5 Contingencies That Can Ease Buyer Paranoia

Usually, paranoia is a mental disorder—a subject more suitable for psychiatrists than for Realtors®. But that depends on its being entirely divorced from reality. When the subject is your offer to buy one of ’s listed properties, it may well be that a slight touch of paranoia can be useful—at least when it comes to defining contingencies.

Back last October, Realtor.com had an excellent commentary about realism and contingencies. It listed five of them “you should never waive.” “Never” is a strong word—especially in a season when competing offers abound. But the reasons for including basic contingencies in your offer are anything but paranoid. These are Realtor’s Big Five:

First are inspection contingencies. Unless you are an experienced inspector yourself (and you have been given access to the nooks and crannies of the subject property), you really risk too much by giving up your right to hire a neutral inspector to tell you what’s likely to require maintenance now and in the future.

Second is the financing contingency. If you can’t find financiers who agree to give you a mortgage on the property, you could be unable to pay for your purchase—and lose your good faith deposit as a result. So, you can waive this one, but only if you’re willing to risk the loss of the deposit money.

Third comes the appraisal contingency. You don’t have to be paranoid (or even unusually pessimistic) to take this one seriously because lately, it isn’t terribly unusual for an appraiser to calculate a home’s value that is less than the amount of the offer. Since you might have to come up with the amount of a shortfall, including this contingency can be a financial necessity.

Fourth are mold contingencies. If mold is discovered during the inspection, an expert should be brought in to estimate the cost of remediation. Passing up this contingency can have health repercussions that any good homebuying paranoic could explain in detail.

Last is a well water/septic contingency if either applies to the property in question. This detail may not be top of mind for buyers who have never dealt with either, but it’s one that may deserve to be front-and-center if issues are discovered during an inspection.