Before I jump right in to what we know as the attorney review period, please note I write this from the perspective of real estate transactions in Northern Illinois. Other states operate differently as does much of Southern Illinois, many transactions not even involving attorneys.
Attorney Review Period Illinois – Agents Should Keep Out.
What is Attorney Review Period Illinois In Real Estate
One of the most important parts to our residential real estate sales contract is the attorney review and home inspection clauses. Today I am only discussing the attorney review side, even though they run side by side. Once a sales contract has been signed by buyers and sellers and delivered to each it becomes enforceable. Our attorney review clause allows for review by buyers and sellers attorneys, any requested changes must be served by each to the other side in writing within 5 days; Monday through Friday. A further 5 days is allowed for resolution, or extension of this time-frame as needed.
Attorneys can request changes to a contract but cannot request a change in agreed sale price. Most of what gets reviewed is the legal side of things and we agents have a fair idea of what is going on, what to expect etc. Hopefully we are kept in the loop as the review progresses, but that’s not always the case and something we understand.
If my client, whether buyer or seller wants legal advice from me, I am not legally qualified to give it to them. I must always defer to their attorney, ALWAYS!
Take a look at what this clause looks like on a contract.
Agents Should Not Meddle Inside Attorney Review!
This is extremely important! Once a contract has been delivered to attorneys for review, real estate agents or brokers should not be meddling inside. What do I mean by that?
Buyer has an attorney, seller has an attorney. Both buyers and sellers are talking through things with their attorney and a legal dialogue then opens up between attorneys. Changes are likely requested. For now I am not going to discuss what these might be, let’s just acknowledge they exist and it’s usually more than a single item. There’s a deadline for the dialogue and requests to be resolved at which point everyone has agreed any changes and the review period is finished. This does include home inspection issues because they occur at the same time. All changes are signed by attorneys and delivered.
Now what happens when I get asked a question or follow up request by the other side of this transaction, usually their REALTOR®, in the middle of the review.
I may have absolutely no knowledge of what stage the review is at, or at best I know things are being discussed by letter and by phone between attorneys but I do not know specifics. It isn’t my job to know specifics, that’s what the attorneys are doing under instructions from their clients. If I stick my nose in and start discussing things with the clients it’s going to lead to confusion at best and at worst a law suit. OK that’s pretty extreme but there’s no way I want to have my clients agree to something behind their attorneys back, communicate it to the other side and then have it backfire.
Take this one step further. Two parties on my side, let’s call them Mr and Mrs Seller. Mr Seller wants to take the lead with their attorney, Mrs Seller is happy about that, she can focus on packing. I get asked a question by buyers REALTOR® and seek answer ending up with Mrs seller on the phone who agrees to request. Mr Seller and attorney have already denied same request and buyers side has accepted it but it hasn’t reached a formal sign off yet because other questions are being addressed.
Now Mr Seller and his attorney learn of this changed agreement from the other side, having already thought the issue was resolved. Can you imagine how angry and stupid this is going to make them feel. Not to mention how Mr and Mrs Seller are going to have words later that day and guess where those fingers will be pointing! Yep, right at me and yes rightfully so.
All requests from clients and REALTORS® during attorney review must be sent to the attorneys to handle until…………..