Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Real Estate Law

(Unrepresented) buyer (and seller, and opposing lawyer) beware By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2005 Lawpulse, Page 558 What do you do when the other side in a real-estate transaction doesn't have a lawyer? ISBA members offer pointers.
In Defense of Kelo: One Lawyer’s Take on Takings By John H. Brechin October 2005 Article, Page 524 An approving look at the U.S. Supreme Court's much-criticized Kelo v City of New London.
RESPA – Here We Go Again? By James K. Weston October 2005 Column, Page 540  Is HUD trying once again to amend the RESPA statute by regulation?
TROs: A Guide to Winning Emergency Relief in Illinois By Richard L. Miller II October 2005 Article, Page 530 A step-by-step guide to seeking temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.
Mortgage Escrow Account Act expands “mortgage lenders” and notice requirements - PA 094-0050 September 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 446 On June 17, 2005, the Mortgage Escrow Account Act (Act) (765 ILCS 910/1 et seq) was modified from its original form so as to broaden the scope of "mortgage lender" to include savings banks, credit unions, mortgage bankers, and one who services the loan.
The Rental Housing Support Program Act’s Non-Deductible Charitable Donation By James K. Weston July 2005 Column, Page 366 Effective July 1, a new law requires counties to charge an extra $10 for every real estate document they record.
Is the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act Unconstitutional? By Roger L. Price June 2005 Article, Page 298 The author reviews recent decisions on the constitutional validity of the Act and recommends legislative action.
Finding a niche in FSBO home sales By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2005 Lawpulse, Page 226 Some lawyers are making themselves available to do-it-yourself homesellers, with rewarding results.
How Illinois’ Homestead Exemption Really Works By David J. Dwyer May 2005 Article, Page 252 Here's how to calculate property taxes in Cook County under the new law.
Property Tax Code allows for post-judgment motions May 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 232 On February 17, 2005, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's dismissal of the property owners' appeal and remanded the case to the appellate court. 
Reducing Real Estate Fraud – Thumbprints and How Much More? By James K. Weston April 2005 Column, Page 208 Two different bills requiring notaries to maintain logbooks and record thumbprints are introduced this session.
All constitutional requirements must be met in order for property to qualify for a charitable-use property tax exemption March 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 116 On December 2, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the orders of the appellate and circuit courts, which reversed the Illinois Department of Revenue's (Department) holding that the property in question was not tax exempt. 
Sellers subsidize closings via HUD-approved programs By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2005 Lawpulse, Page 110 The Nehemiah and AmeriDream programs allow sellers to pick up closing costs for homebuyers without violating RESPA. But is there a downside to this popular practice?
Attorney-Approval Clauses and Residential Real Estate Contracts: Mere Modification or More? By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2005 Article, Page 72 Most home-sale contracts empower attorneys to propose modifications. But do those "proposals" effectively nullify the contract?
For the doctrine of boundary by acquiescence to apply, both parties must acquiesce to the boundary in question for a considerable period of time February 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 68 On December 9, 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part the decision of the Circuit Court of McHenry County awarding the plaintiffs certain property by reason of adverse possession.
Beneficial interest in land trusts and controlling interests in real estate entities are now taxable under the Real Estate Transfer Tax January 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 The Department of Revenue recently adopted amendments to the Real Estate Transfer Tax, 86 Ill Adm Code 120. Effective October 13, 2004, the changes affect sections 120.5, 120.10, and 120.20 of the code. 
(Not so) dastardly deeds By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2005 Lawpulse, Page 8 If you spot a mistake in a deed, don't panic. There might just be an easy fix.
Update on Real Estate Tax Law Changes By James K. Weston January 2005 Column, Page 44 Here's a summary of some of the many recent changes in real estate taxation.
A better way to fight fraud is under your thumb By James K. Weston October 2004 Column, Page 542 Let's amend the notary law to require a thumbprint with the signature.
You, too, can be title insurance agent By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2004 Lawpulse, Page 390 Have – or hope to have – an active residential real estate practice? If you're not a title agent already, becoming one might well boost your bottom line.
The Open and Obvious Doctrine and Landowner Liability: The Rule and the Exceptions By Jennifer E. Simms July 2004 Article, Page 352 A discussion of the doctrine, its exception, and its applicability to children.
Title work is lawyers’ work By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2004 Lawpulse, Page 334 Leading real estate practitioners warn their fellow lawyers not to cede control over title work to realtors.
Watch out for (un)real estate deals By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2004 Lawpulse, Page 334 Don't let your clients lead you down the road to a RESPA violation by misstating the price of real estate.
Mechanics Liens and Slander of Title: The Case for Absolute Privilege By Michael G. Cortina May 2004 Article, Page 267 The author argues that mechanics-lien filers are protected from slander of title claims by the privilege for statements made during litigation.
Real Estate Transfer Tax Regulations Amended to Prohibit Effective Double-Taxing of Real Estate Entities P.A. 93-0657 May 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 242 Effective June 1st, limits are imposed to stop effectively double-taxing some real estate entities.
2003 Illinois Supreme Court Civil Cases: Fees and Family Law, “No” to Immunity, and More By Nancy J. Arnold and Tim Eaton April 2004 Article, Page 180 A look at last year's leading supreme court civil cases.
How to represent an apartment buyer By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2004 Lawpulse, Page 170 Contributors to an ISBA e-mail discussion group create a primer that describes what any attorney should insist upon when representing the buyer of an apartment building.
A New Look for Closings Comes to Local Title Offices By James K. Weston January 2004 Article, Page 43 A new law allows a title insurance company to file a certificate of release for any paid-off mortgage.
Non-breaching party to a real estate contract may seek, in addition to specific performance, damages for delay in the performance of the contract, provided that the damages are reasonably foreseeable. November 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 550 On August 29, 2003, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed the order of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Mortgage Certificate of Relief Act amendments signed into law By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2003 Lawpulse, Page 430 Lenders often fail to send a certificate of release after a mortgage has been paid off. A new law addresses the problem.