Mistakes to Avoid When House Shopping

Illinois house shopping, DuPage County Real Estate AttorneyPurchasing a new home can be both exciting and intimidating. Looking at different real estate listings, daydreaming about your ideal home, and gathering different decorating ideas can be fun. However, dealing with the financial requirements and trying to understand the real estate and legal jargon can be confusing. Therefore, consulting with your own DuPage County real estate attorney when you are ready to make the move is essential.

There are several common mistakes made when shopping for a new home, and knowing what those mistakes are can help you avoid those pitfalls.

Mistake #1: Looking Before You Are Ready

The first factor to consider is if you are really ready to purchase a home. Although you may prefer to build equity each month instead of handing your money to a landlord, most real estate specialists agree that if you are planning on moving away from the area in which you are currently living, then you should avoid purchasing a home until you know where you will be settling. If you purchase a home now, you may not be able to resell or rent the home when you move away.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Predetermined Budget

Once you have made the decision to purchase, develop a budget and stick to it. Going over your budget by $20,000 can be tempting as it is only a slight increase of what you were planning on spending. However, a potential homebuyer always needs to consider whether his or her mortgage will still be affordable if something unexpected should happen, such as job loss or illness. Those thousands of dollars extra could end up making a big difference in your home payment.

With all of this in mind, it is better to be pre-approved for your mortgage so you will know exactly what you have to spend. Putting down at least a 20 percent down payment is also helpful. Anything less than that will typically require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) until your equity hits the 20 percent mark.

Mistake #3: Failing to Account for the Costs of Owning a Home

It is sadly common for first-time homebuyers to overlook the additional costs of owning a home compared to renting. Besides the mortgage payment, there are extra expenses such as property taxes, utility bills that renters do not often pay (such as water and sewer bills), and home repair and maintenance costs. Remember to add these expenses into your monthly budget.

Mistake #4: Taking the Seller’s Word Without Documentation

Another mistake new homebuyers make is not getting everything in writing. For example, do not assume that the appliances come with the home unless your contract states that they do. Other household items that can cause conflict between a buyer and a seller include window drapes and blinds, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and bathroom fixtures. If the seller takes those items, then you as the buyer will have to replace them. Ask yourself how that expense will factor into the final sale price of the home.

Contact a Wheaton Real Estate Lawyer

If you are in the process of purchasing a home, please contact an experienced DuPage County real estate attorney to make sure that you are protected in the house sale. Call Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC at 630-665-2500 today.




Dealing with a Tenant's Security Deposit Dispute

Illinois landlord-tenant dispute lawyersEven the most meticulous landlord can experience a security deposit dispute. Thankfully, diligence tends to pay off in such matters. Learn more about how a few basic steps can help you fight and potentially win against a tenant's security deposit dispute, and discover how an experienced landlord-tenant dispute attorney can help.

Illinois' Rules on Security Deposits

Illinois has certain requirements regarding the return of security deposits with which landlords must comply. First and foremost, deposits are supposed to be returned to tenants within 30 to 45 days after they have vacated the premises, depending on whether the tenant disputes any of the deductions that were made against their deposit. If the tenant leased a unit from a property with five or more units, the landlord must also supply the tenant with an itemized statement that explains what deductions have been made, and why.

Dealing with a Tenant Lawsuit

Landlords are highly encouraged to develop a fail-proof system for taking in and ending a contract with tenants. Before and after video photographs, a walk-through checklist (preferably done with the tenant present), receipts and copies of repair or cleaning estimates, and a log of any hours that were spent on cleaning or repairs can both reduce confusion for your tenants and protect you in the event of a lawsuit. Of course, even landlords who take these measures experience disputes over the non-return or partial return of a security deposit – often because they do not agree with all or a portion of the itemized deductions that were made.

Tenants will typically contact their landlord by phone, email, in person, or via postal service before filing a claim. Use this opportunity to try and diffuse the situation, if possible, and if you failed to meet the deadline on their return, do what you can to make it right. Going to small claims court is an inconvenience, and if your tenant wins, you could lose the entire deposit. You may also experience hefty penalties or be assessed for punitive damages if a judge determines that you acted in bad faith. For this reason, landlords are encouraged to contact an attorney if they have reason to believe their tenant may win a dispute; doing so could improve the outcome of the situation.

Contact Our DuPage County Landlord-Tenant Dispute Lawyers

While an attorney is not required in a landlord-tenant dispute, having one on your side can reduce the work and stress that you experience while dealing with a tenant's security deposit dispute. Able to walk you through the steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment, the seasoned DuPage County landlord-tenant dispute lawyers at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC are the ones to trust. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.



Buying Foreclosed or Bank-Owned Property

Naperville real estate lawyersPurchasing a foreclosed or bank-owned property can save you a lot of money on the purchase of your home or investment property. However, this is not always the case. Instead, buyers need to be diligent, resourceful, and savvy to decrease the odds of a financial loss. The following information can help you learn more about buying a Real Estate Owned (REO) property, and it explains how an experienced real estate lawyer can assist with the process.

Be a Savvy Home Buyer

Whether you are investing with the hopes of one day making a return on the property, or are planning on making an REO your full-time residence, be a savvy home buyer. Make sure you are pre-approved for a loan or have the cash on hand to smooth the process, and know that some homes (particularly those with significant damage) may be ineligible for certain types of loans. If the property is distressed, an FHA loan may be your best option. Just keep in mind that some buyers might not be eligible for an FHA loan. In such situations, cash may be required.

Get Your Own Appraisal and Inspection

Although the bank may have already conducted an appraisal and inspection of the property, it is important that buyers obtain their own, separate from the bank. Doing so ensures that the buyer is aware of any major issues, and sometimes, separate inspections turn up damage that was not discovered during the bank's inspection or appraisal. Remember: it is critical that you know what you are getting into. Otherwise, you run the risk of financial loss, either through the home purchase price or while trying to make repairs.

Never Go Through the REO Buying Process Alone

While the state does not require the assistance of an attorney while buying a home, the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney is still encouraged. Able to protect your interests, assist you in negotiations, and skilled in navigating some of the most complex homeowner transactions, an attorney can improve your odds of a positive outcome.

Do not take chances with your money or investment property. Instead, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC for assistance with the purchase of your REO home or investment property. Backed by more than 40 of legal experience, our DuPage County real estate lawyers offer comprehensive and personalized real estate transaction services to meet your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation to get started. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.