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What Is a Title Contingency in Illinois Real Estate?

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Plainfield, IL real estate law attorney title contingency

Buying a house is a significant decision. As such, there are numerous tools that you and your attorney can use to protect yourself if something goes wrong during the buying process. To take the necessary precautions, you would include contingencies in your Agreement of Sale. A contingency is a condition that must be met before you can complete a purchase. There are many different types of contingencies that you and your attorney may choose to include in your agreement, one of which is a title contingency. 

What Is a Title?

A “title” in real estate refers to a property’s record of ownership. Not only does it contain details regarding past owners, but it will also include liens or judgments made against that property. In most cases, before you buy a new home, your attorney will examine the property’s title to make sure it can be properly transferred to you. 

Sometimes, a property’s title may be problematic. For example, if a previous owner struggled financially, a creditor may have claimed a piece of the property to gain what a previous owner owes them. If this issue surfaces when you are considering buying a house, a title contingency will allow you to back out of the sale if any problems regarding the property’s title cannot be solved. 

Common Home Title Issues

Problematic house titles are more common than you might imagine. Many title companies claim that more than a third of all real estate transactions have title issues that are extremely difficult to sort out. For example, “past deeds, wills, trusts, divorce decrees, bankruptcy filings, court judgments, and tax records that may be defective or outstanding” from at least the past 50 years could prevent a clean transfer of ownership. 

Be prepared to deal with any unrecorded title defects. Some examples include forgery, signing under aliases, duress, erroneous legal descriptions, right of access eradicated by foreclosure on a neighboring land, and more. You and your attorney can search for unrecorded title defects by examining public documents at a county recorder or clerk’s office. 

Contact a Will County Real Estate Lawyer

It is vital to take precautions when you are purchasing a new home. To do so, you and your attorney will decide on the appropriate contingencies for your Agreement of Purchase. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we use our many years of experience in assisting clients safely and legally claim the deed for their new home to help them with their next major real estate purchase. To learn more and schedule your free consultation with a diligent Joliet, IL real estate attorney, call us today at 815-666-1285.




Drone Photography: A Growing Trend in Real Estate

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drone, Will County real estate lawyersNot all that long ago, if a prospective home buyer wanted to get a feel for a listed property, his or her only options were to schedule an appointment or attend an open house. In short, the buyer needed to physically visit the home. Over the last several decades, improvements in the convenience of photography and digital technology have made it easier for people to visit properties online before deciding to see the home in person. Today, many real estate companies have taken the next step in marketing available homes, utilizing the power of flying drones equipped with high-definition video cameras.

The Rise of the Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have been part of the United States military inventory for decades. They were initially used primarily for reconnaissance and observation, able to infiltrate more dangerous locales without placing a pilot and crew at risk. While military drones have evolved to take on attack capabilities, much smaller, cheaper variations of drones have become readily available for recreational purposes, including aerial photography.

In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration began issuing permits for real estate companies to use drones to create marketing videos for their properties. Since then, dozens of agencies around the country have started utilizing the available technology to develop creative listings for available homes, particularly those with substantial value.

Why Drone Photography?

Prior to the advent of drone photography, aerial images of a listed home were only possibly from a helicopter, which obviously incurred great expense. Close-up aerial video was simply not possible. Today, all that has changed. Not only can a drone highlight the features and landscapes of a particular home, but they can also be used to show prospective buyers:

  • The home's neighborhood, and proximity to local attractions;
  • Suggested routes to work or school;
  • Nearby amenities, parks, waterways, and green spaces;
  • Underway and proposed local improvement efforts; and
  • Detailed surveys and property maps.

It is important to realize that not just anyone can fly a drone and take pictures or video of a property for commercial use. The FAA requires registration and specific certification depending upon the size and weight of the drone. As with most areas of the law that deal with new technology, these regulations are constantly being updated so if you are interested in using a drone to help sell your home, you should first seek legal guidance.

We Can Help

To learn more about buying or selling a home, contact an experienced real estate attorney in Will County. We have the knowledge and skill to assist you throughout the process, ensuring your rights and best interests are fully protected along the way. Schedule your free initial consultation at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., today.


Understanding Home Sale Contingencies

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sale contingencies, Joliet real estate attorneysThe process of selling your home can be long and difficult, so when a prospective buyer makes an offer, it is often very exciting. Many buyers, however, are not in a position to make a purchase without selling their current home. But what happens if the buyer sells his or her home without knowing that the purchase of your property is a guarantee? Such a situation can be very tenuous for an individual or family, leaving them in a state of limbo and without anywhere to go after the closing on their home. To address this possibility, home buyers are increasingly making offers that include home sale contingencies.

Growing Acceptance

While real estate professionals suggest that home sale contingencies are not preferred, they are often necessary. In some cases, a buyer may have trouble securing a mortgage to buy a new home while still paying on his or her current residence. In others, he or she may not be able to afford to maintain two homes at the same time. As you try to sell your home, you would, of course, probably prefer to have a solid offer rather than one with contingencies, but if all of the other elements are right, and you do not have a line of prospective buyers vying for your attention, a home sale contingency may be worth your time.

