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Getting Started: Selling a Home

Know Before You List


1. Make sure you actually own the property.

You’re probably thinking, seriously? However, if you obtained the property through an inheritance, quit claim deed, or other unusual circumstance, it will save you a ton of headaches during closing to educate and possibly fix any title issues ahead of time. You may still be able to list depending on your exact situation, but you can check with me to make sure.

2. Understand your condominium association

If you want to sell a condo, things like upcoming special assessments, water leaks, and lack of reserves can raise buyers’ eyebrows… almost nothing is insurmountable, but you want to know as much as you can ahead of time so that you can communicate openly and fairly with buyers.If you have not been to a condo board meeting in years, now might be the time to check that out.

3.  Know your closing costs 

In most residential real estate deals in Illinois, the seller is responsible for title insurance, paying the realtors, certain taxes, and possibly condo transfer fees.  Unexpected surprises during the closing like unpaid taxes or special assessments can cause delays and leave you unable to renegotiate the price to meet your bottom line.  Just make sure that you know what you are facing so you walk away from the closing table satisfied!


4.  Talk to your attorney about disclosures

In Illinois, statutory law mandates that sellers disclose certain material defects with their property that they about, for example, flooding in a crawl space or defects in the foundation.If you fail to disclose these items and they later cause problems for your buyer, you could be liable to the buyer for not only their actual damages, but attorneys’ fees and costs.If you have concerns about your property, you should discuss the statute in detail with your lawyer.


5. Be aware of land encroachment issues

If you own a standalone building, be aware of any encroachment issues.  Your survey may reveal, for example, that you have a fence which extends over your neighbor’s property by a few inches or a porch that does not comply with municipal set back rules.  These issues are not always a big deal, but buyers could use that information to negotiate price considerations.  You will want to address these issues with your broker and attorney ahead of time.

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