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This website is maintained by the The Galer Firm, P.C.* with the goal of providing high quality and easily accessible legal information and resources.

Currently, you can peruse this site to find information regarding Illinois/New York real estate and business law, plus U.S. immigration. Start by clicking one of the links on the right or by reading this month’s featured articles below.

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* Roger Galer is licensed to practice law in New York and Illinois.

 

This Month’s Featured Articles:

The Typical Residential

Real Estate Sales Transaction:

An Overview for Buyers and Sellers

 

Maintaining Your Green Card

and Eligibility for Naturalization

While Working Overseas

The process of buying or selling a home can be time consuming and even bewildering to the uninitiated. Fortunately, the process has become much more standardized as a variety of state and federal laws have greatly increased the body of regulatory oversight (and paperwork) involved in such transactions. Thus, although, as explained below in The Role of the Attorney, obtaining legal counsel to help guide you through a home sale or purchase is essential, the good news is that the overall process can be straightforward if the right steps are taken by the various parties from the very beginning.

One can divide the typical residential real estate transaction into five basic parts or steps:

1.) Preliminary Matters;
2.) Employing the Services of a Real Estate Agent/Broker (or not - For Sale by Owner);
3.) Negotiating the Real Estate Sales Contract;
4.) Pre-Closing Matters (e.g., inspections, mortgage issues, etc.); and
5.) The Closing.

1.) Preliminary Matters. Certain things should be done before a Seller or Buyer seeks to involve other parties in the sale or purchase of a home. For example, a wily prospective Seller should always check around his/her local community to determine the prices at which similar homes are being sold. A Seller should always have an idea of what his/her home is worth (i.e., information based on more than the price he/she paid for the home!) before involving a broker, etc. Similarly, a prospective Buyer of real estate should always survey the market prior to looking at particular homes. Fortunately, resources for Buyers/Sellers of real estate sales are now quite voluminous, thanks to the Internet. [See Real Estate Web Links.] Now, one can quickly and cheaply (i.e., usually for free) search online databases to determine locations, sale dates and even sale prices!

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Even after an individual has made the decision to immigrate to another country, he/she maintains a strong connection with his/her country of birth. In addition to the social (e.g., family, friends) and cultural (e.g., language, religion) ties that continue to bind immigrants with their former home, economic forces often a play a role in maintaining a bond, as well. Immigrants to the U.S., for example, often find - a bit ironically, perhaps - that by immigrating to this country and attaining permanent residency via a green card here, they are suddenly better able to do business with local companies in their former home land. In addition, such immigrants’ knowledge/expertise in matters pertaining to their native country/culture, combined with their real or perceived “American outlook” on life/business, can often make them valuable to U.S. companies seeking to do business abroad.

For these and other reasons, recent U.S. immigrants often find it desirable to work and live abroad for extended periods of time, even though they have no desire to give up or lose their status as U.S. permanent residents and future eligibility to become naturalized U.S. citizens. For such future Americans, it is vitally important to fully understand and play by the rules established for how often and how long they can remain outside the U.S. without giving up their rights as green card holders. What follows is a brief recitation of suggested methods you can employ to work overseas, at least part of the year, while maintaining your green card and continuous residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes. If you have any questions about this information, or about what role an immigration attorney can play in your situation, feel free to contact us today.

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The Role of the Attorney
in a
Real Estate Sales Transaction

While the foregoing “Typical Real Estate Sales Transaction” list may appear to be simple enough at first glance, all it takes is a few deviations from the typical transaction for a real estate sale to become a massive headache. Without out a doubt, anyone seeking to buy or sell a piece of residential real estate ought to hire a lawyer to counsel/represent him/her in the matter. This is particularly true given a cost/benefit analysis of an attorney’s role in the typical real estate sale. In almost every such transaction, of all the third-party individuals sitting around the Closing table - e.g., brokers, agents, insurers, etc. - it is the lawyer(s) who will have the largest work load, will take on the most responsibility for making sure all documents are in order, and will be paid the least amount of money!

[Illinois and New York residents: Click here for a list of our firm’s fees.]

Depending on the stage at which he/she begins representing a particular party to a real estate transaction, an attorney should: i.) negotiate, draft and/or review the terms of the real estate sales contract to make sure it comports with his/her client’s interests and expectations, ii.) facilitate, expedite and manage the production/processing of all riders, disclosures, requests for information related to the transaction, etc. (so that the clients can be planning their move, instead), iii.) review and advocate on behalf of his/her client regarding all pre-Closing issues, iv.) for a Buyer, explain and counsel him/her regarding mortgage issue & documents, and v.) represent/counsel his/her client at the Closing.