ORB Law Blog

Real Estate & Bankruptcy Attorneys with offices in Chicago, Oak Lawn, & Joliet.

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Hey, If someone tells you don’t need to have a contract reviewed, it’s a bad sign!

Should you have your real estate listing agreement reviewed by an attorney?

The short answer is yes. And I think the great real estate agents we work with would agree with me. Why?

Because quality agents want you to be comfortable. And to know exactly what you are signing. They want you to trust them.

If someone is discouraging you from having their contract reviewed, that’s a bad sign, right?

The listing agreement is a contract prepared by attorneys. And by and large, it’s
Continue Reading Real Estate Agent Listing Agreements – Know what’s in them.

On April 14, 2020, by executive order, Governor Pritzker temporarily suspended all consumer creditor judgment collection practices. The suspension is for the duration of the shelter- at-home order which is currently running through April 30, 2020, but we expect that it will be extended into May.

We applaud the Governor for taking this action to benefit consumer Debtors. What does this mean for you? If you have had a creditor lawsuit filed against you, even if the creditor obtains a judgment in the lawsuit, the creditor will be temporarily unable to collect the judgment. While we are under this order,
Continue Reading Illinois suspends wage garnishments & bank account freezes.

As COVID-19 continues its devastating impact in America, like you, I am mourning the incredible loss of human life and thinking about those of us who have lost jobs and are struggling financially. Psychologically, we can only take so much bad news, and it can be helpful in this difficult time to think about some unexpected benefits that this pandemic has created. For one, you may have heard about a decline in world pollution. Or, how about the crazy lack of traffic on the expressways?

Well, in the bankruptcy world, we’ve seen another unintended benefit of COVID-19. It is now
Continue Reading Social distancing has made the bankruptcy process easier than ever.

A client recently came to us who had filed for bankruptcy without an attorney, and received a discharge, but was being evicted from her property by her condominium association. The client told us that she had asked many attorneys for help, but, but none were willing to take her case. We listened to the story, and were moved by it. We took the case.

Illinois law does allow for the eviction of a condo owner for unpaid assessments. But in this case, the Condo Association was ignoring the bankruptcy discharge. Its attorneys claimed that they could still throw our client
Continue Reading O’Keefe Rivera & Berk defeated a creditor in important bankruptcy discharge case, preventing an eviction. Read the Judge’s opinion.

You’re under contract and you’re 30 days away from moving into that beautiful, Instagram- worthy Lincoln Park condo with the brand new hardwood floors and the shiny counter-tops. You’re excited and you’ve got furniture shopping to do. So why should you give a crap about this document called the 22.1 which you will receive by email from your attorney at some point before the closing? Well, there’s a very good reason. Because once you close on your condo, not only do you have to worry about maintaining your unit, but you’re also responsible to pay your share of the upkeep
Continue Reading Before you close on a Chicago condo purchase, read that 22.1 Disclosure twice!

On January 1, 2019, the City of Chicago implemented a new bankruptcy parking ticket and speed camera ticket policy, called, “FRESH START,” marking the most dramatic change to benefit our bankruptcy filers in the past 10 years.
The policy gives you the opportunity to discharge ALL of your parking tickets which were issued more than 3 years ago.
Before, many of our clients for whom parking tickets were the main problem (and it was MANY) would have been forced to file under Chapter 13, even when those clients qualified for Chapter 7.   That’s because parking tickets are, by law, only dischargeable in Chapter 13.  Chapter 13 has a
Continue Reading New City of Chicago parking ticket forgiveness program is the most dramatic and positive change for Chicago area bankruptcy filers in the past 10 years

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy clients who are in the income based repayment (“IBR”) program for their student loans are at risk of having those plans cancelled by the lenders during their Chapter 13 cases.   What this means is that upon filing the Chapter 13, the lender will place the loan into a forbearance status, continuing to add 8% interest to the account during the course of the Chapter 13.
If you’re not familiar with the IBR program, the program caps Federal student loan payments at 10% of discretionary income, and results in total loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years,
Continue Reading Student Loan Companies try to take advantage of Chapter 13 Clients by cancelling income based repayment plans. We won’t let them.

We’re now in 2018, and many properties have regained market value since the financial crisis of 2008, which caused a short sale boom.   However, in  the Chicago area, many properties continue to be underwater, meaning that their market values are less than the balance owed to the mortgage lienholders.    So, while not a prevalent as they were several years back, short sales are still a thing in 2018.
Recently, we have had several property owners, being unfamiliar with short sales, call about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.   During the course of our phone interview,
Continue Reading Short Sales as an Alternative to Bankruptcy

If your property looks like this on walkthrough, you’ve got a problem. We’ll solve it for you.
Imagine yourself on closing day.
You’re nervous. You’re excited. You’re going on 2 hours of sleep.
After all, you’re about to make the largest investment of your lifetime.
You meet your agent at the house for your walkthrough, planning to do a little mental decorating before the closing.  You’ve even been watching lots of HGTV in preparation for this moment.
You unlock the front door to your new house, and… your jaw drops.   You see nothing but stuff. And
Continue Reading Real Estate buyers, was the property a mess on your walkthrough? Here’s what we can do.

A TODI could be a bright idea for saving your heirs a lot of frustration.I GET so many calls at the office from people who want to know how they can get the title to a property they have inherited placed in their name. And then I have to give the ugly bad news, because the answer usually is: PROBATE. Probate is a process by which assets are transferred from the decedent to the decedent’s heirs. It costs money and it means delays.
Don’t put YOUR heirs in same position as our callers. Make arrangements now for the automatic transfer
Continue Reading Own your home? A new Illinois law allows you to pass it to your heirs without probate.

Sometimes we can use the bankruptcy laws to alleviate the pressure of student loans.It’s pretty well known that discharging student loans in bankruptcy is really, really tough. The standard from the bankruptcy code is that the client must have an undue hardship, meaning that the client couldn’t meet a basic standard of living if forced to repay the loans. Plus the client must have made an attempt to repay the debt.
In order to discharge student loan debt, not only do you have to file the bankruptcy case, but you also have to file a lawsuit known as an adversary
Continue Reading A recent success with student loan bankruptcy discharge

Over the past several days, many people have asked me for my opinion on how Donald Trump’s administration might affect the world of personal bankruptcy.
One might assume that Trump, having utilized the bankruptcy code to his advantage on more than one occasion, would be a friend to personal bankruptcy during his presidency. This would be a mistake.
It is true that four of Donald Trump’s companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, the world of corporate bankruptcy is very, very different from the realm of personal bankruptcy. And we can’t expect that Donald Trump’s administration will support the bankruptcy
Continue Reading How will President Trump affect personal bankruptcy?

We’ll give you a list of items to “stack together” to prepare for bankruptcy.
“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”
–Moliere (famous French playwright and actor)
It goes without saying that filing for bankruptcy is a major life change. Ok, so it’s not quite the same as getting married or having a child. But, I would put it up at the same level as buying a house. And, just like buying a house, bankruptcy is not something you want to rush into. Now, some clients have no choice. They have a wage garnishment or some other
Continue Reading Take your time to plan when filing for bankruptcy

Recently, our clients, a married couple, presented me with a seemingly impossible task. The Clients were struggling under the weight of over $300,000 of credit card debt, yet, they also had over $160,000 in equity in a marital home. Due to their poor credit, the clients could not refinance or borrow against the home to “take out” the equity to pay their creditors. Nor did the clients want to consider selling the home, which would be the only other way to get cash to settle with their creditors. After all, this was the home that they saved for years to
Continue Reading Tenancy by the Entirety and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy