You may be ready to move somewhere new right now, but you have a fair amount of work ahead of you if you intend to sell your home. Of course, you will probably have to do a lot of cleaning and a fair amount of repair work to make your lived-in home look appealing to buyers. You may even have to stage the home with temporary furnishings so it seems welcoming to a wide variety of potential buyers. You will probably want an agent to help you secure buyers and arrange showings.
And after you have got through all these steps, once you get into the actual transaction of selling you home, you have more paperwork to do. One of the most important tasks you have is to make legally required disclosures of issues with the property.
Federal and state disclosures
Disclosure requirements are designed to protect homebuyers from dishonest sellers who would try to sell them hazardous properties. The requirements come from both federal and Illinois law. For instance, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 is a federal law that requires sellers to inform buyers of any lead-based paint or chipped paint in any home built before 1978.
Illinois law has a long list of disclosures required under the 1994 Residential Real Property Disclosure Act. Among the required disclosures are flooding issues, defects in the roof, walls, floors and foundation, Sellers must also disclose known defects in the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as health hazards such as the presence of asbestos.
The disclosures don’t end with physical hazards. Sellers must also disclose any boundary disputes involving the property.
Note that sellers are generally required only to disclose issues that they know about. They aren’t necessarily required to inspect the property for these hazards. For instance, a seller isn’t held responsible for a radon problem that they never knew about until after the sale.
Still, sellers should be careful with their disclosure forms. Attorneys with experience in residential real estate transactions can help sellers to understand their rights and responsibilities.