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Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing a Residential Property

By March 4, 2020August 15th, 2023No Comments

Buying a home is an exciting step in life, but it rarely comes without complications.  The standard residential real estate process in Northeastern Illinois is long and potentially confusing, with many documents, dates, and fees to keep in mind, and that’s where the real estate attorney comes in. A real estate attorney – sometimes known as a “Closing Attorney” or a “Transactional Attorney” – is one of the key players in the residential real estate process, helping clients navigate through all the ins and outs of this big step in their lives.

Below are some of the most important Do’s and Don’ts from our team at Adam Diamond Law.


  • DO get excited about your new home. This is a big deal and a chance for so many new opportunities. Get to know your new home and the new community. Some local businesses have local specials and discounts for new people to the area.
  • DO assemble your team ahead of time. Making sure you have someone by your side for each step of the process is crucial, and picking team members you trust early on saves you time and money. Most Buyers need a:
    • Realtor (the licensed real estate salesperson)
    • Lender (the person or group lending money)
    • Insurance Agent (for homeowner’s insurance)
    • Home Inspector (responsible for the inspection report); and
    • Real Estate Attorney (the lawyer helping you navigate the logistics)
  • DO know who does what. Your team is there to support you, but it’s important that you do your best to keep track of what they’re doing. Who schedules the home inspection?  Who orders the appraisal? Who do you call for this or that? If you don’t know, ask.

  • DO get pre-qualified for your loan before you make an offer. This will make your offer stronger because the Seller knows that that you had a lender run your credit and you appear qualified.
  • DO know your numbers.  You need to work carefully with your lender to make sure you know exactly how much your down payment is (not the % down on your loan, but the actual amount of money you need to bring to the closing) and what your monthly payments will be.
  • DO review the personal property list in the contract of the things that the Seller is leaving for you in the house (appliances, furniture, etc.) If there is a mistake, make sure to clarify, in writing, exactly what things the Seller needs to leave for you. Miscommunications about what stays and what goes can create huge problems at the closing table.
  • DO take a look at the real estate tax bill and tax assessment. Look to see if the Seller is getting any discounts or exemptions, or if the property is assessed for a lot less than you are paying. These things can mean that your taxes are going to go up and you need to budget for a bigger monthly payment. (If you need help understanding your tax bill, ask your realtor or real estate attorney.)


  • DON’T let all of these details take away from the excitement of a new home. You want to purchase this house for a reason. This process is helping you reach that goal.
  • DON’T be shy. Ask lots of questions. Most of your team loves what they do and are happy to share their knowledge. There are no dumb questions. We know you don’t buy houses every day.
  • DON’T forget to calculate utility costs in your budget. You can ask sellers for the prior utility bills or costs so you can get a feel for how much to budget for them.
  • DON’T wait until the last minute for things – especially for your lender. Once all of the details of the contract are straightened out, your lender is the key to getting you across the finish line: the closing table with a smile and a shiny new set of keys. Many lenders need to process things through a lot of red tape, so work with them to keep the process moving. 

On the other hand, if you need more time for your home inspection or mortgage commitment, let your lawyer know ahead of time and we can request the extension you need. If something is wrong, let you team know ASAP. The faster we know what the issues, the faster we can come up with a solution.

  • DON’T forget to get a quote for your homeowner’s insurance at the beginning of the process to know how much the cost will be.  You may also want to check with your insurance agent about prior insurance claims on the property.
  • DON’T forget to look over the by-laws, rules, and regulations if you are buying a home with a homeowner’s association. Once you purchase your home, you are automatically part of the association and are responsible to follow all of these rules. In most cases, once you receive a copy of the rules, you have some time to review them and to determine if you want to terminate the contract based on the rules (rental restrictions, parking issues, pets, etc.).
  • DON’T ever use instructions for wiring money that you receive via email without verifying them over the phone with the title company or brokerage company you are sending the wire to. Wire fraud is a huge problem with real estate transactions and you need to be very careful to make sure your money goes to the right place.

This may seem like a lot of information, but in reality your real estate lawyer and everyone on your team will be happy to help you make the right choices to get you your dream home. For more tips and FAQs, check out the Adam Diamond Law blog page

Adam Diamond Law has worked with Buyers and Sellers throughout McHenry County. If you are looking for an experienced team of lawyers to help you navigate through the buying process, we are happy to help.

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