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ListerRealEstate.comPatricia "Tricia" Lister

Buyer's Guide

Contingencies checklist

A home purchase contract should include contingencies to protect against uncertainties and allow the buyer the time to complete the required checking and other tasks prior to closing. All of these contingencies should be included.

  • Attorney Review

    Every home purchase contract should be expressly contingent upon review and approval by an attorney. Many states provide for an automatic review period regardless of the specifics of the contract.

  • Financing

    The contract should be contingent upon the purchaser obtaining a mortgage commitment within a set period of time. The contract generally stipulates that the loan should be at "market" rates and terms - so the buyer can't be compelled to accept an unfair loan if that is all that is available.

  • Inspections

    The contract should allow the buyer a reasonable period of time to arrange for required inspections. The exact inspections necessary may vary with area, but typically include a general home inspection (always!), termite/pest inspection, and a radon test.

  • Appraisal

    This is partially covered with a financing contingency - since the buyer will not obtain a mortgage if the property fails to appraise. Nevertheless, it is sometimes worth including a separate contingency - if, for example, the buyer does not require a mortgage but wants the appraisal anyway.

  • Repairs and cleanup

    If the purchaser's willingness to buy is based upon certain action by the seller - making a repair or removing excessive garbage or debris, for example - the contract should contain an express contingency to that effect.

  • Sale of buyer's home

    Some contracts are contingent upon the sale of the buyer's home to another party. While it is often difficult to get a seller to accept this type of condition, a buyer who cannot otherwise afford to proceed has little choice but to try.

  • Special contingencies

    Some transactions require special conditions. For example, if the home needs a significant work the buyer may want a contingency period to get pricing from contractors.

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