Whether you are buying or selling a home, you should know what a seller must disclose upfront to the buyer. The purpose of the law is to inform the buyer of any material defects to the property before an agreement is made. This article will discuss what the seller must disclose and what the seller needs not disclose.
In Ohio, sellers are exempt from disclosure in the following circumstances:
- Forced sales due to bankruptcy, foreclosure, eminent domain, or a probate transaction;
- transfers between co-owners;
- sale to someone who has lived in the property for the past two years;
- transfers between family members; or
- an inherited home that seller has not occupied for the past year.
Click here to download the Ohio Property Disclosure Exemption form. This is also available in the dotloop templates.
The Ohio Department of Commerce provides a standard Residential Property Disclosure Form. The form covers the basic structure of the house, environmental hazards, the danger of natural disasters, the existence of underground storage tanks, and zoning or homeowners association limitations. The seller must also disclose any boundary disputes or easements on the property. The end of the form asks the seller to disclose any other material defects. Anything that may deter a buyer from buying the property should go in this section.
Sellers need not disclose issues that are clearly visible- a water stain that anyone could see, for example. The seller may not, however, conceal any issues, and if asked, must not falsely deny the existence of any material defects. Sellers are not responsible for disclosing things they do not know about. When in doubt, speak to your real estate agent or attorney. A seller should err on the side of disclosure to avoid future legal problems.
REMEMBER: When in doubt, DISCLOSE!