Three Contingencies To Consider

Dated: August 1 2017

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Making an offer on a home can be thrilling, but it can also be nerve-wracking if you don’t quite know everything about the home you’re buying (odds are you don’t). Or perhaps you don’t have all your ducks in a row yet – who knows what might go wrong to throw a wrench in your plans to buy. Fortunately, there's a solution that will allow you to make an offer while mitigating some of the risks involved with buying a home.

A home buying contingency is a clause or portion of your contract that sets forth certain conditions that must be met in order for your offer to stand. If these conditions are not met, the contract is voided; you don’t have to buy the home and you can receive your earnest money deposit back. There are a host of contingencies that you can include in your offer, but here are three that you may want to take extra seriously.


Is that a new deck? How about the in-ground pool? If you notice any recent improvements to the home you’re planning to buy, you may want to add a Permits / Certificates of Compliance Contingency to your offer. Here’s why:

If you don’t ask a seller for the permits for their home improvements, you could end up paying for it when the city comes knocking. Spare yourself the heartache of realizing your favorite parts of your home aren’t up to code and being forced to remove them. You’ll be glad you did.

Home Sale

If you can’t afford to make two mortgage payments every month, it might be a good idea to include a Home Sale Contingency in your offer. Quite simply, this saves you from being legally bound to buy the new home if your current place doesn't sell.

Now, some sellers might flinch at this if they’re in a hurry to close and move on. But if you’re in a pinch and can’t afford the risk, go ahead and add this contingency to your contract.


Consulting with a real estate attorney is a key component to making sure you don’t agree to a faulty, unfavorable contract. If you add an Attorney Approval Contingency to your offer, you give yourself the chance to let your attorney look over the terms of your deal and alert you to any red flags before you commit and close.

Be sure that you hire a true real estate attorney who has the experience to anticipate the common problems and unique caveats of home buying and selling.This is an important decision and you need the people who influence your decision in any way to be wise and savvy.

These are just a few of the many ways you can protect yourself from getting stuck with a problem house. Even if you feel 100% confident about wanting to buy a particular home, do your best to think critically and give yourself the chance to withdraw your offer should you find a fatal flaw or glaring red flag. Remember, you’re not just looking to buy a house, but a home. Do what’s best for yourself and your family by adding important contingencies to the next offer you make on a home.

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Paula Schoof

Paula is a lifelong resident of the Cedar Valley. She and her husband Rich are both graduates of UNI with BAs in Business Management. She spent many years as a Sales Representative for RJ Reynolds and....

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