The house has curb appeal, and on the inside, it looks pristine. However, Illinois homebuyers should not fall in love with a home based on its face value.
FindLaw explains that the sellers should provide a disclosure statement that describes the property’s condition. At this point, buyers can weigh the issues that may lurk beneath the surface and request that these be corrected as part of the deal. Alternately, they could request that the price is lowered so that the cost of the repairs they must do is offset. When the seller lies on the disclosure form, is the buyer left holding the bag?
According to Illinois statute, the seller is not on the hook if he or she does not know that the material defect exists. This includes if the defect arose, the seller had the appropriate professional such as a licensed electrician fix the issue, and had a reasonable belief that the defect no longer existed. The seller does not have to order an inspection to see if a previously corrected issue has re-occurred before filling out the disclosure report.
The statement is not a guarantee that there is no condition on the property that could affect the value of it or create a health or safety problem. However, a buyer could sue a seller who knowingly provides false information on the official disclosure report for actual damages and court costs. This must be done within a year of the date when the buyer took possession of the property, the date of occupancy or the date recorded on the deed, whichever came first. Attorney fees may also be recovered, but if the plaintiff does not win the suit, the defendant may be awarded attorney fees.