Tom Talks Inspection Contingencies


An inspection contingency, also known as a due diligence period, is a period of time that allows a buyer to fully inspect the property before making a final decision whether or not to buy the home. This time period starts the day after both the buyer and seller have signed the contract, and lasts for as many days as the buyer and seller have agreed to. In the Washington, DC, real estate market, a typical inspection period may be as short as three days or as long as ten days, depending on the competitiveness of the market, and the number and variety of systems or issues to be inspected.

During the inspection period, the buyer is encouraged to hire a professional home inspector to inspect the property, plumbing and fixtures, heating and cooling systems, and other aspects of the home, for items that need to be repaired or replaced. Specialized inspectors and/or inspections are needed for issues such as mold, lead-based paint, termites, and private wells.

In Washington, DC, a home inspection contingency may either include or exclude a right to negotiate. If the right to negotiate is included, the buyer can request that the seller either make repairs or replacements mentioned in the home inspection report, or ask for a reduction in the sales price. If the seller refuses, the buyer can walk away from the deal and keep his earnest money. If the inspection contingency does not include a right to negotiate, a buyer has NO right to negotiate, and must either accept the property as-inspected, or keep his earnest money and walk away from the deal. Any written request from the buyer to negotiate will serve as notice to the seller that the contract is void.

A good REALTOR® can help you determine whether a home inspection contingency or more limited general inspection contingency is best for you. In a competitive market, the simplest offer often wins.

There are many other aspects to consider when inspecting a property or navigating the ins and outs of the contract, so if you have any questions about these topics, give me a call at 202.838.SELL, or email me using the form on your screen.