Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive investments we’ll make in our lives. For example, buying a home in Phoenix or Scottsdale in Arizona will cost us around $730,000 or $375,000, respectively*. The more features we want our homes to have, the more money we have to spend.
To get our money’s worth, we should never remove certain contingencies from our real estate contracts. In real estate, contingencies refer to the conditions that should be met before finalizing a transaction. Contingencies protect buyers and sellers and act as an escape hatch for homebuyers when problems arise during the home-buying process.
The appearance of a house can be deceiving. Even if the residential property looks well-maintained and clean, keep in mind that it can still have issues, such as a weak roof and damaged plumbing systems.
A home inspection is one of the most important contingencies in real estate. Through home inspections, we can identify any major issues with a home before finalizing the deal with a realtor. Once the report from the home inspection reveals defects, we can back out from the deal, have the seller repair the issues first or renegotiate with the seller and ask for a lower price.
Aside from checking the home’s foundation, electrical systems, and structural components, a home inspector can also determine if a property has molds. Home inspectors are not obliged to look for molds, but most will mention obvious signs of mold in a residential property.
Once a home inspector indicates the presence of mold in their report, we should be wary. Molds can cause allergic reactions that can trigger a runny nose, skin rash, and red eyes. For individuals with severe mold allergies, they might even experience shortness of breath.
Even if we found our dream house, we should never waive mold inspection because buying a mold-infested home will adversely affect our family’s health. Treating a mold-infested home will also cost us a lot of money down the road.
Well Water and Septic System Inspection
Water is an important resource that affects our wellbeing, which is why we should never waive well water and septic system inspection when buying a house. This inspection will allow us to determine the condition of the home’s septic system, check the quality of the water on the property, and identify issues early.
During the septic system inspection, the inspector will pump out our septic tanks to check for any backflow from the absorption area. Using the backflow level, the inspector can determine if there are any blockages or problems with the drain field.
On the other hand, well water inspection tests the water quality of our home and the condition of its well equipment. The inspector will check the condition of the different parts of the well, namely the storage tank, pump, casing, and vents, and visually assess the screens, seals, and overflows of the well.
We will drink and bathe in the water from our home, so we should always prioritize well water and septic inspection. Buying a house that produces contaminated water won’t give value to our hard-earned money.
The appraisal process begins once the seller accepts the buyer’s offer. During a bidding war, when there are several buyers competing for the ownership of a property, the seller will usually choose a buyer with the highest offer.
Once both the buyer and seller agree on a sales price, the lender (who represents the buyer) will send a third-party appraiser to assess the value and condition of the house that their client is buying. Lenders take this step to ensure that their clients don’t end up overpaying for homes. Moreover, lenders don’t grant loans more than the actual amount of the house.
For example, if we agree to buy a home for $250,000, but the appraised value is only $230,000, the lender won’t grant us the loan unless we find a way to cover the difference. In situations like these, we can cover the difference using our own money or have the seller lower the price or a combination of both.
An appraisal contingency will protect us from these circumstances. If we can’t find a way to work around the low appraisal or cover the difference, the appraisal contingency allows us to cancel the deal without breaching any contracts.
As a buyer, we should never waive appraisals as we could lose our earnest money deposit, or we’ll be in breach of contract.
Many homebuyers misunderstand the financing contingency and why it’s important in the home-buying process. Simply defined, a financing contingency gives us (the buyer) time to obtain financing in order to afford to purchase a property. This contingency provides us protection in case the deal fails to close.
Additionally, a financing contingency shields us from being penalized in the event that we become incapable of completing the home purchase even if we already won the bid.
The financing contingency in the real estate contract contains clauses that indicate the expected date of the completion for the transaction, the expected instances, and the resultant events. For example, if we can’t secure funding on time, the contingency clause requires that the held money be refunded to us without any deductions.
Without a financing contingency, we might not be able to back out from the real estate transaction if the financing falls through or we might lose our money.
Never Skip Contingencies
Due to the high demand and low inventory of homes in Arizona, homebuyers are putting down more cash to own a residential property. Instead of the minimum 20% down payment, many potential homebuyers are willing to spend 30% to 40% as their down payment.
Regardless of how tough the buyers’ competition is in Arizona, you should take our word and should never skip contingencies as mentioned in this article. Sure, performing these contingencies might delay the sale for a couple of days, but these will ensure that what we’re buying is a home in tiptop condition.
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*average prices pulled from Zillow as of September 30, 2021