Your inspection contingency period is your time as the buyer to perform all the due diligence required to move forward comfortably with the sale. In our current market in Oakland and the East Bay, it’s common for this contingency to be waived, yet I don’t recommend it. The contingency period protects you and allows you to back out of a purchase should troubling information about the home be raised.
In fast-paced markets like ours, this period may last anywhere from zero days up to 14 or so after entering into a contract to purchase. Because timing is tight, due diligence should actually begin before an offer is submitted.
Before even submitting an offer is a great time to confirm the basics. Neighborhood amenities, crime, schools, etc. Also making sure the home meets your criteria and, if provided, reviewing seller’s disclosures. In certain circumstances, it might be warranted to hire a professional inspector during this phase.
After entering into a contract to purchase a property, it’s time to get very serious. The types of inspections you’ll perform will vary by property and are dependent on known issues and property circumstances such as being on a hillside.
At a minimum, we recommend hiring a general home inspector and a wood destroying pests and organisms inspector. These licensed professionals will give you a firm foundation on which to base the rest of your due diligence.
Based on inspector recommendations, you may choose to hire some or all of the following reports or estimates:
- Soil and Geology
- Lead-based paint remediation
Some of the less usual things you may want to explore during this period are:
- Soil growing conditions (and sunlight)
- Does your car fit in the garage/driveway
- Neighborhood noise
- Estimates from contractors on improvements you may want to make
You may also choose to inspect none of these things. That’s ok too. There are no inspections that are required, though many that may be recommended. These inspections are for you as the buyer, so ultimately it’s up to you.