Real Property Law

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 123

       Course Name: Real Property Law

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Prerequisite: PAR 101 and PAR 110, both with minimum grade of C. Recommended: PAR 113 and PAR 210 or consent of program coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides historical study of common law estates and interests and statutes. Content emphasizes the role of and relationship between the attorney and the paralegal in preparing the more common types of real property transactions and conveyances such as deeds, contracts and leases drafting problems involving these various instruments special research projects related to the subject matter and a study of the system of recording and search of public documents.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. state and distinguish the broker's role and the attorney's role in a real property transaction and comprehend the paralegal's role in working for the attorney.
  2. apply principles of real property law to prepare documents for a contract of sale by the paralegal.
  3. apply principles of real property law to prepare for a closing, include title examination, all closing documents, post‑closing records, and follow‑through.
  4. state and comprehend these legal concepts: land trust, mortgage law, leases, condominium law, escrows, tax aspects, contracts, and real property law.
  5. apply rationale via the contract for document usage and prepare documents for local use.
  6. state and comprehend the concepts of: mortgage foreclosures, drafting and terminating leasehold interests, and condominium law.
  7. define the legal and practical relationships of broker, lawyer, paralegal, owner, developer,    governmental agencies, and financial institutions.
  8. apply ethical principles and concepts to real estate transactions.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Real Property Law
    1. Overview of Real Property and Applicable Laws
    2. Ownership and Acquiring Real Property
    3. History of the American System
    4. The Paralegal's Role in Real Property Transactions
  2. Owners and Ownership
    1. Forms of Ownership
    2. Who or What May Own Property?
    3. Overview of Entities that May Own Property
  3. Surveys and Legal Descriptions
    1. The Survey
    2. Legal Descriptions
    3. Reviewing Surveys
  4. Encumbrances, Liens, and Easements
    1. Public Encumbrances
      --Utilities, Zoning, Building Codes, Environmental law, Eminent Domain, Property Taxes
    2. Private Encumbrances
      --Mortgages, Judgments, Mechanics’ Liens, Restrictive Covenants, Trust Deeds
    3. Easements --Creation, Termination, and Licenses
  5. The Contract
    1. Brief Overview of Law of Contracts and Requirements for Enforceable Agreements
    2. Requirements Specific to Real Estate Contracts
    3. Brokerage and Listing Agreements
    4. Contracts for Sale/Purchase
      --Includes all provisions of standard real estate contracts
    5. Options
  6. Deeds
    1. Historical Basis
    2. Types of Deeds
    3. Requirements for Valid Deeds
    4. Deed Preparation
    5. Reformation and Correction of Deeds
    6. Wild Deeds
    7. Fraudulent Deeds and Invalidation
  7. Finance
    1. The Note
    2. The Mortgage
    3. Foreclosure
    4. Defenses to Foreclosure and Debtor’s Rights
    5. The Guaranty
  8. Title Examination
    1. The Concept of Title and BFP Rule
    2. Recordation and Applicable Statutes
    3. Ordering and Performing Title Examinations
    4. Reviewing Title Reports and Exceptions
  9. Title Insurance
    1. Reading Title Commitments and Exceptions Thereto
    2. The Owner’s Policy
    3. The Lender’s Policy
    4. Claims and Duty to Defend or Indemnify
  10. The Closing
    1. Parties
    2. The Seller’s Documents
    3. The Buyer’s Loan Package
    4. General Municipal Requirements
    5. City of Chicago Requirements
  11. Condominiums and Co-Ops
    1. Condominium Creation
    2. Condominium Operation
    3. Co-Ops
    4. Condos v. Co-Ops Contrast
  12. Trusts
    1. Condominium Creation
    2. Condominium Operation
    3. Co-Ops
    4. Condos v. Co-Ops Contrast
    5. Land trusts
  13. Leases and Landlord Tenant
    1. Leases Generally
    2. Residential v. Commercial Leasing
    3. Landlord Remedies
    4. Tenant Rights
    5. Leasing in the City of Chicago

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Socratic method
  2. Lecture
  3. Case problems
  4. Drafting laboratories

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading Assignments
  2. Writing Assignments

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Hinkel. Practical Real Estate Law, 5th ed. Thomson, 2012

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

This class will be scored based on a total of 1,000 points, subject to the following grading scale:

A 900+ points
B 800+ points
C 700+ points
D 600+ points

In addition, all assignments are tentative and subject to change based upon time constraints. A rubric will be provided when applicable. Materials will be provided for all assignments which are not derived from the Instructional Materials listed in Part IX above. The total available points will be allocated as follows:

  1. Quizzes (300 total points)
    • We will take anywhere from three to six quizzes which will total 300 points. Quiz format to be determined. For any quizzes relying upon written documentation, such documentation will be provided. Any student absent on the date of a quiz will be given the opportunity to complete the quiz during the next scheduled class period with a mandatory 10% reduction in his or her score.
  2. Closing File (300 Points)
    • Real estate is arguably the most paralegal-driven aspect of the practice of law. As a result, your ability to work files independently with only minimal supervision is of significant importance. Given the independent nature of the real estate practice setting, we will work a file from its inception through closing during the course of the semester. The purpose of this project is to give you a sense of the sequencing and various deadlines the paralegal must stay on top of in guiding a file to the closing table. The Closing File is due at the end of the semester.
  3. Final Written Exam (300 points)
      Date, time and format to be determined.
  4. Attendance/Participation (100 points)
    • Each student will begin the semester with 100 points for Attendance and Participation. Each student may miss ONE class without penalty. Each additional absence will result in the loss of ten (10) Attendance/Participation points, regardless of the reason for the absence. If you know you will be absent, please advise me as soon as possible so that I may make arrangements to provide you with the materials necessary for you to keep pace.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.