Illinois Laws on a Contract for a Deed

Contract for deeds offer ownership options for credit-challenged  home buyers.
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A contract for deed is an alternative means of purchasing a home in which the seller carries the mortgage, making it unnecessary for the buyer to obtain a loan from a bank or lending institution. In Illinois, there are specific laws in place regarding contract for deeds that are designed to protect both the seller and buyer when buying a home in the Land of Lincoln.


The state of Illinois defines a real estate contract for deed as a written contract in which a buyer purchases a home from a seller through an agreement in which the seller agrees to carry the mortgage. The buyer agrees to purchase the home at a mutually agreeable price from the buyer, payable over a period of a set number of years, usually at an agreed upon interest rate. Instead of making payments to a bank or lending institution, the buyer makes the monthly payments to the seller. Each payment made is then deducted off of the purchase price of the home. In order to protect the rights of both the buyer and the seller, the contract should be recorded with the register of deeds division of the courthouse in the county where the real estate is purchased.

Relief of Default

If the buyer should default on the contract by failing to make scheduled payments on time, the relief options that are available to the buyer depend on how much the buyer has paid toward the purchase price of the home. Under Illinois law, if the buyer owes less than 80 percent of the original agreed-upon amount for the home, the seller must file a notice of foreclosure. In this case, the buyer will be served a notice of foreclosure and has a set number of days in which to bring the payments current in order to prevent losing their home. If however, the buyer owes more than 80 percent of the purchase price, the seller may file for a simple eviction. In this case, the buyer receives an order to vacate, usually within 30 days. In either case, the buyer loses all rights to monies applied toward the purchase of the home if ordered to vacate.

Responsibility for Repairs

Under the laws of Illinois, the buyer is responsible for all repairs that are necessary to the home during the term of the contract. These repairs may include the replacement of windows, roofing and siding, as well as minor repairs to appliances, flooring and walls. The only exception to this law is if the buyer can show through clear and convincing evidence that the home was in need of the repairs prior to the time of purchase and that the buyer purposefully failed to disclose the needed repairs to the buyer at the time of purchase. If this can be shown, a judge may order the seller to make the necessary repairs or reimburse the buyer for the cost of having them done.

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