Michael Samuels provides legal services to FSBO and other real estate clients in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio.

What FSBO sellers need to know about inspections

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | FSBO

Selling real estate in Ohio can be an expensive process. Those listing real property often spend money making repairs and cosmetic improvements to their homes so that they can ask for the highest price possible. They also have to pay for professional services.

Sellers hoping to retain the maximum amount of the sale price also try to do as much of the work for the property as they can on their own. They may decide to list the property for sale by owner (FSBO) instead of hiring a real estate agent. Doing so could keep as much as 6% of the sale price or possibly even more in the hands of the seller instead of in the pockets of a real estate agent.

Those who list the home where they live on their own behalf are vulnerable in certain ways. One of the means of mitigating personal liability in an FSBO arrangement involves having an inspection done before listing the property.

Why an inspection can help

One of the ways that a real estate agent helps a seller is by informing them about the law and providing a shield from personal liability. If there are issues with the real estate transaction, a buyer might decide to take legal action.

Discovering major defects with the property could trigger a lawsuit in some cases. A realn estate agent provides professional insurance to cover such losses and also offers advice that can help someone protect against liability. Without an agent, a FSBO seller is likely to face the claims made by a buyer personally.

An inspection conducted before a listing can help ensure that the seller is aware of all major defects and can therefore disclose them to the buyer in writing in accordance with Ohio state law. In some cases, the seller may choose to make certain repairs. However, the law does not necessarily mandate correcting the issues so long as the buyer has information about them.

An inspection can help establish that a seller acted in good faith and may protect them from claims wherein someone alleges that knowledge of a defect that may have arisen after closing is somehow the seller’s responsibility. As such, having the right outside assistance during an for sale by owner real estate transaction can help a seller maximize their profits while minimizing their personal risk.