Skaar Law Office | CONTACT

We've 

handled 

more 

than

0

real 

estate 

deals 

(and 

counting!), 

 so 

you're 

in 

good 

hands.

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE ROAD MAP

  • STEP 1: CONTRACT SIGNED
    In our area, it's customary for residential buyers and sellers to utilize lawyers in routine real estate transactions - so after the contract is signed, your agent will forward it to your lawyer.

    PS... Wondering why you need a lawyer for a real estate deal? Check out our explanation here.
  • STEP 2: ATTORNEY REVIEW PERIOD
    The "attorney review period" begins the day after the contract has been signed by both the buyers and the sellers. This gives each side 5 days to have the contract reviewed by their lawyers, with the opportunity to modify terms, if needed.
  • STEP 3: HOME INSPECTION
    Buyers can hire a professional home inspector to check out every nook and cranny of the house.
  • STEP 4: AGREEING TO CHANGES
    The attorneys negotiate any changes, including items to be repaired or credits at closing.
  • STEP 5: BEHIND-THE-SCENES
    This step involves lots of work behind the scenes... Title insurance and surveys are ordered, HOA documents are reviewed, and most importantly, the buyer's loan goes through the underwriting process.
  • STEP 6: CLEAR TO CLOSE
    If the buyer is financing with a mortgage loan, these are the magic words that everyone's waiting to hear! "Clear to close" means that the loan has been fully approved and the lender is prepared to issue the funds needed to buy the house.
  • STEP 7: PREPARING FOR CLOSING
    The seller will sign closing documents (including the deed), and the buyer will tie up any loose ends required by the lender. The closing typically takes place at a local title company's office, and the buyer usually attends with his/her attorney.
  • STEP 8: CLOSING STATEMENT
    The title company keeps track of all of the money changing hands throughout the transaction. This involves not only the purchase price, but also things like survey fees, loan fees, HOA dues, and attorney's fees. A "master statement" is then generated showing each party's "credits" and "debits," allowing us to calculate how much the buyer needs to bring to the closing table.
  • STEP 9: THE CLOSING
    At the closing, the buyer's attorney will walk the buyer through signing all of the loan documents and other closing forms. Once everything is filled out correctly and signed, the lender disburses the funds and the buyer leaves closing with the keys to their new home!
  • STEP 10: AFTER CLOSING
    The title company sends important documents like the mortgage and deed off to be officially recorded at the county recorder's office after closing. Once recorded, those documents are passed along to the buyer's attorney's office, and then on to the buyer!

BUYER FAQs

Great question! Realtors do an excellent job helping you find your dream home, but our part begins once the contract is signed. Real estate attorneys are experienced in negotiating terms into the contract that protect both buyers and sellers, and we can communicate efficiently and effectively with the other side to make the contract work well for everyone. It’s our job to handle title insurance, which is an extremely crucial part of any real estate deal. It’s also our job to make sure that all of the contract terms are followed to a “T,” and to review technical documents like the survey to make sure that you’re getting fully “clean title” with no liens or encumbrances that could impact your ownership rights. We also walk our clients through all of the closing documents, which can be complicated at times — if any are filled out incorrectly, this can delay or even prevent closing! If you’re still on the fence, we definitely suggest that you ask your Realtor whether he/she recommends that you work with a real estate attorney. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you have any questions at all – that’s what we’re here for!
The real estate purchase process is complicated enough, so to make things simple, our fee just gets added to what’s known as the “Master Statement,” so you don’t need to pay us separately – our fees are bundled in with all of the other closing costs.

Another common question is how much do we charge? It’s a good question, and while our prices can vary somewhat based on the complexity of the real estate deal, for typical transactions our base pricing is $550 to represent residential buyers. A “typical” transaction means a residential real estate transaction in which both parties are represented by real estate agents, located in Kane County (or closing within 15 miles of Geneva), with no out-of-the-ordinary factors like extensive attorney review or inspection, some higher-end homes (since these deals often involve more intensive contract negotiations), specialized tax issues, and other nonstandard features. If you’re not sure whether your transaction would be considered a “typical” transaction for pricing purposes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss pricing, including via email or text message.

Real estate attorney pricing is no secret in our industry, as both attorneys’ fees are shown on the “Master Statement” at closing for anyone involved in the transaction to see. Our prices are comparable to many other quality real estate attorneys in our area, and we’re very proud to offer our clients highly personalized service and years of expertise. And we’re not a bad deal, either! On average, we spend at least 4-5 hours (and often more!) on real estate deals for buyers. Compare our fixed-fee price of $550 to the average hourly attorney rate for most other types of work, and you’ll see that our standard prices are actually discounted by over 50% for residential real estate.

