Sellers are often required to list out all the physical aspects of their property to prospective home buyers. This increases clarity and facilitates a better sale. That is exactly where a seller disclosure statement comes into the picture.
Sometimes, to make a quick home sale, sellers tend to hide the defects in the house. However, if the buyer finds material defects later, the seller may face legal consequences. To avoid these, our guide will take you through seller disclosure Illinois.
» Selling A House In Illinois: Know the process to sell your home in Illinois.
What are Seller Disclosures?
The Seller Disclosure form is a standard checklist form containing material defects and features of the property. It specifically provides information about the property that may negatively affect the value of the house.
If there are material defects in a property that may impact the value of the property and the seller is aware of them, then the seller must disclose them. However, sellers should report these defects to the best of their knowledge and understanding.
The aim of Seller Disclosure is to maintain transparency in the real – estate transaction to keep the buyer aware of any defects present in the house.
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Importance of Seller Disclosures
Seller’s disclosures serve the following purpose in real estate transactions:
|🔎||Give Complete Information About The Property||Disclosures help communicate the defects present on the property. They ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the transaction are well aware of the property's history.|
|⚖️||Protects Sellers Against Legal Liabilities||Once you disclose all the known defects present in the house or which come to light during the inspection, you may be exempted from any future liability against those defects.|
|👍||Develops Credibility||Honesty, accuracy and transparency are of utmost importance when selling your house. Disclosures are a way of achieving all of these and thereby enhancing your credibility.|
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Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Laws
The sellers in Illinois are bound by specific federal and state laws in relation to the sale of their property. Set out below are a few pointers revolving around Illinois seller property disclosure.
What is Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act?
Real property disclosure in Illinois is complex. Sellers are mandated by law to provide disclosures to prospective buyers. To protect home buyers from encountering property problems and sellers who don’t disclose property defects, the state passed the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act.
It’s a law that obligates home sellers to disclose in writing any known material defects about their property. The sellers must make their property disclosures in the Illinois Seller Disclosure form also known as the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Report.
The Illinois property disclosure form must be completed before the seller signs the purchase agreement. And more importantly, the disclosure form must not be treated as a substitute for a home inspection.
Although completing the Illinois Residential Real Estate Disclosure form is a crucial process, you are not responsible to perform an inspection to complete the Illinois disclosure form. As stated in the law, you don’t need to disclose defects you don’t know about.
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What Does the Illinois Property Disclosure Form Cover?
The Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Form covers 23 separate line items:
|1.||Whether the seller occupied the property during the last 12 months?|
|2.||Was there flooding or leakage in the crawlspace or basement?|
|3.||Is the property in a flood plain or is there flood insurance on the property?|
|4.||Are there defects in the basement foundation?|
|5.||Are there leaks or defects in the roof, ceilings or chimney?|
|6.||Are there defects in the walls or floors?|
|7.||Are there defects in the electrical system?|
|8.||Are there defects in the plumbing system (which includes water heaters, sump pumps, treatment systems, sprinkler systems, and swimming pools)?|
|9.||Are there defects in the well system?|
|10.||Is the drinking-water safe?|
|11.||Are there defects in the HVAC system?|
|12.||Are there defects in the fireplace or woodburning stove?|
|13.||Are there defects in the septic, sanitary sewer, or disposal system?|
|14.||Are the radon levels safe?|
|15.||Are there unsafe asbestos conditions?|
|16.||Are there unsafe conditions regarding lead paint, lead pipes, or lead in the soil?|
|17.||Is there settlement or earth instability?|
|18.||Are there termites or other wood-boring insects?|
|19.||Did termites or wood-boring insects leave structural defects from a pest infestation?|
|20.||Are there underground fuel storage tanks|
|21.||Are there any boundary line disputes?|
|22.||Have there been any violations of any laws relating to the property?|
|23.||Was the property ever used as a methamphetamine lab?|
Apart from stating various important aspects of the property and structure, the seller must disclose the latent material defects of the house.
Furthermore, a seller is required to deliver the Illinois Real Property Disclosure Form to the buyer prior to the contractual binding between the Parties.
Following are the latent material defects that must be disclosed in the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report Form Illinois –
- House Quality,
- Environmental Issues,
- Flood risk,
- Lead hazards,
- Structural issues, et cetera.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Latent material defects are the ones which are not apparent or visibly recognizable defects, but they significantly affect the value of the property. Generally, these defects pose a threat to the safety or health of the occupants.
Federal Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed in 1992 requires the disclosure of the presence of lead-based paint in all houses built before 1978. For that, the Lead-based paint disclosure Illinois formmust be filled out by the seller.
Note that only the properties built before 1978 are subject to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act. Most times, a real estate agent provides you a pamphlet. It is called ‘Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.’ It contains topics related to the dangerous side effects of lead and how you can identify the home for lead.
The seller provides 10 days for the buyer to conduct a risk assessment or paint inspection for lead-based paint in the home. However, both parties can agree to skip the inspection altogether.
» Pro Tip: Sellers can get their homes pre-inspected and complete the certification to avoid extended time before closing.
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Consequences of / Remedies Against Seller Lying on Disclosures
Failure to disclose any major defects or any malfunctions existing in the property can lead to termination of the contract. The buyer may sue the seller for legal issues like negligence, or misrepresentation on the Illinois Residential Property Disclosure Form.
According to 765 ILCS § 77/55 –
“A person who knowingly violates or fails to perform any duty prescribed by any provision of this Act or who discloses any information on the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report Illinois that he knows to be false shall be liable in the amount of actual damages and court costs, and the court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party.”
