What Is a Home Inspection Contingency?


Ohio home buyers know how important a thorough inspection is. Turns out there’s also a specific feature you can add to your contract––call it a home inspection contingency clause, an inspection rider, or a due diligence contingency––that has real-world implications and adds some flexibility to your purchase offer.

How Does a Home Inspection Contingency Work?

A home inspection contingency is a clause in a purchase offer that allows a buyer to back out of a deal if the results of the home inspection don’t meet certain standards. So the purchase offer itself is contingent on the findings of the home inspection. 

An initial home inspection might point to obvious things that should be addressed, but house inspectors are limited in their assessments and sometimes a concern goes beyond their expertise. In those cases they’ll recommend bringing in a specialist to give the final say.

If those seasoned professionals uncover serious issues that require repair, a buyer with a home inspection contingency in place can typically decide to either back out of the deal altogether or negotiate with the seller over the repairs. 

Why Is a Home Inspection Contingency Important?

An inspector’s assessment is a visual check. It’s informed by experience and knowledge, but it’s not a full-on discovery project.

If the inspector notes that a home's water pressure is low, the cause could be something as basic as a valve not being opened all the way, but it could also stem from a cracked pipe. One is a simple fix; the other could require major repairs. A buyer won’t know which it is until a more thorough inspection is done. 

A home inspection contingency affords a buyer both the needed time for further inspection and the right to cancel the sale if the results aren’t favorable. The following are some key areas where a doubtful note from the home inspector could trigger a deeper investigation by an expert:

Structural Integrity

  • Pests or termites, compromised roof, chimney, walls, floors, ceilings, or foundation
  • Excessive moisture or mold in basement or attic/crawlspace

Utility Systems

  • Outdated electrical system, plumbing system, poorly functioning HVAC system, sewer, or septic system

Property Concerns

  • Easements and encroachments, lead-based paint, overgrown landscaping, water drainage issues, radon or methane, asbestos, and applicable permits or zoning restrictions

Once the home inspector examines the property’s interior and exterior and makes any relevant recommendations, it is then up to the buyer to move forward with the deal or request time for further inspections. 

Call Keystone for Home Inspection in Cleveland, Ohio

At Keystone Home Inspection we’re always hoping to give your desired property a clean bill of health, but we’re also ready to use our deep knowledge to clue you in to potential problems. If you have questions or are looking to hire a home inspector in the Cleveland area, please get in touch! Give us a call or submit a convenient online form and we’ll reach out to you. We look forward to working with you!

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