, it may be beneficial for both parties to negotiate lease modifications that will allow a tenant to continue occupying a space as they attempt to address their ongoing financial issues.

Some lease modifications that landlords and tenants may consider during negotiations include:

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IL real estate lawyerIf you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, the threat of losing your home can be a terrifying thought. Once a mortgage is in default, the lender can sue to have the right to sell the property in what is known as a foreclosure sale. In 2021, lenders initiated more than 92,000 foreclosures—the lowest number in many years. In fact, 2009 saw more than 2 million foreclosures initiated by lenders looking to resolve defaulted mortgages. If you are facing the potential foreclosure of your home, you should be sure to understand the procedures that will be followed and the legal options available to you.

The Foreclosure Process

When a mortgage has not been paid for several months and has fallen into default, a lawyer from the lending institution may begin a lawsuit by filing a complaint in court. After that, a summons and complaint are delivered by a process server or a sheriff. The summons is a notification of a court hearing, and it will specify when and where the hearing will be held. Within 30 days of receiving the summons, you must either file an answer and court appearance or a motion of your own.

During the hearing, the bank’s lawyer will update the assigned judge regarding the status of the property. At this time, you may be able to request mediation, during which you and a representative of the lender will meet with a mutual third party to discuss loss mitigation. This means that options other than foreclosure can be discussed, and you may be able to work out an arrangement that will allow you to stay in the home through solutions such as a repayment plan or loan modification. There are also options in which you may be able to sell the home without going into foreclosure.

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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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