Publications

Articles on Real Estate Law

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.

Assessing reassessments

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2003
LawPulse
Page 374
Appellate court precedent makes it difficult for assessors to change the valuation of property more often than once every four years. But what are the limits on assessors' authority to "revise and correct"?

Exception under Consumer Fraud Act for misleading statements inapplicable to realtors; amended complaint sufficiently pled claim of negligent misrepresentation, violations of Consumer Fraud Act, Real Estate License Act

July
2003
Illinois Law Update
Page 332
On April 15, 2003, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the circuit court of DuPage County dismissing the plaintiff's amended complaint with prejudice.

Proposed RESPA Regs Worry Real-Estate Bar

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2003
LawPulse
Page 274
Real estate practitioners fear that proposed new regulations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act spell trouble for consumers and lawyers.

The Illinois Supreme Court’s 2002 Civil Cases: A New Court Settles In

By Nancy J. Arnold, Tim Eaton, and Michael T. Reagan
April
2003
Article
Page 172
Our annual review of the leading cases.

Green-sheet blues

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2003
LawPulse
Page 110
For purposes of calculating real estate transfer taxes, the "consideration" paid for a new house equals the original contract price and; whether your homeowner client likes it or not; the extras added later, real estate practitioners argue.

New guidelines created governing home loans P.A. 92-0531

March
2003
Illinois Law Update
Page 116
Recent amendments to the Deposit of State Moneys Act (15 ILCS 520/7) now permit approved financial institutions to place the interest earned by deposited state moneys in a separate account.

The “Religious Purposes” Property Tax Exemption and the First Amendment

By James W. Hilliard
October
2002
Article
Page 549
Here's how taxing authorities can determine whether property is being used for religious purposes without impermissibly inquiring into religious beliefs.

The truth about mold

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
October
2002
LawPulse
Page 506
If you practice real-estate law, it's time you learned the moldy facts.

Representing Home Buyers in Post-Caveat-Emptor Illinois

By John O’Rourke
August
2002
Article
Page 421
The impact of seller-disclosure law on Illinois residential real-estate practice.

Correspondence from Our Readers

July
2002
Column
Page 334
Put family first.

Uncle Sam sidesteps tenancy-by-the-entirety restrictions

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2002
LawPulse
Page 338
A recent U.S. Supreme Court case holds that tax liens against one spouse attach to property held in tenancy by the entirety by both spouses, putting the IRS in a better position than other creditors.

A Primer on Eminent Domain

By Jack H. Tibbetts
June
2002
Article
Page 313
An outline of the procedural requirements and recent cases.

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