A patent defect is an important and tangible problem with a piece of real property. This would not include little problems with fixtures on the property; rather, it generally refers to items that can have a major impact on the property's safety or its value. For instance, a sagging porch or a crack in the foundation of a home would be a patent defect. Likewise, any sort of structural problem would qualify as a patent defect. Such things are generally discovered during any sort of inspection that might take place before a purchase. Buyers will want to know about these things before they purchase a property. There are certain laws that require sellers to alert buyers to these problems if they are known. In many instances, the seller will not know that the home has any sort of patent defect until the buyer discovers it during the inspection phase.