The State of Illinois has a disclosure law (765 ILCS 77/20). Sec. 20 states – A seller of residential real property shall complete all applicable items in the disclosure document described in Section 35 of this Act. The seller shall deliver to the prospective buyer the written disclosure statement required by this Act before the signing of a written agreement by the seller and prospective buyer that would, subject to the satisfaction of any negotiated contingencies, require the prospective buyer to accept a transfer of the residential real property.
(Source: P.A. 88-111.) In over 25 years of performing home inspections, I have found that claiming ignorance to defects has been a common practice. A listing inspection is not a common practice. (Charlie’s Humble Opinion)
But things are changing and liability is being placed on the seller of a home. Sections 30 and 55 have changed and many have not adjusted to these changes. Please read the below carefully
Sec. 30. Disclosure supplement. If prior to closing, any seller has actual knowledge of an error, inaccuracy, or omission in any prior disclosure document after delivery of that disclosure document to a prospective buyer, that seller shall supplement the prior disclosure document with a written supplemental disclosure.
Sec. 55. Violations and damages. If the seller fails or refuses to provide the disclosure document prior to the conveyance of the residential real property, the buyer shall have the right to terminate the contract. A person who knowingly violates or fails to perform any duty prescribed by any provision of this Act or who discloses any information on the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report that he knows to be false shall be liable in the amount of actual damages and court costs, and the court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party.
Because of the above, smarter home sellers are choosing to have their homes inspected by a private inspector before putting them up for sale. These are typically called Pre-Listing Inspections or Sellers Inspections.
A listing inspection is the equivalent of a buyers inspection, but of course, the client is the person selling the home, not the person buying it. Sellers may choose to make the inspection report available for potential buyers to see, or they may keep it private. In either case, this is a fantastic way for sellers to learn exactly what will be found at their home when their buyers have an inspection performed, and will give them a chance to repair any problems.
Smart sellers will get the items professionally corrected and include the receipts with the report to show that the home is in acceptable condition.
If the seller chooses to make the listing inspection report a public document, this can make the home a more attractive property for potential buyers by giving them better peace of mind about a property before even writing an offer on it. Besides added peace of mind for buyers, having a sellers inspection will make the negotiation process much easier for all parties involved. Here are two potential scenarios:
No listing inspection – A buyer writes an offer on a home, the offer is accepted, and the purchase is contingent upon an inspection. The inspection is performed three days later, and several issues are identified. Assuming the buyers still want the house after discovering all these things they didn’t know about the home, they now ask the seller to fix the items. Several things can happen at this point – the seller might offer to discount the price of the home, rush to do the repairs, or even refuse to do anything, which might kill the deal. None of these options are ideal for the seller, and negotiations will need to take place.
Seller has home inspected before listing – The inspector identifies several issues with the home, and the seller takes their leisurely time in getting the items corrected or repaired. They confidently list their home, and look forward to the buyer’s home inspection, knowing that nothing is going to come up that they didn’t already know about. If there are items that the seller decides not to fix, they might just list those items on a disclosure form, so any potential buyer knows that this is what they are buying, and there are no negotiations later on in the buying process.
Listing inspections are becoming more and more popular, especially in today’s market where there is such a high inventory of homes for sale. Many real estate agents that work with us have us inspect every house they list for sale because it makes the selling process go so much smoother for all parties involved.
One last thing – make sure you hire an excellent home inspector. A home inspector who misses or glosses over problems can do more harm than good.
We can also help you find contractors at a reasonable price to correct issues found during our inspections. Our 90 Day warranty is also extended to 120 days. That warranty is transferred to your home buyers.