Legal updates from our Association Attorney

By Gary S. Mueller, Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Attorney

Phone:  815-725-7300                        e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gary Mueller resized cropped CopySterlingR 2018 Med

May, 2018

I hope this finds you well. As I prepare this, I simply cannot believe the weather in April---argh. I believe there have been as many professional baseball games postponed as played. Interesting that the local high school teams (and their parents) seem to still be able to play in less than optimal conditions----and the players play without financial compensation.  Interesting, no?

From time to time, I like to share tidbits of info in this space as well as updates on pending matters when possible. This presentation highlights those points.

In our area, the available sale inventory is tight. We are back to a market with multiple offers and quick contracts. In the excitement, make sure to reconfirm your company policy and licensing guidelines concerning presentation of offers and providing reasoned and appropriate insight to your clients about what is and is not acceptable in such situations.  Please be careful to counsel that, when considering multiple offers, purchase price may not be the overriding factor and, if a contract has already been accepted, should not be the determinative factor in terminating one contract in favor of a potential, new offer.  As I communicate with agents throughout the area (especially while attending meeting for the 7.0 Multi-Board revision committee), it is abundantly clear that our area is dissimilar to other relatively local areas.  In short, not all areas are experiencing a seller’s market.  I point this out solely for informational purposes.  Thus, while we may be experiencing the multiple offer scenarios more frequently than normal for this time of year, other areas are not in the same boat.  Please make the time to re-educate yourself and those in your office to the potential traps and concerns when faced with multiple offers.  It is a great problem to have from a business standpoint; please do NOT allow it to become a licensure/ethics problem.

I have recently experienced a major increase in the number of IHDA grant situations with first time home buyers.  In short, what a wonderful way for a first time home buyer to get into a home.  Please make sure to educate yourself about the process. The grant requires a number of forms be completed and signed by both buyer and seller. The grant does NOT cost the seller anything, but the seller may not understand the import of signing the IHDA paperwork---without it, the buyer cannot receive the grant.  The grant actually does not cost the buyer anything, provided the buyer stays in the property for 5 years. For each year the buyer remains in the property, $1500 of the grant is “forgiven” (does not have to be repaid). If the buyer moves in year four out of five, he/she/they will have to repay $1500 (plus, perhaps, any applicable fees at that point in the program).  Also, if your client may qualify for the program, make sure to a) inform the client of the grant, and b) indicate that the buyer must team with a lender authorized to fund the grant (as not all lenders or credit unions are authorized).  Being informed about the program keeps you a step ahead of some agents and reconfirms your relevance to the process!

Some facts and figures to share from the April edition of Illinois REALTOR®---

  1. 63% of consumers say that they would live further away from work if they bought a driverless car (in my opinion, this would be akin to the train or bus, but on the owner’s terms);
  2. Currently, it appears the rental housing market may be cooling after over a decade of growth.  The factors affecting this apparent shift may include fewer newer rental property options, new lender programs to assist home buyers (see IHDA discussion above), new lender programs for down payment assistance for NON-first time home buyers who qualify, and a growing desire for younger people to buy rather than “throw their money away renting” (it is a mentality, not necessarily a reality);
  3. 34% of sellers (not necessarily in our area) offer incentives like home warranty or closing cost credits in order to sell their homes;
  4. 89% of sellers (not necessarily in our area) used an agent to sell their homes. In our area, this percentage may be going lower-----due to the seller’s market and the desire by sellers to “save” the money to be paid out in commissions;
  5. 64% of sellers found their agents through friends, family, or co-workers.

Finally, the work of the 7.0 Committee continues. Please let me know if you have an suggested changes. One of the proposals being considered, concerning an AS IS deal and specifically addressing the inspection of a property sold AS IS, is to clarify the options to the buyer after an inspection is completed. The Buyer should only have two options in an AS IS deal---timely notify the Seller that the Buyer disapproves the condition of the property and terminates the contract, or Buyer proceeds with the deal. The clarification to the situation may be that, in an AS IS deal, the Buyer cannot seek any repairs from the Seller---either buy the property or don’t, there is no in between.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the 7.0 Committee.  Please feel free to contact me via email or phone with any other suggestions. Take care. All My best!

Gary