Columbus Ohio real estate

Where do we disclose the snakes?

The question "Where do we disclose the snakes?"  could just as well be where do we disclose the

bedbugs?

skunks?

bats in our belfry?

Where do we disclose the ...?

The question is where do you disclose the presence of a pest or the treatment / removal of the presence of a pest to prospective buyers of your Ohio home?  Answer below... I want to share this video with you first.  Scared of snakes?  I am.

I am sure the snake story that is hot now is the same snake house that was in the news back in 2006...  Here's a link about the Idaho snake house a discussion with other real estate agents mostly in the Mid-west, Great Lakes States back in 2006.

2011 hot video on the Internet along with the story that the house is on the market again 

It's got to be the same house.  There could NOT be more than one snake house could there?  The home is on the market, bank owned and the price has been slashed to $109,900 according to Internet scuttlebutt.  The appraised value without snakes is much higher... the last owners did NOT know about the snakes before they bought?

Where do we disclose the...?

Aren't you glad you live in Ohio?  Aren't you glad your home is not built on a "snake den or hibernaculum" 

As a seller of residential property in Ohio, the Residential Property Disclosure is typically where you disclose snakes, bedbugs, skunks to the buyer of your home.  You would be disclosing roof leaks, roof repairs, water in the basement....  The Residential Property Disclosure form is also where you would want to disclose the presence of pests.

Even if your home's been featured on Youtube... you'd need to disclose to buyers of your home...for your protection in the future.

Central Ohio

Central Ohio bed bugs... recommendations to REALTORS®

bed bug contingency....

Central Ohio WHO inspects for bed bugs

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Comment balloon 50 commentsMaureen McCabe • January 29 2011 06:18AM

Comments

You got to love the amount of disclosure required. I never heard of the snake house until today. I guess that is one of the reason to have a pest inspection, which should disclose snake or mold. All are pests.

Posted by Kathy Denworth, Realtor in the Florida Keys, Islamorada, Key Largo (Century 21 Schwartz Realty) almost 7 years ago

Glorious! What a down to earth story, a house for animal lovers.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) almost 7 years ago

When we moved into our NEW home 14 years ago, there were hundreds of garter snakes under the house.  The pest company said it was only because of the mice under the house.  When the mice were gone the snakes would leave!  That freaked my wife out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the comments, more on the Idaho snake house:

Consumerist -  Realtor slices price on  snake infested home

one of their hottest stories this week and the companion piece

We Were Told Snake Infestation Was "Made Up"

This is a story about home inspection but it is also about  disclosure....

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

OMG Maureen! I kept waiting for the news reporter to talk about the owner's upcoming lawsuit with the previous seller.

Legend has it that there is a home on a snake hill somewhere in Chanhassen, MN. they tried everything to get rid of the snakes, but they were there long before some builder put up a house.

So finally those owners put double-sided tape across the doorways of the basement rooms where the snakes come in. At least it keeps them "captive" in those rooms.

Ugh!

Posted by Barbara Charlton (inactive - license is on ice with State of MN) almost 7 years ago

Maureen,

Too strange! I had never heard of the "snake house" either until your post today. Disclosure can certainly save you.

Posted by John McCarthy, Realtor - Seacoast NH (Bean Group Portsmouth NH) almost 7 years ago

Ewwwww...that would have to be a new category on our real estate condition report...though I suspect most people would think them to fall under the "pest" category....yicks !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

We sold a house several years ago.

The grass was really high, and it was a tear down on the water.

My buyer agent didn't go in.

When the inspector went in, it was snake invested. Fortunatley our inspector lives on a farm and went in.

Glad it wasn't me.

 

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 7 years ago

Barbara wrote: I kept waiting for the news reporter to talk about the owner's upcoming lawsuit with the previous seller.

This house is owned by Chase now according to what I read in the Comsumerist?  It is bank owned, poor listing agent!

The video is old.  I believe it looks like this video is from October 2006.  The owners did the video for some animal show?  They were trying to get onto Extreme Makeover. 

