In real estate a contingency is common and written into almost every contract. Contingencies are clauses in a contract that give either the buyer or seller a way to get out of the contract if certain conditions or timelines aren’t met. Every contract can be unique. The possibilities for contingencies are virtually endless, however, some of the more commonly used contingencies would include:
Financing. Contingencies that depend on the buyer being able to obtain financing are very common.
Home Inspections. Probably the most common type of contingency is the “contingent upon satisfactory completion of inspection”. There are any number of specific types of inspections for which a contingency might be included in a contract. Some of the more common would include inspection by a qualified home inspector for hidden defects, radon tests, sewer line inspections, pest inspections, water and sewage system inspections, inspections dealing with the presence of mold, etc.
Appraisal. It’s not unusual for a buyer to have a contingency that requires an appraised value at or above purchase price. Since lenders will nearly always want an appraisal performed too, sellers usually don’t have a problem with this.
Remember, just like everything else in real estate contracts, contingencies are negotiable. In drafting your offer to purchase a home or piece of property, we will ensure that you are comfortable with all contingencies included in your contract and help you determine if it is appropriate to add additional ones as well.
One of the most important steps when purchasing a home is to have the home inspected by a licensed and experienced home inspector. Home inspectors are trained to test the heating, electrical and plumbing systems in addition to many other components of the home. We have worked with dozens of inspectors over the years and can provide you with a list of some of the ones we felt performed well for our clients in the past. Ultimately, you will be the one to decide which inspector is right for you. When interviewing a home inspector, ask the inspector what type of report format he or she provides. There are many styles of reports used by property inspectors, including the checklist, computer generated using inspection programs, and a narrative style.
We recommend that you are present during the entire inspection if possible. This helps you to understand the condition of the home and the details of the report.
At the end of the inspection your inspector may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions that you may not be familiar with. A good inspector should be able to explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for you. For instance, if the inspector's report states that the concrete foundation has common cracks, be sure to ask, "Why are they common?" The answer you should receive will be along these lines: common cracks are usually due to normal concrete curing and or shrinkage. The inspector's knowledge and experience is how the size and characteristics of the cracking is determined.
After receiving a written copy, take the time and become familiar with your report. Digest the report completely and understand the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it is most likely one of the largest investments you will ever make.
In addition to a traditional home inspection, there are many other possible inspections which may be appropriate and recommended by us. We will carefully evaluate your particular needs and provide you recommendations on other possible inspections that will benefit you.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see radon, smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.
Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.
We strongly urge you to have the home you are purchasing tested for radon during the inspection contingency period. Testing is the only way to know if radon is present and if you and your family are at risk.
If radon is found during an inspection, there are ways to remedy the situation. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one primarily used is a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil suction radon reduction system, does not require major changes to your home. Sealing foundation cracks and other openings makes this kind of system more effective and cost-efficient. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors can use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors. If radon is found during the inspection period, the inspector can identify which system will be the best for your home.