Whenever you enter into a purchase and sale agreement in Illinois, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you will agree to an Attorney Review provision. To be sure, Illinois is somewhat unique in this way, and not many states require a lawyer for Real Estate contracts. To clarify, this article will inform you when attorney review happens, what the attorney does and how to get the most for your money in your review.

I have included a copy of the standard contract here for you to follow along. Here, we will be looking at Article 10 (Line 135).


When does Attorney Review happen?

Nearly every contract for Residential Real Estate in Illinois includes a standard attorney modification clause. Specifically, this clause states that both parties have five business days from the signing to submit their attorney letters. For those five days, the attorneys can accept the sale contract, decline it, or propose modifications. Typically, the attorney proposes modifications, but we will get into that later.

Now, I have never accepted a contract without a change to benefit my client. However, I’ve never rejected one either. But, I often modify them. Typically, I ask for small things, like more specific financing dates, FHA compatibility or addenda about fixtures. Also, we frequently specify the home warranty provider during this time.

Once we propose modifications to the contract, the other side has 5 more business days to agree or counter-offer. Exactly, this means that by the 14th calendar day from the day you sign, the contract is usually either in its final form or the sale fell through.

What does the Attorney Modify?

Honestly, we do most of the work on the entire transaction during this period! In particular, we fix the contract to say what your lender or title company will need it to say. Moreover, we make sure that anything specific that you decided you wanted is now in the contract. Further, we can add clauses for more specific inspections, or pick a service provider, or even set the closing date!

Equally important, the attorney modification letter often includes the inspection letter. While I’ll get back to this in another post, the inspection letter is a list a professional helps your team prepare to fix everything that needs fixing. In attorney review, we are often making the property safe for you to purchase and move into!

How do I get the most out of it?

The most important thing to do is to talk to your attorney. Tell the attorney what you paid for the property! Also, tell us how much earnest money you put down. It is so important for us to confirm the dollars and cents before we do anything else.

Moreover, tell us anything that’s on your mind! If you need time to sell one home to afford another, let us know so we can make sure. Similarly, if you need two weeks to get good financing, let us know! Also, if you’re considering an as-is sale, or the property is subject to a homeowner’s association you should tell us that now.

In conclusion, while no contract is ever perfect, this is the process where we make it perfect for your needs. As such, we always need to hear from our clients to learn what they need to make it work so we can help them get the best deal possible. Be sure to reach out early and often during your transaction.