top of page

BLOG

  • Writer's picturePeter Lamont, Esq.

Should You Waive the Home Inspection Contingency? Weighing the Risks and Benefits

Waive the Home Inspection Contingency?

Introduction

In today's housing market, buyers are going to great lengths to make their offers more competitive and appealing to sellers. One increasingly common tactic is waiving contingencies like the home inspection contingency. While this may help get your offer accepted over others, it also means taking on significant potential risks that every buyer should carefully consider before making this move.


The home inspection contingency is a clause in the purchase contract that allows you, as the buyer, to back out of the deal or renegotiate the price if major issues are uncovered during the home inspection. This contingency provides a crucial safety net and protects you from purchasing a property with expensive defects or repair needs you didn't anticipate.


This post will examine what the home inspection contingency entails, the risks of waiving it, the potential benefits in certain situations, and some tips and alternatives to help you make the right decision.


What is the Home Inspection Contingency?

The home inspection contingency is one of the standard contingencies included in most real estate purchase agreements. It gives the buyer a legally-defined period of time (usually 5-10 days after contract acceptance) to hire a professional home inspector to thoroughly examine the property's condition.


The inspector will evaluate everything from the foundation and framing to the electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, roof, and more. They will document any issues, potential safety hazards, or maintenance needs in a comprehensive inspection report for the buyer.


If that report uncovers major defects, deficiencies, or repair needs, the inspection contingency allows the buyer to back out of the contract entirely with their earnest money deposit returned. Or alternatively, it allows them to renegotiate the purchase price or terms with the seller to account for the needed repairs.


Without this essential contingency in place, buyers have far less flexibility or protection if major issues are found.

Risks of Waiving the Inspection Contingency

While waiving contingencies has become a way for some buyers to bolster their offers in bidding wars, waiving the home inspection contingency means taking on some huge potential risks:


No Option to Exit the Deal

The biggest risk of waiving this contingency is that you forfeit the option to back out of the purchase contract if the home inspection reveals major issues like a problematic foundation, roof in need of replacement, mold, termite damage, etc. Without this safety net in place, you're obligated to move forward with purchasing the home "as-is" even if the inspection surfaces costly defects.


Hidden Costs of Repairs

By waiving this contingency, you also accept full responsibility for any issues discovered during the inspection. The repair costs could amount to tens of thousands of dollars or more, all of which would come out of your pocket on top of the purchase price after closing.


Unexpected Burdens After Closing

Some buyers assume they can still request repairs or negotiate for credits from the seller after the home inspection. But with this contingency waived, that leverage goes away. You'll have little recourse to pursue a seller for hidden defects discovered later, even after moving in. Those costly repairs for a new roof, water heater, termite damage, and more fall squarely on your shoulders.


Heightened Stress for Buyers

For most buyers, purchasing a home is already an immensely stressful process filled with detailed documentation and complex legal obligations. Taking away the home inspection contingency only compounds this stress. You'll have to deal with potential headache after headache once repair needs are identified without an option to back out or renegotiate more favorable terms.


While some buyers may feel the need to waive this key contingency in the face of fierce competition, it's crucial to realistically assess whether you have the financial safety net and risk tolerance to take this gamble.


Potential Benefits of Waiving the Home Inspection Contingency

Of course, there are certain scenarios where waiving the home inspection contingency may be a strategic choice that could benefit the buyer:


Stronger, More Competitive Offer

In many housing markets, sellers are currently being inundated with multiple offers on their listings - many coming in well above the asking price. By waiving more contingencies upfront, your offer may stand out and look much more attractive and hassle-free to the seller.


Streamlined Purchase Process

The fewer contingencies included, the quicker and smoother the purchase process may go through without re-negotiation periods or opportunities to back out. This could potentially accelerate your closing timeline.


An Absolute Must in Some Markets

In notoriously competitive housing markets like San Francisco, Seattle, or Austin, waiving the home inspection contingency (along with other contingencies) may simply be the only way to get offers considered and accepted at all on desirable listings.

Sellers Prefer "As-Is" Offers


Generally speaking, home sellers vastly prefer offers that allow them to sell "as-is" without having to worry about re-negotiating for repair credits, or having the buyer back out later over inspection items.


Financial Ability to Take the Risk

Some buyers in great financial circumstances may feel comfortable waiving this contingency if they are offering all cash, have significant savings for potential repair costs, or enough wiggle room in their budgets to cover unexpected expenses.

However, unless the buyer has the resources and wherewithal to take on this added risk, the potential drawbacks of waiving the inspection contingency outweigh the benefits for most home purchasers.


Alternatives & Tips to Consider

For buyers who want to keep some protection in place, there are alternatives to waiving the inspection contingency entirely:


Request a Repair Credit Upfront

Rather than removing the contingency, you can request that the seller provides a repair credit or lump sum from the sale proceeds at closing, based on reasonable estimated costs for anticipated repairs found during the inspection.


