Home Buying in 33629>Question Details

Erika Clark, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

Lying on disclosures

Asked by Erika Clark, Chicago, IL Thu Jan 26, 2012

Before closing, I learned that the seller was lying about mold, saying there was no problem and has been no problem since he is the first owner of the property. I have since learned that he had the finished basement gutted, re-sealed and refinished again, only to have mold re-appear on some walls. Obviously, he knew there was a problem, to completely gut a 3 year old building and start over. Other tenants in this building have, and are aware of the problem, and told me of his recent re-hab. Is there any re-course for him having lied? How can I stop him from lying to other prospective buyers? His agent is aware of his lying. Thank God the neighbors informed me.

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9
Alma Rose Kee PA’s answer
Hi Erika,

You posted this in Tampa but I'm thinking you're talking about a property in Chicago because basements are not common in Tampa.

If so, you may want to repost in Chicago so you can get the advise of Illinois Realtors.

All the best,
Alma
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 23, 2012
The Illinois Property Disclosure only asks if he knows about material defects concerning mold, and the mold disclosure asks the same. Read it carefully.

If there was a past problem that has been fixed... he doesn't have to disclose that, any more than he would have to disclose a leaking roof that has been repaired.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
The recourse, Erika, is through the courts.

You cannot legally "stop him from lying to other prospective buyers," any more than he can stop you from asking questions on Trulia.

This is a tough one, because I trust that you mean well, but there is a limit as to what one woman can do without running afoul of the law herself.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
Oh boy Erika. That is an interesting situation you are in. I have a couple points I would like present regarding this issue. In terms of Florida State Sellers Disclosures, you are correct Erika and unfortuately many agents are incorrect. He DOES have to disclose if there was an issue at any time that he is aware of. That is not up for interpretation, that is the law.

Next, I would like to ask you if you have tried approaching the listing agent yet? I would strongly suggest rather then going the legal route where you are completely relying on hearsay from neighbors who may or may not be well meaning as Alma pointed out, try putting together an email or letter to the listing agent and copy his/her broker armed with the information you received from the neighbors and ask them to have the seller correct the disclosures accordingly.

I hope this helps Erika and please do not let this unfortunate experience taint your view of the buying experience in the future.

I wish you all the best and thank you for having such strength of character to follow through on this issue.

Regards,
Charlene Weston
Realtor/Team Leader
Weston Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 22, 2012
If what you've been told is true, then it's time to hire an attorney!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
Hi Erika,

Have you ever thought that perhaps the "neighbors" have a friend or family member that wants to buy that house so they may be trying to scare you away! Just a thought.... be careful who you trust.

All the best,
Alma Kee
http://www.SoldOnTampa.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
Each state's laws vary on how a seller is to disclose.

In California we have to disclose just about everything from the beginning of time. In other states not so much. Us agents are held to a standard as well to disclose any material facts.

IL may not have that and what you feel is lying the seller feels has been remedied. I'm with you, it is better to disclose and let the buyer decide. When you are uncomfortable move on. If you were not wrong suffered a loss there really isn't much else for you to do. It's crummy, I know.

Good luck on your home search and good job on talking with neighbors and doing your due diligence.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Alan is correct.

If the problem has been cured then the owner has done nothing wrong.

The owner only has to disclose material facts, not repairs done to cure a problem..

Did you have a home inspection performed? If so, it should of revealed if mold is present. Did it?
Web Reference: http://www.SLeonRealtor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Sounds like something to take to the Department of State or whoever in Illinois oversees real estate transactions. Or maybe it's "not a problem" to him!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
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