Let the buyer beware


I frequently get asked this question: what does the seller have to tell me about problems with the home? The short answer is: nothing. In Ontario, there is a caveat emptor or “buyer beware” system for real estate. While sellers are prohibited from actively hiding damage or other issues with a home, they are not required to tell a buyer anything. They can’t deliberately place a rug over water damage, but they don’t have to tell you that there was a major leak last year that they had repaired. This is why it is always important to have a qualified home inspector go through the property with you before you make your offer firm. Just because you can’t see a problem doesn’t mean it isn’t there; unfortunately, just because someone else knew about it doesn’t mean they will have to pay to have it fixed, either.