Buying or selling a house can be a stressful process. For those who feel they have found a perfect home, discovering defects after buying the house can sour the dream of homeownership. Similarly, if a seller sells his house and moves on to better prospects, he may find himself pulled back by a buyer suing the seller for defects in the house that the buyer accuses the seller of keeping hidden. In order to avoid these situations, and ensure a smooth transaction, Illinois law has some safeguards in place protecting the seller and buyers.
Illinois Real Estate Law
In Illinois, the Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act governs the information parties must give or receive when transferring real estate. The Act does not apply to all transfers of property, and includes some exceptions listed in the language of the law.
Sellers of residential property are required to complete a disclosure document and deliver it to a potential buyer before a final deal on the sale of the seller’s residential property can be reached and the property transferred to the buyer. The law does not require a seller to make any investigations into the real property’s conditions when completing the disclosure statements.
However, if the seller knows of important or major defects in the real property, he or she has to disclose it. The Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act provides a sample form that details the information the seller must provide to the buyer. Some of the information a seller is required to disclose is flood damage or termite damage of which the seller has knowledge.
Generally, a seller is not liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission of any information provided in the disclosure document if the seller meets the following conditions:
- The seller must not have any knowledge of the errors, inaccuracies, or omissions;
- The seller reasonably believes that an important defect or other issue not disclosed to the buyer has been resolved or corrected; or
- The error, inaccuracy, or omissions were caused by the seller relying on information from a public agency or professionals such as pest control companies or contractors, and the seller did not know the information was erroneous.
If the seller refuses to provide a disclosure statement, the buyer may terminate any pending contract with the seller. A buyer who believes that the seller hid major defects can also sue the seller if the sale is already finalized.
Contact a Kane County Real Estate AttorneyIf you bought or sold a house and are encountering defects or issues dealing with disclosures of defects, you need an experienced real estate attorney handling your case. The Sugar Grove real estate attorneys at Law Office of James F. White, P.C. can handle all aspects of your real estate transaction in Kane County and throughout the western Chicago suburbs. Contact us for a free consultation today. There is a time limit on bringing lawsuits based on the violation of the Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act.