Caveat emptor, qui ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit

I sometimes get calls from clients after closing where they complain about a leaky roof or a crack in the basement floor. These buyers tend to be the ones who did not have a home inspection prior to firming up the purchase. They now want to know whether they can sue the sellers for not disclosing these defects.

All I can do is sadly quote the above Latin phrase, which translates as “Let the Purchaser, who is not to be ignorant of the amount and nature of the interest, exercise proper caution” —in short, buyer beware. There is a duty on a buyer to know what she is buying. The law in this area is quite clear. Except for hidden defects which make the property dangerous or unfit to live in, sellers do not have to disclose hidden defects in a house. The doctrine of Caveat Emptor requires the buyer to do her own due diligence and home inspection before agreeing to purchase.