If I understand it correctly they sold the house?  They did not disclose to the next buyers about the snakes?  The next owners defaulted on their mortgage.  Chase foreclosed on the property.

What kind of disclosures do Banks give to buyers?  

I saw something online that said "Burn the house down."   I angered a listing agent once by saying that in feedback on the showing.   It was a cat house. I mean the owners were cat lovers... multiple litter boxes the windows were open but my eyes ran from the cat weeeeeee.  It was spring and cats had had kittens.  We could not count the cats in the house.  I love cats.  I would want the cats at a cat orphanage before the house burned down.  I just thought the house was inhabitable.

Snake house.  Burn the house down and never build there because it is a hibernaculum?   I would have had to be sedated until the mice and snakes left  if I was Mrs. Markanich back when they bought their  house.  Jay wrote "The pest company said it was only because of the mice under the house.  When the mice were gone the snakes would leave!  That freaked my wife out! "

Days?  Weeks?  Months?

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Yikes! I don't mind small snakes but any snake in the house is one to many. My wife could hardly watch the video but then again she couldn't seem to walk away either.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Bob Timm, Broker Associate, Alliance Real Estate (Alliance Real Estate - Minot) almost 7 years ago

Bob I know snakes are important to keep rodents away but I mind 'em.   Wonder what happened in Ireland when St. Patrick drove the snakes out?  Did the mice go wild?   Is that just a legend?  Do they have snakes in Ireland? 

Barbara's talk of a snake house in MN disturbs me.  I want to believe it is too cold for snakes here in OH.  I know we have them but I want to belive we don't have huge snake dens like a warmer climate would have.  If there is anywhere in MN that a house has a snake problem...  that theory is shot. 

I will be watching for Residental Property Disclosures that mention double sided tape...

I watched this video about how to keep snakes away from your house.  The guy in this video is in sunny California. I think with their climate we should relocated snakes there.... and rodents too.  

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

I am scared of snakes. I had never thought of snakes being in a house and from now I will be careful when I show homes.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Snakes should just  not be in houses in Ohio or PA Gita!  Missy's tale of a snake in a lake home in MI makes me queasy...

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

We have a disclosure that asks it you have any pests, etc...  This includes rodents, and snakes of course.  :)

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California)) almost 7 years ago

Bedbugs?  This recent bedbug outbrkeak the bedbugs are staying east of the Mississippi though..  I think Denver and San Francisco were on the top ten lists ...

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

C'mon you guys! It just needs a little spin! Something like: "No need to bring your cats! No mice in this house!"

Posted by Linda Humphrey, CRS, Broker/Owner HHC Realty (Humphrey Home Connections Realty, Reno, Nevada) almost 7 years ago

This is very disconcerting. I do not think that I could live this way. Yikes!

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) almost 7 years ago

What a den. Amazing the sheer number of them. Great video Maureen!!!

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

Linda I think we ALL need to link to the listing agent and give him Google juice to find an Idaho snake lover who wants to buy this place.  We can use your "spin" and anything else...  anyone's got to bring out THE buyer for this house.

Melissa  Me neither... last two families could not either.  This house is screaming for a snake lover.  The part about the well is really gross though.  Snakes make a stinky something when they are disturbed and the well water tastes like that. 

We went on a walk in the woods here once and kept seeing little snakes on the hiking trail.  I think I was the only one who did not pick one up and then say "oooooh it peed on me" because I would not pick up a snake or a worm, a spider, a bug.  The other three did all offer to let me smell their hand though.  "thanks but no thanks."   I got the idea it was something stinky without sniffing.

Gary I read some place that the video is staged?  It was done for a TV show... what is that they say???  "It is a re-enactment of the actual event"

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

From the movie "Titanic"

"So How are the accommodations in 3rd class ?" "Just fine 'mam, hardly any rats"

This house is perfect for a Medusa oriented buyer.

Fun Post

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) almost 7 years ago

Yeah! I didn' realize I lived such a sheltered life. I grew up in a place where, like Ireland, there are no snakes. The climate where I now live and inspect is not condusive to snake survival especially in the urban environment.

