There are several layers of protection in place for those buying real estate in Ohio. First and foremost, the state requires in-depth disclosures by the seller. They have to write out the condition of various systems so that buyers can make an informed decision.
After a buyer makes an offer on the property, their mortgage company will probably require an appraisal, and inspections are often part of the closing process as well. However, even if you have your real estate agent, an appraiser and an inspector on the property, all of you could miss a latent defect. There might be cosmetic repairs or a cover-up that make it clear the previous seller knew about the issue and did their best to hide it from you.
How do you hold a seller responsible for a defect they intentionally hit before you bought the house?
You may have to take them to civil court
Ohio state law is quite clear that sellers can not intentionally withhold information about defects. If they know that there is a foundation issue or problem with the wiring, they have to tell the buyers for the property about those problems.
Failing to disclose known issues creates liability. Quite often, it will be the seller who is ultimately responsible for their failure to disclose accurate information about the property. Seeking compensation in that scenario will likely require a civil lawsuit. However, in cases where a seller’s agent knew about the defection did not advise you, you may have grounds for an insurance claim against the agent’s professional coverage.
Exploring all of your options can help you address losses after a residential real estate purchase of a property with an undisclosed defect.