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Things to remember:

     1. Check with your lender and your attorney to assist with this estimate because several variables may exist. We recommend adding a cushion of $1,000.00 above the bottom line amount. The bottom line is just a rough estimate and closing costs often are adjusted at closing. The title company will cut a check directly back to you for any excess funds you bring to closing.

2.Special arrangements and extra time may be necessary if your funds are coming from:

– An investment account

– Large checks from another bank recently deposited into your account.

– Wired funds.

– Any other funds other than funds from your local bank that have not been in the account for at least ten days.

3. Bring your checkbook. The title company will take personal checks for small amounts (a few hundred dollars) if the estimated bottom line proves to be inaccurate for any reason. It is always a good idea to bring your checkbook with you to the closing.

4. Holding Title. If more than one person will take title to the property, the method that the owners hold title must be thought about. In other words, what is the relationship between the owners in legal terms. There are three basic ways to hold title, tenants in common, joint tenants, or tenants by the entirety.

               Joint Tenancy: this form of ownership has a right of survivorship, meaning in the event of the death of one of the owners, the other owner or owners take the share of the deceased.

Tenants in Common: here the surviving owners do not automatically inherit the share of the deceased owner. The share of the deceased will pass by the will or by intestate (by law when no will is in effect) succession to his or her heirs at law.

Tenants by the Entirety: this method of holding title is exclusively for married couples that occupy the property as their home. Here there is the right of survivorship, like joint tenancy, but it provides additional rights to the couple against creditors. Creditors can only have a remedy against the home if the debt or liability sought is against the couple together as opposed to solely one spouse. The statute states, “any real property held in tenancy by the entirety shall not be liable to be sold upon judgment entered on or after October 1, 1990 against only one of the tenants.” If the couple is no longer married at the death of one spouse, the tenancy becomes tenants in common. If the couple no longer resides at the home at the death of a spouse, the tenancy becomes joint tenancy.

     5. Walk Through. Schedule a tour of the home 24 hours before the closing with your Realtor. This will ensure that the seller has moved out without damage and the personal property listed in the contract remains within the home. This is not an opportunity to perform a second inspection, but an opportunity to verify that the home is in the same condition as it was when the home was initially inspected and to verify that any agreed upon repairs have been made.

6. Lender Conditions. The lender will often ask the borrower to bring certain documentation to closing, usually items such as original gift letters, certifications of all types, proof of liquidation of funds, among others. Check with your lender before the closing.

7. Identification. The title company or your attorney must notarize your signature and the title company, acting on behalf of the lender, must be assured of your identity. So, you must present a driver’s license, passport or other valid photo identification.

8. Punch List. In new construction or rehab situations, it is customary for the buyer and builder or developer to meet and agree, in writing signed by both parties, on a list of incomplete items that must be completed after the closing.

9. Non-signing Spouse. Sometime only spouse signs on a loan. In this case, the non-signing spouse normally must attend the closing to waive homestead rights. Homestead is a homeowner’s right to shield $7,500 of value in a property occupied as a residence form the reach of creditors. Homestead rights as between husband wife and children are such that a husband or wife cannot remove the other or their children without consent, unless another suitable homestead is provided.

10. Transfer Stamps. Depending on the municipality in which the property is located, the Buyer or the Seller may have to purchase municipal transfer stamps. The Seller must pay for State and County transfer stamps and these are obtained by the title company. This is not a real estate tax, which is due whether or not the property is sold, but a revenue generator based on the sale/transfer of the property. For Chicago properties the tax is $7.50 per $1,000 and the Buyer need not purchase the stamps separate from the closing. For Chicago properties only, title company will obtain the stamps when recording the deed. In other municipalities, the Buyer (or sometimes the Seller depending on the laws of the town) must buy the transfer stamps at the town hall. Prior to buying the stamps, a water reading or inspection must be performed by a town official and sometimes the town must have a Deed or State Transfer Declaration presented, so check with your Realtor or Attorney two weeks before closing about these stamp issues.

The Cook County Assessor may be reached here or the following numbers:

Chicago(312) 443-7550

Skokie(847) 470-7237

Rolling Meadows(847) 8181-2444

Bridgeview(708) 974-6451

Markham(708) 210-4100

Maywood(708) 865-6032

Homeowner Exemption(312) 443-7500

Senior Citizen Exemption(312) 443-6600

Senior Citizen Freeze(312) 603-6181

The Dupage County assessments work through township assessors which you can access here or call at (630) 682-7001.

The Lake County Assessor may be reached here, or call at (847) 360-6378 or 360-6363.

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