What are Disclosures?
When you are selling real estate property in Illinois, it is law that you make certain disclosures about the property before you even sign the contract to sell the property. All the disclosures need to be in writing and you need to disclose any information you have about past flooding, environmental issues, the condition of the property, any defects in the property which would cause a substantial issue etc. If you are using a licensed and trusted real estate agent, they will provide you with form to fill out before signing the contract to the property.
What is Not a Disclosure?
Disclosures are not to be used in place of an inspection, and they are not promised by the Seller. Even if the property is being sold in an “as is” condition the Seller must make any disclosures. A disclosure is just the Seller’s knowledge of the real estate property. The Seller does not need to conduct a home inspection of their own property before signing a disclosure. If the Seller finds an issue during the contract, the Seller needs to update the Buyer about said issue.
Additional Specific Disclosures.
In Illinois, there are two additional specific disclosures which must be completed. One is a Radon Disclosure Requirement and the other is a Lead Disclosure which is required by Federal law. A Radon Disclosure discloses if the Seller knows of any radon on the property, while the lead disclosure searches for potential lead paint which can pose a hazard.
What Happens if Seller does not Disclose?
If a Seller knows of a material defect in the property and does not disclose this to the Buyer it can lead to the Buyer cancelling the contract if they find this before the closing. If the closing goes through, the Seller can actually be liable to the Buyer for any damage from the Seller’s deceit. A Seller can be liable for a Buyer’s damage, attorney fees and court fees. If the Seller does not intentionally mislead the Buyer, then the Buyer can bring a negligence action against Seller for the Seller’s negligence in not disclosing such information.
Having a good real estate agent and a good attorney can help avoid future litigation. It can clear up any confusion you may have as a Seller, so you do not have to face a lawsuit down the road.
Are planning on buying or selling property? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy real estate help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.