When you work with Skaar Law Office for your real estate deal, you will get the kind of personalized service that many of us have come to know and love from our local businesses.We will know your name and the details of your transaction – no explanation or jumping through hoops to get ahold of someone who can help you. We pride ourselves on our personal service, and our #1 priority is always to answer our clients’ questions and make them feel as comfortable as possible with this process. You’ll also be able to email, call, or text your attorney directly on her personal cell phone at any time with any questions you might have… And as a matter of fact, we might as well just give that contact info to you now! Please feel free to reach out to Laura, one of our attorneys, any time with any questions you might have – whether you’re one of our clients or not. You can reach her via email at laura@skaarlaw.com, or via phone or text message at (630) 277-9509.

(Please note that the rates above are provided for convenience only, reflect pricing for standard transactions only, and are subject to change at any time. Last updated March 9, 2021.)
If your home inspection reveals issues that need to be addressed, or that might cause additional expense or repairs later on, your real estate attorney can advise you on ways to address this during the attorney review and inspection period. While the contract does not allow us to ask the seller to address very minor issues like burnt-out lightbulbs or paint scuffs, we can negotiate repairs or credits for things like leaky plumbing, broken doors or windows, furnace repairs, and lots more! Radon is also a commonly-negotiated issue; in our area it’s very common for sellers to agree to pay for the installation of a radon mitigation system if elevated radon levels are detected in the home. Make sure to review any areas of concern in your inspection report with your real estate attorney to make sure that you’re not leaving money on the table!
This is a common concern among buyers, and rightfully so! Buying a house is a major investment for most of us, so we want to rest assured that we aren’t going to be faced with a major issue down the road. If your inspection uncovers a major issue such as foundation problems or the like, the contract does allow us to back out of the contract under some circumstances, provided that we act in a timely manner. This is one of many reasons why it’s very important for buyers to stay in close contact with their real estate attorneys — you’d be surprised how much we can do to help with a variety of scenarios, as long as we’re kept in the loop!
While it’s very important that you only submit a signed contract on a house that you’re ready to buy, sometimes things come up that are beyond our control (like a change in financial status, or the discovery of a major issue with the home). Depending on your specific circumstance, your real estate attorney may be able to help you find a way to legally “back out” of your obligation to purchase the property.
Another very good question that we are often asked at the beginning of a deal! The short answer is: “it depends” (we are lawyers, after all!). Specifically, the main variable in determining your “cash to close”, especially early on in a real estate deal, is whether you are using a lender to finance your purchase. There’s a very wide variation in the amount of fees a lender might charge for things like loan origination, processing, appraisal, buying “points,” and much more. Then we have to factor in your down payment (in proportion to the purchase price), as well as other things like the property’s real estate taxes, your homeowner’s insurance premiums, and whether the seller is giving you any credits at closing.

Ultimately, buyers can expect to get more of a firm estimated “cash to close” as we approach the closing date. Normally we should be able to provide this figure within several days of closing, because the title company (who coordinates all things relating to the closing) compiles what’s called a “Master Statement” showing all of the money changing hands relating to your transaction – which includes the purchase price, earnest money, loan fees, title insurance fees, survey and attorney’s fees, credits to the buyer, real estate taxes… Well, you get the idea. Let us know if you have any specific time constraints, and we will do our best to get estimated figures to you when you need them.
Title insurance might not be the world’s most thrilling topic, but if you’d like to know that you actually have “clear title” to the house you’re paying a whole lot of money for, it’s very important to have title insurance!

Title insurance companies (often through real estate attorneys) conduct an extensive search into county records for your property. They verify that the seller does, in fact, legally own the property, whether there are any mortgages or other liens on the property, and what “encumbrances” exist – things like easements, restrictive covenants, or other rules applying to your property. The “insurance” part comes into play because the title company issues a policy guaranteeing to the property’s owner that no one else will ever come along and claim that they have better title to the property than you do. If that ever were to happen (which is very, very rare), the title insurance company would provide you with all the assistance you need to resolve the issue.

In most cases, the seller pays for what’s called the “owner’s policy,” which is the insurance policy that covers your investment as the buyer (and future owner) of the property. This is the more expensive policy; the price varies based on the sale price of the home, but normally starts at around $1,800 plus fees. Buyers using a traditional mortgage lender normally are also required to purchase a “lender’s title insurance policy,” which serves the same purpose but protects the lender’s investment (the mortgage loan). Buyers pay for the lender policy, since they’re required to get the mortgage loan, but they cost much less than the owner’s policy – usually in the $500-600 range.

