The Physical Inspection Contingency Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley CA

March 4th, 2015

When purchasing an Oakland, Piedmont or Berkeley CA home, one of the primary protections afforded to a home buyer in the California Purchase Contract is the Physical Inspection Contingency, or aka Inspection Contingency.


When you make an offer on a home you are essentially saying that you agree to purchase the property so long as you are able to inspect it and confirm that you’re not buying a Lemon.  In other words you want to check it out and make sure you’re aware of its flaws.


The primary reason (other than financing falling through) for a deal to crash is due to issues coming up during the inspection process.  Generally buyers hire inspectors to look at a property from foundation to roof.  And, everything in between.  Start with a general inspection and if issues with specific components come up you may then get the advice to have a specialist come in and have a further look-see.  (i.e. a roofer, engineer, electrocution etc.)


If in the event you discover undisclosed problems with a home and you have an inspection contingency in place, you have 3 options as a buyer.

  1. Give me my deposit back, I don’t want this house.
  2. I don’t care if it has issues I love it and I’m going to move forward and purchase it anyway.
  3. I didn’t expect these issues but I can get over them if you (the Seller) make a financial concession to me.


While every buyer should obtain a thorough understanding of a homes mechanical condition before buying, it is important to remember that an Inspection Contingency also gives a Buyer time to ensure that there aren’t other reasons they’d want out of the deal.  For example; Does the walk to the bus stop feel comfortable at night? Is there to much highway noise from the highway during rush hour?  Does the home have good Feng Shui?  There are many specific reasons why a home may or may not be right for your particular lifestyle.


The California Purchase Agreement is generally considered a Buyer friendly contract.  That doesn’t mean that a Buyer can walk away from a  deal at anytime for any reason but if the proper Contingencies are written into the contract, the Buyer is at least afforded the opportunity to thoroughly look into the home and satisfy themselves in regards to its condition, usefulness and utility.    


For more information about the home buying process or for answers to specific questions about the Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley CA real estate markets, please feel free to get in touch with Brian Santilena directly.  He’s been selling terrific homes to overwhelming satisfied clients in the San Francisco East Bay Area since 1998.

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