What must a home seller tell a prospective buyer in Illinois?

What a feeling of elation people get when, after weeks or months of futilely hunting for the ideal home, they find what they want!  It’s like starting a fresh chapter of your or your family’s life in brand new surroundings.

Nevertheless, there are some preliminary considerations – and they are very important. The home’s seller must — by law — let you know certain facts about the residence’s condition before you sign on the dotted line. That way, you are aware of exactly what you are getting.

What do property disclosure laws say?

Many states including Illinois have laws on the books about property owners having to let potential buyers know about health-connected problems or major structural flaws, system malfunctions or other significant issues in a home they intend to buy.

In Illinois, two laws described below are related to this subject:

  • Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act: This law instructs a seller to disclose the presence of potentially health-jeopardizing paint, either lead or chipped, in homes constructed pre-1978. The buyer has 10 days to have a paint inspection performed.
  • Residential Real Property Disclosure Act: This law asks a seller to describe any issues with almost two dozen possible problem areas and systems such as roofs, floors, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, foundation, asbestos, radon, termites, drinking water, ceilings and more.

Obviously, if you are selling a home and don’t even realize the existence of a problem or problems, you can’t declare them.  

Sellers often have home inspections done so they know the precise state of their home and thereby can fill out disclosure forms accurately and completely. Sellers, as well as buyers, should know their rights and responsibilities.

The sale or purchase of a home is one of the most significant, costly transactions you will ever be involved in. If you are either a seller or a buyer and have questions about how to proceed, make sure you have all the information you require.