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What you need to know about disclosure in real estate

When buying real estate in Illinois, the state has specific requirements about what a seller must tell the buyer about the property. This is a safeguard to help ensure the buyer is aware of issues the seller knows about. While it does not take the place of an inspection, it can bring to light issues that the buyer may want to have resolved before completing the purchase.

In general, a disclosure statement is used to provide information to the buyer from the seller, according to Zillow. It could tell the seller about an issue with something in the house, such as a broken garage door, or it could reveal information about the neighborhood, such as an issue with a disruptive barking dog. It is important for buyers to keep in mind the information given in a disclosure is only based on the seller's knowledge. If the seller does not know about something, then it is not required to be in the statement.

The Law

Under Illinois law as stated by the Illinois General Assembly, a statement of disclosure must begin with the seller stating whether he or she has lived in the house in the past 12 months. This gives the buyer a good idea of how familiar the seller is with the property and its idiosyncrasies.

The statement also must reveal the seller's knowledge of issues with systems, such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing. It should reveal known issues with different parts of the home, such as doors, windows, fireplaces and chimneys. Larger issues are also tackled, such as problems with the foundation, flooding issues and septic or sewer troubles. Real estate property disclosures must also reveal the presence of radon, lead and asbestos. A couple other points covered in a disclosure include pest infestations or issues and whether the home has ever been used to produce methamphetamines.

While a disclosure may not cover everything a buyer would want to know about a home, it can provide a lot of information if the seller is well-acquainted with the property. However, it should never be relied on as a complete report of the condition of a home.

 

 

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