Real Estate Sales and the De-Vine Contingency

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties

Offer and counter-offers go back and forth and the buyers and sellers finally reach an agreement on price.  The homeowners breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their home is finally sold...or not! 

Let's Make A Deal

While price may be the major issue in reaching an agreement, there may still be hurdles to overcome before the deal becomes a closed transaction. More often than not, there are additional conditions, known as contingencies, which must be cleared, before the sales contract is enforceable.  Each contingency will include an action and a date by which it must be met or removed and an understanding of who is responsible for covering any cost incurred. If the contingency cannot be met, the buyers may escape the contract without forfeiting the deposit.  The most common contingencies deal with mortgages and property inspections. 

Mortgage Commitment

In addition to obtaining a loan commitment by a given date, the mortgage contingency may stipulate specific terms, such as 30-year, fixed rate, at a given interest percentage.  Failure to qualify financially is the most obvious reason for being unable to obtain a mortgage.  However, particularly in the current environment of falling home prices, the loan commitment may be denied because the property does not appraise at a high enough value.

Property Inspections

The buyers will want a home inspection done to determine the physical and systems condition of the property.  The inspector will examine such structural conditions as roof, windows, siding and foundation, and systems conditions, including plumbing, heating and electrical. Other inspections may include testing for water quality, pest infestation, radon, lead paint and asbestos.  Depending on the property, the buyers may also require inspections of the oil tank, septic system, well, pool and tennis court.

If any unacceptable conditions are discovered, the buyers may ask for them to be remediated, be given a credit or have the contract cancelled.  There will be a specified time period in which to resolve the situation or terminate the sale.

Other Contingencies

In some cases, the contract may include a property sale contingency.  In this instance, the buyers will make the sale contingent on their being able to sell their current home.  In some areas, this is known as a Hubbard Clause.  Other contract limitations may include contingencies that are only applicable to a particular property.

Most agents will advise their homeowners to remove and replace any fixtures they want to keep, before they put their home on the market.  The buyers may acknowledge that the chandelier, sconces, etc. are excluded from the sale, but having seen the item, they may require that a comparable fixture be installed in its place.  Guaranteed, if Grandma's chandelier is still in place, and the sellers can't bear to part with it, it will become a condition (contingency) of sale. 

On a rare occasion, a contingency will make it into the contract, Climbing Hydranges Vinebased on an erroneous assumption.  Such was the case of a contingency stating that the sellers had to kill and remove the poison oak vine, growing around a large tree.  It turned out that the objectionable growth was a Climbing Hydrangea Vine that the homeowners had a local nursery plant and train, to climb the tree.

            This contingency will heretofore be known as the

                                De-Vine Contingency.



Copyright © 2009 Marilyn Katz,, All Rights Reserved... Real Estate Sales and the De-Vine Contingency

Posted by

Marilyn Katz

      Marilyn Katz

    Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services New England Properties    
  Servings Westport, CT
  and the surrounding communities  

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Copyright © 2013 Marilyn Katz, All Rights Reserved

Comments (4)

William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I like that.  I have put in and also have seen some odd contingencies in my time!

Jun 11, 2009 11:34 AM
Marilyn Katz
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - Westport, CT
ABR, e-PRO -

Bill-  Happily, there was no poison oak, so we could laugh about the contingency.

Jun 11, 2009 11:58 PM
Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Marilyn, great story.  I love the name:  De-Vine Contingency.  Sometimes we really do not know what we are looking at.

Jun 24, 2009 01:21 AM
Marilyn Katz
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - Westport, CT
ABR, e-PRO -

Kathryn-  Luckily, this was an easy contigency to release.  The deal closed, this week.

Jun 24, 2009 04:38 AM