When it comes to real estate contract contingencies in the Fredericksburg VA real estate market, few things are as routinely contentious as home inspection time frames and procedures. There are some common questions pertaining to home inspection contingencies that I want to address today.
- What happens if the buyer misses the home inspection deadline?
- What happens if the seller does not respond with the contractual time frame?
- Can the buyer just terminate the contract without giving the seller the option to make repairs?
The graphic below is a snap shot of the typical home inspection contingency language used in the Fredericksburg area, and is what we will reference in answering these questions. (Note: click on the contract graphic below to see a larger version.)
- What happens if the buyer misses the home inspection deadline? If the home inspection contingency deadline comes and goes without the buyer having fulfilled one of the elements of the home inspection contingency, the home inspection contingency terminates. The contract remains in full force and effect, with no home inspection contingency.
- What happens if the seller does not respond with the contractual time frame? Let’s assume the buyer has acted within time frames of the contract, and provided a copy of the entire inspection report and an addendum for requested repairs. The seller then, according to this particular contingency, has three days to respond. If the seller does not respond, the buyer then has three days to decide to accept the home in its present condition. If the buyer does not decide to accept the property in its present condition and removes the contingency, the contract becomes void per paragraph A.
- Can the buyer just terminate the contract without giving the seller the option to make repairs? So the scenario is that there is a buyer who does a home inspection and then decides they no longer want the home. Does the seller have a right to attempt to make repairs to keep the contract in force? The short answer is no. Looking at the home inspection contingency above, the purchaser can simply provide a Notice voiding the contract. There is nothing in the contract language that says the purchaser has to identify any issues or reasons for voiding the contract, or that the seller has the right to try to remedy the issues. It simply says the purchaser can provide a Notice voiding the contract.
However, and a lot of people miss this point. The purchaser must provide an entire copy of the home inspection report AND the Notice voiding the contract. So, if a purchaser is wanting to void the contract on the home inspection contingency, they must actually do a home inspection and provide the entire report to the seller along with the Notice to void.
Disclaimer: Contracts vary from area to area. The contract language example used in this article is from the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS contract library. This article is intended to be educational only and is the opinion of the author and no one else. This is NOT, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. If you have a contract question, I recommend you consult an attorney for the appropriate legal advice.