A recent decision by the Washington Court of Appeals in Douglas v. Visser, on February 25, 2013, held that a buyer of a home has a strict duty to make further inquiries of a seller and a buyer cannot recover when a buyer has constructive notice of a defect through an inspection report.

Although the buyer had an inspection done which revealed the presence of some rot, the buyer did not make further inquiry of the seller or show that a further inquiry would be “fruitless." Thus, although the seller had actively concealed the extent of the rot prior to the sale, the buyer could not recover because the buyer was put on notice of the defect by the inspection report.

The take away for a buyer is that the buyer must follow-up with the seller if there is any potential defect to determine the extent of the problem.