Even if the buyer is aware of the defects, the seller can still be held liable for false statements in a disclosure.
As a seller, it’s your duty to review and double-check the disclosure form thoroughly. If you have questions about legal issues, be sure to consult your real estate attorney.
If you have queries about real estate codes, covenants, or the disclosure form, ask your agent directly. The Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Form has every information you have to disclose—repairs or any improvements done should be also disclosed.
Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Home Sellers in Disclosures
The main object of disclosures in any area is to give clarity and perspective to a buyer. Buyers who are looking for a home usually have certain criteria in mind before searching for a home. A seller disclosure acts as a bridge to close these doubts, giving buyers a reason to have faith in you and your deal.
- One of the biggest mistakes a seller can make is not giving disclosures at all. The lack of trust between a buyer and seller can demotivate a buyer from considering your property altogether. Hence, it is suggested that sellers complete all disclosure formalities as soon as possible, even though it may not be legally required in your state.
- Likewise, sellers also get an option to mark a point as ‘unknown’ in disclosures. This gives you ample opportunity to be honest in your disclosures. Also, marking a certain disclosure clause as ‘unknown’ shifts the burden on a buyer to inspect that particular problem. Hence, don’t make the mistake of lying on your disclosures, as that would count as fraudulent misrepresentation and attract a lawsuit.
- Most state laws prescribe that the disclosures should be provided before closing. As an FSBO seller, it is your duty to provide disclosures as soon as possible, since you do not have a real estate agent to do these things for you.
- ✍️ Pro Tip: Sellers who are selling their house the FSBO way are advised to keep their Disclosure Statement ready before listing on the MLS. It increases your credibility and reliability from a buyer’s perspective, as they get an idea of the property’s condition early on.
» how to sell a house by owner in Illinois: Are you considering selling your house without a realtor? Here are our tips for a smooth selling process.
Tips to Minimize Issues in Illinois Disclosure Documents
|Review And Verify||There’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Purchase and Sales Agreement—also the square footage, home usage, and marketing.|
|Ask Questions||Ask questions when in doubt. This would help you in avoiding future troubles.|
|Hire A Professional Inspector||A professional inspector can help you gather backup information about the property’s condition. You can also opt for a pre-inspection before listing.|
» Illinois Home Inspectors – Find out the best home inspectors in Illinois.
|Disclose Everything||To avoid problems in your home disclosure statement disclose everything you know honestly. Even though it’s a minor issue, you must disclose it.|
|Get A Licensed Agent Involved||The best way to avoid disclosure issues is to get a licensed IL real estate agents. Agents can help you manage and assist you in the process along the way.|
- ✍️ Pro Tip: List Your Property With Houzeo
One of the best ways to minimize problems in your seller’s disclosure is to Purchase the “Contract to Close Upgrade Package”. A Licensed broker will review your paperwork to make sure it is appropriate. In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
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Final Word: Complexity of Illinois Real Estate Disclosure
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is Illinois a Caveat Emptor State?||No|
|Is Illinois a Non-Disclosure State?||No|
Seller Disclosure laws Illinois do not follow the rule of ‘caveat emptor,’ i.e. let the buyer beware. Thus, it is the seller’s duty to disclose all material defects that may affect the monetary value of the house.
Illinois Residential Property Disclosure Form is a little complicated. Selling your house FSBO is usually good, but then you would have to deal with all the disclosures on your own. This demands that you be aware of all the disclosure requirements and that any mistake can cost you dearly. Houzeo can help you with this.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Though selling your home yourself on a For Sale By Owner website can save you thousands in commission, we highly recommend you add a Flat Fee MLS listing to your marketing strategy. Check out the best Flat Fee Illinois.
By listing your property with Houzeo, you get access to all forms in electronic format. And that too, for FREE! Houzeo has segregated all the disclosures state-wise so that you don’t have to hunt for Seller Disclosure form Illinois separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.
*Seller disclosures are primarily the responsibility of a home seller. Regardless of the service, you engage in, you are required to ensure seller disclosures provided by you are complete and accurate to your best knowledge. Houzeo is not a brokerage or a licensed agent. It is a tech platform, and the tips presented here should not be construed as advice for which a real estate or attorney license is required.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who needs to complete and sign the Illinois Residential Property Disclosure form?
Every person or entity who is an owner, the beneficiary of a trust, contract purchaser, or lessee of a ground lease, who has an interest (legal or equitable) in a residential real property needs to sign the Real Estate Disclosure Form Illinois.
2. Do sellers have to disclose water damage when selling a house?
Yes, sellers need to disclose water damage. It is a material defect and Seller's Disclosure Illinois law provides for the disclosure of material defects to the buyer in the property.
3. Under the Illinois Property Disclosure act, who is exempt from making disclosures?
The people who are exempt from making disclosures are any person whose property is transferred pursuant to the following:- a court order, mortgage deed, or the spousal or fiduciary transfer.
4. Do sellers have to disclose a death in the house ?
No, sellers are legally not required to disclose the occurrence of prior death.
5. When is Illinois radon disclosure required to be made?
The seller is required to make radon disclosures to the prospective buyer prior to the purchase of the residential property.
6. Do seller in Illinois need to make mold disclosures?
No, the law does not require a seller to deliver the Illinois Mold Disclosure form to the buyer.
7. What are the required disclosures when selling a house in Illinois?
Sellers are required to fill out the Illinois Seller Disclosure form, which includes the Illinois Residential Real Estate Property Disclosure Report and the Lead Paint Disclosure form.
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