Important Ways to Protect Your Interests

Your home is most probably the biggest financial investment you will ever make.  With so much at stake, there are several ways to help support a trouble-free home purchase.

Property Disclosure Statement

In Ohio, a seller is required to complete the Ohio Residential Property Disclosure Form to indicate any known problems or defects regarding a variety of features and structural aspects of the home. 

The form also contains a statement that the owner is not making any representation regarding offsite conditions and that the buyers should exercise their own due diligence to investigate such matters. Information is also included about Megan's Law and the form also states that the buyer assumes responsibility to check with the sheriff's office for such information.

While the completion of the form by the current sellers is required, they are only asked to indicate conditions as they know them.  The legislation does not require sellers to incur the expense of having a professional inspection done nor are they required to further investigate any aspect of the home mentioned on the form of which they have no knowledge.  If the sellers do now know about the current condition of any item included on the form, they may so indicate.  

The property disclosure statement is designed to protect both buyers and sellers.  It is signed by the seller when the home is listed, and must be signed by the buyer when the purchase is made. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kathy Reid Realty professional will help you understand this form.  

Professional Inspections

There are many types of inspections that can be done at your request to determine various conditions of the property you are making an offer on, such as:

  • Whole Home Inspection-to determine if there are any defects in structural elements, exterior features, roof, attic, plumbing, systems and components (e.g. furnace, air, etc.), electrical, appliances or other.  Most whole home inspectors are not licensed to do pest, mold, radon, well or other specific inspections, so these are usually done by a separate contractor.  
  • Wood Destroying Insect Inspection-to determine if there are any wood destroying insects such as termites or carpenter ants which negatively affect the structure.
  • Mold Inspection-to determine if any molds are present or suspected, especially in damp areas, which may contaminate the air quality of a home.
  • Radon Inspection-to determine if radon gases are entering the home through the foundation or any other area.
  • Water/Well Inspection-for homes with a well as the water source.  A recent water quality test is usually required by home mortgage companies before buyer can close on a property. But water quality is only one concern.  You also need to inspect the mechanical workings of the well system, such as the pump and the condition of the wellhead.
  • Sewer Inspection-to determine if tree roots or other debris have a potential for blocking the sewer lines, and/or to determine if sanitary sewer lines are connected to storm sewer lines.

We can provide you with a list of qualified inspectors to perform any of the above inspections.

Preliminary Title Report

A preliminary title report is a document prepared on a property once an escrow is opened, but prior to closing.  It provides all kinds of information about the property that is essential for a buyer to see, such as how title is currently held and what kind of exceptions to title are currently on record (for example, easements, liens and encumbrances).  The preliminary title report then becomes the final title report, on which title insurance is based.  In addition to specific exceptions to title that will be listed on a title report, it will also list standard exclusions from coverage.  In virtually every real estate transaction, the buyer has the right to approve or object to the preliminary title report and back out of the deal unless the seller can provide clear title by eliminating certain exceptions to the title prior to closing.  But a buyer will only have a short period of time during which to act on the preliminary title report.  We will help you to carefully review a preliminary title report immediately and to take appropriate action if there are any unacceptable exceptions to title.  

Walk Through

A final walk-through is usually done a day or two before closing.  The purpose of the walk through is to make certain that the property is in the condition you agreed to buy, and that any agreed-upon repairs were made and nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last looked at it.