Now that we’ve started to look at homes for you, you need to pick a Real Estate Attorney to represent you in the transaction.  While being represented by an attorney isn’t mandatory in IL, our guess is that 99% of all buyers and sellers have an attorney represent them.  You don’t want to be the only one without an attorney if the sellers have an attorney.  And, while some buyers say they don’t want an attorney to represent them, we strongly recommend it as the best outcome is a smooth sailing transaction with no problems. However, it’s common for there to be at least one hiccup with every deal, some of which can be fairly complicated, which is why it’s important to have a good real estate attorney on your side.  It’s basically an insurance policy in case things go wrong.  This is also why we recommend hiring a REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY, not Uncle Bob who practices family law.  No disrespect to Uncle Bob, but real estate in IL is very specific and it’s best to have someone represent you who knows the law inside and out.  Click here to watch a great video from one of my recommended lenders, Amir Syed, on why it’s important to hire a real estate attorney

So, what does the attorney do? The attorney:

  1. Reviews the contract and negotiates any change with the seller’s attorney
  2. Assists with the negotiation of any inspection issues
  3. Helps you further understand the contract and makes sure your interests are protected
  4. Helps you decide how to take title
  5. Makes sure the title is clear
  6. Files extension requests (inspection, attorney review, mortgage, etc.) as needed
  7. Works with your lender to ensure a timely loan commitment
  8. Closely reviews the settlement statement (HUD) including any taxes owed, adjustments, closing cost credits, etc. prior to closing
  9. Prepares all legal documents
  10. Schedules the closing
  11. Conducts the closing at a title company and explains all of the documents to you as you sign them
  12. Ensures title insurance is in order

The above list is IF everything goes perfectly. If it doesn’t and the contract needs to be cancelled, earnest money needs to be refunded, etc. the attorney will handle these items as well.  This is why it’s crucial to have a good Real Estate attorney as part of your team.

How much does the attorney cost?

Typically in IL a real estate attorney charges between $600 – $950 depending on the time of the year and how busy they are. You do not pay them up front. Rather their fee is part of your closing cost and is paid at closing. If a contract is cancelled due to an inspection issue, etc. you generally do not have to pay the attorney anything unless the transaction closes.

Picking an attorney

Here are our favorite Real Estate attorneys:

Julia S Bruce

5923 N Keating Ave
Chicago, IL 60646
Office: 773.343.4670
Fax: 773.345.4170


Michelle Laiss

1530 W. Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614


Thomas Hawbecker

26 Blaine Street
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521

Our recommendation is to email them to see what their fee currently is, see who responds quickest and which one you like the most.  Once you’ve picked an attorney, please let us know.  This should be done WHILE we are hunting for a property for you. That way you know who your attorney is going to be once we are ready to put an offer in on a property as I have to put who your attorney is on the contract.  It’s all about putting together a great team which consists of your Realtor (the Buy Sell Love Chicago team), your mortgage lender, your attorney, and your home inspector.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.