Due diligence is your responsibility. Yours. No one else’s. Yours.
Just imagine an individual who, seeking a mate, marries the first person they come across who is willing. No dating, no background checks, no meeting the family. Just a quick agreement and Boom! The deal is done. We don’t usually think of dating as due diligence — at least not consciously — but that is exactly what it is; a feeling out process where we get to know and understand a potential life partner deeply. Now imagine that the person who does such a foolish thing discovers that the idealized marriage they visualized turns out to be a disaster in reality. Who would have thought? Anyone with an ounce of common sense, perhaps! But this foolish person, rather than admitting and accepting responsibility for his actions, begins casting about for people to blame. Maybe the person who introduced them, maybe the judge or pastor who performed the marriage ceremony, or maybe the owner of the wedding chapel.
Ridiculous, yes? Yet this is how many people treat the process of buying a home. Then when things sour due to their own poor judgment and lack of due diligence they look for someone else to blame. Ultimately, responsibility rests with you. Home buyers are often pressured by others to move along and close as quickly as possible. I have heard many commercials for mortgage and title companies bragging about how fast they can close a loan. But you needn’t give in to the pressure. Take some time to get to know your potential new home. Know where the property corners are, for they show the limits of your ownership on the ground rather than on a cryptic piece of paper. Don’t take the word of anyone who is not a registered professional land surveyor concerning property limits. Find out what easements and/or restrictions impact the property. Find out if there are any pre-existing liabilities such as encroachments that exist. These things are achieved by getting a boundary survey. There is no substitute for actual, on-site investigation by a registered professional surveyor.
Don’t be the guy in this headline, the story exemplifies many of the errors I have seen time and time again over the years (taking the word of a Realtor about property boundaries, thinking title insurance will protect you – it won’t, failing to discover the limits of ownership, mindlessly coasting through the buying process, etc.):