Congratulations! After all that hard work of preparing your home to sell, having strangers wander around your home and judging it critically, tense negotiations with buyers and ultimately accepting a contract (which became official when the deposit check was received) and you have entered into what is called escrow. In Connecticut, typically the sellers real estate broker holds the deposit in their escrow account until closing or both parties sign off on it’s release.
This is an important milestone and you should take some time to celebrate, my favorite spot for a celebration dinner is at South Windsor’s the Mill on the River restaurant or Manchester’s Stone and Paddle. However, keep in mind your house is not really “SOLD” yet! This is where the conditions of the contract called “contingencies” have to be removed in order for the contract to really be binding. First the most common type of contingency you will be up against is the home inspection contingency.
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In order to understand how the inspection contingency applies to you, the contract should always be your source of information. Typically, I have seen most agents put a 10 or 14 day inspection contingency (calendar not business days) and the clock starts ticking as soon as the contract is signed by both the buyers and sellers.
The buyers have the responsibility of contacting a professional home inspector, scheduling the inspection of your home and paying for the inspection. Depending on what type of inspections was requested in the contract there could be multiple inspectors doing inspections that need to be coordinated, in Connecticut the most common are the general home inspection, well and water, radon, swimming pool, pest and termite, etc.
While the buyer is typically responsible for inspection costs, the seller typically has to pay for some items that have to be prepared before being inspected. Such as pumping of the septic tank, opening up a pool or dewinterizing a vacant house.
Keep in mind, the inspection will take place without you the sellers being at the home. The time of the inspection is really for the buyers to get to know the home and understand it’s structure, mechanics and overall condition and having the sellers present will just distract from that happening. So when the inspection is scheduled, hopefully during a time where you will be out of the home anyway but if not go catch a movie at Manchester’s Rave Cinema. Depending on the size of the home and amount of inspections you might want to watch 2 movies!
After the inspection is complete, the home inspector will deliver a final report to the buyers about the home. The buyers will review the report and take a look at what items were unknown to them at the time of writing the contract to buy your home and are a problem for them. They will then request in writing, that the seller remedy those items before close. The buyers will also have to provide the relevant pages from the report that detail the inspection items in question. They are not obligated to provide you the full report because that is the property of the buyers.
If you decide to perform any repairs most will request that the seller provide receipts and proof of payment from a licensed contractor. If you are going to be doing any of the work yourself, it needs to specifically say that when the addendum is signed stating the scope of repairs agreed to. Otherwise, it could cause an unnecessary headache and jeopardize you getting closer to that goal of closing on your home.
Personally, I believe that a lot of people in the Connecticut real estate market use the inspection contingency incorrectly and try to negotiate for minor items instead of just major defects such as foundation issues, failed or about to fail roofs, non-potable water etc. I’m sure that you as the seller would feel the same way, however, the important thing to note here is that the buyer has the right to terminate the contract and receive their deposit back if they are not happy with the results of the inspection. This is what is called leverage in negotiations. So, the best advice I can give is to try to be reasonable and figure out what you would be willing to do in order to make the buyers happy while still achieving your goals that will make you happy.
If the goal is to sell your house and get to the closing table then the bottom line for any contingency in a contract is that it is a way out, so careful diligence must be made to ensure the inspection contingency is removed and not exercised. If you have any further questions about how the home inspection contingency works in Connecticut feel free to get in contact with me.
About the Author: The above real estate information on Home Inspection Contingency in Connecticut a Sellers Guide was provided by Kris Lippi, a local Connecticut real estate agent serving Hartford and Tolland Counties.
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Kris Lippi services real estate sales in the following Hartford and Tolland County towns: Andover, Avon, Berlin, Bloomfield, Bolton, Bristol, Burlington, Canton, Columbia, Coventry, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartland, Hartford, Hebron, Manchester, Mansfield, Marlborough, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Somers, South Windsor, Southington, Stafford, Suffield, Tolland, Union, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Willington, Windsor, Windsor Locks Connecticut