What to disclose? Disclose everything, period? It might be tougher to sell at first but it's the only sure way to stay out of court. Lawyers are costly. Certified exterminators are cheap, doesn't matter how many snakes, just as long as they're gone!

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

Too funny. Snakes would NOT freak me out at all. I used to own a reptile magazine. I'd come wrangle the snakes and help you get rid of them

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 7 years ago

Thank God I have never seen or been in (as far as I know) a snake house!  We have lady bug infested houses and whitle it doesn't sound bad, they can be very annoying when there are 1000's of them.

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) almost 7 years ago

I cant stand snakes.  You definitely have them in Central Ohio.  My grandparents owned a farm in Hocking County that I went to every summer.  I saw a few snakes myself, but heard my aunt talk about a lot more.  Some were poisonous too.

Posted by Rodney Mason, FHA 203(k) & HomeStyle Renovation-AL,GA,TN (On Q Financial) almost 7 years ago

oh my --- I hate snakes and I can't watch the video.... a great post about he importance of disclosure.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 7 years ago

Hey Maureen -- Wow, scary stuff, I have a strong aversion to snakes, I would have been out of there the first night.  Since I'm in Ohio too, where bedbugs are being more of an issue, on the Ohio Residential Property Disclosure Form, Page 3, Section G only asks about wood boring insects and termites, and that's it.  I feel this is wholly inadequate, as it doesn't cover the other things you mentioned like snakes, bedbugs, skunks, raccoons, etc.  That said, the very last section (N) on page 4 is the catch-all for anything that "...could inhibit a person's use of the property." -- I think snakes would sure qualify. 

If I were the owner and this was NOT disclosed, I would take the seller to court and try and get a judge to rescind the sale.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) almost 7 years ago
Oh, Maureen! This just makes my skin crawl. Yes, the pun is intended...
Posted by Liz Lockhart, GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate (Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO) almost 7 years ago

commented back and lost it by not saying what the graphic said....

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Those just look like Gardner snakes, and they didn't mention anything about the snakes being inside the house.  Sure, there are a bunch of snakes around the house, but really... what's the big deal?

I suppose the seller probably should have said something about the snakes, but still, were the snakes actually inside the house?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Minneapolis Home Inspections (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

I live in Florida, I have had occasional snakes in my house...I learned to open the door and get the broom to shoo them out....

Yes, they were in our flower beds, got under the garage door, came through the patio...just like the lizards.

Eve in Orlando

Posted by Mike & Eve Alexander, Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers (Buyers Broker of Florida ) almost 7 years ago

Reuben... I keep thinking of mice.  Build a house in a cornfield and don't expect mice?  

Some of the discussions about the snake house say build a house on a snake den and you have snakes.  This house was built in 1920.

I believe they are calling them Garter snakes I think...  I think as a kid we said Gardner snakes and we collected them in coffee cans.  The coffee cans were sometimes kept in the milk chute.  You did not bring snakes in the house.  The milkman did not make home delivery anymore so this box was a great place for a coffee can with the latest catch of little snakes that hung out in the grass.

In 2006 I was thinking it was rattle snakes. Or maybe I realized they were not big scary snakes in 2006 but somehow they got scarier over time.  I do not remember a video in September 2006.   I was picturing a house in the desert and BIG scary snakes.  Little snakes scare me more than they used to.  The video makes my skin crawl.

Videos of scurrying field mice make my skin crawl.

Videos of bedbugs make my skin crawl.

I would prefer a seller with a house that they have to set mouse traps in the fall every year, put that on their disclosure for the buyer... do most?  I don't know that they do. Is a buyer going to sue?    

As far as disclosure the well water thing is another matter... the buyers ability to drink the well water ? Is it just smelly water or is it not usable water?  Buyer beware.  Run tests on water if a house is on a well.  Smell the water coming out of the faucet as part of looking at a home?

It is a banks sale this time.  Banks do not disclose much if anything to buyers.  Was the last sale a bank sale?  Sounds like this listing agent is going above and beyond to make sure a buyer gets an idea of the true nature of the property. 

