You should put together a list of features and amenities for your home to give to potential buyers.
1. Disclosure Report. Illinois requires that in most circumstances, you are required to prepare a disclosure report revealing material defects in the property. A copy of the disclosure report is enclosed. You should make sure to reveal any known material defects that are mentioned in the disclosure report. If in doubt, disclose. If you have serious doubts about whether a disclosure is necessary, you should contact me personally to discuss the details of the issue.
2. Lead Paint Disclosure. Federal Law requires that you prepare a lead paint disclosure if your residence was built before 1978. A copy of the disclosure is enclosed. You are also required to provide the Lead Paint Disclosure pamphlet which is enclosed entitled “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home.”
3. Radon Disclosure. Illinois passed the Illinois Radon Awareness Act and it became effective on January 1, 2008. Illinois law now requires that you prepare a Radon disclosure.
4. Contract. Do not sign any contract without discussing it with me in advance. Many contracts have provisions that allow for attorney review after the contract is signed. Resist the temptation to sign this type of contract. The time for me to be involved is before you sign the contract, not after.
5. Information to Complete Contract. There are a number of essential terms that will be needed in any contract. Other terms will only be needed for particular circumstances. Essential terms include the following:
A. Buyer Information. Buyers’ names, addresses and phone numbers and the name, address and phone number of their attorney if they have one.
B. Sale price.
C. Earnest money. In the Peoria area, it is common to receive only a small amount of earnest money. The standard contracts recommend 3%, but it is rare to get that much as earnest money. Discuss this with me.
D. Closing date. This may need to be coordinated with closings on your new home and/or the buyer’s home.
E. Possession date. This may need to be coordinated with possession of your next residence.
F. Personal property to be left behind. Anything not attached to the house is generally to be removed from the house. If there are objects that you know will be left behind, that are not affixed to the residence, then these need to be specified. Typical examples would be a heavy pool table or freezer in the basement that you do not intend to move.
G. Fixtures to be removed. If you intend to remove drapes or light fixtures or other items that are affixed to the residence, these need to be specified so that the buyer is not surprised.
H. Inspection. Most buyers in the Peoria area have older homes professionally inspected. If this is going to be the case, you will need to specify how much time the buyer will have to do this. 14 days is typical.
I. Termite Inspection. Almost all contracts for personal residences in the Peoria area provide for termite inspection. Typically the buyer pays for the inspection, and if termites are found, the seller pays for the treatment.
6. Optional Provisions.
A. Financing. Most transactions require bank involvement to finance the purchase for the buyer. If this is case, then in order for the contract to be enforceable, loan terms must be specified. Under Illinois law, the contract is not a valid contract unless the financing terms are detailed. Details include:
(1) Amount being borrowed;
(2) Interest rate (The maximum rate the buyer is willing to accept. The buyer can always get a lower interest rate if they wish);
(3) Term of the loan – 15 year? 30 year? etc.;
(4) Whether the interest rate will be fixed or variable; and
(5) The amount of time needed to get loan approval.
B. Appraisal. Some buyers will want the contract to be subject to having the property appraised at the sale price. If you are the seller, you should resist this contingency.
C. Radon. Most transactions do not include radon inspection.
D. Survey. Most residential contracts in the Peoria area do not include a survey.
E. Sale of other Property. Occasionally, the buyer will need to sell their home in order complete the transaction. As a seller, you should resist this contingency.
F. Tenant Occupancy. If a tenant occupies the property, this presents particular issues which should be discussed with me in detail.
G. Closing on the Purchase of Other Property. If the sale of your property is to be contingent upon the purchase and closing of another property, the details of this must be discussed with me.
Many clients have been able to save substantial amounts of money avoiding a realtor commission by selling their home on their own, with my assistance. I have assisted private buyers with hundreds of transactions of this character. Please feel free to call me if you have any question about the foregoing.