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Spooky Secrets: Illinois Homebuyers Get Eerie Surprise

Do Realtors Have to Disclose a Home’s Dark Past in Illinois?

When buying a home, it’s natural to want to know everything about its history. In Illinois, realtors and sellers are not typically required to disclose deaths or other dark incidents that occurred in a home up for sale. However, there’s no law preventing buyers from asking about such incidents. Under the state’s Real Estate License Act, disclosure of a death depends on whether it caused physical damage to the property.

Realtor Recommendations

Realtors are advised to be honest when asked about a home’s history. They may recommend the seller to disclose information about deaths or other stigmatizing incidents to avoid neighborhood gossip. While revealing the full truth may reduce a home’s asking price, it can prevent potential litigation when neighbors share the details with the new homeowners.

What Other Information Must Realtors Disclose?

In addition to disclosing information about deaths if they caused physical damage to the property, realtors are required to disclose other material facts about a property. These include:

  • Structural defects
  • Water damage or flooding issues
  • Environmental hazards, such as mold or asbestos
  • Boundary disputes or encroachments
  • Issues with the title or ownership of the property

Realtors must also disclose any conflicts of interest they may have in the transaction, such as representing both the buyer and the seller.

What Should Buyers Do to Learn About a Home’s History?

If you’re a buyer interested in learning about a home’s dark past, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Ask the seller or realtor directly: While they may not be required to disclose this information, asking them directly can help you get a better understanding of the home’s history.
  2. Research the property online: Conduct a search of the property’s address to see if any news articles or other information comes up about the home’s past.
  3. Check public records: Visit your local county courthouse to review any public records related to the property, such as police reports or death certificates.
  4. Speak with neighbors: Neighbors can often provide valuable insight into a home’s history and any incidents that may have occurred there.
  5. Consult a home inspector: A thorough home inspection can help identify any physical damage or issues related to past incidents in the home.


While realtors in Illinois are not typically required to disclose a home’s dark past, it’s important for buyers to do their due diligence and research a property’s history. Being proactive and asking the right questions can help ensure that you make an informed decision when purchasing a home.