Contingencies are a crucial component of real estate contracts, offering buyers and sellers the flexibility to safeguard their interests and potentially back out of a deal in certain situations. In this blog post, we will delve into the most prevalent contingencies in the Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas, encompassing home inspections, appraisals, financing, property associations, and home sale contingencies.

1. Home Inspection Contingency:

Within a specific timeframe (usually 7-10 days), buyers can conduct various inspections (home, radon, well & septic) to evaluate the property's condition. They can then negotiate repairs or credits with the seller or opt to terminate the contract if no agreement is reached.

2. Appraisal Contingency:

This contingency ensures that the home's appraised value meets or exceeds the sale price. If the appraisal falls short, buyers have the option to request a price reduction or walk away from the contract if the seller is unwilling to adjust.

3. Financing Contingency:

Also referred to as the Mortgage Contingency, this safeguards buyers in the event they are unable to secure a loan. Typically, buyers are given 21-30 days to secure financing, and if unsuccessful, they can exit the contract without losing their deposits.

4. Home Sale Contingency:

Designed for buyers selling their current home while purchasing another, this contingency allows them to proceed with the purchase contingent upon the successful sale of their existing property. If the sale does not materialize within the agreed timeframe, the contract can be terminated.

5. POA/HOA/Condo Association Document Review Period:

The timeframe for a buyer to withdraw from a contract after receiving community association documents from a seller varies in DC, MD, and VA. In DC, buyers have a specific timeframe known as the "Resale Package Review Period" to review the documents and opt-out of the contract if desired. The exact duration of these periods is dictated by the terms of the contract and local regulations, necessitating consultation with professionals for precise information based on the specific jurisdiction and contract in question.


Contingency timelines can be negotiated, typically falling within the 7 to 30-day range. It is essential for buyers to collaborate with their lenders and home inspectors to determine appropriate timelines for loan approval and inspection reports.

Contingencies are typically lifted once the agreed terms are fulfilled. If the seller consents to the contingency, it is removed. If not, the buyer can decide to proceed, suggest alternatives, or withdraw from the contract without repercussions. In cases of disagreement, real estate agents often facilitate negotiations to reach a resolution.

Comprehending common contingencies is pivotal for buyers. By navigating through home inspections, appraisals, financing, and home sale contingencies, buyers can safeguard their interests and make well-informed decisions throughout the purchasing process.

(Note: This blog post offers general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Buyers are advised to seek guidance from real estate professionals and legal experts tailored to their specific circumstances and location.)

Khalil El-Ghoul

Discover our 2.25% Full Service Listings and alternative commission models for home buyers. Khalil is dedicated to guiding home buyers and sellers with expert advice and objective information. For professional real estate assistance, text Khalil at 571-235-4821 or email today.