(Please note that the rates above are provided as estimates only and are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Skaar Law Office does not determine the price of title insurance or related fees at any title company. Last updated March 9, 2021.)
Most closings in our area are held at the office of a local title insurance company (more on title insurance below). Currently, during the pandemic, only buyers and their attorneys attend closing in order to limit the number of people attending. Before that, it was common for buyers, sellers, and both parties’ attorneys and real estate agents to all attend the closing.

The most important thing that happens at most closings is that the buyer signs his/her mortgage documents. This is often quite an impressive pile of paperwork! The buyer’s attorney walks the buyer through all of the documents, explaining what each one is for and where to sign and initial. Once signed, the paperwork is sent electronically to the lender, who reviews to make sure that everything looks correct. After that’s done, the lender will authorize the title company to release funds to the seller and all other parties, and the buyer leaves the closing with keys to their new home!

SELLER FAQs

Great question! Realtors do an excellent job helping you find your dream home, but our part begins once the contract is signed. Real estate attorneys are experienced in negotiating terms into the contract that protect both buyers and sellers, and we can communicate efficiently and effectively with the other side to make the contract work well for everyone. It’s our job to handle order title insurance on behalf of the seller, which is an extremely crucial part of any real estate deal. It’s also our job to make sure that all of the contract terms are followed to a “T,” and to review technical documents like the survey to make sure that you’re able to convey fully “clean title” to the buyer with no liens or encumbrances that could impact your ownership rights. We also prepare all of your closing documents ahead of time, so all you need to do on closing day is get paid! If you’re still on the fence, we definitely suggest that you ask your Realtor whether he/she recommends that you work with a real estate attorney. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you have any questions at all – that’s what we’re here for!
The real estate purchase process is complicated enough, so to make things simple, our fee just gets added to what’s known as the “Master Statement,” so you don’t need to pay us separately – our fees are bundled into your “bottom line” with all of the other closing costs, like title fees, survey, and your real estate agent’s commission.

Another common question is how much do we charge? It’s a good question, and while our prices can vary somewhat based on the complexity of the real estate deal, for typical transactions our base pricing is $500 to represent residential sellers. A “typical” transaction means a residential real estate transaction in which both parties are represented by real estate agents, located in Kane County (or closing within 15 miles of Geneva), with no out-of-the-ordinary factors like extensive attorney review or inspection, some higher-end homes (since these deals often involve more intensive contract negotiations), specialized tax issues, and other nonstandard features. If you’re not sure whether your transaction would be considered a “typical” transaction for pricing purposes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss pricing, including via email or text message.

Real estate attorney pricing is no secret in our industry, as both attorneys’ fees are shown on the “Master Statement” at closing for anyone involved in the transaction to see. Our prices are comparable to many other quality real estate attorneys in our area, and we’re very proud to offer our clients highly personalized service and years of expertise. And we’re not a bad deal, either! On average, we spend at least 4-5 hours (and often more!) on real estate deals for buyers. Compare our fixed-fee price of $500 to the average hourly attorney rate for most other types of work, and you’ll see that our standard prices are actually discounted by over 50% for residential real estate.

When you work with Skaar Law Office for your real estate deal, you will get the kind of personalized service that many of us have come to know and love from our local businesses. We will know your name and the details of your transaction – no explanation or jumping through hoops to get ahold of someone who can help you. We pride ourselves on our personal service, and our #1 priority is always to answer our clients’ questions and make them feel as comfortable as possible with this process. You’ll also be able to email, call, or text your attorney directly at any time with any questions you might have… And as a matter of fact, we might as well just give that contact info to you now! Please feel free to reach out to Laura, one of our attorneys, any time with any questions you might have – whether you’re one of our clients or not. You can reach her via email at laura@skaarlaw.com, or via phone or text message at (630) 277-9509.

