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What disclosures are required in real estate transactions?

You could have a variety of reasons for selling your home, but you do not need to disclose all of them. However, you will need to make certain disclosures required by Illinois law in all real estate transactions. If you fail to do so, you could end up with larger problems than you would by letting potential buyers know if something significant is wrong with the house.

For instance, failing to disclose a leaky roof could land you in legal trouble, but failing to disclose that you think the house may have a ghost may not be as important. It may be something that some potential buyers may want to know, but it may not be something you really need to tell someone. The same could be said about deaths that may have occurred in the home, whether they occurred through natural causes or homicide.

If there are cracks in the foundation, lead in the paint or asbestos in the walls, you will more than likely be required to disclose these types of issues. The presence of toxic chemicals or materials may also need to be disclosed. Water damage, which could result in mold issues, also needs to be disclosed. Basically, you could be held responsible for not letting a buyer know about any structural issue that could either lower the value of the home or require costly repairs. You will also need to let buyers know the number of (legal) bedrooms the home has, any improvements or repairs made and the square footage.

Knowing whether a particular aspect of the home requires a disclosure can be confusing. Unless you have gone through numerous real estate transactions here in Illinois, you will more than likely need help identifying the issues that require disclosure. Even if you think that making a certain disclosure could turn away potential buyers, the legal issues that could arise in the future from not telling them could be much worse.

Source:, "What Do You Have to Disclose When Selling a House", Bill Gassett, Accessed on Nov. 12, 2017

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