Limited Window

Home sale contingencies do not give your prospective buyer unlimited time to sell his or her current home. Depending on the nature of the offer, you may agree to hold off on marketing your home to other potential buyers for a set period of time, or your agreement may allow you to continue your efforts. You and the prospective buyer must decide upon a date by which the buyer's home must be sold, including closing. If he or she cannot sell the home in that timeframe, the contract to buy your home can be terminated.

If you home sale contingency permits you to continue entertaining other offers, the initial buyer will usually be given priority over new prospects. In practice, this means that if you have accepted a buyer's contingency offer and a second buyer makes an offer, the contingent buyer has a set period of time—usually one or two days—to decide to remove the contingency and proceed with the purchase. If he or she cannot or will not remove the contingency, you may accept the second offer and return the first would-be buyer's deposit.

Complicated Considerations

You must consider a wide variety of factors when deciding whether to accept offers that include home sale contingencies, and we are equipped to help. Contact an experienced Joliet real estate attorney at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., today to get the professional guidance and responsible representation you deserve. Call 815-666-1285 to get the answers you need to your most pressing residential real estate questions.


Be Wary of Real Estate Scams and Fake Rental Listings

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scam, online scam, Joliet real estate attorneysWhen you a looking for a new home, whether you are ready to buy your dream house or simply looking to rent for the time being, the process can be overwhelming. Hours of searching for the right place can leave you feeling frustrated, and you may wonder if you will ever find a home that meets your needs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to prey upon the emotions of those looking for a new home, and attempt to scam you out of your hard-earned money. Such was the case for a Salt Lake City woman who lost nearly $4,000 to a bogus landlord purporting to be from here in Illinois.

Out-of-State Interactions

In January of this year, a woman in Utah was looking for homes to rent on the online classifieds site Craigslist. Finding a house that she liked, she contacted the alleged owner, who instructed her to go see the unlocked home on her own. The woman determined that she wanted to move in. According to reports, the “landlord” told her to sign the lease and to electronically wire $3,900 for a security deposit and the first month's rent.  The keys, the alleged owner reportedly said, would be mailed to the woman from Illinois; they never arrived. Finally deciding to some digging, the woman checked public records regarding the home's ownership, and found the owner to be someone other than the person to whom she had just sent thousands of dollars.

Carefully Vet Internet Listings

Online real estate sites, or sites with real estate sections such as Craigslist, can be a gold mine of unsuspecting victims for scammers. It is relatively easy to hijack a legitimate listing and altering the contact the information of the landlord. Many renters and buyers are able to find great real estate deals online, but it is crucial to proceed with extreme caution and to know the red flags of a potential scam. For example, if you have never met the landlord or a property manager in person, why not? Check with local rental and real estate organizations to find out for sure that the landlord is known around the area; if he or she is not, starting asking more questions. Most importantly, never send money to someone you have not met or without a signed agreement that provides you with the landlord's verified information and recourse in the event of a problem.

Work With a Real Estate Lawyer

If a real estate purchase or rental opportunity sounds too good to be true, or you have gotten uneasy feeling about a purported landlord, an experienced Joliet real estate attorney can help you fully analyze the situation. We will assist you in researching the property and the alleged owner, as well as conducting a full review of the terms of the purchase contract or lease agreement. Contact the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., today and let us provide with the guidance you need so that you can have the peace of mind you deserve.


real estate lawyer, Will County real estate attorneysBuying a home is likely to be the largest investment you ever make during your lifetime. If you have never bought a house before, you may not be aware of just how complicated the process can be. There are countless variables to consider and potential pitfalls to avoid, and attempting to navigate the process yourself can be costly, both in terms of time and money.

You may, of course, consider working with a real estate agent or broker to help facilitate finding the right home for you and your family. An agent, though, should be just part of the equation. You should consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney to be sure you are fully protected.

A real estate lawyer can make the process of buying a home easier for you in a number of ways, including:

  • Being your advocate: A real estate agent or broker can be helpful, but he or she is more likely to act as an intermediary between you and the seller. An attorney is tasked with representing your interests and yours alone;
  • Providing you with legal guidance: Regardless of his or her best intentions, a real estate agent cannot offer you advice regarding the law. Your lawyer, on the other hand, is equipped to review local ordinances and state statutes to ensure you—and the seller, to certain extent—remain in compliance with the law at every step of the proceedings.
  • Understanding complicated contracts: Once you have made the decision to buy a home, the purchase agreement is just one of many confusing legal documents that will need to be completed. You will also, most likely, require a mortgage, which often contains countless provisions for repayment and other responsibilities that a qualified legal professional can help you better understand;
  • Preparing a complete property history: Your lawyer will also be equipped to thoroughly investigate the home's chain of title and all previous transactions. This can help you be aware of any potential problems that the real estate agent or the seller may have failed to disclose. Doing so can help you possibly negotiate a more favorable deal or, in certain cases, demonstrate that it is best to find another property.

By working with a real estate attorney, you may be able to save a great deal of time, money, and stress. Mistakes in the home-buying process can be financially disastrous, as even the smallest of oversights at the beginning can grow exponentially over time, ultimately costing you tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours of frustration.

To learn more about how we can help you with buying a home, contact an experienced Joliet real estate attorney. We will help you review your situation and assist you finding the right home for you and your family. Schedule your free introductory consultation at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., by calling 815-666-1285 today.


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