Real Estate

The importance and complexity of real estate transactions cannot be understated. For most individuals, and indeed many businesses, real property is the most valuable asset owned and the process of buying or selling these assets should be treated accordingly. Our attorneys at Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C. understand not only Illinois property law but also the peculiarities of the real estate market in the Springfield area. This allows us to assist both businesses and individuals during the various acquisition or disposition steps — from contract negotiation to closing. Moreover, our lawyers advise banks and municipal agencies regarding the various real property issues they face, including secured transactions, eminent domain, zoning issues, and environmental issues.

At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, our attorneys help clients move quickly to a problem-free closing of their real estate transaction. Whether a property is for sale "by owner" or through a realtor, having an attorney's advice throughout the process can provide the buyer or seller with peace of mind that the transaction will be conducted fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Our attorneys help clients negotiate and draft the contract, clear title work exceptions, prepare required disclosures, review loan documents, and conduct other matters required for closing.

Eminent Domain/Condemnation

When the government exercises its authority to take private property or infringe on the private owner's use and enjoyment thereof, our attorneys advocate for the individual or business and make sure the private owner is justly compensated for the public taking. Eminent domain is a significant power and those subject to it must tread carefully to avoid giving up their rights. Our attorneys have assisted municipalities throughout Springfield and the Central Illinois area in navigating the legal complexities of the condemnation process. Moreover, we have also advocated aggressively on behalf of affected landowners to avoid condemnation or obtain the just compensation to which they are entitled for their real estate.


We represent lenders and homeowners in judicial foreclosure proceedings or negotiating related dealings such as loan modifications, workouts, short sales, and deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Navigating foreclosure proceedings can be a challenge, especially with recent changes to the governing laws. For financial institutions, even deciding whether or not to pursue foreclosure can be complex. Our attorneys can help lenders assess their options upon borrower default. And if, as is true in many cases, foreclosure is not the best option, we can negotiate loan modifications, workouts, short sales and other alternative transactions to resolve the issue.


We work with both landlords and tenants to protect their rights and interests when preparing and negotiating commercial leases. Additionally, we offer aggressive representation in lease disputes including litigation and forcible eviction proceedings.

Real Estate Transactions

Our attorneys provide both commercial and individual clients with the confidence you need when buying or selling real estate. We negotiate, draft and review real estate contracts and commercial leases, review title workups and mortgage documents, and conduct closings to facilitate an equitable and efficient transaction for both parties involved.

For most people, a residential real estate transaction is one of the biggest decisions they will face in their personal lives. Whether it is buying or selling a home, it is always prudent to have an attorney on your side who can make sure the transaction goes smoothly, and can ensure you are considering all the options available to you. An experienced real estate lawyer can make the difference between a successful real estate transaction and a costly mistake.

Commercial real estate matters are often complex and multi-faceted. At Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes, P.C., we offer businesses and individuals skilled representation in all types of commercial real estate transactions. While we perform basic legal work necessary to structure and close transactions, we also help clients identify and develop business opportunities. Through close working relationships with our clients, we assist them in meeting their goals and objectives.

Our practice areas include:

Acquisition and Development

Our engagements in this area include the acquisition and development of downtown office buildings and suburban office parks, corporate headquarter facilities, build-to-suit manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facilities and industrial parks, residential multifamily complexes, single-family residential subdivisions, mixed-use developments, retail developments, hotels, condominium conversions, cooperatives, medical centers, assisted living communities, nursing homes and resort communities and wind/energy projects, as well as 1031 tax deferred exchanges.

Land Use and Zoning

We help property owners and developers obtain necessary planning and zoning approvals and permits, including representing clients in appeals before municipal zoning hearing boards and trial and appellate courts.

Real Estate Leasing

We are experienced in representing landlords and tenants in a variety of leasing transactions, including build-to-suit leases, turnkey leases, tenant improvement allowance leases, subleases, office leases, retail leases, warehouse and industrial leases, and manufacturing facility leases. Leases carry a variety of business and legal risks, and sophisticated clients understand that a well-negotiated lease can save time and money. Many lease and sublease transactions require an assessment and allocation of costs, benefits and risks. We understand the need to negotiate and document the transaction quickly, while minimizing our client’s legal and business risks.

Economic Development Incentives and Public/Private Projects

Increasingly, businesses opening new facilities or relocating search for economic development incentives such as grants, low-interest loans, tax credits, tax exemptions, pooled financings and tax-exempt financing. Many complex projects, especially multi-use projects, also involve public/private joint ventures and operations. We have experience working with government bureaucracies and coordinating government program requirements with our clients.

Real Estate Finance

In addition to representing financial institutions in real estate collateralized loans, our firm is experienced in helping clients understand and assess available financial products.

Real Estate Taxation

We are experienced in real estate tax assessments and appeals to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, the Illinois Department of Revenue, and the Illinois courts. Our lawyers have been involved in thousands of real estate tax assessment challenges on grounds of improper rates and ratios and improperly assessed valuations, as well as exemption issues.

Real Estate Litigation

Our attorneys are experienced in real estate litigation. Our experience includes issues of foreclosure/deficiency judgments, ownership disputes, easement and boundary disputes, lease disputes, right of first refusal, buy-sell agreements, specific performance disputes, tax appeals, land use and zoning appeals, and eminent domain and condemnation matters.

Zoning and Land Use

Zoning applications and the approval process can be daunting. Whether a project requires a rezoning, exception, or variance, all projects that require a building permit also require a zoning approval. Our attorneys advise clients in identifying issues, preparing applications, negotiating with stakeholders, expediting processing, and presenting before government boards to obtain approval.

The attorneys at Giffin Winning are among the preeminent land use law attorneys for private land owners in the area. Our attorneys routinely handle land use law issues relating to acquisition, development, modernization and expansion of real estate improvements of all types from residential to commercial to industrial.

We have experience not only dealing with the City of Springfield (a home rule municipality), but all Springfield area cities and villages, as well as other large central Illinois cities. We are well known among all area municipal attorneys.

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1 West Old State Capital Plaza | Suite 600 Myers Building | Springfield, IL 62701