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Failure to disclose issues with a home can be a costly mistake

| Jan 7, 2021 | Real Estate |

Everyone who sells a home wants to accentuate the positive aspects of it and downplay anything that might lower the price they’re hoping to get or turn off potential buyers completely. However, it’s essential to be truthful and comprehensive when you complete the Residential Property Disclosure Form.

This form covers myriad issues. Some are more crucial to the safety and structural soundness of the property than others. If a seller doesn’t disclose them, they’ll likely be found when the inspection is done. However, if a seller knowingly fails to disclose them and they’re later discovered by the buyer, the seller can be held liable.

Hazardous materials and toxic substances

This includes things like lead-based paint, asbestos and radon. Some are only found in older houses. Buyers need to disclose if they know of the “previous or current” presence of these materials or substances.

Water damage or ‘’intrusion’’

Water damage – even a leak that continued for some time without repair – can cause serious damage. It can also cause mold, which can be dangerous to people and animals. Again, it’s incumbent on the seller to disclose any current or previous issues and whether they were repaired.

Termites and other insects

Sellers need to disclose any known presence of insects that destroy wood. They also need to disclose if and when any pest removal treatments were done.

Roof damage/leaks

Ohio weather can be hard on roofs. If a home has leaks or problems with the rain gutters, a seller needs to disclose these instances. They also need to disclose any roof or rain gutter repairs done within the past five years. Disclosing a roof repair isn’t likely to scare off most buyers. It’s a sign that a seller has kept up the maintenance on their home.

These are just a few of the most serious issues that sellers need to disclose about the state of their home. Repairs and remediation can be costly. However, potential buyers have the right to know about problems. If they’re ongoing, they can decide whether to ask the seller to pay for the repair, pay for it themselves in exchange for a lower sale price or find another home.

Whether you’ve bought a home where serious issues weren’t disclosed or you’re facing litigation from a buyer for your failure to disclose, it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced real estate attorney.