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The other day I was attending a home inspection with one of my Buyer clients. The Home Inspector discovered some bugs that he thought were bed bugs. My Buyers asked me a good question, “Do Seller’s have to disclose bed bugs to potential homebuyers?”
Bed bugs are becoming a major problem everywhere in the United States. But, the bed bug problem is huge in the state of Ohio. CBS Evening News recently had a story of the “Top 15 Worst Cities For Bed Bugs!” The State of Ohio has 4 cities in the top 15. Eeek Gads!!!
The answer to this question above might not be as straight forward as you think.
In a residential real estate transaction most states do require a property disclosure form. But, many states, including Ohio, do not specifically address bed bugs in their disclosure form. In my opinion, the state of Ohio residential property disclosure form is inadequate and needs to be greatly improved.
In the State of Ohio we have a four page Residential Property Disclosure (RPD) Form. A Seller is required to disclose any material problems or defects on their property that has occurred over the past five years.
The definition of a “material defect” is any problem with a home that would affect a Buyer’s decision to purchase the home or affect the value of the property.
The State of Ohio RPD has 14 sections (A-N) that address such items as; structural, roof, water intrusion, mechanical, wood-boring insects, etc. But, there is no specific section for disclosing bed bugs. So, if there is no section in RPD do Sellers have to disclose?
I am not an attorney!!! But, if you are a Seller struggling with what to disclose then I would use common sense and follow these 2 steps:
- The best approach for any Seller is “when in doubt always disclose”. Many Sellers do the exact opposite and disclose nothing. Sellers don’t want to jeopardize selling their home. This is a huge, risky gamble for any Seller.
- Ask yourself, “would a reasonable person think the problem would affect the value?”. If the honest answer is yes, then disclose.
You would think it would be a “no brainer” on how to answer the question, “Do Seller’s have to disclose Bed Bugs?”.
Yes, Yes, Yes…..you should disclose to potential Buyers any TYPE of pest, insect or rodent infestation in your home. This is not just limited to termites, carpenter ants, bed bugs. But, also squirrels, rats, bats, etc.
Any reasonable person would think that a bed bug infestation in their home would affect the value of the property.
So, in the State of Ohio, even though we don’t have a specific section in the RPD to disclose bed bugs, you would need to disclose under section N (Other Known Material Defects)
Real estate disclosure procedures vary greatly from state to state. If you have specific questions then you should contact an attorney, licensed real estate agent or your states division/department of real estate.
I really need to finish this post. Bed bugs are so creepy that my mind is playing tricks on me. As I’m writing this blog post, I’m itching everywhere. I hope this is not happening to you. LOL!
If you want a little giggle, then hover your cursor over the bed bug pics above.
Good luck out there! I hope this information is helpful.
Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions
Representing People, NOT Property!
Great article in this past Sundays, The Columbus Dispatch newspaper about home inspections. “Inspector aims to open eyes”. Local home inspector, David Tamny of Professional Property Inspections will be the new president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
David has been a home inspector on our company approved list for nearly 13 years. His company web site is also on my blog roll link on left. David is a very competent home inspector.
Suprisingly, home inspectors in the state of Ohio are still not licensed. Home buyers have to be very careful when selecting a qualified home inspector. A good option for home buyers to find a qualified home inspector is to check and see if the inspector is a member in good standing with one of the two big professional trade associations.
National Associaton of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) are the two largest home inspector trade associations in the United States. David Tamny will be the new incoming president of the 5,800+ member AHSI.
Make sure you take a second to read the article link on home inspections. It is great information for possible home buyers.
Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions
A good story on WSYX-ABC 6 – “Six On Your Side” about toxic drywall from China. M/I homes faces a lawsuit for possible toxic drywall. This has the potential to be a HUGE local and nationwide story.
It seems like the story is really flying under the radar. I wonder why this isn’t getting more media/press coverage?
M/I Homes is the largest new home-builder in Central Ohio.
(Watch Consumer Alert Story)
This lawsuit has the potential to be the largest class action home defect lawsuit in US History!
Stay tuned for future updates and opinions in blog. A story this big could be a “game changer”!
Be careful out there.
The volatile, toxic nature of manufacturing “meth” makes it a very serious health issue. For every pound of methamphetamine (crank) manufactured there is six pounds of toxic waste and residue left behind. In addition to the hazardous waste concerns, the making of “crank” in a drug lab is highly susceptible to explosions and fires. Trust me, you don’t want to be living in a former drug lab home or even near a drug lab. It is not going to be very good for your safety, home appreciation or resale value.
It would definitely be nice to make sure your new home wasn’t a former drug lab for Meth. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) thinks the same way. This is why they have started the National Clandenstine Labortary Register, a great web site that will allow you to look up houses in your state that have been identified as meth labs.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is still trying to set guidelines & procedures on how to deal with drug lab homes. It seems NAR can’t figure out how to properly disclose drug homes and/or how to set standards for cleaning up drug homes. As of August 2008 NAR has no policy in place to deal with this issue.
