The Contract Contingency Clause and Home Inspections

Before buying a home in Hillsborough County, FL, you should have it checked by a professional home inspector. Many home sale contracts contain contingency clauses that require thorough home inspections.

Why Purchase Contracts Should Require Home Inspections

Home inspections allow a buyer to identify any major problems with a home before completing a sale. Most contingency clauses stipulate that if significant defects are found, the buyer can cancel their offer without a penalty. These are usually significant problems if a potential buyer walks away instead of asking about possible repairs. Many realtors even require home inspection clauses in new purchase contracts.


It Should Cover These Basics

With the construction of a new house, home inspections generally cover:

  • Pre-Foundations – After concrete is poured, little can be done to correct problems.
  • Basic Structure Pre-drywall – Before drywall hides important structural components, pipes, electrical, and framing should be inspected.
  • Full inspection – Of course, after work is completed, a professional home inspector should do a thorough evaluation.

Home inspections usually take two to three hours. The inspector will prepare a report with photos that detail any problems. A prospective buyer should be present for the inspection. This allows them the opportunity to ask questions and get firsthand information from the inspector.

Home inspections should show:


  • If each problem is a safety issue, and the level of hazard
  • Which items need replacement and which should be repaired or serviced
  • Items that are usable for now but may require service in the near future


Dealing with the Results of Home Inspections

After the buyer completely understands any issues found with the home, they must make a decision. Contingency clauses connected to home inspections have time limits. If the problems are major or too expensive to repair, buyers can back out of the sale without a penalty.

For other issues, the buyer can ask the seller to make repairs or reduce their offered price to buy the home. The reduced offer allows the buyer to use those funds to make the necessary repairs.


If you’re gearing up for a home inspection, Beryl Engineering & Inspection provides more than 15 years of experience, and exceeds InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.