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

What defects must you disclose when selling a home?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Real Estate Law

Many older homes and even some newer ones can have defects. A defect can lower the value of a home if the owner wishes to sell it. In Ohio, it is important for sellers to disclose any known material defect to buyers. 

Known defects to disclose may include:

  • Sewer issues
  • Flooding
  • Roof damages
  • Leaky pipes
  • Electrical problems
  • Asbestos
  • Lead-based paint
  • Gas leaks
  • Heating or cooling malfunctions

That does not mean everything must be disclosed. If it is known that someone died in an Ohio home, whether the death was from natural causes, murder, suicide or other event, the seller does not need to tell buyers about this. 

Hiding any known defects could lead to litigation. If a buyer successfully holds an owner accountable for a home’s defects, the owner may be responsible for paying for the repairs. Real estate litigation is often very costly, especially if a homeowner takes steps to actually hide a problem. However, it is not always easy to know whether a home has material defects. Here is what you should know about unknown home defects: 

Should sellers hire home inspectors? 

Unknown defects in a home can be found by hiring an inspector. Homeowners do not have to hire an inspector. The homeowner may only be required to disclose any defects they have learned about or observed by living or maintaining a home. 

In some ways, it can benefit a seller to over-disclose facts about a home to gain the trust of buyers. Buyers may also hire inspectors to find defects in a home. Homeowners may benefit from understanding their legal rights and obligations when selling a home without a realtor.