Recent Blog Posts

The Possible Effects of Foreclosure

 Posted on January 30, 2023 in Real Estate

Chicago foreclosure defense lawyerAs inflation continues to rise and the economy enters a period of unpredictable highs and lows, many people are left in the middle, trying to afford their family’s lifestyle and feeling as though the most basic things in their lives have become threatened. When it feels like you are at risk of losing your home because you cannot afford the mortgage payments, the serious potential consequences can make it hard to think straight. 

Foreclosure may be in your future, but it does not necessarily have to be the end of the world and you may, in fact, have other options that you are unaware of. At Whitacre & Stefanczuk LTD, we take your concerns seriously and work to communicate clearly with you so you can make wise decisions about your financial future. Our real estate attorneys are here to help and, if appropriate, we provide excellent foreclosure defense services for our clients. 

Continue Reading ››

Avoid Online Money Scams Targeting Unsuspecting Homebuyers 

 Posted on January 12, 2023 in Real Estate

cook county real estate lawyerWhen people buy a home - especially when it is their first home - they are often so caught up in the excitement and joy of such an exciting experience that they rarely are on the lookout for scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting Illinois homebuyers. Yet an entire industry of criminals exists who are thinking up ever more sophisticated ways of scamming people out of the money they worked hard to save so they could buy a home. If you are buying a home, especially for the first time, it is essential to understand some of the most common scams homebuyers face and how an Illinois real estate lawyer can help protect you from them. 

How Do Scammers Target Homebuyers? 

One of the most common ways that homebuyers suffer financial fraud is when a criminal poses as the client’s realtor by tracking the realtor’s email correspondence and seizing opportunities to send a homebuyer false information so earnest money or closing funds get wired to the scammer instead of the bank or the realtor. 

Continue Reading ››

Can I Appeal My Illinois Property Taxes? 

 Posted on December 23, 2022 in Real Estate

cook county real estate lawyerFirst-time homebuyers are often filled with joy and relief at finally achieving a major part of the American dream. Unfortunately, owning a home also comes with its share of complications and difficulties, and one of these is dealing with property taxes. Illinois is notorious for having some of the most expensive property tax rates in the nation, although the exact rate depends on where you live and whether you have exemptions you qualify for. If you recently had your property taxes levied and you believe the amount is too, you may be able to appeal your taxes and pay less. 

What Are Property Taxes Based On?

In theory, property taxes match the value of your house, so the amount of property taxes you pay will depend on where you live and how much your house is worth. Real estate often increases in value year over year, especially if the owner puts work into improving the house. Certain owners and organizations are exempt or have deductions from property taxes, so it is important to do some research to determine whether you fall into this category. 

Continue Reading ››

Common Mistakes in the Estate Planning Process

 Posted on December 12, 2022 in Estate Planning

dupage county estate planning lawyerAs you begin the process of planning your estate, you may be worried about making sure you take the right steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Unfortunately, mistakes are common during estate planning, especially when people do not have the help of an attorney. Before you take steps to protect your wishes in a will, trust, or other estate planning instrument, consult with an Illinois estate planning lawyer who can help you make sure you have all the information you need to set up a plan that meets your needs. Here are some common estate planning pitfalls to avoid. 

Not Discussing Your Estate Plan

Many people keep their estate plan a secret because they fear they will expose themselves to criticism, open up interpersonal conflict within their family, or because they are just afraid to bring up an unpleasant topic. But experts say it is better to have these sensitive conversations before someone is surprised by being designated as your beneficiary, executor, or power of attorney. You do not need to divulge all the details of your estate plan, but you can minimize confusion and provide clear direction by keeping all relevant parties informed.

Continue Reading ››

Tips For First-Time Homebuyers From an Illinois Real Estate Lawyer 

 Posted on November 04, 2022 in Real Estate

shutterstock_1576779889-min.jpgBuying a home for the first time can be an exhilarating experience. Most people have saved for many years before they can make their dream of home ownership come true, and buying a home has more symbolic meaning than just purchasing a house. It may mean that a family is in the near future, that a couple has decided to put down roots in a community, or that an individual is at a point in their lives where investing in real estate has become a possibility. Whatever your reasons for buying a home are, having a real estate attorney helping you throughout the process can ensure you avoid time-consuming and potentially expensive mistakes. 

Get Your Credit Score Where You Want It

While programs for first-time home buyers are often forgiving of low or moderate credit scores, mortgage rates have gone up substantially in recent months. Waiting to buy a home until your credit score is strong can end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage by helping you secure a lower interest rate. Lowering your income-to-debt ratio can help improve your credit score, as can paying down debt and making credit card payments on time. 

Continue Reading ››

Why First-Time Parents in Illinois Should Make a Will

 Posted on October 11, 2022 in Estate Planning

dupage county estate planning lawyerDespite the importance and usefulness of a will, fewer than one-third of Americans have one. Yet having a will is a very important part of protecting your beneficiaries (the people who will inherit your belongings), and is even more important for parents of young children. Even if you think you have very little wealth to pass on, a will contains information that will protect your children and your wishes for them if something happens to you. Learn more about why wills are so important for young parents, and then contact an Illinois estate planning attorney for help writing yours. 

Why Should Young Parents Have a Will? 

For young parents, the single most important reason to have a will is that it provides the opportunity to designate your child’s legal guardian if one or both parents pass away. If only one parent passes away, the surviving parent is usually given legal custody. However, not all children have two parents who can care for them. In some tragic cases, both of a child’s parents pass away. If something happened to you and your child’s other parent, who would you want to care for your child? Naming a guardian is the best way to ensure that this vital decision is up to you. If you do not name a guardian, the decision about who will care for your child will be left up to the court. 

Continue Reading ››

Back to Top