Some of the conversation online is that previous seller / listing agent did not disclose.  Was it a bank sale?  We have no idea what disclosure laws in Idaho are.

Saving comment b4 I hit submit.   

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Maureen...

I am always surprised at the terror surrounding snakes. Dog kill 5 time the number of people than snakes do in the US, yet many will kill a snake on sight.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) almost 7 years ago

Garter snakes are totally harmless. Geez.

They're there for a reason -- a great place to hibernate and must have a food source (mice). Remove mice and fill in the place where they can hibernate and you'll take care of them. No reason to burn down the house!

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 7 years ago

Garter snakes are not dangerous.  Some people react poorly.

On the other hand there is the great joy of opening the door to show a property and finding every inch of it covered in living and dead cockroaches.

 

Posted by Jim Gilbert, The Gold Homes Team (Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway) almost 7 years ago

Interesting and uniques post. Thanks for disclosing snakes.

Posted by Joyce Herr, Lancaster County & Beyond (Prudential Lancaster Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Wow, I think that there should be room for all types of disclosure regarding infestation.  While some buyers would not have an issue, others may feel it is a deal breaker.  But then again, who determines whether or not such a thing needs to be disclosed as a "restriction on the quiet enjoyment" of the property.  Thank you for bringing this into the limelight, very interesting story indeed!

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Lepic-Kroeger REALTORS) almost 7 years ago
Who cares if the law requires it. Hiding it is wrong. Disclose it because you SHOULD. Apply the golden rule. There still are no snakes in Ireland or Newfoundland as well as much of the subarctic climate zones of the Northern hemiphere. We called them Garter snakes but they are garden or lawn snakes, litterally 'the snake in the grass'.
Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

An attorney told me about a couple that bought a turn of the century home on the outskirts of Minneapolis that they just loved for all the original charm.  Ms. Buyer had a melt down to find a snake den in the basement.  The inspector mentioned 'mice,' and that there was an entry hole in the foundation. The mice attracted the snakes, and the hole let the snakes to slither in.

The couple sued to rescind the $500,000 sale.  

I asked the attorney why they didn't close the hole, and bring in a couple of farm cats.  The hole would have been a $20 fix, and a few cans of tuna to pay off the cats to get rid of the snakes.  Cats kill snakes, snakes hate cats.  The attorney hadn't thought of that.

I have a killer cat that I used to loan out if someone had mice, squirrels in the attic, chipmunks in the garden, bats in the belfry, or critters waddling about.  The job was usually done in a couple of days.  However, a possum wandered into my basement and the cat allowed it to eat it's food!  Seems that cats and possums have a mutual understanding. 

Posted by Mary Jo Quay (Remax Advisors ) almost 7 years ago

Richard wrote  "Dog kill 5 time the number of people than snakes do in the US, yet many will kill a snake on sight."

Really. Interesting but I don't know that the revulsion at snakes has much to do with fear of being killed.

I was thinking about  why so many people are scared of snakes this  morning.  I wondered if other cultures felt the same way about snakes.  I wondered if there was an emnity with serpents hard wired into Christians, or some Christian religions anyway. While I am not one to quote chapter and verse  Genesis chapter 3 and the word "emnity" popped into my brain when I was wondering if it is cultural.

#31  Eve in Orlando I am not a big lizard fan either.  They really freaked me out in Aruba,  They were everywhere.  

Erica sorry that you have no empathy for people who are not fond of snakes.  There are lots of us.

Gold Team Thanks for the visual "On the other hand there is the great joy of opening the door to show a property and finding every inch of it covered in living and dead cockroaches."  I have not seen cock roaches in years.

Karen #37   I agree. 

Robert in #21 and #37  Not sure who you are talking to when you say "Who cares if the law requires it. Hiding it is wrong. Disclose it because you SHOULD" 

I fail to see anyone in the conversation  recommending to sellers in any state that  hiding any defect is right.  This post is written for Ohio consumers about disclosure. Are you bellowing "Who cares if the law requires it. Hiding it is wrong. Disclose it because you SHOULD"  at sellers in Ohio?"    Or are you screaming ""Who cares if the law requires it. Hiding it is wrong. Disclose it because you SHOULD"  at  sellers in Idaho?  They are not hiding anything...

