Waiving the Inspection Contingency – Risky Business for Sellers

The Pacific Northwest has one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. In the Central Puget Sound area, there has been consistently less than a month’s worth of inventory on the market all year. This has created intense bidding wars between buyers for the few properties that become available, particularly in highly desirable neighborhoods. It’s become the norm, in these markets, to receive multiple offers well above the asking price with many of the offers waiving, once standard, contingencies such as the financing and building inspection contingencies. It’s obvious why waiving the building inspection is risky for a buyer but why is it risky for a seller as well?

An inspection report is Not a Repair List for the Seller! An inspection report provides the new home buyer a comprehensive evaluation of the property. With this information, the buyer knows what is being purchased and the general integrity, functionality, and overall safety of the home. The seller is not required to make any changes to the home because of the inspection report. While it does give the buyer the right to back out of the sale during the inspection phase this may be advantageous to the seller in the long run.
Under state law sellers are required to provide to buyers a Form 17 which covers a wide array of topics related to the home such as water, sewer, appliances, building permits, pests, etc. Failure to be thorough and honest with these disclosures can lead to law suits down the road if the buyer feels they were misled in the purchasing process. In the same way not allowing the buyer the time to obtain an independent inspection of their choosing can open the seller up to a potential law suit if unexpected defects are discovered in their new home. In this market, not a lot of time must be allowed for an inspection, as few as three days, and there is no requirement to make changes to the property due to what is found. Allowing the buyer a few days to have an independent inspection done can provide to the seller the peace of mind that they have obtained a clean break from their home and the likelihood of a law suit much less likely.