The pros and cons of continency clauses in real estate deals

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Real Estate

Contingency clauses play a significant role in real estate transactions. These conditions aim to keep contracts fair by guaranteeing various stipulations.

Sometimes, one party may consider waiving contingencies to speed up the process or strengthen their bargaining position. Before doing so, the individual should consider the pros and cons of these contract elements to make an informed decision.

Advantages of contingency clauses

Typically, contingency clauses offer financial protections to buyers. For instance, a home inspection contingency allows the prospective buyer to back out if the home does not pass inspection. This ensures that the buyer will not have to deal with unexpected repairs after the purchase, protecting their financial investment.

Loan approval contingencies also provide benefits. These clauses state that the purchase depends on the buyer securing financing. If the buyer’s loan application gets rejected, they can walk away from the deal without facing penalties. This prevents buyers from getting trapped in contracts they cannot financially manage.

Likewise, many buyers need to sell a current home before purchasing a new one, making a contingency clause invaluable. It can specify that the new purchase will only proceed if the existing property sells within a given timeframe. This prevents buyers from having to juggle two mortgages or face financial strain.

However, sellers can also benefit from contingency clauses. They might set timeframes for the completion of certain actions, such as home inspections or securing financing. This keeps the transaction process moving forward and provides clarity on deadlines.

Potential drawbacks of contingency clauses

Despite their benefits, contingency clauses can reduce the appeal of an offer to sellers. Sellers generally prefer offers without contingencies because there is a lower risk of the deal falling through. In competitive markets, sellers may choose a lower offer without contingencies over a higher one with them.

Removing contingency clauses can make an offer more competitive but introduces significant risks for buyers. The potential legal and financial consequences of removing contingencies place buyers in a precarious position. If they cannot meet the terms of the agreement, they may face legal repercussions or lose their earnest money deposit. This financial loss can add stress and complicate the buying process.

As each deal is unique, there is no set answer on when it is prudent to waive a contingency clause. Anyone engaging in a real estate transaction should examine all factors and consider talking to experienced professionals before altering and accepting a contract.