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Do You Have to Disclose a Murder or Ghost when Selling Your Home?

On Behalf ofAlexander | Grossman March 15, 2022

Listing your primary residence for sale on the real estate market is a massive undertaking. You need to choose a real estate professional to help you and look into recent transactions to price your property. You need to remove some of your belongings, clean the home aggressively and stage it to make it appealing to buyers.

You also need to fill out paperwork so that prospective buyers have all the information they need to make an informed choice. Illinois requires that sellers disclose all major defects with a property. If there is an issue with the foundation or the plumbing that you did not repair, you need to inform the buyer about it in writing.

Sometimes, issues with the property aren’t physical but rather relate to something that happened there. Do you have to disclose a death in the home or your suspicions that the house may be haunted?

You Must only Disclose Physical Defects in Illinois

Although the Illinois real estate disclosure law is thorough and there are numerous documents available for different kinds of disclosures, you do not have to tell a buyer about issues that do not affect the physical condition of the property.

While your experiences at the home may have made you suspect supernatural activity, you do not have to tell a buyer about any of those unusual experiences. You also are under no obligation to disclose a family tragedy, like a murder or a suicide, that took place at the property.

Some sellers will share this information anyway, but it could affect how much the buyers will pay for the property. Since the loss doesn’t affect them personally, it will likely have little impact on how they value the property.

Inadequate Disclosure Can Lead to Financial and Legal Claims

Some sellers attempt to sidestep disclosure obligations by listing their property in as-is condition. As-is listings would be appropriate for a foreclosed property or a rental property where the owner does not truly know the details of the property condition.

As-is condition does not absolve you of needing to share what you know. If you do not, you may be at risk of claims from the buyer in the future. Buyers who feel that they were victims of fraudulent misrepresentation of the property could take legal action against the sellers. You may have to pay for repairs to the property or offer financial compensation because of the undisclosed defects.

Knowing your disclosure obligations under Illinois real estate law will make it easier for you to comply with the rules when you sell your home.