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How Point of Sale Inspections
can cost home sellers dearly

If you are selling a home in Illinois, you could be in for a nasty surprise before you can finalize the transaction.

In more than 150 communities in the state, the seller of an owner-occupied home is required to arrange for a pre-sale inspection. While some communities handle these inspections professionally and in a way which preserves an owner’s private property rights, others seem to go out of their way to make demands for unnecessary or overly costly repairs.

Point of Sale Inspections are conducted by municipalities to check for obvious building code violations. Property owners report having found themselves in a bureaucratic quagmire where they think they are meeting an inspectors’ demands, only to find out they face a new set of mandates.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your community requires the inspection, check this handy list compiled by Illinois REALTORS®. Representing more than 47,000 real estate professionals, the organization gets feedback from its members on communities that have enacted Point of Sale mandates.

Hassles, delays plague inspection process

Some communities in Illinois seem to go out of their way to make it hard to sell property. Property-owners report:

  • Making an appointment for an inspection, only to have the inspector fail to show.
  • The process may require a high fee just to get an inspector to review a property.
  • Inspection standards can vary within the process, adding delays and frustration.
  • Closings can be delayed, forcing buyers and sellers to either make new arrangements or in some cases scrap the deal entirely.

But wait, can my municipality do that?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures without a valid warrant.

In many cases, constitutional protections can co-exist with a municipality’s policy of conducting a point of sale inspection.

How do you know if your community is overstepping the boundaries when it comes to Point of Sale Inspections?

  • Does the municipality have a consent provision in its code. This means a property owner has the right to refuse admittance to inspectors.
  • If consent for inspection is denied, then inspectors would have to go to court to obtain a warrant to scrutinize the property.
  • And if consent is denied, a property owner should not be assessed any kind of penalty or fine as the process plays out in in the legal system.
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Point of Sale Inspection
communities in Illinois

Unsure if you live in a community which requires a Point of Sale Inspection? Check out this guide of municipalities which mandate pre-sale inspections.

What have sellers reported?

Point of Sale inspections in some Illinois communities have resulted in:

  • Demands that an entire driveway be repaired for just a few cracks.
  • Demands that carpeting be replaced, even if the buyer doesn’t want the change.
  • Expensive and unnecessary plumbing changes.

What’s this mean to me?

For buyers and sellers, Point of Sale Inspections can delay transactions as sellers are forced to make unneeded or unnecessary changes.

In some cases, inspection mandates are so cumbersome that they can kill a real estate deal.