Latin: Caveat Emptor – Let the buyer beware
For many centuries buyers in Britain had to think carefully about the principle of ‘caveat emptor’ – let the buyer beware. The onus to buy goods fit for their purpose rested with the buyer and not the seller.
Thankfully, modern consumer law now offers buyers much greater protection from unscrupulous sellers. The principle of caveat emptor could be described as obsolete when it comes to everyday shopping.
However, there are areas, particularly when buying property (the largest value purchase you are likely to make) or second-hand goods from a private seller when you need to be aware that as the buyer you need to take responsibility for checking that the property or goods are right for you.
When buying a home you should employ a surveyor and possibly other experts to check the property is in good condition and a lawyer to check all the legalities of buying it, such as any attached covenants, leases, rights of way and so forth that could make the property worth much less than you are paying for it, or worse still, an absolute pain to own and sell on in the future. Indeed, here in the UK you have more consumer rights as a buyer when buying a chocolate bar than when purchasing a property!
Therefore, if you are buying a home, please don’t try to save money by cutting out any checks that could ultimately save you a lot of grief and a huge amount of cash. Caveat Emptor applies! Be aware, be very aware.