Getting Started: Buying a Home
The Attorney Review Period
In Illinois, most standard form residential real estate contracts contain an “attorney review” clause.
Typically, a buyer makes a written offer by submitting the contract with proposed terms to the seller. If the seller accepts, the contract then goes to each party’s respective attorney who will review the contract and may propose new, additional terms to make the contract more favorable for his or her client. Many clients view this as a frustration, particularly when they believe they “had a deal” which now seems to be up for renegotiation.
Attorney review (in conjunction with the inspection contingency period) is useful for addressing issues raised by inspection. Such instances could include negotiating a closing credit for repairs that were missed during the showings, giving the seller more time to make repairs requested by buyer, or changing the closing date.
Attorney review also gives the attorneys an opportunity to scan the contract for appropriate legal protections that the realtors may have been unaware of. Attorney review is often seen as “an out” if the buyer gets cold feet or otherwise wants to back out of the contract in its early stages.
If the parties cooperate and everyone wants the deal to get done, attorney review helps foster a transaction that is satisfactory to both sides.
Keep in mind that the attorney review period in a standard contract is very brief, so make sure your attorney is made aware of the transaction as soon as possible.