Whether someone is a seller or buyer, disclosures are an important part of a real estate transaction. While it’s standard practice to freshen a home up before putting it up for sale, some sellers do so in order to cover things up. In most jurisdictions, agents and sellers are required to document known defects to a potential buyer. However, some sellers do not follow real estate laws in Chicago.
What Are Disclosures?
Disclosure statements can come in various forms, and the statement is the buyer’s chance to learn as much as possible about the property and the seller’s experiences with it. Potential disclosures range from knowledge of a roof leak to work done without a permit, and they may include information on nearby development projects. Not only do these statements serve to inform the buyer, they can protect the seller from future litigation. It is the seller’s opportunity to reveal things that can adversely affect the usefulness or value of the property.
How Do Sellers Make Disclosures?
Disclosure laws are different in every jurisdiction, even at the county or city level. Real Estate Laws in Chicago require that sellers and agents sign or complete dozens of documents. Disclosure often comes in the form of a basic document where the seller answers questions about items that could negatively affect the home’s value. Depending on the location, a seller can be liable for disclosures for up to a decade.
Are Disclosures and Inspections the Same Thing?
Disclosure is something furnished to the buyer by the home seller, and it is based on the seller’s knowledge of the property. It is different from an independent inspection by a neutral third party. This examination can reveal defects that the seller may not have known about, and it’s the buyer’s responsibility to have an inspection done before moving forward with the transaction. A home inspector will check all components and systems, from the basement to the roof. Typically, in the interest of full disclosure, the seller hires an inspector before putting the home on the market, and they furnish the report to potential buyers.
A home buyer must sign off on reports and disclosures, so it’s important for them to review the documents carefully and ask questions if necessary. Full disclosure is the best way to go. However, if a seller does not provide full disclosure, the buyer is best served by consulting a real estate attorney with Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells. Like us on Facebook.
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