due diligence

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Oct 11 10:27:43 UTC 2011

These are all "commercial transactions." It's the real estate, not the
transaction, that's "non-commercial." My point being that "due diligence" is
still being used here in the sense of researching the value of a prospective

But still, the phrase encompasses a wider sense than the narrow one of
mergers and acquisitions that is in the OED.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Benjamin Barrett
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 1:51 AM
Subject: Re: due diligence

Due diligence is often used in real estate for commercial transactions,
which would fit into the below meaning, but it is also used for
noncommercial transactions. I recall my real estate agent talking about this
concept when issues came up during home buying.

I recall him telling me that no matter how much you research something, you
can still go wrong because something nobody has ever thought of before might
occur or a disaster might strike. So you do your due diligence (take the
reasonable steps to investigate things) before buying and are satisfied that
if something goes wrong, you at least make a reasonable effort to avoid

Two examples:

1. Home Buying Due Diligence: Online Property Research Tools for City and
County Property Records

2. Home Inspections

Knowing exactly what you are buying is probably the biggest hurdle to jump
in a real estate transaction yet many people gloss over due diligence and
end up regretting it. Here is your guide to an assortment of inspections you
might want to consider and conduct before you hand over cash to close.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Oct 10, 2011, at 9:50 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> OED has a "due diligence" as a 2003 Draft Update under "due":
>> due diligence n. chiefly /Law/ appropriate, sufficient, or proper care
>> and attention, esp. as exercised to avoid committing an offence;
>> (/Business/, orig. /U.S./) a comprehensive appraisal of a business
>> undertaken by or on behalf of a prospective buyer, esp. in order to
>> establish the exact scope of current assets and liabilities, and to
>> evaluate future commercial potential.
> With the multiple high tides of law-related shows on US TV, it may be
> time to scrap the jargon restriction. Case in point:
> http://goo.gl/C3Rlg
>> The answers to my questions were already out there. That's a failure
>> of due diligence on my part. I will try to do better.
> This is from a journalist writing a follow-up on a post asking a
> particular question of newspaper editors that the editors had apparently
> answered in a broadcast statement. BTW, the supposed "Business" process
> cited in the lemma is usually done by lawyers, so it is hard to
> distinguish between the two meanings. The distinction may be more
> historical--do any lawyers (in the UK perhaps?) still use "due
> diligence" in the former sense?
>     VS-)

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