Home Buyers Guide

What is an Inspection Contingency?

Why it would be unwise to buy a home without one.

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An Inspection Contingency gives you the right to have a home inspector come and examine the property before you close on the purchase. The purpose of the contingency is to protect you from buying a home that may have serious hidden structural problems or material defects. When you add an inspection contingency to the purchase contract, you'll want to make sure it covers both the home and the property on which it sits. You might also want to have a separate contingency for each of the following:

  • Radon
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Toxic Substances
  • Water
  • Pests, including termites, mice, rats and roaches.

Generally the inspection Contingency will require you to have your inspection within five to ten days after the offer is accepted by the seller. Otherwise, you may lose the right to withdraw from the contract.

Sometimes buyers hope that the inspection will turn up small, fixable problems with the property so that they can get additional money from the seller at closing. The real purpose of the inspection contingency, however, is to protect you from purchasing property that may have serious, expensive, or unfixable problems.

The inspection contingency should be either in the contract or attached to it as a rider or addendum.

Here is a sample home inspection contingency addendum:

The BUYER, may at his own expense and on or before _______________, have the property located at: _______________ inspected by a person engaged in the business of conducting home inspections. If it is the opinion of such inspector that the property contains serious structural, mechanical, or other defects, then the BUYER shall have the option of revoking the offer by written notice to the SELLER and/or the Broker, as your agent, prior to the expiration of such time, which notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the inspection report, whereupon all deposits made by the BUYER to you shall be forthwith refunded and this Offer shall become null and void and without further recourse to any party.

Inspection Contingency provided courtesy of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board.

Useful Resources for Home Buyers
  • Home Inspection Checklist
  • an important step in protecting yourself from buying a home with hidden faults that will require costly repairs.
  • Choosing a Home Inspector
  • Many new home buyers have the impression that all home inspectors are the same, in fact, many Canadian provinces and American States have no regulations for home inspectors so the experience level of inspectors vary.
  • Toxic Substance Inspection
  • You've already asked for the right to have a professional home inspector inspect your house. And you've asked for the right to have your home inspected for pests. Have you thought about having an inspector test for toxic substances?
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Home Inspection Checklist
Home Inspection Checklist
A proper home inspection from a professional home inspector is always highly recommended but that doesn't excuse you from looking carefully over the home before you get to the inspection stage. By keeping a sharp eye out, you may be able to spot some major problems and eliminate a potential property before paying for an inspector...