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Contingent Offers & Options

What is a contingent offer? It means an offer on a home has been made and the seller has accepted it, but the finalized sale is contingent upon certain criteria that have to be met. These criteria, or contingencies, typically fall under three major categories: appraisal, home inspection and mortgage approval.

These contingencies are mainly put in place for the buyer to back out of a sale if something goes wrong, usually without losing their earnest money deposit. A seller might entertain other offers, but won’t deal with another buyer until the contingent offer is finished in one way or another.

Home inspection contingent offer

A home inspection contingency could well be the most important one. It gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected. If something is wrong, the buyer can request it be fixed or they can back out of the sale. It’s rarely advisable to waive an inspection contingency.

Appraisal contingency

With this contingency, a third party hired by the lender evaluates the fair-market value of the home. In the instance the appraised value is less than the sale price, the appraisal contingency lets you back out of the deal.

Mortgage contingency

You don’t want to sign a property sale without having the money to back it up. A mortgage contingency protects the buyer and seller from getting into a sale without a proper loan. Under this contingency, the buyer has a specified time period to obtain a loan that will cover the mortgage. If the buyer can’t get a lender to commit to a loan, the buyer has the right to walk away from the sale with the down payment.