Test your knowledge of real estate law with James Bernicky

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How well do you know real estate law? James Bernicky sits down with host Paige Ronchetti to test her knowledge with a new edition of Legally Speaking: Truth or Myth?

If my friend/relative and I agree on a price, I can just sign it over to him, and he will write me a check

MYTH! The process of buying a property is very involved, from title insurance to finding accurate property lines. “It’s unsafe for a buyer to buy without knowing exactly what they’re buying,” says Bernicky, “and it’s unsafe for a seller to sell when there still may be some hanging on things that a buyer can come back with later.”

If It’s a sellers’ market so, I can just put my home up on Social Media and save money 

MYTH! While technically legal, Bernicky says it’s a very bad idea. “Studies have shown that listing with a realtor actually gets you more money than listing by yourself,” Says Bernicky. He adds that selling property takes a lot of work, from coordinating showings to performing background checks for potential buyers or writing up contracts. 

If I’m buying in a sellers’ market, I should offer way over listing price, offer a non-refundable deposit, and waive inspection so I get the house 

MYTH! Again, this is not illegal, but Bernicky warns against this tactic. “If you waiver the inspection and give non-refundable deposits, and you find out later that the home needs all new plumbing, or the foundation is crumbling, you’ve just lost that deposit, and you might buy this house with all these problems,” says Bernicky. 

All States use lawyers for closings 

MYTH! Illinois is one of the few places that require a lawyer for closings. Bernicky warns that not having an attorney present leads to post-closing litigation. “The job of a closing attorney is to prevent those sort of things,” says Bernicky, “to make sure everything is done at closing…so there’s not that kind of post-closing drama.” 

Residential and commercial real estate are the same

MYTH! Residential and commercial real estate regulations, surveys, and inspections will vary. Bernicky recommends having an expert based on the type of property sold or purchased.