Caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that literally means “let the buyer beware.” It is the principle that the buyer is solely responsible for checking the quality and suitability of the property before the purchase is made. Caveat Emptor, as it applies to Missouri law, encourages responsible, prudent conduct by the purchaser and discourages unfair dealing on the seller’s part.
Why is this important? Because Missouri is a caveat emptor state, due diligence by all parties is critical for ensuring successful transactions. In this blog, we’ll look at due diligence as it relates to the buyer, and what buyers need to know about buying real estate and why choosing the right property inspections company is critical in a caveat emptor state.
As the buyer, how can I protect myself? A potential home buyer needs to perform what is called, “due diligence,” meaning to perform reasonable steps by a person in order to satisfy or confirm any legal requirement to close the property, determine if any financial encumbrances, and determine the true condition of the property under consideration.
To help the process run smoother, it is always best to look for the expertise of a licensed realtor in your area who knows the market, who can help you find a lender, a title company, and an appraiser who can begin the due diligence process.
Although your realtor may suggest a property inspections company, due diligence on the part of the buyer means that the buyer selects the property inspections company. You will make an informed decision by researching and verifying that you are hiring a qualified, licensed home inspector.
Did you know that anyone can claim to be a home inspector in the State of Missouri whether they are credentialed on not? Legally they can perform property inspections and collect money from a buyer even if they do not have the most basic certification. This is why it is best for you to do your own research when looking for an inspector. You must verify their credentials and determine if they are certified, and how they are certified.
Make sure they are certified by a recognized organization that requires training, testing and continual education to keep that inspector up-to-speed on the latest products they may encounter within a home or a commercial building.
Special Licensing and Pending Lawsuits
Check out their website, look for online review sites like Google Business, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, etc. “Missouri Casenet” allows you to research if the inspector has any past or pending lawsuits. You can also look at the State of Missouri Health and Senior Services website to determine if that inspector is licensed to perform septic and well inspections.
Who Pays for the Home Inspection?
The buyer. In Missouri, it is up to the buyer to have the home inspected by a licensed property inspections company. Home inspection reports are copyrighted and protected by Federal copyright law. Under current Missouri law, the seller is not obligated to have a property inspection done, and the buyer should not provide a complete copy of the inspection report to the seller unless they wish to pay for it. The seller may obtain portions of the report the buyer wishes to have addressed or be compensated for in the transaction. The seller is not entitled to receive the complete report. The buyer who pays for the property inspection maintains the rights to this report along with their inspector.
The buyer must do their due diligence when selecting a home inspector to ensure they are certified and licensed to perform a thorough and comprehensive inspection. In our next blog, we’ll review due diligence as it relates to the seller, the seller’s disclosure responsibilities, and unjust enrichment.
Pillar Premier Inspections provides home and commercial property inspections in Lake of the Ozarks, Springfield, and throughout the Central Missouri area. We hold a number of home inspection certifications, memberships, and licenses in Missouri. We represent homebuyers and sellers, commercial property investors, relocation companies, and more. We offer a variety of inspection services, including mold testing, septic system and well inspections, and more. Our decades of custom home building experience combined with our knowledge of home and commercial inspection separates us from the competition.
Call us today! Lake of the Ozarks (573) 363-5511, or Springfield (417) 893-0770.
Contact us with any of your questions about inspections, repairs or construction. We are here to help.Contact Us