In Illinois, home sellers are legally required to disclose material defects and unsafe conditions to home buyers by delivery of a Residential Real Property Disclosure Report.
Many sellers and their real estate agents are reluctant to disclose matters that might make the property unsalable or substantially reduce its value.
If a tough home inspector acting on a buyer’s behalf has discovered material problems with a home it would seem that sellers and their agents would have no choice but to inform subsequent buyers or risk liability. In theory. In practice, as Tomacor’s Tom Corbett reports in an email newsletter:
Although it can expensive, it’s common practice … to hire an inexpensive, inexperienced and conflicted home inspector to provide a minimal (and some would say sub-standard) report for the seller to rely upon for disclosure after many significant deficiencies were revealed during a tough inspection. The follow up home inspection (which can be as cheap as $25 apiece) provided documentation illustrating that there was nothing wrong with the property. There were no “significant deficiencies, hazardous, or unsafe conditions” as defined by the Illinois Home Inspector Licensing Act 225 ILCS 441.
In other words, for as little as a $25 fee, the termite infested house you are selling can be perceived as termite free if the “follow-up inspector” doesn’t check for or doesn’t note the termites.
It’s also common practice, although Corbett doesn’t say so, for agents and sellers to simply lie about the presence of known defects.
In the above video Corbett shows you how to do a quick visual check on your own for the presence of termite and ant remediation. In the following video he shows you some of the damage that can be done by “wood-destroying organisms.”