Get a grip or move along. 

Mary Jo Possum in the basement?  That would scare me.  They stink too. 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Chris I don't have a problem with the Residental Property Disclosure not having a spot  for bedbugs or any other odd things.  I think the last section on the last page is just fine. Or sellers can always add an additional page. They could inhibit a persons use of the property....

This is more about bedbugs than snakes but  snakes are so much easier to see.  It is a disclosure issue.  I have not run into any personally.  I think single family housing is the best defense. No shared walls.  I have heard about bedbugs in shelters, hotels, apartment complexes for the elderly in Central Ohio. 

I hope the EPA allows stronger chemicals in the future.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

oh...my...goodness. harmless or not, that video gives me the creeps. i had a nightmare about snakes last night and thanks to reading this i probably will again : )

DISCLOSE. DISCLOSE. DISCLOSE. i would be royally ticked as a home buyer if i purchased and found this out later. Maureen-thanks for the post but it gives me the heebie-geebies!

Posted by Margie Kopp Sorrell, Lake Oconee Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country) almost 7 years ago

Just need a Mongoose or two...

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Margie  Sorry.  Disclosure is a sellers friend.

Chris Yes "Herpestidae"  like Rikki Tikki Tavi...

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Maureen;  Great post and I think I need to have a snake disclosure here in California....we have a lot of rattle snakes in the Temecula Wine Country!

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) almost 7 years ago

oooh...  I saw True Grit...a scene with rattle snakes comes to mind.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

I have never heard of this house before and all I can say is OMG OMG OMG!  I can handle alot of things and snakes are not on that list!

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) almost 7 years ago

Debra I'd say "OMG, OMG, OMG" if I ever saw A snake while showing a house...  Much less hundreds or thousands of snakes...

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

I have to tell you this since you said that.  Not last summer but the summer before I was taking pictures of a listing which was 28 acres.  The seller was driving me around in his truck so I could take pictures of various areas of the property.  At one point when I got out and was trying to take a picture I thought I had stepped on a wobbly rock because I almost fell.  While trying to take the picture I was standing ON A SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was one of the hardest things I ever did to not drop and break my camera and run screaming.  I still don't know why the snake didn't bite me but I am ever sooooooo grateful!  To this day I can't walk in grass without getting the heebie jeebies.

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) almost 7 years ago

Creepy! Love the "killer cat" suggestion, though. I'm always a fan of total honest complete disclosure, and this would be no exception. And an owner couldn't possibly be unaware of it unless they never entered the property.

Posted by Jan Stevens (Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh) almost 7 years ago

Debra stepping on a snake, I think I would die!

Jan Our state disclosure forms there are people who do not have to fill one out...  in fact in a recent class on risk the instructor said no one has to use the form. You have to disclose it, but you do not have to use the state form.  Perhaps? I think our company policy and most local companies are the seller needs to put it in writing.  On that form unless excused.

You wrote: "And an owner couldn't possibly be unaware of it unless they never entered the property."

What I see often is "Seller has never lived in the property." on the residential property disclosure.

That is total B S if the seller knows for example about defects because the tenant reported them, because they had tried to have them corrected or serviced...

in example the property sat for 18 months with water in the basement because it was a foreclosure and the electricity and thus the investor / flipper put in a new furnace and replaced drywall where necessary...  to say "Seller has never lived in the property."when the buyer sues... because of mold discovered after closing...

In example Seller paid for Roto Router for the tenant twice a year or the sewer would back up into the basement but seller fills out a  form saying "Seller has never lived in the property."  and in no other way informs buyer of the defect which they are inheriting.  Tree roots?  Collapsed sewer lines?

In example an estate selling a home...  the estate can write " "Seller has never lived in the property."  but if they are aware of defects and the buyers sue the rest of the story is going to come out. 

 

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) almost 7 years ago

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