So, take a second to review the registry to see if your new dream home was a former drug home. While your looking, you also might want to check other addresses of family members, friends, co-workers, etc. Lucky for us, it appears the higher concentration of drug homes are located in the southern states.
We’ve had reason in recent days to re-investigate the risks of radon gas to our health. We got a lot of help from Elizabeth James, radon maven. [Thanks, Liz!]
The news is not good!
Radon, you will remember, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas—the product of decomposing uranium deep in the earth.
That can’t be good.
You’re right, it’s not.
According to the U. S. EPA online radon is a very serious threat to our health.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. [emphasis mine, ed.]
It’s everywhere. But, mostly, it’s in your house!
A silent, invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive killer gas is sneaking into my home to give me cancer? R-I-G-H-T!
Sounds like another eco-maniacal greenie off the deep end doesn’t it?
(BTW, our sincerest apology to all ecologically concerned individuals whom we may have just offended. We’re just trying to drive home a point here—not make a political statement. Really.)
And there’s more bad news.
You are at a greater risk of dangerous exposure to this killer stuff here in central Ohio than most other places!
This is serious business, and you need to find out more about the risk to you and your family and what you can do about it.
Do it because there are reasonable ways to reduce exposure. Do it because you want to be here for your grandchildren. (Okay, here’s the real reason. Simon says “Do it.”)
The EPA has a free booklet available on line that provide excellent general information. There is an additional free publication that addresses the special concerns of those considering buying or selling a home.
Possibly the best source of good information about radon in the central Ohio area is our new friend Elizabeth
James at the Ohio Department of Health. (You were wondering when we were going to get back to her, didn’t you? Thanks for staying with us.)
Call Liz at 800-523-4439 and ask her some questions about this stuff. She’s an expert. Find out how serious this really is…and what you can do about it.
Go ahead call her…she’s really nice.
Tell her we said “Hi”.
You smokers with children. [You know who you are.] Stop smoking now and call Liz. Your risk is like 100 times worse! No kidding. Do it right now.
After years of failed attempts, it finally looks like we will have some licensing regulations in place for Home Inspectors in the State of Ohio by 2009. House bill (HB) 257 recently passed the Ohio House of Representatives by a wide margin (83-11). The bill will be reviewed by the Ohio Senate later this year when the legislature reconvenes after the November 4th election.
With all the problems in the last few years in real estate, it would be “political suicide” for any political official (wink, wink Gov. Ted Strickland) not to pass some positive legislation. Legislation designed to regulate & license Ohio’s home inspection industry is long over due.
For too long, any “Joe Schmoe” could print up a business card on their home computer and start a home inspection business. Because of this reason, there are inexperienced, unqualified inspectors in our area. This is a problem for a potential home buyer. The problems we have had in the home inspection industry are really “small potatoes” compared to all the other major problems in real estate (lenders, fraud, greed, non-disclosure, foreclosures, etc.). But, this is a good thing. This means legislation will probably get passed in the State of Ohio.
The new Home Inspection Licensing will probably include the following provisions:
1. Criminal penalties for performing home inspections without a license.
2. Creation of a process for investigating complaints filed against inspectors.
3. Creation of the Ohio Home Inspection Board to regulate the industry.
4. Creating minimum standards and guidelines for performing inspections.
Check out my previous past about “Home Inspection Nightmares”. This blog post also has good links to find qualified home inspectors in your area via The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)
Good luck out there!
This Old House magazine’s latest Home Inspection Nightmares IX (9) photo gallery is hilarious. My favorite photos are #1 (8 junction boxes) & #5 (cymbal diverter). I love this photo gallery series. You can also check out past Home Inspection Nightmare photo galleries. All the photos are very funny. But, all joking aside, the photos reinforce an important part of buying a home.
First, always get a home inspection. Never skip a home inspection just to save a little money. 100% of my clients agree to do a home inspection or I will NOT represent them as their buyer agent. A home inspection contingency is one of the home-buyers best protection options. Second, make sure you home inspector is qualified. About half the states in the country have little or no licensing requirements for home inspectors. In many states, anyone can print up a business card and say they are a home inspector, even your Uncle Bubba!
I would recommend looking for a “certified” home inspector that is a member of The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Both of these organizations are very good at establishing high standards of practice, inspection guidelines, professionalism and code of ethics for its members in the home inspection industry. It is very important that you make sure your inspector is a “certified” inspector. A “certified” home inspector has more experience, education and testing requirements than other home inspectors. You can search here for home inspectors in your area: ASHI home inspector search or NAHI home inspector search. Good Luck!
Below is one of our award winning buyer broker TV commericals that deals with home inspections. Check out my previous blog post for more information on our funny, informative television commercials.