Are sellers required to reveal some things about a property in Chicago such as code violations or it being in a dangerous condition structurally?

Asked by Tupper, Chicago, IL Sat Mar 3, 2012

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Laura Slappey, Agent, Crete, IL
Fri Mar 30, 2012
Sellers are required to fill out a Residential Disclosure form disclosing any information about any known defects of the property. In addition to this, Buyers should have a Home Inspection done on any property that they are interested in purchasing.

I advise all my buyers to do a Home Inspection on their home selection. If there are any violations or structural problems, the Inspectiion would probably reveal them. In addition, a Home Inspection is very educational...especially for first time Homebuyers.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please email me at laura@lauraslappey.com

Please check out my facebook fan page , Real Estate Consultant, at facebook.com/laslappey
and like me.
Web Reference:  http://LauraSlappey.com
0 votes
Seth Captain, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Mar 8, 2012
If it is a foreclosure, be warned the bank will NOT disclose it.

To save future homebuyers and agents the headaches that a bank could solve in 37 seconds and then list accordingly on the MLS, visit this Chicago website to check for code violations:

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/provdrs/ins…

Don't trust an attorney as they sometimes overlook violations, especially if a court case is closed, and their isn't a lien on the property. Violations stick with a property in Chicago;single family, two flat, mattress under the 90/94.. You buy it, they are yours! With higher permit fees as well!
0 votes
Jeffrey Kami…, Agent, La Grange, IL
Mon Mar 5, 2012
This sounds like a question for an attorney. Real estate agents are not able to give legal advice. Im curious how much you paid for this property? There are so many dirt-cheap foreclosed properties on the market that look too good to be true. Im guessing a lot of investors and rehabbers are going to have similar problems with them in the near future. Its always best to do your homework before closing so there are not as many surprises.
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Bill J Delig…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Mon Mar 5, 2012
If any know defects exist, they should have been provided to you by the standard State of IL disclosures. As per violations, if the property is in Chicago check the city's website. This is usually up to date:

https://webapps.cityofchicago.org/buildingviolations/violati…
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Lucid Realty…, Agent, Addison, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Tupper,

If these problems were not discovered until you gutted the place were these problems in fact the subject of documented building code violations on the Department of Buildings Web site?

- Gary Lucido
Web Reference:  http://LucidRealty.com
0 votes
Tupper, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Thank you everybody for your advice!

I did hire an inspector, he did a good job but the structural issues were not discovered until we demolished everything to the studs and determined that the building's walls and floors are in dismal shape.

I am rehabbing the building with permits--you name it: architectural plans, engineer's plans, electric, plumbing, roof, etc. But it's going to cost a lot.

I realize I took a risk buying this property, and I have learned a lot from this experience. Still, I wanted to get an idea what my rights & position are in this situation.
0 votes
Accurate Ins…, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
This sounds like a case of getting what you paid for. I'm not bashing the closing attorney or standing up for him/her, just commenting on market conditions. If you hire a wam-bam $350 closing attorney, then no that attorney usually doesn't check squat. He shows up at the closing, looks through the paperwork and tells you to sign as long as everything looks pretty kosher.
If you want an attorney who is actually going to do back ground work and check things out, that costs more. I heard plenty of buyers comment on wanting to spend as little as possible on the attorney. So who knows if that's what happened here.
A good home inspector will also do a thorough job. El cheapo home inspector won't do anything besides hand you a pre-printed useless report at the end of the inspection. If you didn't hire an inspector, that's really unfortunate.
As far as liability and getting money out of anyone in this deal, you can try but it is usually a big fat waste of time. I suggest you save your money to deal with correcting the code violations.
You'll have to get a permit for all work to be done. If you do the work on the sly without permits, the city inspector won't sign off on it no matter how good or complete the work is. If there's an active housing court case then you need to hire a housing court attorney. An independent building assessment may also be helpful.
Web Reference:  http://www.aic-chicago.com
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Any known disclosures must be disclosed in the property disclosures.

