a house under construction, real estate lawyerSellers of new construction homes are required by Illinois law to provide full disclosures regarding any defects in materials, workmanship, construction quality or safety. Standard purchase agreements don’t always represent a buyer’s best interests or contain language to protect his or her rights.

Many Home Buyers Are Looking for New Construction

Sales of new construction homes have been rising steadily and real estate lawyers have been working overtime. Buyers often prefer new homes because:

  • They don’t bear the marks of the previous owner’s tastes in carpet, paints and other finishes
  • New homes allow buyers to include upgrades without renovation
  • They have not suffered the wear and tear of occupants living in them

For some, it may simply be the attraction of being the first person to live in a house, but it is important to remember that buying a newly constructed home is still a real estate purchase and new home sellers must comply with the law.

Be Aware

Buyers should be aware that new home sellers are not real estate agents and do not represent the buyer. They represent the builder, and their primary goal is to sell houses, not find buyers the right home for their lifestyle.

Another issue often facing new home buyers is that they must base their purchase on what they see in a model home. The actual home they buy may not be ready until after they have signed paperwork to make the purchase or have committed significant funds towards the purchase. If defects are discovered after they take possession of the house, they may face difficulties in recovering the cost of repairs or other damages from the seller.

Protecting Buyers’ Rights

Standard real estate purchase agreements are designed to keep sellers and builders out of court, but they don’t necessarily represent the buyer’s best interests or protect the purchaser’s rights. Buyers should carefully review contingencies, be informed about their cancellation rights, and be sure to ask questions about any warnings about health issues, hazardous chemicals or dangerous materials. Before signing the dotted line, many buyers choose to have their purchase contracts and other paperwork evaluated by an attorney who can review contracts and ensure that the language protects buyers and their ability to cancel a purchase or recover damages if there are defects in the new home.