Caveat Emptor is a term that lawyers, judges, and realtors know well, but how many home buyers know what it means? If you’re not a lawyer, judge, or a realtor, you probably don’t know or care what Caveat Emptor means. Yet, if you’re thinking about buying a home, it is probably one of the most important Latin terms that you should know.
Before you make any agreement with a bank to buy a home, know what you’re getting! Banks aren’t like retail stores. You can’t return a home after you buy one, because it’s not what you thought it was. Once you buy it, it’s yours until you pay off your mortgage or sell it. That is the message of Caveat Emptor. The Latin term means “let the buyer beware”.
Caveat Emptor has never been so important. The growing number of foreclosures coupled with the rising rate of homes being used as meth labs has increased the number of contaminated homes that are up for sale or rent. Before you buy or rent any home, do your homework ESPECIALLY if it’s a foreclosure. Banks are not required to tell buyers about the history of a foreclosed home, even when the home presents serious health risks to anyone occupying the home, especially children.
Before you buy a home, especially a foreclosure, remember what Caveat Emptor means. Take the time to do your homework. You’ll be happy that you did! Call the local police department, health department, and the Sheriff’s department and talk to neighbors to find out if anyone at the home had problems with drugs. Ask if there was ever a drug bust at the house? Ask neighbors what they know about anyone who has lived in the home. Talk to neighbors who have lived in the neighborhood for a long time. No one knows what goes on in a neighborhood better than the people who’ve lived there, especially those who have lived there for many years.