Selling a House in Illinois: Everything You Need to Know

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By Jamie Ayers Updated September 27, 2023

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This guide to selling a house in Illinois breaks down the process into eight steps. Learn how to find a great agent, price your home, negotiate with buyers, and more. 

Your timing is good if you're selling a house in Illinois now. As of January 31, 2024, property values in the Land of Lincoln increased 5.88% over the previous year. Illinois home values are projected to rise a further 4.1% over the next year.

Of course, even the best Illinois homes struggle to sell if priced improperly, or the seller handles negotiations with the potential buyer poorly.

Reduce the stress of selling a house in Illinois with the help of a Clever agent

Clever's partner agents can hold your hand through the home-selling process. Clever will match you with a top-rated real estate agent who can expertly guide you through all the steps of your home sale. 

Clever has also pre-negotiated savings on your behalf. Sellers can list their homes with a top local agent for just 1.5% commission — a fraction of the 2.5–3% listing fee most real estate agents charge.

👋 Find a great local agent, get a 1.5% listing fee with Clever

1. Find the right Illinois real estate agent

If you're looking to sell your Illinois house for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.

The best Illinois listing agents know what local buyers want and how to connect with them. They'll offer expert advice, tips for selling your home on the Illinois real estate market, and support through every step of the process.

Home sellers who work with agents net 33% more, on average, than those who sell a house independently. For a $247,809 home — the median home value in Illinois, according to Zillow — that's a premium of more than $80,000. Hiring a listing agent is well worth the investment.

👋 Need a great agent on your side?

Connect with top local agents who can help you sell on time and for top dollar. You'll pay just a 1.5% listing fee (half the typical rate), helping you save thousands!

2. Decide when to sell

Best month for selling a house in Illinois fastBest month for selling a house in Illinois for the highest price
MayJune
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The optimal time to sell a house in Illinois is May or June, depending on your goal. 

If you can't wait for the best time to sell your house in Illinois, talk to a Clever Partner Agent. Clever has pre-negotiated listing fees of just $3,000 or 1.5%. So even if you can't time the market, you can still save thousands. 

Best time to sell a house in Illinois for speed

You'll sell a house in Illinois fastest in May, according to Realtor.com data from August 2022. Homes listed in May spent 32 days on the market, which is 21 days fewer than the national average.

Illinois homes listed in January stayed on the market for 64 days.

You also need to factor in 30–40 more days to close a deal.

Best time to sell a house in Illinois for price

List in June for the highest sale price. Homes listed in June sold for a median price of $309,900, which is 10.68% more than the average sales price for the whole year. 

Sellers in June made $29,913 more on their sale. 

» MORE: The best time to sell a house in Illinois

3. Price your home

Get a comparative market analysis (CMA) from your local real estate agent. A CMA is an objective analysis that calculates a home's fair market value.

A CMA compares your house to others similar in size, age, and location that have sold recently. It will also consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, upgrades, renovations, and other unique details. 

» LEARN: A complete guide to CMAs

Pricing your home is one of the most critical steps in the selling process. An over-the-top initial price could deter buyers and leave your home on the market for months. A price that's too low may set you up to lose money on your sale.

4. Prepare, market, and show your home

Maximize your home's appeal to potential buyers with these practices.

Stage your home

Help potential buyers picture their lives in the home. Remove personal trinkets and photos. Declutter and clean your home, too. Buyers should walk into a comfortable space that looks and smells fresh.

Make any easy and affordable upgrades, especially in the main areas of your home. Replace outdated cabinet pulls in the kitchen and touch up the primary bedroom's paint. Even the simplest updates can make your home more desirable to potential buyers.

Staging's impact

Staging your home puts more money in your pocket and helps your home sell faster.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 44% of buyer's agents said that effectively staging homes increases their value 1–10%. In the same survey, nearly two-thirds of listing agents reported that staged homes spent less time on the market.

Craft a listing description

Your listing description — including its images — will encourage buyers to book a showing or cause them to move on to the next listing. 

Invest in a professional photographer for the listing. Share the home's main rooms and features in your description, but don't over-exaggerate your home's positive features. Honesty and accuracy will ensure potential buyers don't feel disappointed or even lied to during showings.

Write for mobile devices

Buyers often search for real estate on mobile devices, so your listing should be mobile-friendly. Provide a concise list of details showcasing the home's unique features. Keep the listing short enough that it doesn't require a lot of scrolling.

Market your home

Staging and a well-worded listing will only get you so far in the home-selling process. You need effective real estate marketing to attract potential buyers.

Your real estate agent will spearhead most marketing initiatives, like putting your listing on the multiple listing service (MLS) and other listing websites. You can still help, though. Market your house on social media sites. Ask friends and family to reshare your post with their networks.

» LEARN: What is the MLS?

Show your house 

Use private showings and open houses to show your house to potential buyers. Be sure to let your real estate agent take the lead during showings. Overbearing owners scare potential buyers off.

Open houses

Get together with your realtor and plan an open house. Schedule it for a minimum of two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Many people have free time on Sundays, which leads to higher traffic.

Private showings

Treat potential buyers like guests during private showings. Make them feel welcome with a clean, well-lit atmosphere.

5. Field offers and make counteroffers

Once a buyer submits an offer, in Illinois you have 72 hours to respond. You can accept or present a counteroffer if the offer doesn't meet your expectations. The offer amount is only one factor you and your agent should consider. 

The process can go back and forth until you reach an agreement with the buyer or until one party ends negotiations. When you're satisfied with an offer, ask your agent to accept.

