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Attorney Approval Clause in Illinois Real Estate

Posted by Steven H. Fagan | May 22, 2024 | 0 Comments

There's one thing most people get wrong about lawyers and real estate transactions. They think attorneys can basically come into the deal and change anything. Although that's a big ego boost for us lawyers, the truth is quite a bit more limited.

The Surprising Limits of the Attorney Approval Clause in an Illinois Real Estate Contract

Anyone who has read even a few paragraphs into any residential real estate contract in Illinois knows there is an "Attorney Approval" clause, but few take the time to read it critically, and fewer still realize how that clause functions. Most people mistakenly believe "Attorney Approval" means that a lawyer can make changes at will at any time up until closing. We've even heard experienced Real Estate agents and brokers say things like "don't worry, if you don't like it, your lawyer can always change things later". 

The reality is that the Attorney Approval clause is there specifically to limit the time frame within which a lawyer can make changes or object to terms of the deal. In some cases, clients have come to us for the first time seeking representation in their home purchase or sale long after the Attorney Approval period has expired, significantly weakening their bargaining position and what adjustments an attorney can effectively apply to your contract. 

5 Days to Avoid a Mess

In Illinois, the common practice is to allow five business days for attorney approval. Within that five day period, the attorney can disapprove of the contract, effectively ending the deal. The attorney can also request extensions on dates for funding, inspection and more. At its very core, the attorney approval clause can simply be a on overall review of the contract to make certain the terms are fair and the contract is valid and properly executed. In some cases, there can be little mistakes that an attorney might catch that could cause serious disadvantage later to either party.

Waiting too Long Can Forfeit Attorney Approval

What happens if you have that five business days but you don't get the contract to your attorney too late? In that case, you may be stuck with the existing terms of the agreement, so long as the agreement is a valid one. On the other hand, making timely use of this time period in Illinois real estate transactions can avoid a promising real estate deal devolving into a nightmare and even lengthy and costly litigation.

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Illinois (or both) you should involve a residential real estate attorney in the process as early as possible. Call the Illinois Real Estate lawyers at Fagan, Fagan & Davis now at (847) 635-8200 for help. 

About the Author

Steven H. Fagan

Steve Fagan earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, is a member of the NCDD, NACDL, ISBA and a founding member of the DUIDLA. He is published and has taught CLE for lawyers on subjects such as sex offenses, DUI and criminal defense, focuses on trial work and Real Estate closings


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