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When Do I Need a Lawyer After I Sell My House? The ISBA Offers Some Sound Advice

Question:  I put my house on the market and am about to accept a buyer’s offer.  Do I need to hire a lawyer at this stage of the sale? Answer: Once you accept the offer, you and the buyer have a “binding contract,” which sets forth the rights of both the seller and buyer.  The contract should include all the terms of your sale, such as sales price, earnest money deposit, financing terms, closing date, possession date, personal property to be included in the sale, tax pro-rations, and rights of inspection and possession.  Since the contract is the most important document involved in the sale of a home, it is essential that you understand the terms of the offer.  Do not sign any offer with conditions you do not understand.  A real estate lawyer can assist you in reviewing your offer and making any counter-offers.  If you MUST accept an offer from a buyer prior to consulting with your lawyer, make sure your contract allows for a lawyer to review it and modify its provisions, if necessary.     For more information about Illinois law, visit  If you have a legal question, send it to Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit