How long after the home inspection does the buyer have to back out?

Monday, January 27, 2020

It all depends on the number of days in the inspection period that was agreed to in your real estate sales contract and, secondarily, how many days are left in it after you have received your inspection report. Typical inspection periods are 7 or 14 days, but could be much longer or even as short as three days—although that is definitely not recommended, and to a buyer’s disadvantage. 

    If you want to get out of the contract you have to provide written notice to the seller. Typically, this is done on a form that your realtor will provide. Although you can cancel the contract after the inspection period, you will at a minimum lose the earnest money and may possibly be sued by the seller.

    It’s important to get your inspection done as soon as possible after signing the contract, because you want at least a few days left after receiving the inspection report to review it, consider your options, and possibly have additional, necessary specialty inspections done. 

    An extension of the inspection period can be requested, and is a good idea if more time is necessary for any additional inspections or contractor pricing for repairs, but you should present the seller with a valid reason and, even when it is a sensible request, they are not obligated to grant you an extension.

    Most real estate contracts allow the buyer to cancel the contract during the inspection period, but some have clauses that make it more difficult without providing a significant and provable reason to cancel. It’s best to clarify with your realtor before you sign the contract that you retain the option to walk away from deal during the inspection period at your sole discretion.

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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