Buying a Home in IllinoisPlanning to purchase a home soon? There are several factors to consider to ensure you end up with your dream home. Here’s what you need to know about home buying in Illinois…

The first thing that any buyer will want to consider is the type of agency representation to select.  Since Illinois license law permits real estate agents to represent buyers, sellers or both a buyer and seller in the same transaction as disclosed dual agents, it is important to establish the type of relationship that best suits your objective at the outset.  Agents are required to disclose these options at their first significant contact, including the presentation of disclosure forms.

Though any office can select to work only with buyers or sellers, the vast majority of offices represent both buyers and sellers.  This is accomplished through the concept of Designated Agency which essentially allows the office to “designate” an agent within the office as the primary agent for a buyer or a seller with responsibilities and loyalties solely devoted to that party.  Thus, within any office, two agents may represent two differing parties to the same transaction without any conflict of interest and without responsibility beyond those defined in the REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Illinois license law to anyone but their client.  A “Notice of Designated Agency” should be provided in writing no later than the point at which an offer is being prepared.

This is important to note because of its timing which allows a relationship to initially begin and be established solely through the actions of the agent.  In the absence of a written notice to the contrary, the agent who shows a property to a prospective buyer is considered to be working with that buyer as their agent.  In this scenario, written notice is only required if an agent represents a different party to the transaction or will function as a dual agent representing all parties in the sale, a situation that could arise when a prospective buyer contacts the listing agent of a property for information or to set up an appointment to view a home. 

It is important to note that when a No Agency Notice is presented by the listing agent, a buyer is considered to be unrepresented and should understand that anything they might disclose to that agent, even if it is detrimental to their best interests, can and likely will be, discussed with the seller of the home they are viewing with that agent.  Alternately, Dual Agency can occur and is legal when both parties to any transaction use the same agent and have both agreed and authorized dual agency in writing.  This must be done in advance of any offer preparation and presentation.  Under this type of representation, the agent will be restricted from disclosing any confidential information to the other party that could jeopardize their position, but will be limited in their ability to assist in answering questions relating to what to offer or how to respond to a proposal.  However, a Dual Agent will be permitted to provide both the parties with comparable data (without analysis of that data) which will assist them in determining value.

For the highest and best level of representation, most buyers will elect to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement with their agent.  This can be either an exclusive agreement or non-exclusive agreement.  An exclusive agreement may be limited to a certain area such as certain towns or suburbs. This arrangement ensures that the buyer’s agent is the sole agent working on that buyer’s behalf in a specified domain.  Furthermore, this representation should lead to a structured, efficient and effective plan for finding that buyer the right property at the best price possible.  An exclusive buyer’s agent should also be one who can explain the steps and make recommendations along the way to simplify the process so that surprises and inconveniences are kept to a minimum or entirely eliminated.  That agent should be able to provide a list of reputable affiliates needed in an Illinois real estate transaction such as home inspectors, attorneys and top notch area lenders to streamline the process. 

A strong buyer’s agent will have an equally strong team of supporting parties that will help to ensure that the process leads to positive results for all the principals involved. For additional information, reliable recommendations to trusted affiliates or to arrange a meeting to discuss your needs, please contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying process.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.    

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