You would probably not have to have a real estate agent — or an attorney, for that matter — involved when you buy a home in Illinois. However, regardless of whether it is a legal requirement, it is often a practical necessity to engage the services of someone who is familiar with the buying process. 

If you were to work with a professional, you would be in good company. While not everybody uses agents, first-time homebuyers and seasoned investors alike often work through legal representatives during these purchases. There are several reasons:

  • Buying property is a legal transaction.
  • Only lawyers may draft contracts and property-specific riders.
  • Attorneys are ethically bound not to work on commission. 

However, there are times when real estate sales professionals could be useful to you. If you were looking for your first home, for example, engaging an agent would probably help with the process. The residential realty business thrives on referrals and personal connections — your agent would probably be among the first people to know whenever hot new properties come on the market.

Your agent would probably also communicate with sellers, transport you to viewings, give you information about various neighborhoods and so forth. In exchange for this, the agency would typically receive somewhere from two to six percent of the value of your purchase pursuant to the terms of your contract and the type of transaction.

If, on the other hand, you were already acquainted with the property and the seller, you might consider agency representation unnecessary — or at least not worth the hefty commission. However, legal services could still benefit you in this situation. As explained in this article from the Chicago Tribune, your rights and obligations under a contract might not be entirely clear, even if you knew the seller. 

Real estate is a complicated business, and each transaction is unique. Please do not view this as legal advice specific to any case with which you might be involved. It is simply background information.