After you accept an offer, the buyer's agent usually creates a purchase agreement that provides a framework for the selling process. 

» MORE: Real estate counteroffer etiquette

🤔 What's in a purchase agreement?

A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract that governs the selling process. The buyer's agent usually creates the initial agreement, which will include the sales price and other terms, including: 

Basic details of the sale. Buyer's and seller's names, property's address, purchase price, etc. 
Contingencies. Conditions that must be met to close the sale and relate to situations like buyer financing, home appraisal, and inspections. 
• Earnest money. The amount of cash the buyer will pay up front for the seller to put the home under contract.
• Fixtures and appliances. The features of the house that are also included in the sale. 
Disclosures. Any issues or facts about the house the seller is legally required to reveal. 
• Closing costs. A breakdown of which expenses the buyer and seller will each be responsible for at closing. 
• Settlement and possession dates. The closing date and seller's timeline for moving out.

6. Get an inspection and appraisal

Most buyers order home inspections to protect themselves from any negative surprises about the home they're buying.

For example, in Illinois, home inspectors sometimes discover high radon levels. Abatement services can easily remediate radon gas. However, if the buyer moves into the house without knowing about the radon, it can damage their health.

If an inspector discovers issues during the inspection — and the contract has appropriate contingencies — buyers can ask sellers to help with closing costs, decrease the sale price, or make repairs before closing. Severe problems discovered during an inspection could cause serious buyers to drop out of the deal if they included a relevant contingency in the purchase agreement.

» LEARN: What does contingent mean in real estate?

The appraisal process

A licensed appraiser will visit your home and determine your home's fair market value. The buyer's lender uses the appraisal report to determine how much to lend for their client's mortgage. The lender wants to make sure the house is worth as much as they're lending the buyer. 

When an appraiser reports that a house's value is lower than the agreed-upon sales price, the buyer's lender may decline the mortgage or require the buyer to make up the difference between the mortgage amount and the final sale price.

» READ: Can the seller back out of a contract before closing?

7. Submit paperwork and required Illinois disclosures

Illinois law requires sellers to disclose known quality, healthfulness, and safety issues to prospective buyers in writing before closing, including: 

  • Boundary line disputes
  • Environmental issues
  • Material defects in specified structures
  • Municipal code violations
  • Past flooding and flood risk
  • Unsafe conditions

Your real estate agent can advise you on what you should disclose in a real estate transaction and what Illinois law requires.

Forms and documents for selling a house in Illinois

Required for all real estate sales in IllinoisIllinois disclosure formsPossible additional documents
• 2 forms of ID

• Affidavit of title

• Bill of sale

• Closing statement

• Copy of purchase agreement and any addendums

• Signed deed

• Survey results

• Transfer tax form
• Disclosure of hazardous mold

• Flood zone statement

• Lead-based paint disclosure

• Radon disclosure pamphlets

• Residential real property disclosure report
• Closing disclosure (for certain seller concessions)

• Copies of relevant wills, trusts, or power of attorney letters

• Correction statement and agreement

• HOA forms and guidelines

• Home inspection results

• Home warranty information

• Loan payoff information

• Proof of repairs or renovations

• Relevant affidavits (name affidavits, non-foreign affidavit under IRC 1445, etc.)
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8. Close your home sale

The closing process varies from sale to sale in Illinois. On closing day, sellers, buyers, and a real estate attorney or title company representative generally meet to sign all sales documents.

Title companies, real estate attorneys, or lenders can conduct the closing. However, only a real estate attorney may prepare documents.

» MORE: How much are real estate attorney fees for selling a house?

Closing costs in Illinois

Most sellers in Illinois pay 1.8% of their final sales price. If you receive the average Illinois home value of $247,948, expect to pay around $4,553 in closing costs. 

In Illinois, closing costs sometimes include real estate transfer taxes, which cover transferring the title of a property to the new owner. During the negotiation process, you and your agent can negotiate who pays this. If it's your responsibility to pay transfer tax, Illinois will charge you about 0.15% of your property's final sale price to transfer the title to the new owner. Lean on your real estate agent to properly estimate what taxes you can expect to pay in your area.

You'll also pay commission to each party's agent. In Illinois, commission fees typically cost 5.35% of the sales price. 

» MORE: How much are closing costs for Illinois home sellers?

Next steps: Sell your Illinois home and save thousands

Whether you're looking to sell a house in Illinois immediately or 6–12 months from now, it's never too early to start looking for a listing agent, getting advice, and making a plan.

💰 Get a lower rate with a top local agent!

Clever Real Estate is here to help guide you through the home selling process — and save money along the way! Clever matches you with top-rated real estate agents from trusted brokerages like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, or Berkshire Hathaway.

You'll get guaranteed full service, and you'll save up to $3,819 on a typical Illinois home sale. Clever's Partner Agents work for a fraction of the 3% rate agents typically charge. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a top local agent today!

Top ways to sell your home in Illinois

Additional resources for Illinois home sellers

Related links

The best low commission realtors and brokers (2023 update): Find the best low commission real estate agents and brokers, so you can sell with a full-service realtor and save thousands on commission fees!

How to find a real estate agent that’s right for you: This guide on how to find the best real estate agent is packed with useful tips and information, based on hundreds of hours of research and expert interviews.

The best 2% commission realtors (2023 rankings): Listing with a 2% commission realtor can save you thousands, but what’s the catch? Read on to learn where to find a 2% listing fee and what you’ll get in return.

Negotiating realtor fees: 10 tips for reducing commission: Like most things in real estate, your listing agent's commission is negotiable. This is our expert guide to negotiating realtor fees.

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