When you’re shopping for houses for sale in Northern Virginia, contingencies can be a common source of confusion.
Basically, contingencies are when a buyer has made an offer and the seller has accepted it, but the final sale is contingent on certain criteria being met.
These contingencies typically fall into four major categories: appraisals, loan approvals, inspections, and study periods.
This is when the buyers have the opportunity to do their due diligence and really understand the ins and outs of the property. For a straightforward home purchase, they might conduct a home inspection, a termite inspection, and — if you have a well and septic — a well and septic inspection. If the home was built before 1978, then it is advisable to request a lead-based paint inspection.
Depending on where you live and the type of property being purchased, the buyers might want to have additional inspections that are typical for your area, or a study period to determine the feasibility of their project.
For example, radon inspections are common in Northern Virginia but not in many other parts of the country. This is because up to 56% of homes in Northern Virginia have been found to have elevated radon levels. Radon is a health hazard, but remediation is usually quite simple.
As another example, if the buyers are purchasing a vacant lot to build a home, they might use a study period to meet with builders and engineers to determine if the site is suitable for the home they want to build. This could involve things like hiring an Authorized On-site Soil Evaluator to determine if the soils can support a septic system and identify a possible drain field location.
How much time does the buyer have to meet the contingencies? Contingency periods are negotiable, but with the current market for homes for sale in Northern Virginia, most buyers are limiting contingency periods to 30-45 days, and often less. Some buyers will opt to waive contingencies altogether to make their offers more appealing to sellers, but this is typically not advisable.
Contingencies can sound confusing, but they are actually quite straightforward. If you’ve got any questions about contingencies as you look at houses for sale in Northern Virginia, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Contact Jonathan at 202-750-4050 or Kennedy@KennedySellsVA.com.