Often, a contingency clause is part of a home sale contract. A contingency clause gives either party an option to cancel the contract under certain circumstances. A home inspection contingency is a common contingency attached to a contract.

the Home Inspection Contingency


The home inspection contingency gives the buyer the right to have the home inspected in a designated period of time. Depending upon the findings during the inspection, the potential home buyer can either negotiate repairs or cancel the contract without any penalty.

There are a few ways you go about handling the home inspection contingency.


A pre-inspection is when you complete a walkthrough with a home inspector. A home inspector will look at the mechanical and structural components of the home, like the foundation and the HVAC. The inspector checks to make sure the house is structurally sound, everything is in order, and there are no red flags.

The inspector is not flushing every toilet, turning on every light, not opening every window to make sure the more minor mechanics of the home are in order. You also won't receive the inspection report with a pre-inspection.

Complete Inspection

Sometimes agents won't allow a complete home inspection because a single-family home can easily take five or six hours. You may not have the time or want to pay a thousand dollars for a home you may not get.

The inspector will provide a detailed report of all house systems in a complete home inspection. When you pay for a comprehensive home inspection, you will receive a full report that varies in size but is generally between 30 to 80 pages. This detailed report will cover everything from the roof to the basement and all foundation, electrical systems, and plumbing.

The Home Inspection Contingency is Different Than Other Contingencies

Unlike the financing contingency, where you know your financial situation - even with the appraisal, you have a ballpark idea of where the home might appraise; you have no control over the outcome of the home inspection contingency.


There is a risk when it comes to the home inspection contingency. If you choose against the home inspection, are not savvy regarding single-family home construction, or home improvement is not your forte, the inspection may be more nerve-wracking because of the risk. However, there are mechanisms in place where you can mitigate that risk.

Washington DC Area Non-Negotiable Contingencies

If you live in the DC area, there are home inspection contingencies that are non-negotiable. 

In situations where there are enforced rules set upon the home, like properties belonging to a Home Owner's Association (HOA) or a condominium association, there is an established amount of time after the buyer receives documents where they can cancel the contract without any penalty. 

Another non-negotiable contingency for purchasing a single-family home or a townhome is a termite or wood-destroying insect inspection. This contingency doesn't mean buyers can cancel the contract if they find these insects. However, if they find any wood-destroying insects, the seller is responsible for remedying the issues and paying for any damages that occurred before settlement.

Understanding Common Contingencies


For a simple, straightforward understanding of the most common contingencies in real estate, visit our YouTube channel. 


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 khalil@glasshousere.com today.