Offer Price Adjustment

Similarly, you could make your offer amount contingent on a satisfactory inspection. Adjust your offer price downward to account for expected repair credits before signing the final contract.


Get a Pre-Inspection

To gain more insight ahead of time, you can opt to pay for a pre-inspection of the property before even submitting your offer. While not a substitute for a full inspection later, this can provide an advance look at potential issues.


Review the Seller's Disclosure Documents

Most states require home sellers to disclose any known property defects or repair needs upfront. Make sure to closely review this documentation and factor any disclosed issues into your decision before waiving contingencies.


Only Waive If You Can Truly Afford the Risks

At the end of the day, waiving the home inspection contingency should only be considered if you have the financial means and risk tolerance to take on substantial repair costs after closing. Make sure to factor this into your overall budget calculations.


Consult a Real Estate Professional

This is not a decision to take lightly. Make sure to consult with an experienced real attorney in your area who can provide expert advice based on your unique situation and the current market dynamics.


Conclusion

As challenging as it can be to get offers accepted in today's cutthroat housing markets, waiving the home inspection contingency is a significant gamble with potential long-term ramifications. While it may strengthen your offer in bidding wars, it also strips away your main protective safety net as the buyer.


Only those with the financial flexibility to absorb potential repair costs in the tens of thousands should even consider waiving this contingency. For everyone else, it could open the door to immense stress, buyer's remorse, and a financial quagmire after closing day.

TIPS

(1) Carefully weigh the risks and alternatives, (2) Consult a qualified attorney in your local market. (3) Ensure you thoroughly understand the property's condition through pre-inspections and disclosure documents. These precautions may make or break your home purchase experience if you opt to waive the home inspection contingency.


 

What is a home inspection contingency clause?

A clause in a real estate contract that allows buyers to have the property inspected within a certain period, giving them the option to renegotiate or withdraw their offer based on the inspection results.

Why do some buyers waive the home inspection contingency?

What are the risks of waiving the home inspection contingency?

Can I still get a home inspection if I waive the contingency?

How can I mitigate the risks if I decide to waive the home inspection contingency?


 

Contact us today to discuss your business or legal matter. Put our 20+ years of legal experience to work for you.

 

For detailed insights and legal assistance on topics discussed in this post, including litigation, contact the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont at our Bergen County Office. We're here to answer your questions and provide legal advice. Contact us at (201) 904-2211 or email us at  info@pjlesq.com.


Interested in More Legal Insights?

Explore our range of resources on business and legal matters. Subscribe to our podcast and YouTube channel for a wealth of information covering various business and legal topics. For specific inquiries or to discuss your legal matter with an attorney from our team, please email me directly at pl@pjlesq.com or call at (201) 904-2211. Your questions are important to us, and we look forward to providing the answers you need.

Peter J. Lamont is a Top-Rated New Jersey Business Attorney

About Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

Peter J. Lamont is a nationally recognized attorney with significant experience in business, contract, litigation, and real estate law. With over two decades of legal practice, he has represented a wide array of businesses, including large international corporations. Peter is known for his practical legal and business advice, prioritizing efficient and cost-effective solutions for his clients.


Peter has an Avvo 10.0 Rating and has been acknowledged as one of America's Most Honored Lawyers since 2011. 201 Magainze and Lawyers of Distinction have also recognized him for being one of the top business and litigation attorneys in New Jersey. His commitment to his clients and the legal community is further evidenced by his active role as a speaker, lecturer, and published author in various legal and business publications.


As the founder of the Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont, Peter brings his Wall Street experience and client-focused approach to New Jersey, offering personalized legal services that align with each client's unique needs and goals​

 

DISCLAIMERS: The contents of this website and post are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The contents of this website and the posting and viewing of the information on this website should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. Nothing on this website is an offer to represent you, and nothing on this website is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.


As with any legal issue, it is important that you obtain competent legal counsel before making any decisions about how to respond to a subpoena or whether to challenge one - even if you believe that compliance is not required. Because each situation is different, it may be impossible for this article to address all issues raised by every situation encountered in responding to a subpoena. The information below can give you guidance regarding some common issues related to subpoenas, but you should consult with an attorney before taking any actions (or refraining from acts) based on these suggestions. Separately, this post will focus on New Jersey law. If you receive a subpoena in a state other than New Jersey, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney in your state, as certain rules differ in other states.


Disclaimer: Recognition by Legal Awards

The legal awards and recognitions mentioned above are not an endorsement or a guarantee of future performance. These honors reflect an attorney's past achievements and should not be considered as predictors of future results. They are not intended to compare one lawyer's services with other lawyers' services. The process for selecting an attorney for these awards can vary and may not include a review of the lawyer's competence in specific areas of practice. Potential clients should perform their own evaluation when seeking legal representation. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

0 comments

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page