Searching for a new home in Illinois can be an exciting time knowing you’re finding the next home for your family. However, this excitement is often met with frustration when you start negotiating the terms of your purchase, especially when you find a property of interest that has numerous issues that the seller has disclosed before purchase, or worse when you move into a property that comes with unexpected damages that cause unanticipated costs to repair.
The intent of property disclosure statements is to give potential buyers all the knowledge the seller has on all known issues, defects, and repairs made to the property to give the buyer awareness of past issues as well as the potential for future ones.
While home inspections help to give potential homeowners an idea of the current condition of a home, there can be hidden problems that inspectors fail to find that can cause problems and future repair costs. The purpose of the Illinois Residential Real Estate Property Disclosure Act is to give home buyers an added layer of protection for up to one year after purchasing a home to help protect them from unanticipated problems that are discovered that haven't been disclosed by property sellers.
The Illinois Residential Real Estate Property Disclosure Act is a real estate law in Illinois that requires home & property sellers to inform potential real estate purchases of a wide variety of issues, defects, and repairs that the property owners are aware of as well as the repairs that have been completed to address these problems.
Properties that are included in the act include single and multi-family homes. condos, townhomes as well as co-ops. Typically, real estate agents require owners of these properties to create a disclosure statement before the property is listed to eliminate surprises when a potential buyer is found and negotiations start.
When selling a home, a seller must list all known defects, damages and prior repairs in their disclosure statement but aren't required to investigate issues in these categories for investigative purposes; though if a seller becomes aware of damages, defects, or problems after negotiations on a real estate transaction begin, the seller must add this supplement information notifying the buyer of these issues.
Material defects, flooding, and hazardous or harmful elements should be listed in the disclosure statement. Material defects include anything that could jeopardize the value of the home and the occupants' safety unless the seller reasonably believes the issue has been corrected. However, reasonable belief that the issue has been corrected will not protect the seller from liability. Some common areas of issue that are addressed in the disclosure statement include:
Many problems with plumbing aren’t readily apparent. If you’re aware of plumbing and water-related issues such as leaks, old and potentially cracked pipes, consistent issues such as clogged drains or issues involving access to water shutoffs, broken faucets, or other water-related problems that aren’t immediately noticeable but you’re aware of and fail to disclose, can potentially open yourself up to litigation for failure to disclose these problems
When homes are built and remodeled, they’re often built correctly, however, unseen defects in construction can often be discovered right after you move in or take some time to notice. In instances such as these, a homeowner may have noticed cracks in their foundation and has made repairs to close the cracks, hydro-lifted portions of the foundation, or other repairs to address these issues.
These are very important issues that must be disclosed because they address the integrity of the property.
This may seem like it can be a rather cut-and-dry issue that is addressed during an inspection, however, we have encountered instances where a home is inspected in the wintertime and the air conditioner isn’t inspected, only to find out that the AC doesn’t work in the spring. These types of failures to disclose the operative capacity, as well as the condition of these items, can leave a seller open to potential litigation.
While we've addressed some of the major issues that require disclosure, there are other issues that must be disclosed when selling a home including issues and prior damage to a home from termites, lead, windows & doors, past manufacturing of Methamphetamines, problems with Septic systems as well as repairs and problems with windows, doors and other fixtures.
If you've discovered problems with your home or property purchase after your purchase and it can be proven that these issues were known by the seller or reasonably be assumed that they knew about these problems, the first step is contacting the seller and showing them the evidence of the issues, evidence of repair costs and attempting to have the seller cover these costs. If a resolution with the seller can't be obtained, the new property owners can sue for damages, repair costs, as well as attorney & court fees, though the Illinois Real Estate Property Disclosure Act has a statute of limitations that only covers a time period of 1 year after the purchase.
If you've recently purchased a property and discovered damages, problems or have repaired issues or damages to your recently purchased property, it's imperative you address this quickly.
Contact our Illinois real estate attorneys for a free consultation to learn how we can assist you to address damages, repair costs and receive compensation for issues that have been discovered recently after your home purchase.
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