(Please note that the rates above are provided for convenience only, reflect pricing for standard transactions only, and are subject to change at any time. Last updated March 9, 2021.)
If the buyer’s home inspection reveals issues that may need to be addressed, or that might cause additional expense or repairs later on, they are entitled to ask you to perform repairs or provide a credit at closing. These issues are negotiated during the inspection period, which takes place during the first week after the contract is signed (and may be extended if more time is needed). While the contract does not allow buyers to ask you to address very minor issues like burnt-out lightbulbs or paint scuffs, they are able to request repairs or credits for things like leaky plumbing, broken doors or windows, furnace repairs, or radon mitigation, among others. Your real estate attorney will review the buyer’s requests with you, and you will have the option to agree to repairs, offer a credit, or reject any individual request.
While it’s very important that you only accept an offer on your home if you’re ready to move forward with it, sometimes things come up that are beyond our control (like a change in financial status, or the discovery of a major issue with the home). Depending on your specific circumstance, your real estate attorney may be able to help you find a way to legally “back out” of your obligation to sell the property.
Title insurance might not be the world’s most thrilling topic, but since most people like to know that they’re actually getting “clear title” to the house that they’re paying a whole lot of money for, it’s very important! Title insurance companies (often through real estate attorneys) conduct an extensive search into county records for your property. They verify that you do, in fact, legally own the property, whether there are any mortgages or other liens on the property, and what “encumbrances” exist – things like easements, restrictive covenants, or other rules applying to the property. The “insurance” part comes into play because the title company issues a policy guaranteeing to the property’s owner that no one else will ever come along and claim that they have better title to the property than they do. If that ever were to happen (which is very, very rare), the title insurance company would provide the owner with all the assistance they need to resolve the issue.

In our area, it’s customary that the seller pays for what’s called the “owner’s policy,” which is the insurance policy that covers the buyer (and future owner) of the property. The price of this policy varies based on the sale price of the home, but normally starts at around $1,800 plus fees. Buyers using a traditional mortgage lender normally also need a “lender’s title insurance policy,” which protects the lender’s investment (the mortgage loan). Buyers pay for this lender policy, since they need it to get the mortgage loan.

(Please note that the rates above are provided as estimates only and are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Skaar Law Office does not determine the price of title insurance or related fees at any title company. Last updated March 9, 2021.)
Your real estate attorney should give you a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to provide prior to closing. Our office provides this list to sellers at the very beginning of the transaction, so that they can gather the information as soon as possible to avoid potential delays. Every deal is slightly different, but in an “average” transaction a seller might need to provide:
  • Mortgage payoff statement (free and easy to order online or via phone)
  • HOA disclosure package (prices vary based on your HOA, but we have detailed instructions for ordering on the most commonly-used platform, called HomeWise Docs)
Another very good question that we are often asked at the beginning of a deal! The short answer is: “it depends” (we are lawyers, after all!). There are several pieces of information that we use to determine your estimated payout, as well as several variable amounts that may change during the transaction. As a rough estimate, start with the sale price and subtract your real estate agent’s commission. You’ll also be paying for the title insurance policy (rates are based on the sale price of the home, starting at around $1,750), as well as several other fees to the title insurance company in exchange for them acting as the “escrow agent” for the transaction (they take in all the money for the deal and distribute it out wherever it needs to go). You’ll also be giving the buyer a credit for the real estate taxes for the most recent full year, as well as prorated daily for the current year through closing. Any closing cost credits that you agree to give to the buyer will also be deducted. You’ll also need to subtract your full mortgage payoff (the amount to pay off your remaining mortgage loan in full), if you have a mortgage on the property. Other charges like the survey fee and attorney’s fee are also deducted from the sale price to reach your bottom line.

If that sounds like a lot of math to you, you’re absolutely right! But don’t worry… It’s our job to calculate all of these figures to prepare for closing, so you’ll never need to try to figure these amounts out yourself. If you have any questions about your sale proceeds, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll be happy to give you an estimate based on the current figures. Normally the “official” figures are compiled by the title company several days before closing.

Now, to everyone’s favorite part… The proceeds check! Since sellers are not currently attending closings due to COVID-19, there are 3 ways that you can get your sale proceeds after the closing is complete. If you’re local to the area, you can arrange to pick up your check at the title company after closing. Otherwise, most people choose to have their checks mailed; the title company we use, Chicago Title, overnights the checks via FedEx. Otherwise, you can arrange to have your proceeds wired directly to your bank account after closing (please note that wire transfers do need to be arranged in advance of closing).
To make a long story short… Nope, probably not! Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, only buyers and their attorneys are able to attend closing in order to limit the number of people gathering at the title company’s office. Before that, it was common for buyers, sellers, and both parties’ attorneys and real estate agents to all attend the closing.

As a result, sellers now close fully “remotely”. This means that we will arrange for you to sign all of your closing documents several days (or more) before the actual closing. For many of these documents, including the deed, we need to provide the signed originals to the buyer at closing – so this means that you will either need to drop off your signed originals at our office, or mail them to us in advance of closing. (Don’t worry – the deed and other closing documents are only given to the buyer once the closing is complete and all money has been received, so there’s no risk to you in executing the documents ahead of time.)

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