However, if you bought a property, you should of had an inspection. Any inspector would of found any code violations as well as structural problems.
0 votes
Juan Espinosa, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
A good buyers agent would have helped out. Did you have a buyers agent?? I would have demanded you do an inspection, I would have recommended good attorneys with experience in short sales and foreclosures who would have caught any violations. The seller had to know about the violations, they should have disclosed it. The bank never occupied the property and relied on seller information. Sellers are supposed to disclose known latent defects, your inspector has to catch everything else.
0 votes
Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
You got a lot of good answers below, and although the agent who is listing the property and the seller's property disclosure should reveal all structural issues and violations that the seller is aware of..... But nevertheless you as the buyer should do YOUR due diligence with your Realtor to get as much information about the property as possible and as ALWAYS ALWAYS DO NOT BUY PROPERTY WITHOUT AN INSPECTION AND MAKE THE RESULTS OF THE INSPECTION YOUR RIGHT TO GET OUT OF THE CONTRACT THIS IS THE ADVICE FOR BUYERS......

And if you are a home owner to sell, you better disclose ALL YOU KNOW obviously you cannot disclose what you do not know, the inspector of the buyer will potentially find out anyhow or at least alert the buyer to certain issues or problems...

Good Luck
Edith YourRealtor4Life
0 votes
Millie Lumpk…, Agent, Homewood, IL
Sun Mar 4, 2012
You had the right to a home inspection. Seems as though you may have chosen not to have one. Unfortunately, this is what could happen when you don't. Did you know about info being on website prior to purchase?
0 votes
Tupper, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
Mr. Lucid, in Chicago city code violations are available to the public on the Department of Building's website. It is actually easier to look up code violations than to look up a property's title from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
0 votes
Lucid Realty…, Agent, Addison, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
The question is how your attorney could have known about the code violations unless those code violations were a matter of public record. If your attorney could not have known about them then I don't see how he could have liability.
Web Reference:  http://LucidRealty.com
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Tupper, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
Unfortunately, the "seller" himself is a deadbeat who probably hasn't a penny to his name. But the property was also on his wife's name, who divorced him. This building is in FAR worse condition than I had anticipated, and has pages and pages of code violations that they almost certainly knew about. My attorney did a lousy job by not even making me aware of the violations. I have learned a lot from this, but I am still wondering if I would be successful in seeking damages from either the seller or even my own attorney who poorly represented me.
0 votes
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Mar 3, 2012
Tupper this is an entirely different question from what you originally raised. As a buyer, the burden is usually on the concept of "buyer beware" at least in California. If it is a Foreclosure, Banks are not responsible, on a short sale the seller is still responsible....what is the old saying "can not get blood from a rock" you might want to consult with a Real Estate attorney....
Web Reference:  http://www.endrebarath.com
0 votes
Deborah Smith, Agent, Oak Forest, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
The seller must complete the Illinois Disclosure form, mold disclosure, lead base and radon disclosures upon
listing the property. If the seller does not know of code violations or problems with the property then the seller
is in the clear of disclosing something they have no knowledge of a problem. Debbie Bergthold-Smith Classic Real Estate
0 votes
Lucid Realty…, Agent, Addison, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
1) Technically the Illinois disclosure form requires sellers to disclose material defects or notices of code violations. If a seller has not received notice of a code violation or the code violation does not represent a material defect there could be wiggle room for a seller. I'm not suggesting that a seller should try to wiggle out of this. I'm just pointing out that there is room for interpretation.
2) In a short sale you are buying from a seller, not the bank so your only recourse is against the seller.
Web Reference:  http://LucidRealty.com
0 votes
Tupper, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
If I bought the property as a short sale, in Illinois or Chicago Law, can I go after the bank for a property that ended up having numerous violations and structural defects?
0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sat Mar 3, 2012
I know out here in Washington the seller must disclose any known problems with the property.
0 votes
Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Sat Mar 3, 2012
If you are aware of defects and code violations you are required to truthfully disclose on the Illinois property disclosure form. If you falsely disclose and issues arise after closure, you could be liable to pay for the repairs plus court costs and attorney fees.
0 votes
Kerry Meissn…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Mar 3, 2012
Yes, honest disclosure is the Chicago way.
0 votes
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Mar 3, 2012
I find it interesting, when you have to ask my take is you know the answer. I look at all that what if some one gets hurt and you are held responsible? Seems to me if you have to stand in front of a Judge and say "...well your honor the reason I did not disclose..." and it sound lame the judge will find you liable. So the Golden Rule might work. Do as you would like to be treated yourself and forget about what loop holes there might be.
Web Reference:  http://www.endrebarath.com
0 votes
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